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The Great Buddha at Kamakura

Kamakura, Japan
October 24, 2004

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There is a buddhist saying that goes something like, "I can't cover the world with leather, but I can buy new sandals." In that spirit, someone was kind enough to weave these giant sandals for the big bronze buddha who sits at Kamakura, in case he ever decides to rise and stroll the few blocks down to the sea.

Or, as likely, get up and run: after this buddha was completed in the late 13th century, they built a temple around him. But a tsunami in 1498 rolled ashore and wiped out the temple, leaving the buddha wet but in tact. The buddha survives, as does the threat of tsunami, as evidenced by the warning signs on the beach.

On Sunday morning, I rode the train down from Shinegawa station to Kamakura and rented a bike to ride around a bit. It looked a little like Santa Cruz, except that they get sunrises over the sea instead of sunsets. The fishermen were drawing in their nets in the same spot where surfers bobbed on their boards and rode little waves.