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(Alumna Kate Slade, pictured with her husband and fellow alumnus, and their child.)

In March of this year, DAMES alumna Kate Slade (’03) moved to Yokosuka-shi in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Her husband’s job in the Navy brought her family there. (He’s a fellow ’03 UNC grad from History, by the way! Go Heels!) Restrictions due to COVID-19 have kept them from visiting big cities and exciting indoor locations, says Kate, but she’s managed to find and immerse herself in Japan’s beauty by social distancing, staying mostly outside, and looking through the lens of her camera. “Japan has plenty of outdoor wonders,” she said.

Kate was kind enough to share several examples of Japan’s inspiring landmarks culture. Stuck at home? Feeling stagnant? Pull up a chair, ready your mouse, and travel Japan with Kate!

First up, Jogashima! Located at the tip of the Miura Peninsula, Jogashima’s famous for its bounty of summer hydrangeas, its gorgeous lighthouse, and its population of friendly feral cats.

(Views from the cliffs are astounding.)

(The tide pools are similarly incredible.)

Next on the list, Hokoku-ji in Kamakura! Often called the Bamboo Temple because of its lush bamboo grove, Hokoku-ji was established in 1334 during Japan’s Kenmu Era. Much of the original structure was destroyed during the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, but it’s since been rebuilt.

(The famous bamboo grove. Tengan Eko, the founding priest of the temple, was said to write poetry here.)

(Moss and hydrangeas mark these graves.)

(Flanking Hokoku-ji to the west, these caves contain the ashes of the Ashikaga family, members of a reigning samurai clan, or shogunate, during the Muromachi period.)

Ready for more temples? On to Hase-dera and Kotoku-in! 

(Hase-dera contains an enormous eleven-headed wooden statue of Kannon.)

(Meanwhile, the giant copper Amitabha Buddha at Kotoku-in, also known as the Kamakura Daibutsu, sits out proudly in the elements for all to see.)

Not colorful enough for you? Feast your eyes upon shibori indigo dyeing! 

(Indigo dye is extracted from the leaves of specific plants in the bean family. Cool, huh?)

(Kate learns the art of shibori, or how to tie cloth to dye it in particular patterns. The string is often waxed to further repel the dye and refine the design.)

(Dyes are synthesized in large vats for dipping. The longer a cloth is dipped, the deeper the color.)
(The final product!)

Nearing the finish line: Hakone Jinja at Lake Ashi!

(Ah, the picture of serenity.)

And finally, last but not least: Fujiyama.

(According to Kate, Fuji-san acquired his yearly cap of snow two weeks after this photo was taken.)

Many thanks to Kate, our astounding alumna, for a journey across Japan in incredible pictures, and for the reminder that the world is out there waiting for us when times change for the better.

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