Meiji-Miura Revisited

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My visit with Bill to Meiji Miura today was memorable for a number of reasons.

Varya In the study of a famous Japanese writer at his home in Meiji-Miura

The first was my recognition of the strength of Japanese nationalism, including a deep interest and regard for its history and culture. The incredible effort and cost it took to salvage from demolition in the 1960’s and store the parts of many old buildings built from 1868-1912 during the Meiji Era – and then to reconstruct them on a large piece of rural property in central Japan is very impressive.  This is my second visit, as it is for Bill: the first was in 2018, and, like then, there are almost no non-Japanese visitors.  Today there were many local school children visiting of all ages.  I saw a brief documentary video on the history of the drastic influence of Western culture in the mid-19th century leading to a very fast massive change from an agrarian to an industrial society.  This eventually led to the build-up of military materials and power and into the debacle of WWII.  But the Japanese pride in this transformation evidenced in the Meiji Era buildings is palpable.

Bill in Tea Room of Imperial Hotel

Second, of course, is Bill’s excitement and passion for the details of the reconstructed portion of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel, the entrance and front lobby of which is now located on the property.  It was grey overhead with some drizzle but this did not distract from our pleasure although we needed to carry and deal with wet umbrellas.  We visited some other buildings as well and taking our shoes on and off was made a bit more onerous by the weather but there were also few visitors due to the rain other than the numerous school children.  

Imperial Hotel relocated to Meiji Miura Outdoor Museum
Detail of Urn outside Imperial Hotel

It took us about 3 hours to get there and a little shorter on the way back so this was an experience in Japanese public transportation as well:  Shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya, then a local train to Inuyama and then a bus to Meiji Miura.  As is the stereotype, you can set your clock by the departure of trains and buses – to the minute.

Bill was a bit disappointed in his second visit to this reconstructed masterpiece of a great architect because he sees it as not being properly maintained. He notices fine details that most of us would miss or overlook such as white paint between bricks and unsightly pipes in some locations. Like seeing the disintegration of someone you love.

Back in Kyoto, Bill and I ate at a vegan ramen restaurant in Kyoto, the noodles cooked in soy milk and topped with tofu and vegetables.  Wonderful and far better than we can get at home.

While we were traipsing far from Kyoto, the other four in our group went to the ancient temples of Nara, also a journey away.  I was told the group had a wonderful time with a great guide, a good lunch, and at the end a memorable sake tasting.  They marveled, as all visitors do, at the bowing deer who have learned where their treats come from.

Todaiji at Nara. Taken by Rich
The Great Buddha in Nara. Photo by Rich.

Everyone is healthy and happy.