Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Road Weary

And finally at rest, for the moment. Since arriving in Japan on Feb. 8, I've been to Oita, Yamaguchi (three times), Okayama, and driven to Kansai three times. Hiroshima in between. Arrived for good in Kyoto on a Monday, then was guiding clients along the Nakasendo two days later. Back in Kyoto after those twelve days, to a house filled with boxes, still getting their land legs after two months at sea and riding the waves of red tape. Twelve hours later, guiding clients around Kyoto for two days. I'd hoped to unpack some, but I had only a single day off, and needed some 'me' time. Will set off on another 12 day Nakasendo tour tonight. Miki and the baby are in Hiroshima for the time being.

I walked around Kyoto a little, both while guiding clients and while guiding myself. Kyoto both has and hasn't changed. I feel the gap very little, the two years - two weeks -two hundred years- intangible. I've been gone, and I haven't.

There are more earbuds in dainty little ears, and the girls seem taken with those ugly Columbo trenchcoats. Restaurants have taken to label that there foods come from anywhere but Fukushima. Most of my foreign friends have had a Job done on them by Apple, everywhere iPhones and iPads and Mac Airs, oh my!

There are the usual hordes of Chinese tourists at Gingaku, but the tour groups are all over the city now. I seem to see more Chinese people than Western now. They're still dressed well, but look less moneyed than they did a few years ago. China must be getting liberal with their visas. At least I've yet to see any phlegm on the Path of Philosophy.

Exploring my new neighborhood in the mornings, after a fucking rooster at the school across the street wakes me at daybreak. I'm a little anxious about what he'll do in summer, when the sun rises before 4. (I hope I don't resort to poultricide.)

For the first time in decades, my home is surrounded by more grey than green. But I can see Hiei from my second floor window, and the river and Daitokuji are short walks away. I hope to resume zazen at Ryusenji again. Need to be a stone in the gale of all this movement...

On the turntable: Weather Report, "8:30"
On the nighttable: "The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder"


blaine said...

I've walked around most of the main areas of Kyoto. Are there any neighborhoods away from tourist areas that are worthwhile to visit?

I might be in Kyoto during Golden Week so I would like to branch out from my normal excursions.

Feel free to share nothing or something.

Zacky Chan said...

Do you get paid to guide people on hiking trips? That sounds awesome.

ted said...

Happy to hear you'll come to Kyoto. Please mail me, and we'll take it from there.

ted said...


You're welcome sometime too, of course. And I do get paid to guide, which is sweet, but 12 days away keeps me from training and family. (not necessarily in that order).