(Written on the 12th Nov.)
So since the last entry we have been in Kyoto. Very quiet, very peaceful. I'm settling in to Japan. I'm learning a few phrases to get me by. The latest one: ‘ichi nichi ken o kudasai' (I’d like a one day ticket please) is very handy. I think when I first arrived in Osaka I was a bit stunned trying to take everything in. A week or so has passed since then and I'm able to see a little more clearly. Is all this extreme politeness genuine, or a forced social convention policed by guilt? I'm not sure, but a week ago I wouldn't have considered the latter.
We went to Tōji temple yesterday in the rain. It was wonderful. Tōji temple contains about 4 main structures as far as I can tell. 3 large halls and Japan's tallest 5 tier pagoda, all originally built in the late 8th century. The larger buildings have all burnt down once and the pagoda 4 times. It’s all very impressive, inside the 'Kō-dō' hall there is a large display of 21 Buddhist statues arranged according to the Mik-kyō Mandala described in the main sutra of Esoteric Buddhism. All brought over from China over a thousand years ago. What impressed me the most was a coin donation box with 5 or 6 wooden slats on top. The box must have been quite old considering the wear on the slats, all caused by small pieces of metal dropping a very short distance. I would have taken a photo, but photos were not allowed. I managed to take a short video of the display in the room anyway. Don’t judge me.
There is much to like about Kyoto. We rode on some bike rides around the city and by the main river that runs through town. To sum the place up in a few words, old, serene and idyllic.
Tonight we take an overnight bus to Tokyo. I'm a bit afraid. We are also going to be finally playing some shows!! Which I'm quite excited about. Tomorrow I'm going guitar shopping as I didn't want to take mine on a plane. I’m hoping I can find a decent second hand one for not too much money.
Until next time, sayoohhhh-nara!