Sunday, May 28, 2006

kyoto

Kyoto-

Kyoto was such a great place to go. Seeing another part of Japan was very interesting, I think it was good to get out of the city of a bit and experience other parts of Japan.

Traveling on the Shinkansen (bullet train) was a great way to start off the trip; I think they said we were going 170 mph so we arrived in about 2.5 hours. It was very comfortable, roomy, and quiet. Kyoto station was amazing, the architecture was so different form anything that I was expecting. Kinda hard to explain, I have pictures…

So we get to the ryokan, and walk around a bit before dark/ dinner, and we get to see some of the shrines and whatnot. When we get back its dusk, and we were told to go to the onsen before dinner. Onsens kick ass! It was sooo relaxing and soothing, it’s been a long time since my muscles have felt so relaxed.

Day 2 I traveled with Noriko sensei, and Abby, 2 great tours guides btw. First we saw Ninomaru Palace, and we were told that the 3 place that we are going to see are the most popular places for school kids to go, and I thought there would be a few, I didn't really doubt that, but I never thought there would be thousands! Overall we saw a bunch of temples/shrines in the day but we actually ate at one for lunch, and we had the traditional dish of Kyoto: tofu. I think we had 11 different plates of food, and within that we had at least 13 different preparations of tofu. We also had the option to eat outside or inside, either one would have been fine, but it was the perfect day, so we ate outside. The sun was over us the whole time, but it was seriously perfect because the trees provided just the right amount of shade. It was unreal. Then we went to the golden pavilion, and this area was actually more crowded than any of the others we had been to yet, and before we know it, Abby is already getting interviewed by kids for their English class!



The golden pavilion was very cool; it was so bright and vibrant. Later on after we are on our way out, we had stopped for ice cream, and there was a group of 4 or 5 kids that looked like they wanted to talk/interview us, but they looked soooo shy. So Tom just kinda walked up to them and looked at them, he said hi or something and they started to ask him questions, the finniest thing was that it sounded so scripted, and at the very end they asked tom what he thought about Kyoto, and the told them it was beautiful, then right after it one of the other kids replied with “I agree”, hahaha he sounded to strong and firm with his answer, and it sounded so scripted, he was going to say that no matter what Tom said. It was great.
Then after that encounter we made our last stop at the Kiyomizu Temple.



Once again thousands of kids, which means more interviews. The temple and the view were gorgeous. We all basically had 2 hours or so to do whatever we wanted, and there were shops and stuff too. On our way back from the temple, we made our way down to the shops, and Tom got interviewed. And right after that I got interviewed also, but at the end of mine I got a present- which was a card that each one of them made, with their names and school, and their school e-mail address as well, im going mail them and say thank you. Then back to the ryokan for a great dinner, and fun with friends, oh and the onsen, Twice! A great day indeed.

Finally on Friday the huge group split because we all had our own agendas, and some people we staying in Kyoto, others in Nara, so we all did different things. I was going back to Tokyo on Friday night with 7 others, and it just so happened that Noriko Sensei was going back also (Best Guide Ever) So we departed for Nara in the morning, and we got their pretty quick, the first thing we saw was the Saiin Garan, and as soon as we got close, sure enough huge buses started appearing, with all the school kids again. And see the thing is we were told to not really mess with the kids at all, but we couldn’t help it. Every time we would pass a group of kids we would either get stared at, or we would say something like konnichi wa, or hey or yo, and they would all just laugh or say konnichi wa back, or sometimes say something in English. Or even wave to the group and they would all wave back. It was great. It rained and it was a pain in the ass, but we also got to see another area that was exclusive to us, and the only reason we got in was because Noriko Sensei’s Grandfather’s cousin is the head nun at the temple. To me it seemed like we got very special treatment: 2 types of tea, and these powdered sugar type food too, it was really cool, we also got to go into areas the general public cant, and had our own tour guide and everything, it was very very cool. Then we also got to see one of the sculptures we talked about in class, up close, which was also a privilege the general public doesn't get. It was definitely awesome being in Noriko Sensei’s group, she know sooo much its amazing, also she translated all the facts and complicated words to us that the guides were telling us, it was great. After that, we got ice cream (sesame for me, it looks black and tastes almost like penutbutter) and we headed back to Kyoto. Then we went to the Kyoto national museum, and saw some amazing stuff there. The visiting exhibit they had was on scroll illustrations, and that was really good, but I thought their permanent collection was much better, and it was a lot less crowded. After the museum we went to Kyoto station and headed home with meals ready to eat on the train. Food was great, and the trip went by really quick since we were all talking and having fun.

Overall the trip was fantastic, I kinda felt like we were going back to the ryokan that night, and it was definitely weird going back to Tokyo, and coming back to this area that is all city, and bright lights.

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