December 25 & 26: Traveling to Japan on Christmas day had its interesting moments:
- My brother wrote me a going away note with a drawing of Godzilla attacking Japan.
- There was the fact that I wore a Santa hat the entire day.
- In my mind, I said goodbye to America while I was stuck between some genuine white trash in line at the San Francisco Airport Burger King.
- I sat next to a guy on the flight over the Pacific who kept ordering milk whent he beverage cart came by… while I was watching Inglorious Basterds. (If you don’t know what I would have been afraid of, check out the movie.)
- The Santa hat did not garner much attention, but I managed to talk my way into emergency row seats (major cha-ching! for us tall folk).
- There is a real lack of garbage cans or containers in Japan. I ripped some plastic wrapping off of the backpack I had checked, and as I stood at the baggage claim spinning around in a scan for a trashcan, an airline agent came springing to take it from me so she could dispose of the wrapping.
- I learned that each city in Japan has its own etiquette standards regarding which side of the escalator you stand on.
December 27: Kyomizu-dera was the first outing in Kyoto. Face and I visited the site in the morning and had company the next day when his friends from his Japanese program, Chad & Malia, came in to adventure with us.
I saw prayer postcards for the new year; bad fortunes on trees that were to be returned to the wind; drank some purifying water (which I was jokingly told would bring me easy childbirth); and I walked between two rocks blindly (in order to guarantee I would find my true love). The sunsets were all just grand while I was in Japan, and we were fortunate to see a full moon eventually as well.
I adore Kyoto, and this is probably one of my top cities to have been to. This is where I felt a pulse of Japan, aside from the urban sprawl, etc.
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