Posted by: cyradisnyc | December 4, 2008

Konbanwa from Narita!

OmygodIjustatethebeststeakIhaveeverhad.

I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Yesterday was my last free day in Japan. I spent it exploring the area outside of Fukuoka. Fukuoka reminds me a great deal of New York City, which is not a bad thing–it just made me a little less interested in exploring it. The one spot I did explore was the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. Fukuoka was a major port during the Nara and Heian periods. Many trading routes went through there, so they have found all sorts of interesting stuff there. It was fun, as the museum is actually the cover for the archaelogical site.

img_1777I then took the train to Dazaifu. Dazaifu is where the National Museum is; it is also the site of a major shrine to Tenjin. (Tenjin is the subject of one of my favorite artworks at the Museum, so I felt compelled to visit the temple built in his honor after his death to appease his angry spirit.) After that, I went shopping. I found Mom’s christmas gift, and bought a lot of junk food for people.

I was lucky enough to see part of the ritual honoring Tenjin. The priest’s robes, which I think are based on Heian costumes, were absolutely beautiful. You can’t really see it well in the photo, but his pants and under-robe are sky blue.

KomyozenjiI then walked down to Komyozenji, which is a beautiful little temple. There were piles of shingles stacked everywhere, a beautiful rock garden, and a lovely mossy area in the back.  It was incredibly tranquil and very beautiful.

I also had the best tempura I have ever had, ever. It was a big bowl of it. Delicious! I finally figured out a method for ordering food where they did not have an english menu. As long as they had the models of the food outside, I was able to copy down the characters for its name and then show it to the wait staff , who were both tremendously amused and grateful. I think Kyoto gets many more foregin tourists than the area here, so there is just not the demand for English menus, etc.

Today was spent doing things related to work. I arrived at the hotel around 4pm, and have been in a vegetative state since. I had a ridiculous dinner. It cost a ridiculous amount of money, but it was literally the best steak I have ever had, prepared Japanese style. It was also the best miso soup I have ever had. So fantastic.

img_1884I went swimming after dinner. I’m now relaxing in the hotel with wine from the mini-bar, some bean pancakes I got in Dazaifu, and the National Geographic Channel. We’ve gone from the Apollo program and are now on Jack the Ripper. Nice.

Tomorrow I return to New York. I haven’t quite yet processed that the trip is over. Anyway. I am going to relax for the rest of the evening. I am in the pyjamas the hotel provides, and am relaxing. Although, I may wind up changing the channel. The Jack the Ripper special is a bit gruesome. Enjoy the photo to the left–for some reason, this is what Americans look like in ads on the National Geographic channel.

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Posted by: cyradisnyc | December 2, 2008

Welcome to Fukuoka

I have been in Fukuoka about a day and a half now. The hotel is quite nice (4 stars!), and very centrally located. It seems to be located in the middle of a giant shopping mall. I explored briefly after my arrival, and was struck by how much more modern Fukuoka feels when compared with Kyoto. This is not necessarily a bad thing–but everything is much more closely concentrated. Ironically, there are more American resturaunts but far fewer people and places with English menus.

Yatai in Fukuoka This is where I had dinner last night. It’s called a yatai, and it is basically a plastic tent set up around a portable kitchen and tiny dining area. They are all over this part of Fukuoka, and have very good, very excellent food.

The owners did not speak English, but one of the guests spoke some, so we communicated through that and the handful of phrases I have learned. He was able to guess from the way I spoke the Japanese that I had been in Kansai (the area where Kyoto is) prior to arriving in Fukuoka.

Owners of the YataiThese are the owners of the yatai, a father-daughter team (I think?) who are quite wonderful. They were delighted that I was attempting to communicate with them in Japanese, and began providing different foods for me to sample. They were very impressed that I know how to use chopsticks, and that I like Japanese food.

The yatai is an oddly intimate environment, when one considers that it is basically people who duck in under the tarp from the street. I really truly enjoyed eating there.

Kyushu National MuseumI spent most of today on work-related issues and then heading down to the <a href=”http://www.kyuhaku.com/”>Kyushu National Museum</a>. Please forgive my not posting much about it, as I don’t think work would appreciate my blogging about it. Let’s just leave it at that if you are in Kyushu, you should see the Kyushu National Museum. It is the first contemporary museum design I’ve seen that I like. I like it because it is designed to BE a museum, not an arboretum, greenhouse or weird blobular shape. Their pan-Asia gallery is also very interesting.

Upon returning to Fukuoka, I wandered back out. I had dinner in a resturaunt where we communicated through the dictionary section of my Japan travel guide. The waiter was quite nice about it, though.

Tomorrow is my last free day in Japan. I’m planning on doing a bit of shopping, heading back to Dazaifu to check out the Tenjin shrine, and then head a bit further out to the onsen hot springs. For right now, I’m going to continue relaxing. (I took a bath in the tub, which is 2 feet deep. It is the first bathtub I have been able to completely submerge myself in. I got some fun bubbly stuff at the local drugstore.) Anyway. Good night for now!

Posted by: cyradisnyc | December 1, 2008

The Japanese Toilet

“…One could with some justice claim that of all the elements of Japanese architecture, the toilet is the most aesthetic. Our forbearers, making poetry of everything in their lives, transformed what by rights should be the most unsanitary room in the house into a place of unsurpassed elegance, replete with fond associations with the beauties of nature. Compared to Westerners, who regard the toilet as utterly unclean and avoid even the mention of it in polite conversation, we are far more sensible and certainly in better taste.”

— Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

I believe Mr. Tanizaki is referring here to a much older style of Japanese toilet than the sorts I am going to be talking about in this post, but this attitude does seem to be somewhat widespread. I will be discussing both types of modern Japanese toilets–I have not had the privilege of trying out the sort Mr. Tanizaki is waxing on romantically about.

The toilets are probably the one thing that has really given me a case of culture shock. Mr. Tanizaki is absolutely right to say that Westerners regard the toilet as the most disgusting room around. I do. Especially public ones.

The usual Japanese toilet

The typical Japanese toilet is what’s called a squat toilet–because you squat over it. Apparently it can also be called a grunt toilet, because of the way people who are not used to it grunt when they pull themselves back up. At right is the photo of a squat toilet in Maruyama Park, Kyoto. It is a fairly typical example. It took me several days to get the hang of how to use the squat toilet. Being a woman wearing pants presents a logistical issue which was eventually resolved. Necessity forces you to figure some things out.

It is my conviction that the squat toilet was designed for men. Using it is somewhat indescribable. It feels very awkward, and I have no idea why you would choose this over a “Western toilet.”

Western ToiletI entered Nijo-jo Castle, and found the the following sign in the restroom. It says “Western Style”, but to me it looks more like a fountain. If my toilet did this, I would scream for a while, and then call the plumber. I’d probably then scream some more. I wonder if when Japanese people come to America, they’re disappointed that our toilets aren’t nearly as high-tech as the ones that are even in the public restrooms here. (Assuming they have Western toilets at all. Only a handful of the places I’ve gone to have had them. Luckily, every place I’ve stayed has had one. The one in the hostel was the closest to what I would call a Western toilet–it only had a heated toilet seat. )

Western Toilet IIOK, so now that you’ve seen how a Western toilet is marked, look to the left to see a Western toilet in Japan. There are so many buttons on this thing, it looks like a TV remote. Since it is a Western toilet but Japanese, we need to move from right to left for this to make any sense at all. The first button is a “powerful deoderizer.” In my opinion, this is a brilliant innovation on the part of the Japanese, and every toilet needs this. (Along with heated toilet seats–heated toilet seats are a stroke of genius.) The next button, with the large music note, allows you to play a snippet of music while you flush. You can adjust the volume, as well. I really have no idea why you would want this, except to maybe try and obscure the sound of the toilet flushing. Wouldn’t that have to be extremely loud, though? The next is a bidet function. I’ve never used a bidet, it just sounds like a very unpleasant experience. Note, though, that you can control the water pressure at the bottom. The next option is “spray.” I’m not too clear on what the difference in practice is between bidet and spray. Finally there is the stop button. I guess the bidet/spray/music functions run until you tell them to stop.

Astute readers of the above paragraph will have figured out that I have not experimented with the Western style toilets I have encountered so far. It is scary. I do not want to hang out in the toilet, listening to the toilet music and enjoying the spray. I want to go and then be on my way. However, the toilet in my hotel room here in Fukuoka has taken the above model and improved on it.

Fancypants Western Style ToiletThis is the toilet in my hotel room. I may experiment with this one, as I have privacy that was lacking in Nijo-jo Castle’s public restroom. However, it still doesn’t get over the mental barrier of turning the toilet into a relaxation spot. I think that ties back into Mr. Tanizaki’s article, where he writes that toilets are, “where haiku poets of the ages have coem by a great many of their ideas.” We also have the idea of  the toilet being a contemplative “throne.” (“Honey, I’m on the throne, can’t it wait?”) Maybe I’ll just enjoy the heat rather than risk something awful.

Toilet seat warningsI’ll leave you with this last image. It’s the warning label stuck on the inside of the toilet lid in my hotel room. Check out the sad little toilet cartoons. It makes your toilet sad if you put bleach or detergent or water on your toilet seat, as this may cause electrical shock. This does raise a very vaild concern about these toilets–you are sitting on an electric gizmo suspended over a large pool of water. Be careful!

It will also make the toilet sad if you put something heavy on it. It will probably break your fragile toilet seat. This makes me wonder what the weight limit on the toilet is. If I weighed 300 lbs, could I use the fancy electric toilet seat? Of course, then I would probably fall into the “incapacitated” warning area, and the heated part would have to be turned off. And I would miss that, that’s the best part! I feel compelled to point out that when I first looked at this image, before reading it, I thought that the gist of the first warning was not to squash children’s hands in the toilet seat. That is a thought I have never had before.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your look at the Japanese toilet. It’s truly a cultural experience, and I mean that. I doubt I will be brave enough to fully explore it, though.

Posted by: cyradisnyc | December 1, 2008

Stopping Briefly in Hiroshima

This train will be stopping briefly in Hiroshima.

I can’t help but wonder what Hiroshima will look like. Will all the buildings be new? Will it lack any sense of shadow after having been obliterated by a sun? I suspect that now, 63 years after the bomb, it will look like an ordinary city.

I find it incomprehensible to think that we were at war with these people. They have been so friendly and welcoming. I have no personal connection to World War II. None of my family members fought in it (that I’m aware—I have some sort of vague idea that my grandfather on my mother’s side may have been involved somehow), so I lack some of the stronger reactions to it.

I remember sitting around a friend’s house in high school. Her father was old for being the father of a teenager—he was in his early 70s. He had fought in World War II in the Pacific front. One night he overheard us debating the use of the bomb. He got extremely angry, and crashed into the discussion with a lot of “You don’t know, you weren’t born yet” and “If we hadn’t used the bomb we would have had to go in overland and thousands of troops would have died, probably including me.”

It was not known at the time, but when we dropped the atomic bomb, Japan had already offered to surrender. The country was devastated, its people starving. That was the country we used atomic weaponry on. Not the mighty Japanese army that performed such atrocities in China, or bombed Pearl Harbor, but a thoroughly defeated nation who had already tried to give up.

I’ve seen photos of the aftermath of the atomic bomb. With the perspective allowed by distance and lack of emotional ties to the situation, it looks wrong. I hope that we remain the only country to make this wrong choice.

JST: 1:43 pm

We are now arriving at Hiroshima. It looks much like the other cities, except taller. Maybe this is a result of more modern construction being widely used.

They are building a baseball stadium.

Posted by: cyradisnyc | December 1, 2008

Hello from the Shinkansen! Sayonara, Kyoto!

I am writing this on the shinkansen bullet train to Fukuoka. I didn’t really get a chance to appreciate on the way from Tokyo to Kyoto exactly how fast these things go. It’s really fast. Um. Yeah. I’m eating mini orange cookies and listening to Turandot while writing this.

I’m sad to be leaving Kyoto. It is a beautiful city, impressive not only for its past but for its present. These coexist with each other in such a striking way here. The city’s landscape is dotted with ancient temples that date back well over 1,000 years. Meanwhile, new buildings rise, but not so tall as to be overwhelming. The one building that truly felt like it would not have been in place in New York City is Kyoto Station, which is a giant complex glass and steel structure. (The bullet trains are actually on a monorail-ish sort of system at the moment. It looks like we’re about five stories up.)

I hope I get to return. I have only begun to scratch the surface of this city. Just on the walk from the hostel to Kyoto Station, I saw four or five more things that I wanted to investigate. Perhaps next time. Kyoto and its mysterious blend of past and present has become one of my favorite cities.

Before I left, Hwai-ling gave me a copy of Junichirō Tanizaki’s famous essay In Praise of Shadows. Tanizaki laments the impact of Western culture, and talks a great deal about how Western culture and Japanese culture are at aesthetic odds. Westerners love light, and Japanese love darkness. I quite recommend the article. While I don’t disagree with the essential argument, I do wonder how time affects his thoughts. The changes he saw beginning to happen when this was written in 1933 (I believe it was 1933; I can’t check right now) have only accelerated, and I would argue that in some ways, parts of his statements are no longer true. The Japanese have no need to feel left behind in the modern age.

Indeed, one could argue that the Japanese have surpassed Western civilizations—or at least, America. The easiest example lies in the auto industries of the two countries. The American automakers stifled innovation, ignored calls for more environmental cars, and worked to prevent legislation that would have forced these changes on them. It’s no small wonder that Americans are buying Japanese cars.

Related to this issue, the train system here is phenomenal. There is no good reason why we do not have this sort of a system set up in America. Japan is actually quite big. It is narrow but long. The train system efficiently links everything together, and makes travel between cities at opposite ends of the country easy. It is also cheap, considering. The equivalent distance I am going today on Amtrak would be twice as much and take three times as long. It would be easy enough to say that it is due to our love of the car and driving, and no doubt that is part of it. I think it is also part of a national reluctance to fund large-scale infrastructure projects like this.

The other thing I really noticed was the lack of homeless people and indignant. I saw one thing that might have been belongings of a homeless person, but that was it. Now, I definitely was not in the right parts of town to see something like this. I’m aware that is a problem here, but the difference in scope between Kyoto and New York is amazing. In New York, they’re pretty much everywhere. I seriously doubt that Japan is a great enough place that everyone has a home, but that they aren’t all over the streets is a major improvement from New York.

There was also significantly less pollution. This will sound gross, but my hair didn’t get dirty as fast as it does at home. That just raises all sorts of questions about the level of pollution in New York, and how much it sticks to me.

The city is so safe that no one locks their bikes up. They just leave them. Amazing.

I could continue, but I’m already afraid that everyone has gotten bored and stopped reading. My point is that Tanizaki would probably be amazed at how flexible his nation has proved to be. That probably does have a certain cost in terms of traditional aesthetics, but from what I have seen, many of the original sensibilities remain. I think that is what still makes his essay relevant over 70 years after it was written.

The darkness he describes can still be found in Kyoto, and probably in other Japanese cities as well. I suspect it may be easier to find in Kyoto. I’ll check back in with this once I see Fukuoka. For all our emphasis on the weirdness of Japanese culture, there is a real beauty to what I have seen so far. (With the exception of some candy wrappers.)

Of course, while in Kyoto I went to temples, historical sites, and restaurants. It is easy there to pass through modernity on your way to the past. Perhaps my impressions will change upon arriving in Fukuoka, but what I have seen is a culture that has learned how to incorporate its love of shadows into the western love of light. (See my photo of Kyoto Station’s interior for an example.) At any rate. I’m going to stop rambling now. I truly enjoyed Kyoto, and believe that Tanizaki’s love of shadows has not disappeared, it has just transformed into something that is recognizable as the same idea—but in a different form.

Posted by: cyradisnyc | December 1, 2008

Screaming deer

OK, I’m off to Fukuoka. I’ll write about Kyoto from the train. That seems appropriate somehow.

Posted by: cyradisnyc | November 30, 2008

Nara

Oddly enough, I spent my last day in the Kyoto area outside of Kyoto, in Nara. I woke up extra early, spoke to James, grabbed a breakfast to eat on the train, and was on my way. I rode what I’m guessing is the equivalent of the Metro North. Nara came highly recommended as a side trip, both by Hwai-ling and the two nice ladies I met last night at the izakaya last night.

Nara seems to be sort of the lite version of the modern Japanese city. It is smaller, and more compact, but at night everything still glows with neon. Upon leaving the train station, I started walking east, towards where the majority of sites are. I managed to find Kofuku-ji. The highlights of the temple are a huge 5-story pagoda, a very interesting octogon temple, and a jaw-dropping arrangement of Buddhist sculpture, Although, Kofuku-ji seemed  scenically challenged by the large construction site in the middle of it. While the individual buildings were impressive, the overall site did not really come together for me as a result.

I next walked through Nara Park. The most notable aspect of Nara Park is that it is full of deer. Hungry, hungry deer who want to eat the deer crackers (shika-senbei) being sold by the vendors. I fed the deer, which was nice. The deer are pushy if they think you’re holding out on them, and have some delicious morsel tucked away. Deer also make the weirdest sound to communicate. I’m serious, I had no idea. I guess I’ve never really thought about how deer communicate with each other, but it is bizarre. Check out the video here: (OK, so I will edit this post and add the link once it is uploaded. Sorry!)

The next stop was the Nara National Museum. It was nice to see this museum, as we’ve worked with them in the past. I have absorbed a lot of information about Buddhist art, and it was neat to realize that I knew what I was looking at even though the labels were only in Chinese/Japanese in some galleries.

The next stop, Todai-ji, ranks up with Fushimi-Inari Taisha for me. It is jaw-dropping. It is the world’s largest wooden building, and appropriately, is stuffed full of monumental buddhist sculpture. Buddha Daibutsu rules over the Daibutsu-den, and as he is 15 meters tall, who can argue with him? He is flanked by two bodhisattvas, and in the corners are two of the myoos. (Unfortunately, not my favorite, Fudoo.) I’ve added a video of it here:

I’m finding that the video function is very helpful for showing things like this, whre my camera really just can’t handle giving a full impression. After Todai-ji, I walked up north and around to Nigatsu-do. This was absolutely beautiful. It is small, but up on the mountainside, with a terrace overlooking Todai-ji and Nara. It has many ornate bronze lanterns, along with many large paper lanterns.

I then attempted to follow the signs to find the Kasuga Taisha, but failed. I’m not sure why. I wound up wandering back through Nara Park, which is fine. I then attempted to take the bus back to the JR train station, but wound up going to the wrong train station. I walked over to the JR train station, only getting lost once on the way. (I somehow managed to walk right past the train station.)

I’m now back in the hostel, drinking sake in the cafe. I have laundry going upstairs, as I didn’t bring 12 days worth of clothing, noting that they had a washer/dryer here. Tomorrow I head down to Fukuoka, where the business part of the trip begins. Sigh. This was a wonderful vacation. More on overall impressions of Kyoto in a bit! For now, you can check out my new spiffy YouTube channel. The videos are now going to be posted here, as the Flickr uploader for Windows keeps having all sorts of weird issues.

Posted by: cyradisnyc | November 29, 2008

One Day Off No More!

With this entry, I’m going to catch you all up on both yesterday and today! Let’s start off with yesterday.

I started the day off by going on an arranged tour of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Given the amount of history that has taken place on that site, it is a little disappointing to see that the majority of the buildings are from the 19th century (or later!). The buildings are still impressive in their own right, though. The tour took about an hour. The lesson of the Imperial Palace seems to be that if you build roofs entirely out of wood (the nails are made of bamboo), then you had better be prepared to rebuild it frequently.

After leaving the Palace, I wandered through the Kyoto Goyen. It was a grey, drizzly day, and there is a lot of grey in the park to begin with. I had moments of what I can only describe as absolute tranquility in a historical teahouse off the lake. The video is uploading to Flickr, check it out once it is done.

I much preferred Nijo-jo Castle to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. It retains much of its original structure, and its original gate. The interior is such that you feel like you are in a Kurosawa movie. (Mifune will run by any second!) My favorite remaining period detail was probably the nightingale floors. They’re actually quite loud, especially when there are loads of tourists tramping on them. The other thing I really liked about the castle is that all the fusuma were in situ. We have some at the Met, and we occasionally install them in our little period room, but it is different to see it in the castle. I highly suggest seeing Nijo-jo Castle if you go to Kyoto.

I ended the evening in an Irish pub. There are the workings of a post floating around in my brain about this experience, but it is late and I am tired. I will flesh it out later. They even had a traditional band. It was quite nice.

Today I went to Northwestern Kyoto. As this is a longer haul–an hour on the bus–I only went to two places. Both were sort of underwhelming compared to the other places I had been before. The first, Kinkaku-ji , is one of those places that is symnbolic of Kyoto. It is known for being plated in gold. Seriously. It’s a gold-plated building. The building is beautiful, and the gardens are nice. However, this had a very overtly touristy feel to it that the other temples, which were also swarming with tourists, did not have.

After that, I walked down to Ryoan-ji which is best known for its large zen rock garden. This temple is still in use, so a lot of it is blocked off. I thought the grounds were almost more  impressive than the rock garden. Or it could have been that the garden is not actually that big, so the hoardes of people crowded around it just seemed out of place.

I had dinner in a social bar on a side street packed with restaurants. I spent the time talking with two women my own age from Nagoya, who came down to visit Kyoto over the weekend. They gave me advice on tomorrow (Nara), and I shocked them with tales of NYC real estate and tried to convince them that it is not as dangerous as everyone thinks. It was a good evening.

Tomorrow I head out to Nara. It’s my last day in this area of Japan before I head south to Fukuoka, and the work part of the trip begins. Upcoming posts to look forward to: a look at the Japanese toilet and the Irish pub musings. Good night!

Posted by: cyradisnyc | November 28, 2008

What I did yesterday

So, I didn’t post yesterday. A thousand apologies. I wanted to wait until Flickr had uploaded some images, but then it became clear that the Flickr uploader doesn’t like dealing with 200+ images at once. After a few hours of trying it finally told me to f-off.

I went to the South part of Kyoto yesterday, which turned out to be quite a navigational challenge. I wanted to go to Tofuku-ji Temple, Fushimi-Inari Taisha, and To-ji Temple. It turns out that To-ji Temple is nowhere near the other two, so I soon dropped that idea.

It also turns out that when the guidebook advises you to take the subway, you should just take the subway. The map Hwai-ling gave me showed a continuous path, but that is not the case! Clever me, I decided to walk to Tofuku-ji. I did eventually manage to get there, but only because after a lot of wandering, I managed to get myself close enough that I spotted large, roving groups of elderly Japanese tourists. I figured that they were probably headed somewhere notable. (At least then, I figured, I could find it on the map and extrapolate from there where I wanted to go.)

Tofuku-ji is an enormous complex, and I had unwittingly gotten very close. The elderly tourists, eager to gaze at the foliage, lead me straight to it. Tofuku-ji is a zen temple with the oldest zen temple gate left in existence. It was quite impressive just for its own sake, but it is also full of maple leaves. The foliage was pretty amazing. I did have one weird encounter with a Japanese man, who I think was curious about why I chose Tofuku-ji. I chose it because it was an important site, had interesting buildings, and was supposed to be a great place to visit in autumn. After we’d exhausted the 4 or 5 phrases I have learned in Japanese that were applicable here (“I would like to order a beer, please” didn’t really fit), he launched into a discussion of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was the first person to unify Japan. It quickly became apparent that I cannot have an in-depth historical discussion in Japanese. His disbelief kept amplifying, until he finally said something which I think boiled down to, “You do know you are in Kyoto, yes?” I said, “Hai, desu!” He looked exasperated and wandered off. At least I knew who he was talking about, right? I just couldn’t communicate it.

Upon leaving Tofuku-ji, I went south to Fushimi-Inari Taisha, which is so far, my favorite spot on the trip. It is a shinto shrine, dedicated to Inari. According to my guidebook, Inari is the god of rice and sake, but it seems in practice to be a more general sort of prosperity. The shrine is absolutely amazing. It is a 4km long series of orange shinto gates placed closely next to each other that wind up through deep forest to the top of the mountain. I made it almost all the way to the top before I realized that if I wanted to be back anytime before tomorrow morning, I had better turn back soon. As you wind up the path, you come across small clearings that contain smaller, perosnal shrines to the god/goddess. Below is a video of one of those shrine areas. To view my Flickr videos of this, click here and here.

Fushimi-Inari was absolutely amazing, and I was helped to find it by a very nice young lady who was also headed the same direction, who noticed me staring at a map in absolute confusion. Maps of Kyoto have not so much to do with reality, and Japanese addresses do not really help you figure anything out.

I left Fushimi-Inari, and took the subway back. In some ways, I think that was the real accomplishment. The ticket machines have no markings in roman characters, it is all in either chinese characters or kanji. I seem to have it pretty much figured out, though. I had dinner at a little place near the hostel, and had delicious udon with crumbled tempura.

Anyway. More on what I did today is coming shortly. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: cyradisnyc | November 26, 2008

Prayer and flute at Yasaka Shrine

Here’s the video. Good night!

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