2010 – Iki-shi, Nagasaki-ken, Japan, Earth


Watch the fingernails.D-Mug and I spent our last day in Kyoto visiting the Phoenix Hall (or Byodo-In–not the one in Honolulu!) and then climbing through the mountains, getting bitten by mosquitoes, all to say hey to some fox spirits that can apparently possess you via your fingernails.

Fushimi-Inari Shrine, pictured above, is famous for four kilometers of red torii, one right after the other.  It’s actually really cool, and I totally would have stayed longer had my energy not dissipated, or the mosquitoes not buzzed their ugly buzz in my ear and sucked my blood.  You get the drift.  We were still there for a solid three or four hours, and then got spectacularly lost on our way back down and ended up walking the two train stops back to our hostel.  Then we were promptly accosted by an adorable, if overly enthusiastic, 90-year-old Japanese man who mentioned, among other things, that he doesn’t like British people.  (Sorry, Chico.  And Chico’s mom.)

One of my favorite things about these torii is that, I’m pretty sure, if you have enough money you can buy one.  So businesses have taken to sponsoring torii–the kanji written on the back of them is often the person or business who purchased it.  So hey, advertising!  Except for those people (like me) who can’t read the majority of it.


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