I have always enjoyed sleeping on tatami. While it is sleeping on the floor, it seems much more comfortable than even thick carpet would be. At our temple we had some wonderfully thick and warm futons, so I slept like a baby. Mostly. While I may love tatami and futons, I declair that the Japanese 'bean pillow' is the most uncomfortable pillow ever devised.
So when I woke up over an hour early, around 4:40ish or so, that blasted billow kept me from any more delicious sleep. I decided that I may as well explore the area a bit more and *do something* rather than lie in bed hating my pillow for an hour. I grabbed my camera and headed out into the morning chill. It was a very pleasent time to be wandering about a town of temples. There was nobody on the streets yet, certainly no tourists. As it was around 2:30 in the afternoon back home, I decided to give Denver a mid-afternoon wakeup call. Luckily Dad was home, and we had a nice chat, though I think my shivering made me hard to understand sometimes!
Then it was time for the morning service, which was much more interesting and slightly less painful than the previous nights meditation. The atmosphere of the service was fascinating, so like and yet sooooo far from the church services *I'm* used to. I'm very glad to have had the opportuninty.
From there it was breakfast time. A fairly typical Japanese breakfast really, rice, miso, pickles, some unidentified plants, and the best tasting pears I have ever had. While it wasn't bacon and eggs, it was pretty good. Not quite filling enough though, it lacked the 'stick to your ribs' of a big plate of buttermilk pancakes. (drool)
With that out of the way, checkout time was 9:00, and we didn't stick around much past 8. We had a whole town to explore, along with what they said was the largest cemetary in the world (500,000). So we struck off through the still pretty deserted town...
Next: Now *that* is a cool headstone