Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I Went to Kyoto and all I Got was a Lousy Hole in the Seat of My Pants

Well, okay, I also got some extra cash remuneration for my “business trip” in addition to a fully funded seminar to wrap up my free Linguistics and Pedagogy course sponsored by CLAIR. Wickedawesome! The fully compensated trip by public transit also gave me my first opportunity to ride the one car “train” from Mutsu to Noheji.

Green Tea Icecream at the Green Tea Tea House: I would have taken more photos, but some women at a table accross the room from mine began wondering aloud why the heck I thought I had to take pictures of my food.

I spent the whole week pining for wife and home but still managed to drag my butt out of the conference centre one evening for a solitary journey to Gion . . . and a visit to a popular tea house that I can’t remember the name of. Perhaps I should point out that although the conference centre was only fifteen minutes by train from Kyoto station, we had a full schedule every day until supper time, leaving only the cold dark nights of January for "hitting the town". I did see one maiko, but she wasn’t worth photographing. I also saw some very genuine yakuza (the quietly pompous and well-poised kind) walking in front of me when I ventured down a side street. They were worth photographing . . . but I didn’t. Call me a coward.

Behold the shining lights of Gion, Kyoto! I spent most of my time there meditating on how boring this ancient capital city is compared to the squid racing, monkey hating, bear fearing village I live in.

In order to demonstrate just how bored I was with Kyoto and Gion, I pulled out my mini-tripod, set my camera timer, and sat down in front of this trendy shop.

Unfortunately, I fell for the old “spiky fence” ploy.

One perfectly good pair of pants ruined. Blast you, Kyoto, with your sharp iron objects! Fortunately the Elliot Buttocks (EB) are known for their invincible strength and firmness and no blood was shed.

This was by far the most interesting thing I saw in Kyoto: the stairway to heaven in the Kyoto train station. The lighting and available angles thwarted my attempts to digitally capture its grandeur, but it’s about seven stories high.