Yesterday late afternoon, the sun was still warm as I strolled/sauntered several blocks south of our apartment, to Bukko-ji, a progressive neighborhood temple, well off the tourist grid. I decided to say “saunter” because it indicates a growing self confidence and jolly spirit I have while navigating the streets of Kyoto.
While there, I met a young man who works in a store located on the temple grounds that showcases local and regional products. He’s studying to be a monk, while managing the store. He was eager to speak with me; had studied photography at Long Beach State, and explained the innovative purpose of the D & Department, which has a number of branches throughout the country. I admired the chairs they sold by Tendo, a Japanese furniture manufacturer they represent.
I took him up on his suggestion to try out the chair, and had a cup of matcha in the adjacent cafe outfitted with dozens of them. As I sipped my tea, I watched local toddlers play under the watchful eyes of their moms. The kids practiced throwing stones, but thankfully not at each other or visitors. The world seemed safe and normal. Young children are growing up strong in a protective environment here.How sad that this can seem novel.
I felt happy and almost as if I belonged in this small, intimate and inviting piece of the Kyoto community, almost forgetting that I’m not Japanese.