On our way to the Heian Shrine, we stumbled into the Budo Centre. This particular Centre in Kyoto is the oldest martial arts exercise hall in Japan and has some of the youngest people fighting and training. A couple of teens were beating each other up in the Kyu-Butokoden building. We moved down to watch the graceful archery (Kyudo). With 2 metre long bows, you will need a Zen state of mind to master "the way of the bow". Seeing kids sumo is pretty funny... The bouts are quite quick and after each, many boys return to their seat and resume training (a.k.a. eating)!
Wandering around to the Heian Shrine, the incredible kimono and make-up on 7, 5, and 3 year old girls, and boys clad in formal suits is quite... outrageous? Perhaps more amusing are the couples without children who arrive with their pet micro-dogs. Not in a handbag this time, but a pram! - I wonder if they prey for the health and good fortune of the dogs. By chance, we picked probably the busiest day of the year to attempt visiting this shrine. We really couldn't be bothered joining the bus loads of people queued up.
A little market stall selling great souvenirs near the shrine, and Autumn maple viewing in the beautiful gardens with a busker strumming at Maruyama park all make pleasant distractions. With little planned, it was easy to fill the day (and a few more) with interesting and funny things in Kyōto. With luck, you too can spot a few apprentice geisha fluttering around the cobble-stone streets of Gion. Either sponge off another photographer, or it might be worth your while to learn the phrase to ask. Elaborate kimonos, fancy hair-styles, neat accessories; these are only what they wear. Mastering all the get up is just one of many things an apprentice must accomplish to become a geisha. I dread to even contemplate walking in those shoes!
We were soon joined by the mob of people flowing into the famed Kiyomizu temple. This temple features very high on my tick list for Kyōto visits. As you can see, it is high on lots of other people's list too! Even young teens who are dressed in today's standard equipment are strolling the walkways of this grand temple complex. As Thom Gourley put it:
Funny how American pop culture spreads like an oil slick on the youth of the world! Of course, the Japanese have managed to add their own spice to the themes...
Kate had run out of time and needed to be heading for the bus. We passed the , leaving the believers to drink and wash in the therapeutic waters and that was . After some confusion, being lost at the north side of the enormous Kyōto station, we end up back where we started this weekend: eating uncultured in the culture capital! The Princess Line came and went. Then Kate boarded her bus back to Hiroshima.
I went back to Kiyomizu-dera, along with a gathering crowd...