And now, a random smattering of pictures and things from Japan. I really have to get to my Korea pictures too. Bleh.
People write on these wooden tablets sold at shrines, then place them with all of the other tablets for good luck. On these were wishes for success, health, friends and family, love, and everything in between. Glancing at the multitude of tablets was like taking a peek into the dreams of an entire world, and I couldn't help but smile at the things that I read.
Traveling during the winter has its pros and cons, as do most things. It was cold enough to keep away most large crowds at parks, temples, and shrines. Hot sake tasted delicious in that particular weather. However, most of the foliage was gone for the season - cherry blossoms, plum blossoms, and lotuses were few and far between. Thankfully, I was able to find a little bit of color amidst the sea of grey and brown.
Some streets in Kyoto were a slice out of the 1800s, with traditional storefronts, muffled foot traffic, and the occasional geisha running to and from appointments. This was the Japan that I was hoping to witness, and I felt extremely fortunate to be able to walk down these streets with beauty and an undeniable classiness around every corner.
Kiyomizu-dera, one of the most famous temples in Japan. It is particularly (ridiculously) large, spanning across a good chunk of mountainside. This is just one (very tiny) portion of the greater temple complex.
Kodai-ji, my favorite shrine in Kyoto. The gardens here were designed by an illustrious tea ceremony master named Sen-no-Rikyu, and there's a strange quality to them that I can't quite put my finger on. An almost ethereal atmosphere where I wandered the grounds in a daze. I had never experienced anything like it before.
Bamboo is the subject of an obsession that I've had for several years, but I can't quite figure out why. Hm.
Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto, famous for its numerous tunnels covered by hundreds of torii gates. Walking through these corridors, one is bathed in a peculiar orange light that makes everyone look like they are the victims of a bad tan.
This is one of the places that I knew I HAD to visit in Japan, and I'm infinitely glad I got to meander through the shrine.
Umeda Sky Building, Osaka. Go into the light.