So to most people escalators may just seem like a convenient way to go up and not worthy of too much notice, but there is something about them that has been bugging me for quite some time.  Let me begin with a story.  When I was young, around 7 or so, I remember going to the mall with my mum.  We were in Filenes and needed to get to the second floor(that’s where all the children’s clothes were) and so of course we took the escalator.  I stepped on, put my hand on the moving railing beside me, and settled in for the ride.  But not much later, my hand was suddenly way ahead of me! Why did this happen? I wondered.  How could this be? Well this same thing happened to me yesterday while I was coming out of Yagoto Niseki.  Tired and haggard, a tuna and mayo onigiri in hand, I placed my hand on the rail and soon found it tugging at me.  ‘Start walking!’ it said. ‘No way in hell’ I glared back.  So then it got angry at me and I had to keep adjusting my hand for the remainder of the escalator ride.

Things to discuss:

Why do the railings go faster than the stairs?

Do they still go faster than the stairs when there are no people around?

Did whoever invented escalators decide to do that just to make us wonder at the tiny annoyance?

So Meiji Mura was pretty neat and all, what with its one truly Japanese house, its one western on the outside, Japanese on the inside house, and all of its otherwise generic western buildings. It was also pretty fun that they had those stamps all around that said 100 yen on them and made me nervous. But what really did it for me wasn’t the history, sadly enough, but two things that I think were pretty modern: a maze of doom and darkness and an extraordinarily slippery carpet.

The first place we went to was a church that had positioned itself in such a way that it would always have a beautiful view of lake, mountains, and sky. You could tell by the way that its eyebrows arched over its peering windows and the gaping of its door that it still hadn’t grown tired of seeing it day after day. Overall it was a very happy and pleasant seeming church. Anyway, inside the church there was a play room and at the far end the floor sloped more than half way up the wall and ended with a ledge and a little bench. This slope happened to be covered with the most amazingly slippery carpet that I have ever seen in my entire life. Those with socks found it impossible to walk up without a running start and once at the top they could stand or sit and slid to the bottom. I of course was not wearing socks but had had the forethought to bring a small jacket with me which could easily be used in the place of socks. Despite what everyone thought I made it down the first time without falling and only fell once when Ben tripped me at the end. Some thought of trying to go down standing backwards, but in the end we all agreed that that was a poor idea in anyway you could look at it.

The maze of darkness we found while waiting for a train that we never ended up riding. Upon coming out of the gift shop and wondering where everyone had gotten to, I heard a disembodied voice call out my name. It took me a few tries to figure out it was Nicci and that she was calling to me from the stairs directly to my right, but once I’d gotten that I walked up the stairs to find her, Shela(r)gh, and Greg standing by a happy looking old man with white hair. Apparently for the price of only 200 yen we could have the pleasure of walking willingly into a pitch black maze and trying to find our way out. Don’t worry, if we got completely and utterly stuck all we had to do was press the button on the necklace thing and they’d come find us… probably. Well of course we did it. Who were we to say no to so much fun? So in we went! Nicci leading Greg leading Shela(r)gh leading me. I think the thing that first struck me was that, yes, the maze actually was pitch black. I guess the man with his snowy hair and happy smile had deceived me into thinking that he would never be able to send some innocent kids into a death trap like this. But he was and he did and there we were. Our first indication that this was a death trap, though a superbly fun one, was when we began seeing a flashing light. ‘Joy!’ was my first thought, ‘this must be a victory sign and we’ve already reached the end! Hurray for us!’ This thought was quickly maimed and killed as Nicci rounded the corner and was met by a giant and terrifying blast of air that sent her flying backwards in surprise where a wall flung itself out to met the back of her head with wide open arms. But as we all know, walls don’t know the meaning of restraint and so Nicci ended up on the floor with a quickly growing headache. Greg, being the nice person that he is, was all concerned and making sure that she was ok while Shela(r)gh and I, being the horrible people that we are, inquired briefly as to if she was alright and then proceeded to laugh like maniacs for a good few minutes. Once Nicci had gotten up, we proceeded with caution and with the new knowledge of the evils of flashing lights. We only met the blast of air one more time and managed to pass it unscathed, and despite me choosing the left path and leading us to a dead end, we eventually made it out to see the man smiling even wider, probably from hearing our screams echoing out of the dark maze.

After we went to Nijo castle we all went off in search of something delicious to fill our stomachs.  We ended up splitting but some of us got to eat in a small shop that an adorable older lady had been running for about 33 years.  The place was set up with a small table for four and the rest was bar stool style.  For those on the stools, their meal was cooked right in front of them.  Cameron questioned the the stove’s heat at one point but upon pressing his finger into the highly heated metal he discovered that yes, the stove was hot and that he had less common sense than my 5 year old sister.  Anyway, we all thought that the lady was completely amazing so we asked if we could take pictures.  Being adorable, she got slightly flustered, smiled and said she should have dressed up today and that she felt like a movie star.  I kiiiiiiiiind of wanted to kidnap her.  The food was awesome.  Anna, Pops, Sarah, and Cameron had yakisoba(I think), Mike, Senaka, and I had this crazy awesome chicken set that tasted like angel wings, and Meguro sensei had okonomiyaki and was very excited about it.

What I really liked about this was how it was removed from the big city.  It had a small community feel to it that wasn’t really present in a lot of the places in Kyoto.  I personally didn’t like Kyoto as  much as others because it was a big city even though the sites were extremely interesting.

Next Page »