Sunday, November 27, 2016

First day in Kyoto.

Took the shinkanzen (bullet train) today from Tokyo to Kyoto. 2 hours, 48 minutes, and it did feel fast, speeding past Yokohama, Nagoya, and other towns in between before arriving at Kyoto station.


Clean and nearly empty at the beginning of the journey. Clean and slightly more peopled at the end. Being on public transport is less stressful than in other places I've been, because, in spite of the multiple streams of people flowing all around you in the train and metro stations and on the street, everything is so clean that you don't feel as if you can't touch or breathe anything without catching a deadly bacterial infection. And people aren't out to "get" you - i.e. pickpockets, young, angry, dispossessed men, etc. - they aren't, for the most part, there.
Not a great shot, but there is Mt. Fuji, looming quite large in the distance.
Kyoto Station, a modern glass and steel edifice with a shopping center below.
Shopping center full of food vendors, fancy clothes, bookstore, and people in uniforms everywhere yelling out their wares and prepared to sell you something very politely.
Loads of people, though, sliding past each other.
One of the growing collection of "Engrish" signage. These things don't make sense, but, as I was once told, "we don't care if it doesn't make sense to you; we do these for ourselves!".
Vacuum-sealed fish.
 French wine for sale.
 American (Californian) wine.
Bookstore display. Lots of soft paperbacks.
Children's book section. I like this one.
Odd juxtaposition on the display shelf. Depressing to think of how the world sees the United States, now, especially. He looks like a ripe piggie.
Butthead kids(?).
Apparently a wrong way and a right way.
Boy-girl and girl fashion plates.

Looks painful, but this twist I think I've seen on girl's hands.
Kimonos shopping.
At the Higashi Hongashi, evidence of humans.
Inside the Higashi Hongashi, close to Kyoto Station, during a service. The building is huge, made of wood, and rebuilt after a 1905 fire.

An ornate interior in places, with huge wooden columns and a wide engawa (inside-outside covered porch).
Looking out from inside.
5-year-old artists' art on display.
Yes, please note the difference. Actually, this was to indicate a change in the level of the floor, but for awhile I was trying to understand what the difference was between the Japanese on top and below the Engrish.
View from outside.

This is a particularly good one.
What a relief! Could also be a post-existentialist statement, kind of the opposite of "no exit".




Umbrella and slightly less material umbrella.
We met up for dinner with Hiroshi, an old college friend from our days at the Misfit Rebels' Club in Portland, Oregon. He came up from Osaka to join us for ramen, ideas, and beer.

Good to see an old friend, outsider-intelligent as ever.
Interesting to think what a precious coffee moment may have been in 1933.
Carpe diem, yeah? The use of the colon is intriguing.
This one makes sense! And it's pretty.
Wandering the deserted day market in a side alley of downtown Kyoto.
This one's for Ben, who likes beer.
...and who also likes cars.

Rainy today, but a welcome change to a new and different major japanese city. Am looking forward to seeing another college friend for lunch tomorrow, and visiting more temples and gardens.

Relatively lots of gaijin (foreigners) here, wandering the streets on a Sunday evening. I was told there are universities, here, and certainly there were many college puddings out and about.

Have felt a few moments of being an awkward, non-japanese-speaking alien, here, and some impatience from the locals having to deal with someone who doesn't understand anything, but the politesse still reigns supreme, otherwise.

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