March 13th #chinadiary

"This has been a memorable day" - so begins Carl's entry for today...

He describes the things he sees on the train journey to Nikko in Japan, especially the rural and probably ancient way of life in the countryside, tiny houses with thatched roofs, very few animals, most land cultivated for food and the incredible mountain views.

Interior Shrine of Iyemitsu (Haiden), Nikko
In particular, Carl was surely impressed by the Shinto shrines, which are "beautiful beyond description, and ornamented to a degree that is almost beyond belief". He surely appreciates the craft involved in these places and finds "a spirit of reverence and worship about them that is impossible to deny". I surely like the next section describing the inside of a shrine, so I'll quote it at length, as I'd not heard of this before:

There are no images in Shinto shrines, and the sole object that the people look up to during their worship is a round metal mirror hanging on the wall. The mirror is, as I understand it, supposed to represent the idea of truth, and also the idea of finding ones god in ones self.

There's a little more about the complex stories of the Shinto mirror and worshipping the divine in oneself at this website.

The entry ends with Carl agreeing with the Japanese saying "Never say 'kekko' until you've seen Nikko" - kekko meaning beautiful, magnificent or "I am satisfied".