Monday, July 13, 2009

Kyoto: Day 2

After putting in some good mileage on foot yesterday, and getting my previous sleep on a bus, to say I was delighted to lay down in that bed may be the understatement of the year. It was crazy. As I laid down I heard a mysterious "Ahhhhh" resound through the room. I looked at my brother and asked him..."Did you say that?" He said, "Nah, Dogg..That was your back!" Indeed it was.
The hotel rang us at 11:00, "Leave now Negroes," was the loose translation of what they said. But, as you know, my Japanese is a work in progress. It's actually been pretty interesting for me to have my brother visitting. I had not realized just how much Japanese I'd picked up until I found myself translating the brief gestures and inuendo's I could make out. The greatest dynamic I've become aware of is how comfortable I've become in a situation where a person is rattling off high speed sentences which make absolutely no sense to me whatsoever, yet I'm still attempting to pull a word or two out of it to (at the very least,) give a good guess at what he's trying to convey. This as opposed to my initial mindstate, which was "What the hell is this guy saying to me?" On repeat, from beginning to end of sentences.

After breakfast, if you call it that at 11:30 AM. (Which I do) We headed off to c. This was the one that had the most hype surrounding it, so we were both real intrigued to see what it amounted to in actuality. Let it be known, it did not disappoint, by any means. Set in the middle of a pond, the entire temple is made of GOLD! It is stoic. And the setting was tranquil to boot, creating just the right setting and mindset to take in the majestic feel of the place.

Unfortunately, guests are not allowed inside, but from the brochures we could see there is a pool on the 3rd floor of the temple. The layout of which appeared to have a real Divine feel to it. Wish we could have gone in, but I certainly understand why they keep the parade of tourists out of such pristine territory.

From Kinka (Gold) to Ginkakuji, the Silver temple. As we entered, we were handed an apology that stated, the temple is currently under construction. Yet we still had to pay to get in, so I was like, "Yo, there better be something in here worth seeing!" And let me tell you, the temple wan afterthought at this place.

By now we'd seen so many temples and shrines, it was gonna take something extraordinary to make an impression. And initially, when we walked up on the construction site, it was very anti-climactic. No silver in sight. And just the shell of a temple really. HOWEVER, as we continued along the path, we were guided through some truly sanctified grounds. The 1st of which was the sand, zen garden. Bubba had been longing to see one and he'd said so just moments before we entered, so we both smiled when we caught a glimpse of that one.

As I close my eyes, I revisit this very distinct feeling that emanated from the land. It's extremely difficult to bring this to words. Primarily because the feeling itself was unprecedented. But also, even the greatest of superlatives seem to fall short in terms of describing this. Attention to detail seemed to illuminate the entire setting. Yet, somehow amidst the "Wow factor" I found a great sense of peace. It struck me on a chord that resonated just right.

As the path continued, that energy continued to rise, as we stepped into higher and higher elevations. Soon offering a view from above the temple, and even greater, the city. Bubba and I spent a nice little while up there and just sponged the view. No talking, just breathing and acknowledging that we were really living these moments. As movie-esque as it all felt, we were really standing right there breathing that air. It was special. To say the least.
And thank God/Buddha it was! Cause when we left there, we ran into some tough luck! The next move was to check out a village which was old school and real traditional. A friend of mine from Kyoto, who was meeting us there, called me and told me we would not be allowed to enter because village entry requires a reservation. "Jenkies!"

With a look of despair, I looked at Bubba and said.."That's alright! I didn't wanna see that anyway!!" And just like that we were off to see a castle. That's the beauty of Kyoto, there are over 1,500 temples and shrines there, so you don't have time to get caught up feeling sorry for yourself. You gotta keep it moving and get as much in as you can...(if you're in that mindset.) Well, I guess we should've shifted gears a little earlier, cause by the time we got to the castle, it was closed. UNBELIEVABLE.

And just like any troopers, who set out on a spiritual journey and got denied twice, we decided it was time to DRINK!! Bub had found a nice restaurant up on a hillside which had a view that was ridiculous. It was there that the Sake began to flow, and the spirits got to getting lively! As is always the case, when I'm in a place where the scenery is moving, I can't help but wish my mother is there to share it with me. This was no different. But based on the prices on that menu, it was probably best she didn't make it!!

All in all, Kyoto definitely lived up to the hype. It's a place I hope to visit again, early and often. From the good natured people, to the refreshing natural scenery, Kyoto provided a much needed shift in gears. That being said, there's so much to take in there, that it feels like our 2 day adventure was merely the tip of the iceburg. I am truly appreciative of having the opportunity to actually feel that place. And I will be doing my best to preserve that image and feeling that I connect with when I close my eyes...and return to Ginkakuji.


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