Thursday, December 3, 2009

Japan! Kyoto: Getting Lost and Ginkgo Trees

       The next morning Meena and I headed to Kyoto. We spent the entire day wandering the city. We wandered into temples, removed our shoes, and meditated alongside the locals. We wandered into an art museum and down narrow alleys. We saw hundreds of vending machines that dispensed everything from coffee to sake. We even saw a sort of vending machine for cars, a space efficient parking garage.

      We got lost on our way back to the train station. But, getting lost always unveils new and unexpected things to see and do. We went to Pachinko’s (no, not like the Miami bar). Pachinko’s is a small gambling venue. They are tucked in every nook and cranny of Kyoto. There are large two story Pachinko’s and small ones in the stairwells of subway stations.
       My favorite was the Imperial Palace gardens. Although we could not go inside the palace itself, the grounds were breathtaking. The trees were changing colors, all different colors. The air was so fresh and exhilarating- with every breath came a clear mind and soul. An elderly couple strolled past us holding hands. A young father smiled and watched over his bouncy toddler daughter.
       The ginkgo trees were the most impressive. Every first day of school at the old house, we would take photos in front of our tiny ginkgo tree. Dad would always say that it was the slowest growing tree. It would take hundreds of years to grow tall. Dad said that when I went to Japan (because he’s dad, he just knew) I would see the biggest ginkgo trees ever. It is such an old country and rulers from ancient times planted the trees and watched them grow strong just like their country.

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