Dad in Japan – Part Three, Kyoto

On November 16, we got up excruciatingly early to meet at Nagoya station at 8AM. Except that I missed my first train, so it turned out to be more like 8:20. We bought our tickets and hopped onto the Kodama Shinkansen, the ‘slowest’ one. It still took less than 90 minutes to get to Kyoto from Nagoya.

Our first stop in Kyoto, minus the time I spent wandering around in a daze as the computer that is my brain struggled desperately to switch from ‘subway transportation system’ to ‘bus transportation system,’ was Kiyomizudera, probably one of the most famous temples in Japan. I didn’t get any really coherent pictures since the area is a maze of shrines and temples and it seemed like everyone in Japan was there to see the fall color.

Busy busy busy, despite the rain and the chill. There are shops lining the streets all the way up to the main gate selling traditional Japanese products, though you might have to watch the comparison shopping – some places were selling completely unique items that were for sale in the shop next door for 500 yen less.

By request, the “photoshopped” one. My younger brother was the first to point out, on Facebook, that my dad didn’t look quite right. I happened to agree – it looked like I had digitally added him in later.

Besides various knick knacks (sp?), plenty of places were selling food, much of it grilled/baked/killed on site. This one took the cake though – it’s an automated device for churning out little cakes with a dollop of chestnut-flavored filling. Check out the video on YouTube.

As I said before, Kiyomizu is a more a complex of various shrines and temples than just one set building. I did get a picture of myself in front of the bell near the entrance though.

Please ignore my shirt as it tries to escape from my shoulder.

A up close shot of a reddening Japanese Maple.

These are pretty neat – you buy a blank (or decorated, with a blank space) bit of wood with a string and write down a wish for the future. You can then hang it up on a board like this.

From Kiyomizu-dera, we grabbed lunch on the run and caught the next bus at Gion, heading for Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion Shrine.

The weather had thankfully started to clear by the time we got there…just in time for the sun to set at what felt like 4:00PM.*

Introducing…

…the most photogenic building in Japan.** You can’t not take good pictures of this thing. I mean, it’s covered in real gold.

Not bad, eh?

Afterwards, we hung around Kyoto Station for a little while, before heading back on a Nozomi Shinkansen train, also known as the fastest thing in Japan.

Dad: You’re aiming in the wrong direction.

Me: There’s no way I’m going to get a good picture of ours.

I was right, a minute after I took the above picture, our train blew by us so fast all I got was a white blur.

Anywho, that ends the Dad in Japan sequence. I have another post lined up about my new neighborhood, but first, I have a request. A couple of months ago, I requested subjects for me to photograph and wrung a few posts out of the results of that. Now what I’m looking for are things to write about. I’ve been here long enough that I think I’ve got a fairly good basis on which to set most of my experiences.

So ask away. What do want to know about my particular slice of Japan?

*You think I’m joking. It’s not that bad in Nagoya, but the sun set in Sapporo at 4:04PM on today, November 25. Yikes.

**This is the picture in my new header.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Dad in Japan – Part Three, Kyoto

  1. Dad

    Really beautiful pictures, especially of the golden one. We had a lot of fun that day and I’ll never forget it. I love how you can read a map like a Naval aviator and that bus system didn’t seem to puzzle you at all! (Easy for the newly feeble-minded to say! And feeble-kneed!)

    Perhaps you could tell us more about the school? What it’s like in classes mixed in with other local students, what the professors are like and such. Do any of the IES kids have new local friends or does that not happen? And dorm life — it appeared to be a well-run place, at least in principle. Actually? Same as Mac or not? And that cafeteria — people here need to know how you’re losing weight and that it’s not completely voluntary! Even an expose on Craig’s Cafe with the Roswell afficianado. “Craig’s?” Gotta be a story there…

    And how’s the afterschool job at the Nanzan Elementary school? That place is like a well run little military academy that doesn’t really have an equivalent here.

    As always, anything you’re sharing from over there is fascinating to all of us… even the mundane to you is new and different for us. I was truly a stranger in a strange land there.

  2. Sus

    I second all the questions your Dad asked. How are the classes run? Is this a local school that accepts a few foreign students or is it primarily aimed at students from elsewhere? What’s the relationship between teachers and students? Your Dad mentions the ‘military’ quality to the elementary school. Does that carry into the university level or is there more independent inquiry as students get older?

    What is shopping like? Are there ‘big box’ stores like here or is it more like Europe (well, like Europe used to be) with small shops that specialize in one thing?

    What is different about Nagoya from the places you previously visited? Are there differences among areas of Japan like we have here?

    What, if any, reactions did you see and hear to the American election? Has it changed anything about how you are perceived as an American?

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. shizuku_san

    Kinkakuji = most photogenic building in Japan.

    SO TRUE.

  4. Dad

    Btw, that flash of gray hair in the alleged photoshopped picture does NOT show up in my bathroom mirror!

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