Shuffling Tokyo into Kyoto-More Than Just a Word Scramble

While a simple shifting of letters can transform Tokyo into Kyoto, the experience of these two Japan’s is vastly different.

river walk with umbrellas
over Kamu river.Kyoto

Go to both but soon you will realize once is not enough.

at nijo temple carving kyoto blog
above the gate at Nijo

Initially, let the overwhelm guide you. Succumb to the mechanics and efficiency of the pavement and population. Be hypnotized by politeness. Be patient in chaos. It is our chaos, not the chaos of being here.

train line sign kyoto blog
one of various subway line guides
density of language
you can find it if you can name it
tstutura bookstore
we understand english kyoto taxi
outside Kyoto station

Meander narrow streets. Absorb the density of an unfamiliar alphabet. Adapt to ways of every day. Drown in this landscape of people and place.

kyoto morning2
kyoto from the Miyako hotel

Kyoto. Go. Once is not enough. Return to unwrap its veils. Get closer to its soul.

faces woman shop streetcleaner in morning kyoto blog
Early morning shopkeeper
bellringing kurama
At Mnt. Kurama
traffic cone in bamboo blog pic
Dressing a road bumper
morning run over kyoto bridge kyoto blog
Morning run over the Kamu

Packing up from TABF and leaving Tokyo allows us to deflate.

TABF closing day

Visiting Kyoto, for me, is like seeing a movie, a play, reading a book over and over. Each visit I see through a different lens. I hear different sounds. Feel different moods even though I walk the same streets.

temple field trip
Field trip on Mnt. Kurama
sculptures in nijo garden kyoto blog
In the gardens of Nijo Castle

monks in starbucks

faces mom and son on train kyoto blog

There are over 1800 shrines and temples in Kyoto. We have seen the ones you’re supposed to see. Ones we researched. Ones we learned we missed. Ones we stumbled upon. For gardens. For Buddha’s. For reflections on water. For gates. For climbs. For meditation. For sounds. For trees. For monks. For a Shojin meal. To light candles

staues children at kurama
Mnt. Kurama
reflection atmoss temple
Saihi-ji.The moss temple
mnt.kurama roof blog pic
Mnt. Kurama
lighting candles blog pic jpg
For special souls. Mom.Dad.Ari.Sophie.Hedy

We approached our fourth trip to Kyoto casually, quietly. Other than Sao-ji , the “moss temple” which requires advance tickets, we left our five days fluid.

advance ticket saoji kyoto blog

Maybe we’ll do this. That would be nice. If we have time. Should we go there again? That sounds interesting. We don’t have to do that again. Let’s find something new.

Maybe we’ll bike along the river. Let’s plan food a little better. Let’s connect with friends we don’t know of a friend back home.

Let’s see what we find. Let’s move slower. Maybe visit one thing each morning. Walk the afternoon. Be together. Be light. Appreciate. Try to calm. Be aware. Breathe.

river walk

kyoto gate for kyoto blog

mezzuzah on door kyoto

lantern path at kurama kyoto blog
The path up Mnt. Kurama

And so we welcomed Kyoto and Kyoto embraced us.

paper mache dog kyoto blog

mnt kurama entrance statue kyoto blog

faces matcha maker


frog coin pond

While I reference and share some of the places we visited, I devote this post to the feeling of Kyoto. Share the faces. Things I felt and saw. Hope they magically pop out from a two dimension presentation to stir up joy and spirit and appreciation.

toga explaining chant

monk closeup starbucks sign

faces child on scooter kyoto blog

It was an odd time to be away from home. Fires raging to the north, south and east of us. Friends and family scurrying in the night to evacuate. Our little main street in Gualala becoming a safe haven for people fleeing with perhaps one suitcase. Without a plan. Fear and sadness filling a crowded space between passengers in cars. Families broken apart by death. Unknown future. A world-class industry devastated. Communities that look like the one outside your window annihilated. Singed animals. Loyal pets who ran in fear leaving owners to make hard decisions. Puppies waiting, standing guard in piles of ash. Falling trees engulfed in fire stopping cars, people trying to escape. Frenzied wildlife, an audience, and symphony to our coastal town governed by Mother Nature frantically searching.  A new-found sense of caring for helpless foxes and bobcats and creatures of the nocturnal looking for water, food, and cover. Familiar kennels under mandatory evacuation.

The safety net of Gualala, CA. October 9.

The ocean opening its unconditional cool and freshness beneath vapored skies. And the wind, most times a drama to watch now an apocalyptic slide show.  I read about this from a distance,  on a device as if it was removed like the hurricanes in the Caribbean and states out of familiarity.  And I am at a distance from my neighbors and cousins and friends and places I buy fresh fruit and vegetables and my mother-in-law helpless in a home in her own world of Alzheimer’s. And the kennel Woof! goes to evacuated on our first day in Kyoto with staff members who lost their homes.  Eerily, we made a different decision for this trip and he was safe in Virginia.

The blue spot between the smoke cloud cover-home.

How do I put my footing in Kyoto make sense? I hope that Kyoto in its magical way helped me find that resolution. I hope in some way it helps anyone in turmoil of questions without answers, priorities and lifting heaviness.

morning run
An espresso and iced-tea  run through Kyoto
moss temple buildings

mezzuzah on door kyoto

Kyoto. October 2017. Intentionally, without much narrative for you to interpret in a time when we need to make sense of our own stories or create them, inspire our thoughts and feelings and see what we can with our own eyes.

calvino and coin laundry
Brain and laundry on spin cycle

Maybe that is the reason we were in Kyoto.

nijo reflection kyoto blog
Reflections and light installation

and all the reasons to come back home and be grateful.

journey home faces billymark
Long journey home begins with Shinkansen Train from Kyoto to Tokyo
Woof! First night in Alexandria home

Because we do not know about tomorrow.

weeping cherry
Kyoto. October 13.
burningtree santa rosa
Santa Rosa. October 13th.




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