Ross School

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mad Tight because Today was not that Fancy and it's Brick Outside my Room at Night

We were able to sleep in until around 8 where we met at the hostel lobby for the
usual breakfast before leaving for the day. We then met again at the bus stop near
the hostel at 9 and took the bus to our first stop of the day, Ryoanji temple.

Upon entering the temple we were confronted with a moderately long route
that first led us to a brightly ornamented shrine before taking us to a massive rock
garden. After gazing at said garden for some time, we finished the normal route
through the temple by walking alongside the complex’s large pond. From there, we
traveled to our next destination, Kinkaku-ji temple. This temple was very different
from any of the historical monuments we had previously visited, mainly because it
was a large tourist attraction. The temple grounds were swarming with natives and
foreigners alike and moving about the premises was a tedious process.

The temple itself was quite a magnificent sight to see. The top two floors
were completely covered in gold leaf and when sunlight bounced off its roof,
the water surrounding it seemed to glisten. Weaving our way in-between the
many visitors, our group finally made it to the end of route and were pleasantly
confronted with many free food and drink samples from the local shops.

From there, we rode the bus once more to our final destination, Nijo castle.
Before entering the castle’s palace within, we quickly wolfed down a bento and
heard a small lecture from Macrae. After removing our footwear and donning the
mandatory rubber slippers, we proceeded to make our way through the enormous
compound. To ward off assassins, the floor was specifically constructed to squeak
under every step, which proved to be a highly amusing experience. We were not
allowed to take pictures in this palace nor were we allowed to, according the signs,
make any sort of sketches either.

We then left the palace, but remained in the castle grounds for quite some
time. We passed over a bridge with tons of coy fish surrounding it which somewhat
reminded me of the pond we have at Ross. Then, spontaneously, we decided to
attend an ancient tea ceremony, which consisted of eating delicious Mochi and
drinking overpowering green tea. Feeling refreshed, we took the bus once more
to Kyoto station to finished up the day with some shopping. One group went with
Earle to a Japanese shrine while another went to a large electronics building, which
housed a large selection of comfy massage chairs.

To finish up the day, the group ventured below ground to shop at a large
delicatessen for dinner. Each individual could choose what he wanted to buy,
and there certainly was a wide variety to choose from. We brought back our food
selections back to hostel and proceeded to have a fairly early dinner before being
given the rest of the night to relax in the lounge.

-Spencer Kuzon

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