Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Feet

I know a fourteen day gap stands between now and the last time I posted, and I`m not even going to attempt to summarize each of those days, but let`s see what I can do here...

Since arriving in Kyoto on the 10th, it has been difficult to get computer time beyond ten minutes here or there. But today I found myself with a whole day to work with. I woke up at 4:30 this morning to say goodbye to the group I have been traveling with. It was a sad time. In the last few days the subject of me transferring to Western has come up among my new friends and me, but those of you who have watched me transfer (twice) already and stretch my college courses into five years do not need to worry. I`m returning to Abilene in the fall.

My overnight bus for Tokyo leaves at 11:30 tonight, so I am sitting cross legged on a chair at my hotel noticing how dirty my feet are. That`s what you want to hear about, right? The dirt in between my big toe from my flip flop strap? Well, here`s a more telling image about my travels...the slight imprint in these spongy flip flops I brought with me has increased over the last twenty days to a defining mold of each of my toes, my arch, and my heel.

We have done a lot of walking.

For the sake of brevity, the best way to give a glimpse of where my feet have taken me is to leave you with some highlights of my time in Japan. Here are a few of my favorite memories.

Time with locals. I got to spend two nights with my friend`s friend here in Kyoto. She showed us a wonderful time by taking us away from the group for two nights. One to go to a little Mexican restaurant for dinner and a place called The Smoke Room for dessert. I wish I knew the name of the Mexican restaurant because it was delicious, but definitely look up the Smoke Room if you come to Kyoto. It`s very small and has a great wine list with cheeses and sweets. The second night we were invited to her home for her mother`s cooking, and it was so nice to not eat out for a change. Equally as memorable was getting to celebrate the 92nd birthday of my professor`s adopted mother! My prof studied in Kyoto during graduate school and her "okasan" invited us all over for a sushi party one night.

Celebrating in the streets. We came to Kyoto just in time for the Gion Festival and the night before the procession the streets downtown shut down for pedestrians to come through and see the extravagant carts that will be pulled along the next morning and get street food and drinks. We found some good, cheap chu-hi.

Falling in love with the countryside. So far I can see myself living in Tokyo or Ohara, if I come back to Japan. Ohara is opposite Tokyo in practically every respect. It is small, populated with rice patties, indigo fields, and quiet homes with simple roof tiles, but in one life possibility, I can see myself settling here for a while, growing my own natural dyes and wearing indigo fabric from head to two.

Hanging out by the river. There is a river that runs through Kyoto, and our second night here we found a restaurant near it and afterward got some beers and popped them open along the unevenly paved boardwalk that parallels the river. People always gather down there at night, and that night there was a musical duet of a girl with an accordion and guy with a guitar selling their CD. Wish I could have gotten it. Today I found refuge from the sun at the river during mid afternoon with my back against a bridge`s cement pillar and my bare feet dangling over the stony slope. It was so strange to walk around the city with no particular direction I was going, no backs to follow, or clock to mind. I felt like a true vagabond.

Alright, I have overextended my time limit on this computer considerably. It`s time to get off and let another hotel guest have a turn.

I miss you all terribly, along with the taste of whole grain bread and spinach. Today I stood in front of a banana priced at 125 yen (about $1.25) and just couldn`t bring myself to buy it. Another thing I`m looking forward to when I get home.

Now please excuse me while I go wash these dirty feet.

1 comment:

GrantJM said...

looking daily 4 a word or 2 from u...so good 2 hear from u again...definitely missing pictures...especially a close up of toe jam ;(...love u