There is literally a typhoon…a powerful one hitting Japan today (see this article if you don’t believe me).
I had to fly out of the bed this morning to take down my close that were hanging to dry outside and spent the next several hours slowly packing my things and finishing my blog post; I was in no hurry to run out into the rain.
Since Horuji temple was closing yesterday when I got there I went back. Josh lives somewhat near the temple… nearer than if went from the train station like the map I have says to do. I rode off with my umbrella in one hand and steadying the handle bars with the other in Japanese fashion. I knew I was getting closer but still couldn’t see the pagoda on the horizon so I stopped to ask. An old guy drew me a map but really all I was interested in was the correct general direction. Finally, after splashing street water in my sandals, pedaling through puddles, I saw the peak of the Pagoda in the distance.
These people need to get with the program on University student discounts; I was charged 1000 yen to get into the temple and I also got a ticket for two other sites in the complex, one of which I didn’t even go to because I needed to catch a train from Nara.
The rain didnt keep out the school groups, again it was swarming with kids. The temple complex houses some of the oldest buildings in the world and contain some really old Buddhist art that made me think. it was paintings on a wall of people meditating in Buddhist style with halos above their heads. My question is “arent halos a Christian symbol? What’s the connection to Buddhism?”
I took some pictures and sat on some stairs to sketch the pagoda. After about 15 minutes a guy came over to me and said, “no sketching!”. I paid 15 dollars and you are telling me I cant draw the building yet it can be photographed. What sense does that make? now I see Joshes complaint with the, “because it is said” aspect of Japanese culture, they don’t question the logic of what they are doing or saying. I pretended to not understand and said, “OK, I will finish”.
I dropped the keys in the mail slot at Josh’s and this time left the bike in its parking spot and set off on the 20 minute walk to the Train Station. I couldn’t remember if josh said I need to go to Osaka Station or Nara Station. If you cant speak the language at least make sure you can read a map if you plan on traveling; about 30 minutes later I was at Osaka Station, the Japanese train station I imagined. The station master was cramming people into the train and would signal to the conductor with a light indicating it was safe to shut the doors; when he did a ladies purse was sticking out so he signaled to open them again.
The sign in the Osaka station said platform 7 would take me to Kyoto but I didn’t realize there were several different trains passing through the same platform and almost got on the wrong train. a while into the train trip we passed a 3 story 200 ft long chocolate bar…or at least what looked like one of those sectioned chocolate bars.
I threw on my bag and made my way up into Kyoto Station, another maze of stores and connecting subway lines. I bought an onigiri, Japanese rice formed into a triangle and wrapped in Seaweed and found the tourist info center. I tried to productively waste some time looking over the map since Kazo, my CS host would be working until 9pm and it was only about 730. I went outside and took some pictures of the Kyoto Tower and then made my way to Karasuma Station, where we were going to meet up. After scoping it out I walked down the street just browsing what was around and found another Yoshinoya, that cheap restaurant. I was going to eat my crackers and tuna but decided to save it for breakfast.
After eating kazo called and we met up and walked to his place. He carries what I might call a purse but he is very nice. He started Peeece which is like Etsy but smartphone based and features built in translation software so users can buy from and sell to foreign markets more easily. His apartment is tiny… its not an apartment its a room. if I want an idea of a ISO shiping container house in its simplest form this would be it. It’s about 8’x30′; that’s bathroom, kitchenette, living /sleeping room, and office with a small balcony.