Date & Time: Saturday, July 15, 11:00 a.m. – 4:40 p.m.
Spots: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Kotoku-in Temple ( Great
Buddah), Yuigahama Beach
Visitors: 24 JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) trainees from 18 countries with 7 Latin Americans included
Guides: 18 KSGG members
Observers: 3 observers including a senior high school student
Languages: English and Spanish
In the middle of sweltering heat, the group of the people, who participated in a training program by JICA was heading toward Wakamiya-oji Street, chattering each other. It doesn’t take time to make friends with Latin Americans. Although they were walking around slowly at their own pace, I didn’t want to urge them to walk fast as they were on day-off. We enjoyed chatting on historical and cultural topics, etc. They raised questions to me: “Do you believe in Buddhism? Are you a Buddhist?”, “What is the relationship between shrines and temples?”, “Do you eat carp fish?”, What do the characters on the lantern mean?” and “What is this flower？” As I answered the questions in Spanish for the Latin American visitors in the group, they told me that they were very happy to see a Japanese who spoke Spanish.
The view from the terrace of Hasedera Temple was just nice. We saw a lot of sails of yachts flying in the wind on the sea. Even after other members of the group had gone, two of the visitors remained there and took their time buying some ice cream. I was a bit in a hurry to catch up with others, but pleased to see their delighted faces.
When I explained at Kotoku-in Temple that the Great Buddah used to be gold-plated, a visitor asked me, “Did anyone steal the gold?” I answered that the gold plate had worn out over time, then one of them shouted, “Everything is stolen right away in Mexico!,” making us all burst out laughing. It really was a pleasant and enjoyable day with them.