Thursday, August 2, 2007

More adventures in Kyoto

Aug 1 I was up at 7 and walking around not wanting to miss any daylight. I wanted to see as much as I could before the typhoon showed up. I started at Yasaka shrine and was one of the few people there that early. They were busy setting up paper lanterns for the end of the Gion Festival I think. It was really pretty, and so still and calm. I met two camera-men and they were in Kyoto to take pictures of the morning light in the shrine, and then they said that they were going to find the geisha and maiko to take pictures of them. They would all be going somewhere, so if we stood outside the gate of their house we'd be sure to see some of them. So I followed them, and they struggled with English and I struggled with Japanese, but we talked together the entire way. We stood with maybe 40 camera-men to take pictures of the geisha, and after about 15 minutes we saw quite a few of them. I was feeling a little bad about being a paparazzi, so I left, and together with another camera-woman we went to Yasaka shrine again, and Kiyomizu temple where the view was spectacular. Since it was such a hot day we walked slowly, and explored the random shrines that we came across. One was dedicated to monkeys, and another had the oldest 5 tier pagoda in Kyoto. We went to a tofu maker's shop for lunch, and ate the freshest most delicious tofu there. Later in the afternoon we went to Kenninji temple and saw beautiful stone gardens and a huge painting of 2 dragons that was put on the roof of one of the buildings. It was an impressive sight.

Later that night I met up with a guy from France and one from NewZealand. We walked to Kodaiji temple and Yasaka shrine to see the lanterns lit. On the way we saw a shrine to the wild boar, and I got some good pictures of that. Kodaiji was up on a hill, and there were stone lanterns and spot lights and also paper lanterns lit all over the place. Also there was a light show going on in the garden. I found out later that it depicted the ghosts of abandoned tools that would come back to haunt you if you did not use them and treat them with respect. A ghost broom and other things were the main characters. It was really strange.

For dinner at about 10pm we found an irish pub in Gion. There was an open mic night so the Japanese customers had brought their guitars and were playing blues and jazz music--the strangest irish pub experience I have ever had.

Someone is waiting for the computer now, so I will write about Aug 2 a bit later.
Off for more adventures now

P.S. The typhoon took a turn in the other direction, so we wont be bothered by it here.

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