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Kyoto Now

June 8, 2008

You know the saying: “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.” It’s really true (at least the first part; I didn’t check the second). Already a whole month passed, and so much has happened – lots of which you were able to follow through this little blog of mine. The prospect of being here for three more months is a happy one, but also sounds like my time here will end too soon.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve been waiting for stories & pictures from Kyoto. And it’s finally also time for some sightseeing pics. Though, I sometimes had to force myself to look through tourists’ eyes: For me, it was more like a feeling of “coming home” (even though I’ve lived there for 1 year only). I also didn’t bother going to all of the tourist places again, making all of the standard photos, some of which you can already see in my previous journals (linked on the right side), so no need to repeat them. Correspondingly, I didn’t even go to the Golden Temple or the Ryoanji with the world’s most famous stone garden again. Instead, “enjoying the city” was my main priority. And enjoying the city I did. Walking around a lot, sometimes driving by bicycle, somehow reliving the past when simply riding through streets that I passed daily during my university time here. Enjoying good food and beautiful scenery.

The pictures speak for themselves, I think. However, one slightly more detailed comment about the very last one: At the Nanzenji temple, there is a special room where you’re only allowed to enter if you bought a ticket for Maccha – the traditional, bitter tea used for the tea ceremony. I finally did enter for the first time, and enjoyed it greatly: You have to kneel there, they serve you the tea in a ritualized manner where someone is kneeling on the mats in front of you, bowing, presenting a traditional sweet, afterwards the tea, all in all pretty 茶の湯-style. It’s indeed like having your own private, simple tea ceremony. Afterwards, you are left to relish the tea, and the garden right in front of you.

The other pictures simply show many more impressions of Kyoto’s beauty. Sometimes well known places, sometimes just snapshots that occurred right along the way. Probably the next two entries will be about this city, too, then I’ll continue with pictures & stories from and about Tsukuba. I hope you don’t mind me branching out and concentrating on Kyoto a bit – but, it’s just too nice a place. I simply like the whole atmosphere, the friendly people, the gentle Kyoto dialect, … well, just everything. But more on this topic in the next entry.

“I see the crystal raindrops fall
And the beauty of it all
Is when the sun comes shinin’ through”

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