Kamakura New Year's Day

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Sunday 1st January 2006. A New Year's Day outing to Kamakura, a town near Tokyo famous for its shrines and temples.

14:38:26 Me with a bog standard station sign picture, taken on arrival at Kamakura station.

14:39:48 It's those South American (Peruvian?) musicians, who are following me and Chie around the world. I have decided to photograph them every time we see them from now on, and at some point in the future will present a catalogue of the evidence.

15:15:19 Our first port of call in Kamakura was to visit the Daibutsu (Giant Buddha statue).

15:15:38 Chie with her friend Maiko and Maiko's boyfriend Koji. I asked for a very touristy picture, and that is exactly what I got.

15:17:35 The smokey thing in front of the Daibutsu. I think you're supposed to waft the smoke in the direction of any bodily ailments.

15:18:36 Oh and there's always a donation box, of course. Five yen appears to be the standard offering (five is a good number apparently).

15:19:37 There he is again, Daibutsu-san.

15:22:21 Rather bizarrely, one "special feature" of this Daitbutsu is that you can actually go inside (for the princely sum of 20 Yen). So here is an odd picture looking up to the inside of his head.

15:26:14 As an extra oddity there appear to be windows in the Lord Buddha's back. Erm.

15:29:24 Another view of the Buddha...

15:29:30 ...and one last one before heading off.

15:41:39 The entrance to another temple (or shrine perhaps?) which we decided not to go into in the end.

15:56:53 One of the nice things about Kamakura is that it is by the sea. So managed to get a few nice pictures down on the beach.

15:57:10 Actually it is fairly built up around here, but there are a few points at which you can look out to sea and not get all of the buildings etc in view.

15:58:25 Another picture as the sun begins to set. The effect of the camera here makes it look much darker than it actually was!

15:59:09 Oh and another, with a bit more of the sea in shot.

15:59:15 The sea again.

15:59:34 Chie rushing up to attack me with a pair of the classic Japanese "V" signs.

15:59:45 A slightly moody looking picture of me playing a very slow game of chicken.

15:59:48 Me touching the Pacific Ocean. Still feels a bit amazing to me as a European.

16:00:15 Maiko, Koji and me on the beach.

16:00:33 Chie, Koji and Maiko with a bit of sunset behind them.

16:26:04 Back in the centre of Kamakura now. These odd people are to be found all over the Tokyo area, reading out some kind of religous text on loud speaker. They seem to be largely ignored by the general population.

17:00:51 In a Japanese sweets cafe, where we went for a late teatime snack.

17:01:01 Note the guy at the next table here peering over to the strange people taking photographs of their food!

17:35:48 A chochin - the Japanese word for lantern.

17:36:06 A lantern lined avenue leading to one of Kamakura's most famous shrines (called something like Tsuruokahachimangu).

17:44:07 The throngs leading up to the Tsuruokahachimangu shrine.

17:49:45 One of the buildings in the shrine complex.

17:54:25 This seemed to be a very well crowd controlled event!

18:00:30 At the top of the shrine... not really that much to see in the end.

19:25:40 Later on, dinner. This is my meal - a shojin ryori set - supposedly the food eaten by Buddhist Monks.

19:25:49 A very nicely served jug of cold sake.

19:25:59 Chie digging in.

19:27:08 The whole table.

20:20:17 A discarded keyring or something...?

20:36:41 Koji and a complete stranger dozing off on the train.

20:54:21 Outside a karaoke place, near a station somewhere between Kamakura and Yokohama.

21:22:51 Errr, the inside of the karaoke place.

21:44:47 Chie gives it some welly - I think she is singing that "pi hara pi hara" song, the theme tune from a Japanese cartoon.