1 Year Anniversary and Specials!

One year ago, I started posting on seasreflectingstarlight.com!

It’s hard to believe that it was really that long ago!  The time has gone fast!  I’ve had visits from people in 61 countries, and gained over 100 followers.  All of you are wonderful, and I appreciate your support and friendship!

To celebrate (and say thank you) I have two specials this weekend:

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Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up – Full Moon Over Kiyomizu-dera

I’m participating in the online adventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers.  This week’s challenge is: Look Up! – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Full Moon Over Kiyomizu-Dera  by Seas Reflecting Starlight.

On a crisp autumn night in Kyoto, Japan, the full moon shines down on Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺). The name of the temple “pure water” comes from a nearby waterfall. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in 798 during the early Heian Period, and reconstructed in 1633 without a single nail. The sense of history and majesty of the place come alive during the special night temple light-ups that occur during certain times of the year.

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Travel theme: Mountains – Colossal Le Shan Buddha

This photo is part of a weekly travel themed photo contest Travel theme: Mountains – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Colossal Le Shan Buddha by Seas Reflecting Starlight

The Giant Buddha at Le Shan (乐山大佛) is carved directly out of the mountainside overlooking the river.  It is located in the southern part of the Chinese province of Sichuan, and together with Mount Emei is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907).  The seated Buddha is so large that humans are dwarfed by a single toe of the Buddha.  This photo was taken about halfway down the perilous walkway carved into the cliff-face next to the Buddha.

Although Le Shan is rather short compared to many mountains, and the Chinese character “shān 山” can refer to hills as well as mountains, Le Shan is typically translated into English as a “mountain” and therefore will be considered one for the Mountain theme of the travel photo challenge.  Indeed it is a mountain of great historical, religious, and artistic importance, and still attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every day.  I had to wait in line for two hours before I could walk down the steep, uneven, and narrow stairway that lead from the Buddha’s head to his feet, and I was told that I wasn’t even there during a “busy” time.

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Design: Nara Buddha / Nara Daibutsu

This design is based on my photo of the Nara Daibutsu (Large Buddha), one of the largest indoor Buddha statues in the world at 15 meters tall. It is located in Nara, one of the historical capitals of Japan, in Todaiji – a temple that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nara Daibutsu

I love Nara.  It’s only a short train ride from Kyoto, and is a small easily walkable town.  The cute little friendly deer are everywhere, and will eat crackers right out of your hand.  It’s a very picturesque and peaceful setting, that’s also great for a history buff like me who likes to wander around ancient temples, museums, and historical sites.  Nara is a place where you can feed a few deer, visit a great awe-inspiring Buddha so large you cannot even reach his hand, stop to relax under the falling momiji leaves while sipping a nice hot cup of matcha, and still have ample time to stroll through the various winding trails around the town.  It’s a window into the traditional Japan of olden days, without the same modern bustling of nearby Kyoto.

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