Thursday, August 30, 2007


on the way back from east timor, i stopped in japan to visit kyle for a few days. i got the chance to see kobe, kyoto, himeji, and osaka, which all seem to blend together into a sprawling urban metropolis along the coastline. japan is an utterly fascinating place: supremely orderly, clean, and immersed in technology, yet steeped in tradition and instilled with a respect for the natural and spiritual world. i can't wait to go back and see more...

the view from kiyomizudera, the temple of holy water. you can drink from a spring there, whose water is said to have healing properties. whatever its true powers, the water tasted really fresh and good!

the gion the district in kyoto. the windows are all shuttered here because apparently that's where all the geisha entertain their clients. i liked it because there is a peaceful little stream that runs along the road to the side, with trees lining its ledges.

kobe and osaka as seen from kyle's apartment, which is up on a hill. it's a pretty impressive location! this photo was shot from his balcony.

while kyle was away at work, i would rent a bicycle and explore the city. it was a great way to get around, especially because kyoto has many smaller roads and alleyways that are fun to explore. of course i rocked the obligatory japanese peace sign in my photos.

whenever i needed a drink while biking, i would stop at one of the countless outdoor vending machines that sold all sorts of fun beverages with exclamation marks on them. they are conveniently placed all over the streets, so you are never caught without one! and each machine sells a variety of different products. despite my mission of buying a different drink every hour, i didn't come near to sampling the entire array available.

kyle and i testing out the greatest invention of the japanese thus far. "purikura" - photobooths where you get to deck out your photos with all sorts of fancy frills and words that make no sense at all. japanese teens go crazy for them and paste them everywhere. it sounds silly but it's kind of ridiculously fun. i'm in love.

i couldn't afford many souvenirs from japan (phew - not a cheap place), but i did get a small good luck charm from kiyomizudera temple. it has a small bell inside and hangs over my desk.


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