Golden Press

Day 2: Kyoto, Japan

Golden Pavilion 2011 © Jarondakie Patrick

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It seems I finally have gotten use to the time different in Japan, but still manage to go to bed earlier than all of the other reporters here. In Washington, DC  it is Saturday and night-time. But in Japan it’s 8 a.m. Today I woke up early to prepare to be a tour guide for the rest of the Roy W. Howard 2011 Group. Were going to Kyoto to visit the Golden Pavilion and Zen Rock gardens at Ryoan-ji.

Kyoto, Japan 2011 © Jarondakie Patrick

When thinking about the history of Kyoto it is amazing.

Kyoto once was the largest city in Japan and for 1,000 years was the capital city. Now it holds antique buildings and great history for the Japanese people. The population is very dense compared to other cities like Tokyo and Osaka. But its the third city to make up the metropolitan area with Osaka and Kobe. There are 11 wards in Kyoto and one of Japan’s highest ranked universities is here, Kyoto University.

At the Gold Pavilion we met several people who wanted to take pictures with Americans and students wanting to practice their English on us. It wasn’t the best, but a few members of the group gave them their email addresses to keep in touch.

At the Zen Rock Garden, Brad, our chaperone pointed out that many Japanese are fascinated with blonde hair and blue eye humans. In Japan you rarely see someone with blonde hair or blue eyes. When they do, most of the time the Japanese pull out their cameras or chat among themselves about the rare humans they see. Other times they’re laughing, not at Americans or rare creatures, but out of curiosity. (At least I hope)

All the students were dressed in uniforms. Most girls had their skirts rolled up so the hem hung high above their knees. It seemed pretty odd to see students on field trips from other Japanese cities and China because in America most kids are out of school for a 2-3 month summer. Japanese students attend school all year round except for August when they are out for the summer, which happens to be the hottest month of the year in Japan.

One thing about Kyoto that amazed everyone was the famous street that dates back. It is the home of Geisha, the women that we could not get a look at. But we tried our hardest as we walked down the entire block hoping to spot one. We even ran down one of the alleys thinking the lady exiting a car was a Geisha. I guess we run too slow because before we knew it, it was as if she vanished.

Before stalking the block of  ‘Geisha Land’ we stopped for ice cream. The waffle cone was amazing, but I could not get over the overdose of green tea products.

Green tea is a staple in Japanese culture. It is served with every meal and you can find it everywhere. I have seen green tea Kit Kat, ice cream, cake, and candy. But the taste of green tea is not of a sweet taste, which sometimes makes it unbearable to drink. The taste is tart and often taste like dirt when not sweetened.

Kyoto sparked an interest in me; much about foreign relations. Even in a large city like Kyoto with over 1 million residents the streets are clean. Where there is traffic, there is no chaos of honking horns. The people cruise on their bicycles with no hesitation of screeching brakes from a car. The drivers have so much respect for the bikers and for the people. Should I say, the taxi drivers do not take tips.

© Jarondakie Patrick

Today lunch was a disappointment. Probably because we waited so long to eat, but mainly I have already became weiry of raw foods. This had to be the most disappointing thing for me so far on the trip. I am very open-minded, but certain things I refuse to eat, no matter where I am.  

I did not enjoy looking at baby shrimps fried with everything still attached and labeled as “Cajun shrimp”. I am from Louisiana (home to Cajun food and seafood) and nothing seemed delicious about eating a shrimp with eyes and a tail, so I did not. I have tried calamari and find squid to be gummy. So I waited for a visitor to tell me what everything was before I put it on my lips. I did happen to try some fried potatoes and strange white fish (that no one knew the name of , even when they looked it up). I tip my hat off to the rest of the group that ate all of the goodies delivered to the table.

I did enjoy the restaurant.

I must not forget the Kyoto Train Station. You have seen nothing like it with its multiple stairs that lead to the top of a roof. On the roof lies amazing flowers, benches, and a view of Kyoto hidden through see-through plastic. The gigantic architecture criss-crosses above the opening of the train station leading outdoors and up to the roof.  I must say the Japanese are really into sophisticated artwork, but little color. Many of their buildings are made with glass and the colors are: black, grey, or silver.

Kyoto Train Station 2011©Jarondakie Patrick

We added Nijo Castle into our visit and Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto. I think the Shimogamo Shrine was the most color I had seen, since being in Japan.

Very peaceful at the Zen Rock Gardens in Japan. If you look really hard you may notice there are 15 rocks. ©Jarondakie Patrick

Today was a long day!


July 13, 2011 - Posted by | International, JAPAN | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I appreciate photos expressing vividness of colors that is not always captured in photographs of Japan. Good job

    Comment by Ricardo "Ricky" Reid | June 25, 2013 | Reply

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