Friday, March 07, 2008

Sayonara, Japan

As I said before, Jason and I took off for Kyoto last weekend and since I'm fresh out of clever quips (due to a touch of over-imbibing with Beth last night), I'm afraid this post will basically amount to a series of photos with rather straight-forward captions. That said, let's get right to it...

First on the list was Kinkaku-ji, more popularly known as the Golden Pavilion.

The water droplets left over from a morning shower.

The gardens at the Pavilion were amazing.

Making a wish... You're meant to toss your coin into one of the bowls but as you can see by all the money on the ground, it's harder than you'd think.

Next up was Nijo Castle. This is the detail on Karamon Gate...

The absolute coolest thing about this place was that the floorboards throughout the building were laid so that the cramps and nails rub together and make a noise that sounds like nightingales so that any ninjas making an attempt on the emperor's life would be heard before they could get to him.

And once again, more beautiful zen gardens.

We did a little traditional tea service in the open air tea house on the grounds. Also, a big thank you to Jason's finger for making a guest appearance in this photo.

"Okay, so that was a left out of Nijo Castle, a right on Maruta-Machi-Dori, and a... hang on here. Something's not right about this. Did we miss a turn somewhere??"

Some photos of the market halls at Teramachi-Dori.

Jason and I got very very lucky and were able to see two Geisha (below) and also a Maiko - a Geisha apprentice - in the Gion Quarter.

In Maruyama Park...

Sometimes, messages really are "lost in translation"...

Kodai-ji shrine

And some things translate perfectly well. Things like cream puffs. That's music to our ears in any language.

A shop window in the Higashiyama area.

A statue of a female samurai - we named her Mulan.

We started out day two at Kiyomizyu Temple.

And moved on to Ryozen Kannon, yet another massive Buddah.

They give you an incense stick to put in the big burner thingie. That's the official term, by the way.

I love this little buddah...

This is the largest sanmon in Japan, at Chion-in Temple.

Next on the list was Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion. I was incredibly offended that they let us pay full price to get in, knowing that the entire thing was covered in scaffolding. This is me, being offended:

Luckily though, there were lots of other things to enjoy at Ginkaku-ji... Like this zen rock garden.

More things to throw our coins at and make wishes on.

And, most importantly, lessons on horticulture. There are many different kinds of moss, you know. But these are the grandaddys of them all. "Very Important Moss" (like VIP).

There were lots of little temples along the Philosophers Walk... This one is Honen-in.

Those buddhist monks really have serious attention to detail, no? This leaf and stone was set up to create a little fountain.

The canal along Philosophers Walk.

The shoe removal ritual.

We decided this house looked like a little face with a moustache. It even has eyebrows...

We had to grab a quick bite on the way out of Kyoto so we decided we needed to see what a Japanese McDonald's was like. Jason was adventurous and ordered the Ebi Filet-o. Basically, a prawn burger.

People had told me before we went to Japan that it was one of the safest places anywhere - basically no petty crime whatsoever. People don't even lock up their bikes on the street. Nor is anyone worried you might take their handbag or its contents... As evidenced by the bag that was left wide open on the seat next to me while the girls went to order. Girls were constantly coming upstairs to claim a table, then leaving their bags. There were handbags lying about everywhere! I'm obviously suspicious of such trusting people.

Time for the bullet train back to Tokyo.

They ain't called "bullet" for nothing...


Beth N said...

Don't blame me, Sunshine. I was merely trying to dull the pain and make you forget your near-fatal bus-encounter ;)

The pix from your trip are amazing!!

Anonymous said...

Heather, I am so glad that you had a great time in Japan. It is a beautiful country. I also enjoyed having lunch with you and Andrea and getting to know you a little better when I was in London. I really enjoy the blog! Cathy Thomas