I realize this explanation is terribly late, and I should have done this post two weeks ago...but life got in the way.
So here it is now:
A few weeks ago, we finally visited Kyoto.
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of visiting this ancient city. Because twelve years ago, Madre visited and when she returned, she not only brought back countless pictures and souvenirs, but also stories and memories of adventures that remained romanticized within my four-year-old head for years and years to come.
In my dreams, Kyoto was filled with immaculate zen gardens and the peaceful monks that tended them.It consisted of narrow cobblestone streets, and the age-old Gion district. It was rich tradition...it was ancient Japan preserved.
So when I visited for the first time, a few weeks ago, I was completely blown away as my dreams materialized.
Kyoto is not quite what my young imagination would have made it out to be.
It is indeed an ancient city - but it is also bustling, and modern, and one of the biggest cities in Japan.
It is traditional, protected, and quaint in places - but it is also largely innovative, contemporary, and flooded with foreigners.
It's a symphony of contradiction.
But that's what makes it so mesmerizing.
Our first day consisted of sightseeing - we saw the famous Kinkokuji (Golden Temple), and we toured Kyoto Station (one of the largest buildings in the world).
We ventured to the ancient Nishiki fish market, and found our way home by the very modern bus system.
My notions of Kyoto were true to an extent. Kyoto is dream-like. And in parts of the city, it really does feels as if you've traveled back in time.
But I also saw a part of Japan through a new, fresh lens. I saw busyness and the effect of modern culture. And my perspective was changed as I experienced Kyoto for real - for the first time.
I have plans to move there during the summer for one month to attend a language school - so I'm sure my perspective will change even more as I learn to call this crazy city-of- contradictions "home" for a time.
And I'm thankful for those perspective changes because they're interesting and they spark my curiosity again and again :)
Until next time,