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Lunar New Year part deux

more from the land of the rising sun

Sunday morning I headed back to Kyoto, to a different district called Arashiyama, known mostly for its scenic qualities and temples. It's full of tourists, mostly Japanese, and my guidebook said it becomes quite full during cherry blossom season and fall when the leaves change. I mostly just wanted to see a bamboo forest, so I took a suggested walking tour that my guidebook recommended. Thank God for guidebooks.

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A waterway near the train station.

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Statues near the side of the road.

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Bamboo forest! This was way more beautiful than the picture suggests. It was much cooler in it and the air was crisp and clean, a very nice break from the smog and pollution of the big cities in Japan and Korea.

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A Shinto cemetery near Tenryu-ji, a temple.

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More bamboo. You're actually being spared, I left out a lot of these pics as I have about 10 of just bamboo.

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A house on the path.

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Another cemetery.

I came upon Okochi Sanso, the house of an old Japanese silent-film actor. He built this house here because of its serene surroundings and kept beautiful gardens. It was 1000 yen ($10) to get in, but was well worth it for the views of Kyoto and the green tea and cake I received afterwards.

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In the garden

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The actor who lived here.

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His actual living quarters.

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The mountains behind the house.

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And a view of Kyoto from the shrine he built. Again, you're being spared because I have about 5 of these.

After I left there, I continued on with mostly nothing much to see. It was very peaceful, with very few people and nature and temples surrounding me. Corny it sounds, but...it's true I guess.

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A pottery store in the middle of nowhere.

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A sign for yet another temple.

I doubled back and ate a lunch of...I don't know what the Japanese is, but it was buckwheat noodles with seaweed in broth with a side of tofu. It was so-so, not really my cup of tea. Although I did get tea with it so...I don't know. I spent about 6 hours in Arashiyama, walking and taking pictures. I finally headed back around 5 pm because it was getting late and dark and cold.
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The train station.

I got back to Osaka around 6 and went back to Cassie and Giordan's apartment. It was decided that I would go look around Shinsaibashi and Amerika-mura (America village), which are both known mostly for shopping and people in outrageous fashion, and then we would meet for dinner.
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One of the side streets.

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A lantern/robot. I thought it was clever at least.

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And a mural in Amerika-mura.

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A fashion victim on the subway.

We ate at some restaurant and I ate some stuff which I have no idea what it was called but it did the trick. Again, we went to bed pretty early after I packed and then woke up early and headed to Shinsaibashi for some last-minute shopping and SUSHI! I don't know if you all know, but I have a love affair with sushi. Unfortunately, Cassie doesn't like it so Giordan and I went while she was at work.

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The restaurant had the conveyor belt where you take what looks good and pay by the plate. So for about $10, I got full on delicious authentic Japanese sushi.
Then Giordan took me to the bus station and I went to the airport, my plane was on time, and in no time I was back in Korea. My friend Scott informed me that one of our teachers decided to just leave without telling anyone. But now we have a new teacher so everything's all good.

Sorry I wasn't more thorough, but...that was basically it! I got to see Gion and a bamboo forest, which was pretty much about all I wanted to see.
And now a final thought:
Japan was really great. The people were incredibly polite, the streets were very clean and the subway was quiet (no eating, drinking, or talking on the phone!) Everything was automated (ticket machines in the subway and train stations) and they drive on the left side of the road. People ride bikes EVERYWHERE...there are rows upon rows of bikes lining the street. However, everything was VERY expensive and my friend Cassie doesn't really get the same benefits as we do living in a cheap country. So, while Japan was a nice place to visit, I wouldn't want to live there. I think maybe Korea is the opposite: it's a nice place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit.

Posted by lrbergen 23:23 Archived in Japan

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