Monday, January 31, 2011

Oahu's Byodo-In Temple

In the Valley of the Temples stands this beautiful structure, "a scale replica of a temple at Uji Japan that is over 900 years old" called the Byodo-In Temple. The Byodo-in Temple at Oahu was "built entirely without the use of nails in 1968 to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. This temple represents the mythical phoenix, its wings upheld by pillars of stone. Folklore tells of the phoenix arising from the ashes to reflect the promises of hope and renewal."

The 2,000 foot Ko Ľolau Mountains towering over the temple, this is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and no doubt will continue to visit every time I go home to Oahu. Here, I can hear the birds chirp and the bamboo trees sway and twitch. This is the perfect place to forget all your worries and stress. For me, it's a place I find peace and tranquility; it is worlds away from the busy, touristy Honolulu. Whenever I visit, I refuse to leave.

Byodo-in's Bell house, also called as kanetsu-ki-do, contains a five foot high, three ton brass bell, called bon-sho (sacred bell), cast in Osaka, Japan from a mixture of bronze and tin...A soft wooden log called the "shu-moku" is used to strike the bell. The bell is customarily rung before one enters the temple to spread the eternal teachings of Buddha.
 Amida, a golden Buddha unique to the entire world....The Buddha is thought to be the largest figure carved since ancient times. Towering more than 18 feet, the immense figure is an original work of art carved by the famous Japanese sculptor, Masuzo Inui. When the carving was completed, it was covered with cloth and painted with three applications of gold lacquer. Gold leaf was later applied over the lacquer finish. The hall and all the artistry it reflects are regarded as representing the essence of the culture of the Fujiwara aristocracy.

 Graceful black swans swimming at the front lake and other wildlife enjoying the peace around the temple, like the turtle looking up at the temple. I'm wondering if the turtle wants to cross the lake and visit the temple too.
The middle building which is the main hall, Hoo-do or the Phoenix Hall, because a pair of the legendary birds of good omen and of Chinese origin is seen perched on both ends of the roof with their wings spread and ready to fly away. the hall containing two wings reflects stability as well as artistic beauty.
This is the stunning view that awaits as you step into the temple grounds.
 Frog fountain by the pond.
 L-R: Buddha statue, the Koi Pond, view of the temple at the back.
Bamboo autographed by visitors.
 A view of the kanetsu-ki-do.

A shot I took as we were leaving.
Fog starting to come down as we were leaving. On the road again for another destination.

If you'd like to learn more about the temple, info is here.

The temple is located at:
47-200 Kahekili Highway
Kaneohe, HI 96744


- Everything in italics is from the Byodo-in brochure given when I visited the temple.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Guardians Of Ephesus

In my travels, I can't help but notice that I see more stray cats than dogs; Ephesus is no exception. These cuties popped and peeked through back alleys, grassy areas, toppled down columns, and cracked walls. They meowed and a few hissed as we walked through the ruins. They were a welcome break from the intense historical tour that we took.

Beautiful cats with different personalities.

Don't look at me.
I'm resting. Do not disturb.
The "what's up" look.
I don't care.
Oh the sun feels good.
Mix and mingling with the crowd.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Birthday Giveaway Winners

It's a holiday cause it's my birthday.

This is the view from my bedroom window today.

I guess I can truly say that "it's a holiday cause it's my birthday." Yesterday, we got about ten inches of snow, and my office gave us today as an admin leave. Although I feel sore from shoveling snow (I have salonpas on my right wrist and shoulder right now.), it feels good to sleep late and not think of work on my birthday. Anyway, the roads in my neighborhood needs to be cleared and plowed, but I'm glad to be snuggly warm at home on my birthday.

Wrapped up like a burrito with a sweatshirt, topped with a knitted sweater, pjs, thick socks and a steaming cup of coffee on the side, I am all dressed up to announce the winners of my Birthday Giveaway. Here they are:


* Winner 1:  Daphne will receive the planner and rabbit omamori.
* Winner 2:  Fortuitous Faery will receive the planner and bookmark.
* Winner 3:  Photo Cache will receive the postcards and keychain.

Thank you so much for celebrating my birthday with me.
Big hugs to all who joined. Watch out for my next giveaway!

I have to go and eat breakfast. Please join me.
Tocino and fried eggs
Another cup of coffee

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Part 3: Ephesus - Agora And The Theatre

Here's what's left of the agora. Once a bustling commercial area in its prime now lay in ruins with the still and quiet columns standing witness to history and time.
The center for business, politics and trade. I could still imagine how busy and crowded it would have been back then. People doing business, selling, playing board games etc. Now, only the silent columns remain.
Corinth column.

Part of the main walkway.
The Christian symbol carved on a marble tile. In Greek it is spelled as IXOYE = Iesous Christos, Theou Uios, Soter. Used to identify or acknowledge the presence of Christians.
While exploring the agora, the trumpets blasted and we were treated to a show.
Entrance of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra.
Royalty must be entertained.

I love their footwear.
Gladiator duel.

I waved back.
The Theatre - "this is where St. Paul preached against the pagans." (Source here.)
Unearthed sarcophagi.

When I saw these letters, I wondered who carved them on this marble? Who was he? He might be long gone, but his letters are still here - witnessed by many who luckily strolled through Ephesus.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Part 2: The Ephesus Stroll

Walk with me, as we stroll through Ephesus together...

 Greek goddess Nike
 So many visitors on the day we visited.
 Mosaic tile floor
 Doorway to the ancient past.
Public toilets
Library of Celsus, built in 117 A.D.
According to our guide, this was the "third richest library in ancient times after Alexandra and Pergamum."
Designed by the Roman architect Vitruoya, the library was built in memory of Celsus Polemeanus, who was a Roman senator, General Governor of the Province of Asia, and a great lover of books. Celsus' son, Julius Aquila, began the construction in 110 AD. The library was completed by Julius Aquila's successors in 135 AD. Celsus was buried beneath the ground floor in a lead container inside a marble tomb. A corridor behind the north wall leads to the vault.(Source here.)
The interior of the library was burned during a Goth invasion in 262 AD, and in the 10th century, an earthquake brought down the facade. The building we see today was carefully restored by the Austrian Archaeological Institute. (Source here.)
Please join me for our next stroll - the Commercial Agora.