I’m not sure what these rectangles are for, but there they are on the side of the temple.
Archive for April, 2006
This is at the famous Kiyomizudera, from its famously high overlook. In Japan, the phrase “to throw oneself from Kiyomizudera” means to commit to some daunting endeavor. In the distance you can see Kyoto’s pointy Space-Needlesque tower.
If you pull a bad fortune from the fortune-drawers, you can tie it to a branch in order to prevent it from coming true.
Here are some people’s wishes, written in marker on wooden boards and offered up at the shrine. We saw wishes in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, English, and Spanish; they ranged from frivolous (“I wish I could get better at golf”) to heartbreaking (“I wish my Mom could walk again”).
I’m prelly addicted to coffee. I build myself a soy mocha every day at work, and I often buy a cup somewhere on the weekend. In Japan it was hard to find anything resembling the coffee I am used to. I resigned myself to drinking Starbucks, but while hiking around the hills of Kyoto the best I could do was hit up a vending machine for some can-coffee. This is Kirin’s idea of *Seattle Roast*, approximately 1.5 gulps of pure *mleh*.
When we arrived in Kyoto it was snowing. We made a big deal of asking around for a 100-yen shop, going in, and finding an umbrella. As we came out we saw that the snow had stopped, and I burst into laughter. Piroko made a point of telling me to bring the umbrella back to the USA, because they already had so many of them in Tokyo and she didn’t want the 100 yen to go to waste. I didn’t bring it back.
Piroko has always wanted to take me to Kyoto, her favorite sightseeing destination in Japan. Almost every time I’ve been in Japan has been during the summer, and Kyoto is unbearably hot then, so we never had a good chance to go. This time, though, it was supposed to be unbearably cold. Everyone told us it was record-settingly cold and that we should beware of instantly freezing to death upon disembarking the shinkansen. Having lived in Wisconsin for four years, we were able to shake off the cold pretty easily. Here’s our favorite spot in all of historical Kyoto, Ginkakuji, or the Silver Pavilion. We prefer its elegance to the Golden Pavilion’s extravagance.
Hello, and welcome to a new _out of context_. I have been working on this new version of the site, with the following improvements: * A redesigned stylesheet; its similarity to what I already had gives me confidence that simple designs are best. * The return of the pink checkerboard patterns. * All of the code rewritten in Python, my current language of choice. * Posting the date a photo was taken, using EXIF data in the image file, in addition to the date the entry was written. This reduces confusion when I take a long time to post photos from an interesting place, and people think I’m still there and can still get them souvenirs. * A new timeline view under the photograph; each segment represents a span of time in one place. Click a segment to visit that time. * The use of John Gruber’s [Markdown]. This should be transparent to you, but for me it means I can write my posts in a more natural way, and let the computer figure out the formatting. Maybe you’ll see more [links], _emphasis_, **strong emphasis**, and lists, now that creating them is trivially easy for me. : http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/ : http://37signals.com/svn/archives2/does_this_company_respect_me_try_the_sticker_test.php
After our trip back to Photo Club, Tets and I went to Tower Records so that I could catch him up on today’s good music. I dropped a stack of CDs in his hands and said, “buy these”. We met his new girlfriend there, and headed out for dinner. We went to this old-fashioned-looking tonkatsu joint, which is actually buried in the middle of max-urban Shibuya. There, Tets and I relived our college days, recited inside jokes, and felt sorry for Eiko having to sit through it all.
The surreality of being back in Tokyo was compounded by a reunion with my old roommate Tets. Much of who I am is because of this guy, but I hadn’t had a real one-on-one conversation with him in about three years. We met up in Shibuya and had lunch at a tiny Greek restaurant. We talked about his new job writing local news for NHK. We talked about music, because a major part of our relationship has been based on music. During college, he introduced me to things like Underworld and Aphex Twin, which I never would have tried on my own. We’d listen to them during epic mah-jongg sessions with other Japanese students, as I got a crash course in Japanese culture and language. After lunch, we went to the photo club room at Sophia. It was strange to revisit a place that I used to spend so much time in, but hadn’t thought about for years. All of the photo club stuff was in a new room, but it unmistakably belonged to the same club. My [old photo from Nagano], probably the best photo I ever took, was still there on the bulletin board. Tets says that Ueki-san, seen on the far right of that photo, the guy who was so nice to me, is in the hospital with some serious disease and may die soon. : http://context.metalbat.com/index.pl?699