The programme for day 10 had already been prepared by the university- visit Myoshinji temple and try out meditation. Myoshinji is a large temple complex 15 minutes away from the university. It was organised by the university as part of our cultural experience.
We were told to leave all our belongings outside and take a seat in a large, empty room. We were told to relax and try to empty our minds by slowing our breathing and concentrating on counting numbers in our head.
The monk walked around with a large stick, which he would use to tap/hit people on the back if they felt that they couldn’t concentrate. This looked scary, but a friend who tried it said it was rather massaging (what the hell right), and you had to request to be hit anyway (and then say thank you). 15 minutes of meditation actually fly by really quickly.
We then walked to the back gardens of the temple, where he explained that zen gardens usually use evergreen plants that convey the same beauty and peaceful experience no matter when you look at it.
We were also asked a riddle that had been preserved in a very old painting, which had the answers from various philosophers, all of which seemed illogical. See if you can come up with an answer! (I cracked my brain trying to)
How can you capture a very slippery, large catfish in a gourd?
We then continued on to the Ying and yang gardens which were separated by a large, old sakura tree. The monk explained how humans tend to see good and bad separately, although they exist together.
Then we preceeded towards the beautiful koi pond (or so I thought). The monk explained how the temple came up with their own answer to the riddle- there was a catfish swimming somewhere in the pond, which was shaped like a gourd (mind blown).
And of course the temple was decorated in maple leaves and autumn colours.
All this thinking and meditation had made us really hungry. My friends and I decided to go to Jumbo okonomiyaki, a popular diner that was recommended to us by several of our buddies and even our teachers. And what a recommendation it was- tasty, cheap food cooked before your very eyes.
We waited a while for our table (the queue wasn’t too bad though). We then watched as the chef cooked our meals on the hot plates. We ordered 1 yakisoba and 2 okonomiyaki.
The food was amazing and incredibly cheap, we paid about 300 yen each. A very, very satisfying meal to end a great day. We walked a very normal 14933 steps.