Sunday, 26 August 2012

Kyoto - A city of contradictions

What an amazing day!

Sahoko Aki san came to meet us and has been guiding us around Kyoto.

We have visited a Buddhist Temple complex and a major Shinto Shrine.
We have walked in little narrow old streets, eaten lunch in one restaurant, and supper in another.
We walked by the river where courting couples sit and chat. They sit at measured distances from each other for intimacy and orivacy, though there was no canoodling as far as I could see.
We saw and were permitted to take some photos of a couple of Maiko, who are apprentice Geisha girls. This was very lucky indeed, as they are not usually out and about in the open like that.
We saw street performers throwing fire around, and we finished up in a bar drinking sake (rice wine) and I had a glass of spirit made from sweet potatoes, though I had been warned that it was served with hot water I might have chosen a cold drink! It tasted delicious (like Japanese potcheen) but, oh boy, it is HOT here. Very, very hot!

Here are a few photos of our day, roughly in the order described above.

This is a pickle stall. There are rocks on the pots in the background holding the vegetables down in the pickling liquid. My traveling companion and friend has the surname of `pickles and the shortened version of her first name sounds like the Japanese for `good health`. So she has been nicknamed `Good Health Pickles`!

They are young, these girls are, about 15. I hope they are happy with the life they have chosen. I can`t work out whether it is a calling, like nuns, or exploitation...

A canal runs through Kyoto as well as a river, that is fringed with willow trees and crossed by many little bridges.

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