Out on the Town

Trip Start Oct 03, 2007
Trip End Oct 31, 2007

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Today I met Satomi in here in Kyoto for some sightseeing. We went to a market called Nishiki-koji which it is said to be the oldest market in Japan. It's a long very narrow street, with many speciality shop, fish mongers and spice traders mostly. It was great going with someone Japanese; Satomi dragged me into all kinds of places, made me taste everything on display, and tried to explain what things were. I was so busy, that I completely forgot to take photos, Doh!

After that we walked through the old part of Kyoto called Gion. That is a fantastic place, all the old buildings have been beautifully restored, and there is a great atmosphere. Also quite a few Geishas walk the streets, and that is quite a sight. They are swarmed by tourist though, so I didn't manage to get a good picture, Doh again!

We walked through Gion to a very famous temple called Kiyomizudera. It lies on the edge of Kyoto in the hills with a great view of the city, and the sunset. There where so many tourist there it was unbelievable, both Japanese and foreign. But I can understand why, it's an amazing place. We saw most of the temple complex, and we drank water from a sacred spring, so we left purified.

On our way back into town, we passed through some more temples. At one a there was an iai-do display. Iai-do (ee-eye-doe) represents derivative of Japanese Kenjutsu (techniques of swordsmanship). It is the study of drawing the Katana sword, slashing and returning the sword to its scabbard with a minimum number of moves. Iai-do represents a non-combative discipline practiced for person's spiritual improvement unlike its predecessor Iaijutsu which also represents a sword-drawing technique but with a more stress on practical combative applications. It was pure luck that we passed by, but another great experience. Thats today's video: VideoBlog

At this temple we also bought fortune texts called omikuji. You rattle a wooden drum with sticks inside, you shake one of the sticks out, and the stick has a number. This number you say to a guy in a booth, he then gives you a piece of rice paper with your fortune on. There are five levels of good fortune; I got 'super lucky'. And I guess that I am for the most part super lucky, this is a great trip.

The fly in ointment though: Satomi had forgotten to check at home if it was ok that I stayed for a night, and it wasn't, bummer. So we had some noodles, a couple of beers. Amazingly even though it was quite early, there were 3 guys sleeping in the bar in a corner, and it was ok with the boss. I put Satomi on the train for Osaka at 10, and all in all it was an interesting day.
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