For some the fun in Japan is almost over, but for me I still have three more weeks here before I leave. After going to Kyoto I’ve realized how little time three weeks actually is to truly experience everything. With only three full days, we barely scratched the surface of the city even despite my walking 10+ miles a day. Despite the fact, I was still exposed to stunning religious institutions and urban landscapes I had only experienced before through photographs and literature.
The romanticization and the calm beauty expressed to me before had been lost in many places like Kiyiomizudera and Kinkakuji due to the mere inundation of tourists. Also never having seen world heritage sites or famous places, I had expected the initial observation to hit me like a sort of religious experience. Looking at the main hall of Kiyiomizudera should have registered that this is Kiyiomizudera and I should appreciate immediately that this is Kiyiomizudera. These namesake associations had little affect on me. At the same time, the name did not stun me as much as just plain grandeur. The latticed supports of the main hall of Kiyiomizudera struck me almost magical with the extent of their size and ability to lift the building above over the valley.
The same day, later on in the evening I strolled along the Kamogawa. The wind of the river basin cooled me off and brushed up against the trees to add a relaxing sound affect to eliminate any uncomfortable silence. Like with Kiyiomizudera, I did not immediately internalize “this is the Kamo river. Kabuki was started here. The river would have been lined a hundred years ago with beautiful machiya while paper lanterns would have delicately illuminated the night.” Instead I thought “what a calm refreshing walk this is.” Nostalgia did not influence my experience, rather just my presence in the current time and place.
Kyoto has a certain mystique that still does convey some of that nostalgia I did expect to some degree while blending in the contemporary environment. My dumb phone could not upload my pictures onto computer for some reason, though I highly doubt what I captured could convey the true visual and emotional characteristics of my visit more than any other picture you can find online.