Wednesday September 30 - Aomori, Japan

Aomori is a lovely city and we had a great day. Busses took us first to the outskirts to visit the relatively new Buddhist Seiryu-ji Temple. 

The Showa Great Buddha is about 75’ tall, made of bronze. It’s at the end of a lovely path that led us past the main hall and several fountains as well as a dry garden representing the sea and several islands. Our guide, Hatsue, was very informative and had a good idea what we would want to know. She explained the fortunes that some people bought, and pointed out that people who got bad ones simply tied them to structures on the grounds so the ill fortune wouldn’t go home with them. I wasn’t able to go into the buildings because of the incense, but I understand the art works inside are beautiful. 
 Along the road we saw many rice fields, most of which have been harvested. The harvested stalks are standing in little teepee shaped stacks. Back in Aomori we visited the Nebuta Museum. Every August, many communities hold huge lantern festivals. In Aomori the lanterns take the form of floats, made from decorated rice paper and wire. 

They are huge, and mostly representative of ferocious samurai representing historic moments. Each year there are around 20 floats created. The four winning ones go into the museum for the year and the rest are destroyed. We watched a video of part of the parade, which involves dancers playing cymbals and drummers. Then we learned how to do the drumming, play the cymbals and do the dance. 

That was exercise! Really – it counts, and I’m sure burned off at least one spoonful of the dessert I had at dinner. Larry and I left the tour at the museum and walked into the retail area of the city, then back to the ship. Larry looked for interesting electronics, but found nothing in spite of riding up the elevator and down the escalator of a large department store, checking each floor as we went. We had to do it that way, since we couldn’t read any of the signs. At the team trivia, we gained some ground against our major rival, though I don’t think we caught up. Tomorrow is the last round and our last chance. We very much enjoyed a farewell drink and formal dinner followed by a tribute to the British Invasion of the 1960s. Very well-done. This has been a very great cruise. I recommend SilverSea.

Click for other photos of the day 
 Click forward to a Sea Day and Tokyo