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Published: June 18th 2014
Old & New
Kyoto and Gion district
The final days of my voyage in a strange land.
What can I say? Japan: It's like an Asian version of Europe: Old... yet sophisticated and classy like a fine gentleman... Ahem.
It took me a bit over 2 hours to get from Tokyo to the old capital city of Kyoto, 250 miles away. The Shinkansen (bullet train) is truly marvelous. I stretched out and watched the houses I would never know and the towns I would never visit as we traveled over 300 km per hour to our destination.
In Kyoto I got out and had udon; a delicious Japanese noodle soup dish, a staple of the asian lunch diet. I then went to the old Geisha district and found my bearings, hotel and checked out the super old tiny streets and Geishas.
That evening I had perfect light to walk around the temple grounds. There were relaxing songs and moments. In the night I crossed the river to the newer part of town and paid way too much for food. It's a touristy area so I guess I should have expected as much.
When I woke up I went to watch Kabuki theatre and
it was super amazing. I walked around for a little while and then found a shrine called Inarii.
The shrine is dedicated to business, prosperity and harvest of agriculture. The plaque said that the ancients prayed for rain on those grounds. It started to rain. My good luck.
I found a small cafe where they had a tea machine. There I sat at a table and watched the rain pass on happy tourists in umbrellas. Then I started up the stairs to Mt. Inarii. The sign read that there were 1.3 million arches. I did more than that... I got lost.
I took a turn away from the path everyone was on after I had reached the peak.
Logic would have told me to turn around after I ducked under cobwebs on the path. Logic would have told me to turn after the silence overtook everything or even when the road started going downhill in an unknown direction. But it was beautiful and I was enjoying the ride.
Enjoying the huge trees and the babbling stream. Enjoying the smell unlike a smell I had known before and that I could only equate to Japan. Enjoying
at the Inarii gates
dark green lush bliss and silent spirits guiding me.
When I saw the crew of construction workers on the gravel road I took it as a sign to turn back uphill. As soon as I turned the trail I saw an orange sign with black Japanese characters pointing in the direction of a small mountain path. This was obviously my way!
After 5 minutes of heavy uphill I reached a thickly dense shrine with stone tablets that seemed like they were from another era. Japanese writing on smooth tablets. I looked higher and saw an incense burning in front of another shrine and I felt a peace and alienation from the world. I felt like I was invading onto someones property.
There was a waterfall and I refreshed my hot self with it. Then I walked the rest of the way up the hill and reached the peak. At the peak I could see some side of the megatropolis of Kyoto, Japan above the trees.
I was still disoriented but I walked another direction and came to the top of the shrine which I had blessed the most in my praise for self achievement in business
and my career. This shrine had been a beacon and brought me back to my path; meaning that success in my chosen field is guaranteed. I sauntered back down the 1.3 million arches with a song in my heart.
Tomorrow I cross hemispheres to the other side of the equator and find powerful and magnificent waves in Bali; the land of my youth.
From Kyoto to Denpasar...Aloha!
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