Saturday, September 12, 2015

Travelogue: Asia Pacific - Part 3

Let me start this post with a grand statement. Japan, the land of Manga & Anime (as far as I’m concerned), is where I was during early August and I didn’t enter even one manga store while I was there. Sad smile But I saw manga volumes even in convenience stores like Family Mart. Boy, are they popular there!

Anyway, I was visiting Dept. of Physics at Kyoto University for roughly a week, attending a 2-day conference and giving a talk. There were some interesting talks and I got some work done too. But that’s enough Physics for this blog… let’s get back to the theme of travelogue like the last few posts’ theme has been.

First of all, let me get this burden off my chest. Japanese people ARE ‘polite’. One ordinary sounding instance is that the shopkeepers speak all those flowery (sonorous) sentences / words ending with ‘-masu’ & ‘-sai’ even to foreigners who (most probably) have no idea what’s being said! And they do not just mumble the phrases as if performing a routine task but stress all the words clearly as if speaking to locals. I’d expect they would give themselves some slack in front of foreigners but they don’t. Another not-so-ordinary scene demonstrating ‘politeness’ is when a driver doesn’t honk at a tourist who’s standing in the middle of the road photographing an arch (torii)! He just waits there for 10-15s for the person to move without –did I say– honking… No, I don’t think I made myself clear: the driver turns the corner, stops and DOESN’T HONK at the tourist blocking the road and his way for 15s! Where the hell did you ever read or hear such a sentence?

Torii

Second of all, Kyoto is a clean and calm city. Even the busy portions of the city somehow felt calming. I felt as if there’s no background noise. What was I smoking there I don’t remember! About cleanliness, the stream near Philosopher’s Path is crystal clear and I’m not exaggerating. How is that humanly possible? Only the fish living in that stream make it muddy. Smile

Fish in clear water   Fish in muddy water

Third of all, Kathmandu may be a city full of temples but Kyoto isn’t slouching with their abundance of shrines either… and vending machines. I mean, come on… shrines are ok (great actually) but vending machines? Who decided that? Ok, our city is full of shrines and we’re very proud of that but let’s make it full of one more special thing so people can talk about it far and wide. Ya, let’s… Let’s install vending machines on every street. Huh? Vending machines? Ya, for drinks and stuff? Oh yes… I thought you said something else… Yes, vending machines. Because why not? And there you have it. My take at writing comedic dialogues. No wonder I didn’t get anywhere above 70% in English during my school days. Sad smile

At Hotel  Near Philosopher's Path  ICECREAM Vending Machine near PP

Fourth of all, ‘Kimono’s are helluva expensive! What people usually wear in daily life are called ‘Yukata’s. I bought one for my Superpartner. That set even has wooden sandals. Only thing missing was an wooden umbrella, which were also quite expensive so got a small ‘spreadable’ fan instead to ‘complete’ the set. Smile with tongue out

Women in Yukata

Fifth of all, Kyoto is a great place to indulge in photography:

Fox at Fushimi Inari Shrine   Torii entrance at Fushimi Inari Shrine

Main gate of Yasaka Shrine   Somewhere inside Ginkakuji Temple

Last but not the least of them all: Great bakery products (like Taipei). Tough to find vegetarian options in general (unlike Taipei but better than Busan). Buses have ‘change machines’ so you can pay exact fare without any worries (unlike Taipei)! Buses constantly display stops’ info in English (unlike scrolling texts in Taipei).

Panoramic Kyoto

Enjoy this album!