Day 8: われわれのいたるところに光がある。

The day begins with a taxi to my new hotel  Dormy Inn Premium ekimae,  I give them my luggage and go off to walk around for 5 1/2 hours before I can check in.

Nearby in the train station is “Cafe du Monde,  New Orleans”  a very famous cafe I went to in new orleans,  but they don’t serve any beignets in Japan….I’m a bit over Japanese breakfast so grab a roll and something called coffee new-orleans style…tastes just like any other coffee…I take out my lonely planet guide and start reading..it was my ulterior motive for sitting down at a cafe…okay lots to do within walking distance…and plenty of time to enjoy my new-orleans coffee…unfortunately I notice that I have become surrounded by smokers…aaaaah,  for such a civilised country they still have a few things to learn…grab my backpack and off we go….

First stop  Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple…

it’s huge and gaudy with lots of gold everywhere…the more gaudy it is the less likely they are to let you take photos.

A sermon is about to begin,  so I go and sit on the tatami mats with everyone else to hear what the priest has to say…

the stuff with taking off shoes is more advanced than my last trip,  they have plastic bags so you can keep your shoes with you,  rather than risk someone else taking them….

I recognise a few words here and there:  butsu = buddha,  inori=spirit,  okuribito= a recently departed loved one  (I know this one because it was the title of a recent movie”…something about when we shall meet with someone or something…I decide 10 mins  is sufficient

I walk around the complex, all in socks…I find that there is a huge art gallery connected to an educational complex with gigantic auditorium, …hillsong would be jealous of this set-up……….. a documentary on the life of Buddha is showing but the auditorium is empty…I listen for a few seconds and decide to move on…

….I wonder what the toilets are like…they are of course meticulously clean and an array of plastic sandals in all different sizes are just inside the toilet door so you don’t have to worry about getting your socks soiled if you don’t know where to aim…….and both western and eastern styles

Outside, on the wall are some famous prayers and sayings…and hence the title of todays blog

ware ware no itaru tokoro ni  hikari ga aru  —  “Our destination is filled with light” –  Rev.  Ryoujin Soga

A very apt saying for optical fibres.

The streets of Kyoto are laid out in a rectangular grid,  I’m walking north along Karasuma Rd,  and as i walk the cross roads are numbered,  I started at Seventh Avenue and after quite a while I reach 4th Avenue  (and like its namesake in Manhattan) this street is filled with high fashion french and italian clothing stores  and a gigantic Daimaru store…eventually I find what I am looking for …a side street that leads to Nishiki Markets…

here they sell everything from whitebait, to fresh roasted chestnuts,  cheap leather jackets  and there is a district called TeraMachi  (temple town)  because in between all the bargain stores, cafes, clothes shops are little temples and shrines,  just mixed in together, as if religion and consumerism were one and the same…..

the prices look decent,  but I’m not in the mood for carrying much around…

Next I come across the Kyoto Museum,  inside I meet a western couple, who turn out to be from Melbourne  (I always seem to meet Aussies everywhere I go..)..they are on an english guided tour and ask me to join…in fact the tour guides english is not so strong so I help out with my own knowledge of Japanese and Japanese history…actually the Australians are the first people NOT to be surprised that i studied Japanese at uni,  though it takes a while to convince the guide that it was an Australian uni and not a japanese one..

…towards the end of the tour we come across a remarkable set of scrolls:  they are the ancient equivalent of a Mission and Vision statement, and apparently the boss would recite the mission/vision statement to his workers EVERY morning…I feel like I am back at Sekisui…when can I go to my room please???  not yet you have to wait until 3pm to check in… sigh

One on the statements is that “no matter what, do not lose your anger”….that’s good I always keep my anger nearby and ready in case I need it!

By the way,  there seem to be  about a hundred times as many westerners in Kyoto than in any other place in Japan I have been before…..hmmm

Finally,  I head off to the International Manga Museum…here there are three floors of history of the manga  and one copy of every manga published since the war…and a few manga from other countries too!

girls  in cos-play like to pose in front of the giant 火の鳥 or Phoenix from the famous manga series by Tezuka Osama

Amazing fact for today:  Kyoto Seika University is made up of four faculties: Humanities,  Art,  Design and Manga!  Yep, an entire faculty just for manga…Check it out at  www.kyoto-seika.ac.jp

It’s almost three, I go back to the hotel,  my room is the most gorgeous and palatial thing I have seen..I’m in love…I think I may not come back to Australia at all…I crash on the bed

for a while…catch up with my parents by Skype  and then eventually head off to try the rooftop onsen….no pictures allowed (but you can find links from the Dormy Inn website) I think I’ll be using it everyday, and unlike all the stories you hear the water temperature was hot but quite bearable…I am the only westerner in the onsen, but it is quite empty at 6pm  only about 3 people…It’s open until 10 am in the morning

I meet another western couple just as I am leaving,  of course, they are from sydney.

At 8:30 pm,  it’s time for the complimentary Ramen…it’s very tasty and I guess it’s one less meal I have to pay for, but I might get bored having the same thing each night…

I’m converting my emails to a proper blog,  but for some reason it takes a long time to upload photos from my PC,  besides I haven’t got anything handy to down sample the photos before I put them up…maybe later…I’ll let you know when the blog catches up with the emails…

Well time for bed,  haven’t even decided where I will go tomorrow…but I don’t care,  everywhere I go seems to turn out exciting!!!

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