So it's a sunday, and rumor has it the plum blossoms are especially beautiful this week. So Kim Turner and I head out to south Saga to find the rumored beautiful temple and plum blossoms. We come to a small temple with a few blossoms. Nothing impressive, but we set up shop and start shooting. Then, the proprieter of the temple comes out and tells us there's a much better spot at the temple about a block off. So we head in that general direction, and spot the roof from a distance. It's a huge temple, and as we approach, we wonder why this hasn't been pointed out to us before. As we enter the parking lot, the only other vehicle in it is a red motorcycle which looks like the motorcycle our friend Rob from Australia owns. But he lives in Fukuoka, and there's no reason at all why he would be in Saga at this temple we've only just found. So we head inside. This place is amazing. On entering the main gate, we are taken by the size of the temple. There is the large bell used to announce events, and a small archway leading to the garden. We pass into the garden and are absolutely taken aback. This place compares favorably with temples in Nara and Kyoto for beauty, and the plum blossoms add very favorably to its appearance. Row upon row of small bushes with white flowers, with a temple backdrop and a wall of bamboo beyond. Past this courtyard is a collection of several hundred years' worth of gravestones/family shrines, all with flowering blossoms intersperced. We wander in awe for a while, and then, as we turn a corner, Kim catches sight of Rob, seated on the steps of a back entrance of the temple, barefoot, without a coat in cold weather, with an urn placed between his legs, holding a pair of chopsticks, picking thru the urn. We approach, and Kim asks what he is doing. He replies he is clearing the urn of twigs and other debris. The urn, of course, is a funerary urn filled with the ashes of many people. We ask him why, and he replies he was given the opportunity to help out at the temple. Apparently this is a sort of meditative action. We then ask how many times he's done it. Three or four. When asked how he feels about it, he says "The first time I did it, I cried." The head monk then comes up and asks him to please finish his task, so we move on. The rest of the journey through the temple is in something of a haze, as we try to ascertain exactly how far away from home we really are.