Who knew Japan would be the place to pose a serious question as to Jay and my relationship. Was it travel fatigue? Stress? Hanging out with dishy Brazilian artist, Gustavo, the only other person on their own on the guided tour? It turns out the test came from something much closer to Jay heart: the Buddhists.
On my day-long visit to Kyoto I managed to visit many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, one of which was the Kiyomizu Buddhist Temple, high on a hill overlooking the city.
I hadn?t realized that Buddhism here was so, well, commercialized. For everything from good health, to exams, to, well, a good marriage, there are specific shrines, good luck charms and rituals (with donations).
One of the special things at Kiyomizu is a temple for good marriageable partners. When I jokingly mentioned to our stereotypically diminutive Japanese tour guide that I had recently become engaged, she pointed out three things she?d recommend me to do at the temple to be absolutely sure.
?I already accepted his proposal,? I said laughingly pointing to my ring, to which she very seriously replied, ?Well if it doesn?t come out right you can just take it [the ring] off!?
I decided to try some of it out as a lark.
Ritual 1: a test of whether the person you think is your true love, is indeed ?the one.?
Action: You have to walk from one rock to another with your eyes closed. The challenge is that they are about 10 metres apart, in a heavily trafficked pathway (so you get bumped by or bump into various people like a human pinball), and if you miss the other rock, you can end up falling down the stairs that start close behind it!
Taking my life into my own hands and keeping Jay in mind I deliberately wandered my way towards where I fixed the rock in my mind? and made it!
Having got the deitic thumbs up, I made my way to the temple dedicated to easy childbirth and children. (No, there?s no news I have to tell you.) Then I made my way to drink ?holy water? from the ?sacred spring?.
The legend is that a holy man discovered this spring. There are three streams of water: one is for good health, one for long life and one for a happy marriage. You get to use a long-handled cup holder (and special Y200 ? $2 ? holy water cup if you buy one) to fill your cup of water from the overhead streams.
When I asked which one to drink from for the good marriage part I was energetically advised to drink from all three. Jay can rest easy that I took three deep drafts from all three streams, so I hope I?ve got us covered from the entire Buddhist pantheon.