Monday, August 08, 2005

when it rains, it pours!

i've spent 1 hour in a phone booth today, trying to keep myself dry and hoping that the torrid rain would die down and that i could continue my tour of kyoto's famous sights (aka, temples). little japanese ladies were laughing with me. what can you do! when it rains, the world stops and waits.

the rain is hard, strong, and falls diagonally, rendering the use of an umbrella completely useless. of course, had i had an umbrella with me, i would have kept going regardless. but genius as i am, i left it in my room. lesson learned i will never leave the hotel again without it. days start beautifully here and end up in rain... i should have known better.

the downside is that i am completely drenched regardless. and i was unable to see many sights that are quinsistential kyoto, such as the golden temple, the silver temple, zen gardens... i think that at this rate i would need another 3 days here just to cover the basics.

the upside - i walked in the famous bamboo forest, stood in the biggest wooden building in the world, visited the temple which hold the biggest bell in japan (it takes 17 monks to get it to ring, but funnily enough, it wasn't there though...), saw the tallest pagoda in japan, walked the banks of a beautiful river and watched children play in the river, attended a elementary school party and saw a priceless slice of japanese life (john and i were the only non-locals there) and so on and so forth.

kyoto has many beautiful sights but it is a very big city - it takes a long time to get to each one, and what's in between isn't incredibly striking. although, some areas around the sights are incredible. but it was really worth the stop and i am really disappointed that i didn't get to see more. we'll see though, maybe i'll do a pit-stop here on my way back to tokyo to try to view a couple of the sights that i've missed.

yesterday i spent the day biking around kyoto with john, a teacher from new york. and today, i walked the temples with a man from belgium, although i never caught his name. it's really nice to spend time with others, and i was surprised that i found two person who enjoyed temples as much as i do.

tomorrow i am leaving for nara, a small town 45 minutes away from there. i will probably stay there 2 nights, then head out to osaka for 1 night. for some reason osaka doesn't really appeal to me, but i should check it out regardless. then, it's off to hiroshima and it's surroundings. i'll have seen a lot, but clearly not enough!


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