Since I was a bit long-winded in my last blog, I decided to cut to the chase today. As I mentioned in my last blog, one reason I’m in Japan now is to celebrate spring in Japanese fashion. The arrival of the cherry blossom season here is feverishly anticipated for weeks before the actual blooms appear. Forecasts for every part of the country tell the Japanese public exactly where and when to go to the sights with the most bang for the buck. I pay attention to these forecast and follow the festive crowds, or more pleasurably find an off the beaten path spot to witness the extravaganza.
It’s a wonderful tradition and everyone gets swept up in it. Year after year.
Pink is a combination of the color red and white, a hue that can be described as a tint. It can range from berry (blue-based) pinks to salmon (orange-based) pinks. Its symbolism is complex and its popularity is subject to so many influences.
We can begin an analysis of pink by looking at natural and contemporary sources of this delicate color. First, regardless of your skin color, some part of your body is pink. So are sunsets, watermelons and Pepto Bismal. Depending on your age and culture, you may remember pink Cadillacs, pink flamingos (once considered in bad taste in American culture but now retro-chic), Pink Floyd, the Pink Panther, and the pink triangles of the Third Reich (which were used to identify male homosexuals). colormatters.com
Today I took photos of only things that were pink. I hope these photos give you a taste of my pink drenched day. The blooms for the weeping cherries are mostly peaking, many other later varieties to follow over the next week.
Pink Encounters: From first to last
Easter bunny in bakery counter of Daimaru Dep’t store
You think you have trouble remembering names? Just try remembering the names of a few dozen of the 1600 temples that are here in Kyoto!
After dozens of years of visits, I’m still often in a state of confusion when it comes to identifying which temples I’ve visited. It frequently happens that I don’t think I’ve been to a specific temple, only to arrive and become aware that it’s VERY familiar. The images stick, but the names vanish. Don’t look at me to temple name drop.
Anyone who calls Kyoto “home” is able to rattle off their names; Tofukji, Myoshonji, Kyomisaderu,Nanzenji, Sanjusangendo, Ryoanji, Honen-in, Daituokuji,Kinkakuji,Ginkakuji. These are a few of the very famous ones. But what was the name of temple that had the killer view of the pond garden from indoors and where was it we had that amazing dinner? Where did we go for the special healing ceremony last spring? Which temple had that drop dead autumn illumination that made me feel as if I’d dropped through the rabbit hole?
When Danny suggested that we walk to an antique store we like to visit here on the opposite side of town, it seemed like a fine idea. The weather was mild, the mid-November sun warm and inviting. And we both could use the excercise.
Taking an A to B walk in Kyoto is hypothetically an easy thing to do. The city is laid out on an simple grid, the terrain within the city is flat. That does NOT factor in all the distractions along the way.
So it was that a walk that could have taken us less than an hour, not pushing it, took almost 4.5 hours to complete. One way.
Let me take you along the route. We headed west towards the lovely Kamogawa River.
A small blurb in a local magazine caught my eye and I thought it would be worth checking out:
Autumn Book Fair is held by the Used Book Society of Kyoto which consists of many of Kyoto’s used booksellers at Chion-ji Temple in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto city. Throughout the event, the usually quiet temple compound is transformed into the likes of a giant bookstore and crowded with many people.
I’ve always been fascinated with paper ephemera from earlier times and this sale, along with its valuable books, had stacks and stacks of of old travel pamphlets, catalogues, magazines, advertising brochures, etc. I love the old graphics, the weird and disturbing references to a formerly militaristic Japan during wartime, the early manga drawings, etc.
As promised, stalls lined the temple compound. Prices were reasonable. My pulse raced when I found two exquisite bound catalogues of vintage kimono patterns. I’d only read that they existed, and here they were, affordable and in my eager hands. Continue reading “Serendipity Strikes Again”→
I awakened in Japan this morning to learn of the terrorist outrage in lower Manhattan. It’s not the news any of us want to see wherever we are. We live in times that can easily be called disheartening. I have felt the encroaching darkness for several months for reasons that don’t require illumination. Anyone with a functioning sensory mechanism has most likely felt a similar reaction to the political turmoil.
I looked forward to my Japanese visit as a way to reassure myself that there is still some semblance of decency and sanity remaining in the world. One doesn’t need to come to Japan to find it, of course, but for me, it makes it easier.
Appreciation of nature’s beauty is built into this culture and readily accessible. I am far from alone in my quest for distraction and sustenance. In the popular gardens, hundreds of tourists armed with phones and cameras clog the pathways, searching for their own moments of inspiration. Mostly, they seem preoccupied with taking selfies in front of a photogenic backdrop. I determine in the future to avoid these congregations as much as possible and focus my attention on the less obvious, making a vow to avoid these over popular spots.
Yesterday, we went to Arashiyama, to show our house guest the Western foothills of Kyoto. We visited Tenryuji, a world heritage site, and then wandered the bamboo forest, encountering some exuberant schoolgirls and many tourists along the way. Continue reading “In Search of Beauty”→