Noooooooo!!!! I just spent like an HOUR writing this post and then accidentally hit the “back” button on my browser, erasing the whole thing. Let’s see how much I can remember…once again…
So, after spending every day of the last week in my room studying Kanji, steam has officially started to shoot out of my ears. I REALLY want to learn the meanings of all 2,000 Joyo kanji before my buddies Ron and Jason come to visit on March 20th, but that means learning no less than 500 new characters per week (while reviewing all of the old ones so that I can retain those too).
Yet somehow I managed to stay on schedule this week, and as a personal reward I decided to take the day off and go visit Fushimi Inari shrine in southeastern Kyoto. And what a pleasant surprise! Just minutes before I was going to leave, Dylan IM’ed me to tell me that he and a bunch of his friends from YHM were also planning to go there today! So we met up and did some exploring together. Pictured left are a few of them doing what Gaijin do best in Japan: break rules and annoy Japanese people…
…I mean take pictures.
Fushimi Inari was my absolute favorite shrine/temple from the last time I came to Japan, and today’s visit reminded me exactly why. For starters, take a look at this map. Do you see that long snake-path winding up the mountainside? Well, that path is actually thousands and THOUSANDS of torii…
like these. But while the torii are Fushimi Inari’s main claim to fame, it really does have so much more to offer. The group and I decided to explore off the beaten path, discovering along the way countless little sub-shrines and clearings, gardens and cemeteries, and of course incredible overlooks of Kyoto. Because it was a bit overcast the pictures of the view didn’t look quite as awesome as they did in person, but from the top of that mountain you could see clear to Osaka.
Here’s a random picture of a big rusty…thing…that we found. OK, I don’t really know what to say about it…but LOOK at it! Isn’t it cool? 🙂
We ended up spending so much time exploring the mountains and bamboo forests behind the shrine that by the time we came out we were in an entirely different neighborhood of Kyoto.
But even so, there’s never a lack of beautiful things to see in this city. Seeing just a few of these trees (my best guess is that they’re plum blossoms, but I really don’t know) has managed to get me just a little bit more hyped for Sakura season.
But wait, when I said beautiful things I wasn’t talking about flowers! What I MEANT was that we saw….
Nintendo’s corporate headquarters!
Back in 1889 a man named Fusajiro Yamauchi, great grandfather of the present Nintendo president, founded the company for producing hand made playing cards of mitsu-mata tree bark right here in Kyoto. Something tells me that he had no idea it would turn into a billion dollar video game company. Something else tells me that he had no idea what a video game was. Or a TV. Isn’t it interesting, though, that the company has been around for well over a century?
Oh, just one thing I’d like to add. Yesterday I was on the phone with one of my best friends and I mentioned the fact that he NEVER comments on my page. His response was he thought that I didn’t even read them. I DO! And I love every single one of them…so even if you think I don’t want to hear from you, I assure you, I do :)**