According to our son Mike, there is a song called 'Lost in Kyoto' ... we have been lost a couple of times but have always been helped out by a local more than willing to oblige us and point us in the right direction. Most Japanese (in Kyoto anyway) seem to know English ~ even if it's just a smidgen. We try and speak what little Japanese we know when we can.
So we have been literally lost in Kyoto, but figuratively not so much, feeling 'at home' here from the start. Having family here adds a certain element of familiarity. However yesterday's news of a tsunami hitting Samoa and the loss of life there, with threats of high waves on NZ's coastline made home seemed very far away, and I did feel a little homesick for familiar faces and locales.
Some dancers I went to see with K, whom we got to know when she came over to NZ for S&E's wedding. She was able to translate for me the information about the beautiful costume's ornamental details and history. It was great having my own personal translator!
A tree covered with paper fortunes. This is one of the many temples (Bhuddist) and shrines (Shinto) we have kindly been taken to visit in Kyoto ~ 'temple city'.
Our friend adds her fortune to the tree.
This is a prayer request that had been hung on another notice board ~ we thought it was rather cute. And it was in English too, which helps!
Outside the temple I have dubbed 'the temple on the hill.' Great views over South Kyoto. When we were there with Steve, there were hordes of school students on a school visit, which I guess could have been annoying but I actualy found their excitement and energy only added to the enjoyment of the visit. They sure were noisy! But it was a happy noise.
In this photo you can see how crowded it was. Steve took this ~ we are there somewhere in the front right by the rail. You can see my red top.
Steve also took us around his old hood in the Gijo district. He has written an interesting blog about it as among other things, it is where the Japanese mafia hang out. I am standing in front of the many 'tea houses' (which is a euphemism.)
This is called Kyoto Kitchen by the tourists and is a long, long line of stalls full of food.
I wonder what they sell here?
This guy bakes biscuits as you watch, using a toaster / hot plate apparatus to bake them on.
Any account of Japan wouldn't be complete without mentioning the funny and quirky (to Westerners) things you see here.
... like branch proppers ...
... mannequins to show how smart your trousers can look while deep bowing! ...
... fair enough too I say! ...
... Steve said that paper v scissors settles many scores with his students and is accepted without question as a way of settling dilemmas or conflict ...
And everywhere you go there is always a 'Pig and Whistle' somewhere for ex~pats to meet up and have a beer and play darts.
One of many delicious Japanese meals we have enjoyed. This is at a vegan restaurant. We are being very spoilt. When we don't eat out, we get to eat E's fabulous cooking (and Steve's a pretty good cook too ~ must be in the surname!)
We are off to Hiroshima today ~ a trip on our own. A litle nerve wracking to go without our guides and interpreters.