Susan's sketchbook log: Japan


Keys to Kyoto

KinkakujiThe number of 'must sees' in Kyoto seriously exceeded my expectations. And my time. Color me frustrated.

One such site is Kinkakuji or Golden Pavilion (left), a Zen temple originally built in the 14th century as a residence for the retired shogun. The present building is only about 50 years old, as the original was burnt by a fanatic resident monk. Hunh.

All the sites were even more busy than usually, with all the cherry blossom viewing. I decided that after baseball, photographing sakura must be the biggest national pastime. Later, when I got to Tokyo, I would even see a guy in a suit, on his way into a government office, hold up his cell phone and shoot a picture of a (long past its prime) cherry blossom. I suppose some officials in Washington, D.C. might do that, but somehow it stretches my imagination beyond its bounds.

Kiyomizu-dera (below) is reportedly THE site in Kyoto. On THE Sunday of cherry blossom viewing, I could believe that -- and that everyone had chosen this particular day to visit.

This was yet another opportunity to buy an o-mikuji -- a paper fortune. They range all the way from "great blessing" through "small near blessing" to "great curse." The interesting thing was that the bad ones are left, traditionally tied to pine trees. Always nice to be able to just walk away from a less-than-glorious prediction. Afraid I would be tempted to keep a bad one as a possible paper for a future collage, I refrained from purchase.


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