my Japanese guides. This is where memory fails me. I can only remember one name: Moe.
2014. We are on our second visit to Japan and, as before, started in Kyoto. We had seen the Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji on our previous trip as the Fushimi Inari Shrine. There was this whole eastern section of Kyoto we hadn’t ventured to and I’m glad we had a day exploring it. We started at the Nanzen-ji Temple to the south and followed the Philosopher’s Path. This was in October, and the best views here are in the cherry blossom season. At this point, it was still a lovely and warm walk. We found along the way a 2nd hand clothes shop (incredibly expensive, but with lovely kimonos) and Gallery Takano, where we bought a few prints of original artwork.
There’s nothing in particular leading up to the Silver Pavilion, as in most temples. All the sudden, you’re there. This particular approach was somewhat different. The entrance was busy as to be expected, mainly highschool children. We thought it was a school trip but this particular one was different. Now, I’m a tall woman and my partner is even taller, he looks British, I am a bit harder to guess where I’m from. We were picked quite quickly by these two lovely young women that explain to us what they were all doing there.
It was an English class. They were there to practice their English with English speaking people. I felt overwhelmed by their courage (I’m not sure I would do it), by their politeness and friendliness. And I felt a bit sorry for them too, to have picked someone with a very strong Scottish accent and another one with an accent of my own…
We learnt so much from the tour they gave us. They explained the tea ceremony that was going on in one of the buildings, the Moon Viewing platform in the sand garden, why it is called Silver Pavilion and it is not silver – unlike the Golden one. We tried to throw the coins unto the rock at the fountain (and missed). They asked us about Scotland and when we told them we were in Japan to watch the Autumn colours, they told us it was too soon. November is the time for glorious reds and yellows.
It was then time to say goodbye and for the first time in many years, I had someone taking a photo of me. And then I took a photo of our lovely guides. They join a long list of other, nameless, people we encountered in Japan that helped us just because we looked like we might need it, that showed us their country with pride and made us feel incredibly welcomed.
Posted for Sarah’s Friendly Friday Challenge