We spent yesterday in Kyoto City, and it was a fine day of temples and lots of shopping. We started out at Kiyomizu-dera, which is a buddhist temple famous for its huge wooden stage that was constructed using no nails. I know this in part to our tour guides, who accosted us upon our entrance, "Excuse me. We are university students, and we would like to give you a free tour." I suppose they were hiding, strategically stationed in the shadows, waiting for foreigners to walk through the gates with which to practice their English. We agreed, and the tour began.
Our tour guides were a boy and a girl who were students at Kansai Gaidai University. English majors, of course. The young man was sweating bullets (it didn't help that it was a million degrees outside), and was obviously very out of his element. "I am very, very nervous," he kept saying. It then became apparent that the young girl was his sempai (a mentor or trainer of sorts) and was there to supervise his progress.
Once we got to the large wooden stage which is the main feature of this temple, our female tour guide told us that the stage was very famous, and she asked us why. I looked over the barrier at the beautiful city scape in the horizon and the trees many hundreds of feet below.
JS popped off, "Suicide?"
Girl: "Yes! Suicide! People believed that if you jumped off of this stage and survived, you would live in paradise forever after. But over eighty percent of the people survived."
There was also another attraction that consisted of two large iron rods, one smaller than the other. We were told that the smaller one was meant for women, the larger for men, and that if you are able to lift the heavy rod with only one arm then your family would be granted with great wealth. Guess who had the guns to lift the rod? Booyah biyatches.
Then we enjoyed delicious melty ice cream, stalked maiko-san (geishas in training),
and partook in some conspicuous consumption. The boys usually left and sat outside while Julie and I shopped.
JS has been really worried people speaking French around me, but I quite like it. Even though I may not understand as well, it still feels much more familiar than Japanese.
The following scenes were snapped by my boyfriend who has talent and a photographic eye: