Walk in Tsukiji, the neighbourhood once famous for its fish market, and you can’t miss it: a grand temple right out of India.
Approach the entrance though, and buddhist signs become unmistakable.
Inside, the eclectic style succeeds in bringing you calm and energy.
It turns out that Tsukiji Hongan-ji, a temple of Shin Buddhism, had stood here for more than two centuries before destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake. The architect Ito Chuta took the chance to rebuild it with an exterior in Indian style. And a sense of joy.
Through Yangmingshan mountain to Jinshan town by bus.
Fog, greenery, fog and the occasional blossoms.
At the small town, a temple of Manju.
And a street market and a coffee shop (with milk cream in the coffee and bakery-chain-level cakes).
And back, with flashes of places visited five years earlier.
I remember a spring noon pondering about things big and small at Xiangde temple, perched in Taroko gorge…
I remember roaming through the vibrant, old, slightly mysterious Raohe night market for vietnamese sandwiches and medicinal herbs. And the usual late evening snack among families having dinner on tin stalls, gamblers, couples’ cute food on sticks and the constant shouting of a thousand sellers or so.
The equally vibrant, old and slightly mysterious Ciyou temple sits next to the start of Raohe street.
Going past the captivating facade on one lazy noon and to the back side. Unexpectedly smooth?
And, across the street, the wall separating Songshan neighborhood from Keelung river. Pass the gate and what do you find — an urban blue and green calmness punctuated by joggers, rowers, high bridges and a ferris wheel in the distance. Taipei both sides.
In front of Hadrian’s Gate, Athens.
Flashbacks of basking in the weekend streets of Gung-dong. One of the many dense nightlife areas. All them being countless cafes, bbq’s, chicken places, karaoke and video rooms, arcades and cosmetics shops thrown together in the midst of old residential areas.
Outworldly new residential areas. But never too far away from the above-mentioned.
My visions of spring under way in the campus of KAIST polytechnic.
The moment of realizing that all Christmas decorations in essence try to reproduce this ambience.