Tokyo and Kyoto Episodes, Spring 2013
the best photos
Japan 2013 page
- Visiting Tokyo during Hanami (cherry blossom season) is easy. If
you want to visit Kyoto during Hanami, book your hotel at least three
months ahead (or end up staying in a love hotel, as I
- Tokyo is the busiest and most frenetic city I've ever visited in my
life. I spent a week tense until I went to Kyoto - much more laid
back. Tokyo is full of museums and great food, but my best advice if
you're visiting is to visit a smaller city or town.
- After visiting the copy of Rodin's "The
Gates of Hell" in Ueno Park, I find that I've now seen all three of
the original bronze casts of that sculpture (the other two are in Paris
- I got a class in Zen meditation at the Shunko-in temple in Kyoto.
I liked our teacher: "This isn't mysticism. It's not even religion.
It's mind training." And "Don't worry about tradition - sit however
you want to and be comfortable."
- Going down the subway steps one day I nearly fell over at the
regimented order I encountered coming up toward me. The exit was wide
enough for two people to pass. I was the only person going down, and a
100 meter long single file line of people were ascending the stair.
This was not because I was descending, this was simply how they were
doing it: the other side was kept clear, even though there was no one
in sight before I arrived. That single file line really did go about
100 meters back inside the station - through broad halls. Could not
happen in Toronto. But Japan is a consensus society, and politeness is
required. I saw less orderly subway lines on many occasions, but
always better than Toronto: my suspicion is that this was so orderly
because they were on the way to work, and you don't step out of line at
- The gardens are fantastic. High maintenance sculpted asymmetric
- I lined up for half an hour in the pouring rain at 0700 to have
sushi breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market - the line was that short only
because of the weather. It was brilliant.
- Their kaiten sushi restaurants (conveyor-belt sushi, fast food for
the Japanese) makes most sushi restaurants in Toronto taste like crap.
It's been hard to go back to Toronto sushi.