River Card

25 04 2009

Flowers 1, Kyoto, 4/22/2009

For our last group class event before our “graduation” ceremony, most of KCJS took a boat down Hozugawa and into Arashiyama. The weather was perfect Spring weather, neither too hot or cold, and occasionally interrupted by an errant cool breeze. A trip down the Hozugawa is hardly a white-knuckle experience, but there was the occasional rapid straight and quick drop off to break up the two hour trip. And to top it all off, KCJS paid the 4,000 yen fee that otherwise would have been a non-starter for me. It was nice, but it wasn’t that nice.

Along the way, we passed a huge field, slightly odd site in an area of the country where space is at a premium. Horticulture is not my specialty, so all I can add is “sure looks pretty, huh?”

Flowers 2Flowers 3

After a brief wait we set out in several boats down river, into the heart of darkness. Or back into Kyoto. You know, whatever.

River 1, Kyoto, 4/22/2009River 2, Kyoto, 4/22/2009

We also passed a wide variety of the local fauna on the way down, from cranes to fish to turtles. We saw two turtles (who I unfortunately couldn’t photograph in time) stacked on top of each other. I’m not sure whether they were having wild turtle sex or that’s just something turtles do in their free time, but it looked difficult.

Crane, Kyoto, 4/22/2009

As the river entered a valley…

River 2, Kyoto, 4/22/2009

…we passed a number of landmarks, from temples to oddly named rocks, such as “Lion Rock” and “Pole in Hole Rock” (which, sadly, I also missed).

River Temple, Kyoto, 4/22/2009

Supposedly the forest in the background is supposed to look like a smiley face. It's hard to see anything, but to all of us it looked much more like a skull.

Supposedly the forest in the background is supposed to look like a smiley face. It's hard to see anything, but to all of us it looked much more like a skull.

Bridge, Kyoto, 4/22/2009

We passed under the same bridge (and maybe same train) we used to get upriver.

We passed under the same bridge (and maybe same train) we used to get upriver.

After four months here, Japan still has plenty left to surprise me. Towards the end of our trip, we saw several boats upriver. Obviously, I was initially concerned about overly ambitious Somali pirates, but it turned out to be overly ambitious Japanese merchants. The boats were in fact mobile, on-river convenience stores, selling everything from cold beer to whole squids. They pulled along side our boat and started hocking their wares.

Merchant 1, Kyoto, 4/22/2009Merchant 2, Kyoto, 4/22/2009

Finally, we reached the end of the river. And found out that KCJS wasn’t paying for our trip back. Ah, well, you can’t have everything, I suppose. This is my last post from Kyoto, my home since January, and one of my last posts in Japan. I have to leave my apartment on Monday, and on May 5th I leave Japan and, thanks to timezone differences, arrive an hour earlier on the same day in L.A., and from there I go to Denver to meet my sister. All of my classes turned out fine, so I’m leaving Kyoto with a relatively clean conscience and even more cleaned out bank account. From here, I’m going to Nara, Osaka, Ise, Nagoya, Mt. Fuji, and Tokyo, taking pictures all the while. Hopefully I’ll be in a situation to make at least a few more posts before I head back to the U.S. To everyone whose taken the time to read this, thank you very much. I really appreciated all the comments, and the knowledge that someone (even if the audience was rather small) wanted to read this kept me going when all I wanted to do was listen to music. I appreciate you spending your time here.

Arashiyama, home of Monkey Mountain. I'm pretty much monkeyed out after Miyajima, however.

Arashiyama, home of Monkey Mountain. I'm pretty much monkeyed out after Miyajima, however.

Music I’m Listening to Now: A.C. Newman, “Submarines of Stockholm”.

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