A Travellerspoint blog

July 2012

Kyoto II

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Ooo, someone to take a picture of the both of us!

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The Golden Pavilion

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Hey, this tree is getting some help...

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It's very...golden

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Lush bamboo forest in Arashiyama area

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Grass that's taller than trees!

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Peaceful hillside walk...

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...to a big Torii gate

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Back at Tomato Guesthouse at last

* * * * *

We walked a long way, as usual. I think Chris was quite bored with our destinations, but he tried to put a bright face on it. And he was positively cheerful when we made our own afternoon dessert from grocery store green tea ice cream and mochi. Afterwards we toddled back to the JR station, our stomachs full with sticky balls.

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I could tell you everything we did, but it wouldn't mean much.

I'm still waiting to get nostalgic about Africa, but I'm afraid it may never happen. Chris read of the news yesterday that there was an outbreak of ebola in Uganda that started in Kibale and has spread as far as Kampala. Then I had a nightmare about it. Is that Africa to me? As opaque as if I'd never gone?

Tomorrow we move on to Osaka.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Kyoto I

Oddly I can't seem to fall asleep, though twice I fell into a semi-dream state. In it things happened that I knew to be untrue, and yet there they were.

Chris and I have to sleep in separate dorm rooms here. I worry he'll wake up in the darkness and not know where he is, where I am. If he cries out he may awaken and confuse his dorm-mates, and I won't be there to snicker at him. It's happened two or three times already. Once he yelled "Help!" in the tent, and another time he said in such a lucid voice that I was sure he was awake, "What? How did I get up here?"

The sudden solitude is strange after being surrounded by people for 72 hours.

(I don't yet understand why, but the walk through the Meiji Shrine at dusk is one my most pleasant memories of Tokyo.)

* * * * *

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Riverfront Kyoto

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Nothing to make Chris happy like unagi on top of a bowl of rice

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BEARS BEARS Bears Bears bears bears bears bears bears

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Gnarly tree!

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So many shrines/temples, can't remember them all

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Peaceful Japanese garden

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Monster, monster, I'm a f*cking monster

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I think Chris felt a little dragged around that day

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More and more shrines and temples

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Dramatic sky

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Apron-wearing ancestors

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The streets of Gion

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This alleyway reminded me very much of reading Memoirs of a Geisha

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Tempting Japanese sundaes! (We ate one)

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Tokyo with Yu

My friend Yu, who lives in Tokyo, was nice enough to show us all around the city and even let us crash on the floor of his apartment at night.

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Asian malls are something else

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So hot/humid we wear towels around our neck to collect our sweat

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Beautiful Meiji shrine at night during an annual celebration. Free tea giveaway!

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Something magical about candles at dusk

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Hobbling in Yu's neighborhood, on the way to dinner

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Superb dinner at the restaurant Yu's friends own

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My swollen ankles got worse :(

Posted by chschen 05:20 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Kamakura & Tokyo

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Chris, blending in with Tokyo commuters

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Swaying bamboo in the hillside trails of Kamakura

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Japanese version of a beach town

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The beach!

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Lily-choked stream at Kamakura's Tsurugaoka Hachimangu

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Cleansing himself

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View from shrine down Kamakura's main thoroughfare

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Nothing like a kick-back moment at the Torii gates

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Back in Tokyo, Chris pretends to be a park ungulate while waiting for our friend

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The grounds of Tokyo Imperial Palace are sparsely attended and expansive

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Megametropolis

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A little broken (split lip and swollen ankles). Chris had to carry me back from the subway station on his back. :(

Posted by chschen 05:52 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

En Route to Tokyo

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Our lovely trailer accommodations, inside...

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...and out

* * * * *

We are slowly being reintroduced to civilization. Last night's stay at the trailer was a halfway point: we were again in sleeping bags on sleeping pads, but we had electricity and a fan to stir the soupy air. We fell asleep to alternating smells of tempura and garbage.

For dinner we scoured the ready-made food section of the grocery store, recently discounted due to the lateness of the day. Tempura on rice and okonomiyaki: we were overjoyed. We ate on a park bench outside the grocery. Meals were out main events of the day. Otherwise we stayed at the JR station using the wifi, popping out every once in a while for a stroll around the sleepy town.

* * * * *

We're on the train now, headed to Tokyo, which I'm sure will be a shock compared to the calmness and space of Hokkaido.

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Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)