Greetings from Kyoto. Paul has requested that I sign the protocol while I'm here, not sure it works that way but I will do my best.
My time in the snow was great - had some awesome skiing days and a couple where the snow was not so good (due to unfortunate bouts of rain) but I was happy to have some quiet days to rest my legs. I had lots of fun at the backpackers as it was a very social place with the bar downstairs being the hotspot of the local area.
Miscellaneous observations from snow time;
- skiing on fresh snow
- clear days where you could see the whole mountain range
- sitting on a heated toilet seat halfway up a mountain when you are feeling a little bit cold
- skiing on fresh snow again
- listening to spanish lessons while skiing down slopes in Japan
- not being able to understand any announcements or signposts around the place
- $1 a glass Chu Hi night
- playing the Djembe with a Japanese African drumming crew
- Shinkansens (Bullet trains)
- Japan's idea of bread is terrible terrible sweet soft white bread that I'm sure turns to glue for your insides
- Japan's idea of coffee is hideous condensed milky stuff... even when it looks like it comes out of a big machine it's still press button rubbish
- Dont know if this is awesome of not, but the number of Japanese girls with heavy makeup under their snowboarding goggles, I even saw a bunch with false eyelashes! dedicated.
- Rain on fresh snow :(
- My half brothers' capacity to stink out a room with farts
Kyoto a town where you can't walk anywhere without falling over a shrine or temple of some sort so I did a fair bit of that today. Wandered around with another girl who showed me through the Geisha district, Gion. Lots of little wooden buildings and tiny streets, and we even saw 2 geishas in training who were kind enough to let me take their picture. We wandered through this group of temples and were blessed or cleansed or made wishes in one way or another many times over. The area is full of cherry trees and you can see how spectacular it would be if they were flowering... but I imagine fairly manic with tourists too.
In the arvo I particularly wanted to see this one shrine out of town that was full of Buddha statues that are all a bit offbeat... pulling faces or hiding behind trees etc. But because we had spent a while in Gion and on the train, it was closed when we got there. Damn! So we trekked back to the bus stop, but on the way saw a little buddha face on the hill. I dont know wheut there it was a back entrance or what but there were rows and rows of all these statues! Happily took photos of them with their little mossy heads... they looked great.
Spending tomorrow in Kyoto then heading to Hiroshima in the evening for a few days (loving this shinkansen stuff). I have informed Dad that I will be staying with him before I fly out so will see how far i get in this next week before heading back to Tokyo.