I’m in Kyoto now. Have been for a few days, but the bizarre internet cafe I was using has something seriously wrong with the computers, and was tripping a spam-block on my hosting server, so I couldn’t even comment on posts on my own site.

Lovely city. I could spend weeks here wandering. Would prefer it to the hectic running about.

Was caught in a rainstorm today. I wish I could say it was lovely, but it was kind of horrible. My Lonely Planet book is wrecked, my rentaphone was acting weird, I was soaked, and I was too flustered to catch on that I’d followed directions from the wrong book and missed an event this evening. (I followed the transport directions in the booklet provided by the bus office, which only recommends buses, even when taking a bus takes 70 or 80 minutes and a subway only takes 20 to the same destination. Gaah.)

Oh, and something’s wrong with one of my feet. Popped blisters hurting more than they maybe should is, all. I had this series of blisters upon blisters. I should have gotten better sandals when I had the chance. I will do so at the first opportunity.

I’ll be scurrying  off to Hiroshima in a couple of days, and stopping through Naoshima on my way back to Tokyo. I’ve decided I’ll be visiting again, which takes some of the pressure off on the whole sightseeing thing. I’m just as happy doing less, comfortably. And to be honest, after a while it wears on my and I prefer to sit and eat and talk or read.

Am reading Stephen Pinker’s The Blank Slate, which is basically the book to read. All about innate, evolved human nature and how the denial of it has taken over the humanities, some parts of the sciences, and distortsgovernment and policy and parenting and the arts and… well, anyway, this is going to be the book I send people to read. The book I’ll be recommending everyone. For a long time.

Saw Nijo Castle today. Castle, palace… seeing them in Korea, Japan, China, and even India, there’s an eerie commonality to them. Scales and settings differ, as do the technologies and entertainment zones — the palaces I saw in India had more “water sports” (ahem) areas, the Nijo Castle was more paranoia (google Nightingale Hallway) and painting — but there’s a lot in common between them. I’m always kind of blown away by, and resentful of, the luxury these guys — kings, shoguns, princes — held and how much of the resources around them they diverted to their own luxury and enjoyment. But Nijo was worth the trip.

Am tired. Need sleep.

5 thoughts on “…Kyoto…

  1. Julia,

    Yeah, it’s worth reading. I read the part on literature and it actually brought tears to my eyes to see someone saying something about literature that actually made sense and dealt with the human elements of the stories rather than just engaging in shallow cultural criticism. What Pinker has to say is pretty damning, but I think he’s pretty close to on the money.


    Looks like there’s another one coming tonight, but I have my umbrella now. My Lonely Planet book, though, looks like it will not recover. I should have covered it with tape or mac-tack or something. Next one.

  2. (I hope HTML is allowed otherwise this comment will fail miserably)

    Shame you don’t have time to visit Himeji-jo, possibly the finest extant castle in Japan.

  3. Tal,

    Yeah, I know I’m kind of missing out. On the other hand, I live a couple of hours away, and as much as I like it, I know I’ll be back. It’s probably best I’m not going this trip. The way my feet feel, I don’t think I’d really appreciate it. Which brings me to today’s post…

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