On the way home from the Taiko Festival the other week, we stopped at the new sleeping Buddha temple near Sapporo Art Park.
From what I could gather it is only a few months old and is the largest Buddha in Japan (or so they say.) When entering the temple grounds we had to register at a welcome desk and the women behind the desk started jumping with joy that a foreigner was visiting!!!
They quickly asked us if we would please pray at the temple. Mayumi helped translate as the woman walked us through the steps of bowing, lighting incense, bowing some more and placing the incense in the huge cauldron. She said that Buddha was sending us heaps of good luck! (I need all the luck I can get in this country - so thanks Buddha!)
She was so happy we worshiped with her.... then... she sat us down at a picnic bench and ran away for a few minutes only to come back with a basket heaping with cookies, sweets, cakes and hot tea!!!!! Sooooooo nice!!!!!
I tried to make small talk and asked them what the little shrines w/red bibs represented that I've seen on most of my mountain hikes... The poor lady didn't know and ran off to ask every single worker and friend around. No one seemed to know... We insisted it was OK and tried to politely leave - but she insisted we wait around as she called her boss and a few other people until she got the answer!!!! hahahah...