Sunday, January 24, 2016

JSP'12: Miyagi - Ninth Day

That's right, we're back on this topic! Moving forward from where we left off, the Japan Study Program continues with a bus ride from Sendai, Miyagi to Matsushima, Miyagi. But first, fill up the tummies!

Started the day with a typical Japanese breakfast.

 Nattou, scrambled eggs, grilled fish, rice, miso soup, fresh salad.

The journey to Matsushima took a little less than an hour. 

This is also one of main areas directly affected by the tsunami and earthquake disaster back in March 2011. Fortunately, its most popular attraction played a vital role in protecting the town from major damages. In comparison with the last  area from my previous post, buildings were still standing strong, business as usual.

On this day, we visited the famous Matsushima Bay.

Matsushima Bay is dotted with more than 200 little islands (apparently there's a term for it - "islets" lol fancy) with pine trees growing on them. When disaster stuck in 2011, these many islets (chewah) buffered the tsunami waves and protected the town. It is known to be one of the country's three most scenic views for centuries, alongside Amanohashidate (ARGH WANT) and Miyajima. For the best views, you'd have to take a sightseeing boat from Matsushima Pier and there are different courses that takes you around the area!

I really enjoyed the ride, fresh sea breeze, squawking seagulls and all. The islets were everywhere in front, back, left, right that I think if I have OCD, I'd have to run around the boat for the complete view of every single islet. I didn't though duh just stood in one spot and soaked it all up. Really nice. After the cruise, we took a short walk to Zuiganji Temple, said to be the region's most prominent Zen temples. Until today, it remains as one of the most beautiful temples that I've ever been to. Really. Less talk, photo spam below! 

Main entrance of Zuiganji.

Walkway lined with reaaaaally tall cedar trees. 

So quiet and beautiful.

Omikuji zoom-in

Daruma zoom-in

The most unusual daruma I've ever seen!

The Zen Kitchen, apparently.

More daruma.

The temple grounds are wide, lined with caves and litte points of interests.

There's also a small area lined with restaurants and souvenir shops.

Zunda KitKat, a regional specialty. Zunda is ground beans, usually eaten with mochi.

It seems so cold in this photo, but I honestly don't remember it being that cold. 

I'd gladly come back to Matsushima again just to take my time and stroll about here again!

After all that walking and exploring, lunch time, yay!

After lunch, we departed back to Sendai and well, I promptly fell asleep in the bus. 

Got jolted awake when it stopped at the next destination and I was a little confused when these sights greeted me. Field?? School field? Football field? Oh boy we're doing physical stuff aren't we. 

Damn right we were. FOOTBALL. 

See those white stuff at the corners? That's snow. Legit snow. 

We were going to play football in winter, in the snow. 

Time to take off the coats and put on team vests, as the professional footballers from Vegalta Sendai shared some basic moves for noobs like us to learn. After a short bit of practice, we're separated into smaller teams and well, let the games begin. I was assigned the goalkeeper role on the first time, which I didn't really suck at. On the second and third game I took the uhm other role of running around chasing the ball, which I did suck at. The winter cold didn't seem to matter anymore as we seriously worked out quite a sweat! We all had fun though!

 Group photograph with our kind coaches. Find me! Hahahaha 

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