It’s true. I absolutely adore this city. There is no place on earth I’d rather be. If it is at all possible to fall in love with a geographic location, I truly believe that I have. I used to go there almost every weekend while I was studying abroad at Kansai Gaidai, just to go exploring. I could give you an exhaustive list of all of the places I’ve been to in this town and there’d still be a million new ones I’ve yet to check out.
While I was there I visited a few of my favorite places (and some new ones!) with some of my favorite people. For two nights, I stayed at a great little hostel that was situated right between Sanjo and Shjio, in Nakano-cho. Then I stayed another two nights at my BFF’s house… right across the street from Nijo-jo! I had planned to stay a night in Osaka as well, but there were important people to see and making the commute via Keihan line to Osaka for a day trip is definitely no hassle whatsoever. I visited those places in Kyoto Station that nobody knows how to get to, walked on the 哲学の道 all the way to Nanzen-ji, and went to a subtemple there and (very much unlike when I visited Ryoan-ji…) had the crane & turtle garden all to myself (honestly, it was as though nobody knew this place was open). Aki and I went to Heian Jingu and did 座禅 at Kenninji, and afterwards, while still at the temple, ran into a honest-to-goodness Maiko; complete with bells in her shoes and a gracious escort who permitted us a photo. I had coffee with my professor. I visited Umeda with Megu and we had Okonomiyaki and did some shopping. In short, It was a wonderful trip away from Tochigi.
It made me so nostalgic to hear 関西弁 everywhere I went. I get a lot of flack for using it in Kanto – either people find it humorous to the extent of ridiculousness or they just can’t comprehend how a foreigner can pick it up. When you live there for almost a year you might as well forget learning 標準語 at all. I always equate my use of Kansai-ben to a Western Pennsylvania dialect, because anymore I only speak it in comfortable, homey situations with close friends – kind of how I can only use certain words and phrases that will only be understood back in Pittsburgh.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I love
being a turtle Kyoto!! (25 points if you can name the movie reference)