March 24, 2014
We are sitting high above Kyoto in the Kyoto Tower. I am having a beer to keep my courage up while listening to the Godfather soundtrack. It has been another busy day.
We relocated hotels now that the holiday crunch is over. After giving our hotel host a small Omiagi gift ( a Yosemite keychain). He reciprocated with a silk coin purse for Peggy. We still moved because I wanted a western bed and Peggy wanted the hi-tech toilet with three pages of instructions. We got both and now we are enjoying the sun setting while sipping a frozen Kirin Draft Beer. Unusual but Duane and John would like it.
We had reserved our visit to the Kyoto Imperial Palace several months ago. Kind of like a visit to the White House except the Emperor lived here or close by for about a thousand years. He visits occasionally like when George W. Bush visited him here a few years ago. Since then they check American passports carefully. The CalTrans orange you see is designed to keep away evil spirits. At least Dick Cheney never visited here.
After the close up visits to the Shogun homes and the various shrines and temples, the Imperial Palace was a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. However, it was like being on an empty movie set. I kept waiting for the Samurai to roust us. It was easy to see the characters from James Clavell’s Shogun series running around and bowing. The empty palace of some 27 acres is in the middle of a public park or a couple hundred acres. Anyone can bring their dog to walk in the Imperial gardens as long as they pick up after their pooch.
Fun taking pictures with the Japanese. The young girls cannot get enough of me. I am not sure if it is the lustrous grey hair or me telling them that I am Brad Pitt’s brother. They giggle a lot. Peggy takes it well. She is being kind to a Senior citizen.
We did not make it to Lady Murumachi’s grave site located in a lessor shrine near the imperial palace. The author of “The Tale of the Genji” did not need to ride the city bus like us to get to the temples and shrines described in the 800 year old novel. It is interesting to see the workmen doing museum quality reconstruction of these massive temple buildings while I am drinking a beer. It is 6:38 and the lights went out in the workplace. I wonder if Lady Murumachi would approve?
We walked to the textile showroom in time to watch a Kimono fashion show. Some of the silk inventory was too good to pass up. We later found ourselves in the Nishiki shopping area. It was like a Japanese version of the Turkish Grand Bazaar except they did not yell, pinch or push. We never found the end of it but did manage to check out several hundred shops before surrendering.
Peggy found some more silk that needed a home in California. I found squid on a stick. It was actually quite good. I passed on the octopus on a stick because they stuffed its little head with a quail egg. I like quail and the combination was more than I could handle. We did find the Sake samples. Actually there were more tastings here than at Costco. You just had to be ready for almost anything.
So fortified with squid and Sake, Peggy talked me into going to the top of the Kyoto tower that rises over our hotel. We managed a number of pictures and even got some scary ones.