|Schoolgirls ready for temple|
Later I was wandering down the "most beautiful alley in Kyoto", basically its this narrow snaking corridor flanked on both sides by lovely ancient wooden samurai houses. Even though you can't see in the houses its pretty atmospheric. Then, the magic happened. Two geishas were wandering up the alley towards me. My jaw hit the cobblestones. I snapped a cool pic of them wandering up, but my brain wasn't working enough to ask them to pose with me. They clopped clopped on by in their odd wooden sandals, me staring stupidly. Now, mind you, I live in LA and see celebs all the time. Or at least I used to when I was a young party animal going to Hollywood. So I tend to think of myself as pretty jaded when someone famous is sitting next to me. But watching two geishas walk by is different, its like spotting a tiger in Sumatra. You read they aren't extinct (yet) but you sure as hell don't expect to actually see one. I surreptiously followed them a bit and was excited to see that a Japanese tourist had stopped them for a photo op. I jumped in there and said a few "shashin gosaiimas" and the usual hand gestures... and that's the story of my Facebook profile pic. It is truly mind-boggling to a Japanese newbie like myself how incredibly nice the Japanese are; if you ask something you usually get it with a smile, whether you are being rude or not. I often worried that if I was being an ass they would never let me know.
|Listening to the wind|
So the bamboo forest is pretty cool, but I definitely wished I'd gotten to it really early in the morning, when the soft low light through the bamboo would have been fantastic, and the sound of shutters and "Say Cheese!" would have been replaced with nothing but that zen-filled sound of a thousand bamboo stalks softling rustling in the wind.
|Everything is sacred|