Sunday, February 19, 2006

京都 2005 - 26 Kitano Tenmangu

[251105] whales obstructing e way at e Kawaramachi-Shichijo intersection early in e morning:


no wonder e Japanese are keen to eat them up ;)

e ride from Kyoto station to Kitano Tenmangu-mae on Kyoto City bus #50:


neat ginkgo-lined streets where drivers stop for pedestrians instead of trying to beat e red signal, e elderly & mobility-impaired can cross safely, buses call at every stop, cyclists don't get honked at nor tailed closely (primary school kids can cycle safely to school), drivers give way to one another & signal well in advance, & 1001 other little things that make life on e road here a far less stressful experience than it is in e little red dot. maybe it's e way Japanese are brought up, maybe it's e cooler weather, but whatever it is e cat is going to kena another round of reverse culture shock on return to Singapore.

in Tokyo e train stations, underpasses & pavements have raised lines & bumps to guide e visually-impaired. in some other Japanese towns/cities, kerbs are almost flush with e street, making life easier for those with wheelchairs, prams & shopping trolleys, & public buses have wide-enough aisles & no steps to allow wheelchair (& pram) access. bus drivers & train station masters are ready to assist with ramps, & e station master will call ahead to e destination station so that his (have never come across a female station master?) counterpart there will be ready & waiting on e platform to assist with disembarkation.

& fellow passengers will not complain (at least in public) about having to wait - perhaps because they know that with their kinda life expectancy, they will live long enough to require such help themselves one day =P & somehow even with all these measures e super fast-paced society can still stick to its strict schedules....which makes all those excuses in official replies to letters in ST & Today forum pages look kinda lame =P e cat doesn't mind forgoing all those NSS & ERS & dunno-what-ass shares & top-ups if e $$$ could be used to make daily life more barrier-free for all.

sometimes wonder if e Japanese obsession with perfection has a part to play - something like we take pride in being so perfect that we can cater to everyone regardless of ability or disability, & if anyone under e rising sun faces any obstacle in using our services, we have failed *deep bow*....

hope it's nothing to do with their attitude - wonder what company owns this truck (below left) & what do they deliver? e 'f' got flower some more =P

PB250439 PB250440

殺菌済車 sign on a taxi (above right)

北野天満宮 Kitano Tenmangu shrine, where people come to pray for luck in studies & exams:


e 12,000(!!) Tenmangu-jinja throughout Japan are shrines dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, some 9th century government official whom e Japanese regard as e 'God of learning'. e grounds of Kitano Tenmangu has plenty of ume (plum) trees, which were Sugawara's favourite, hence e five-petaled plum flower motifs on e 'banners' (above middle, & below). e cat visited 湯島天神 Yushima Tenjin in Tokyo in e spring of 2002 (just before e release of its honours year results =P), & decided to pop by its Kyoto counterpart since it was e 25th & there was a flea market on.

三光門 Sankomon gate:


praying here (below) will let people know if you're balding =P


5000 yen to pray for success in studies:


in this form you fill in (from left to right) e name of e institution you hope to qualify for under e 志望校 column, your name, address & circle your status - 受驗 (taking entrance exams?), 在学中 (a current student) or 新入学 (newly-enrolled?):


anyone knows why e red coloured version costs 1000 yen more than e blue version?

there are plenty of bull (associated with hard work?) sculptures like this one in front of e shrine:


more Kitano Tenmangu:


in one corner of e shrine compound are racks & racks of ema - e wooden boards on which people write their names, ages & wishes & then hang from hooks:


written by 6-year-olds, e one on e right from 立命館 Ritsumeikan primary school:


this junior high school class saved $$$ by sharing one ema for e entire class of 30-odd students =P


senior high school:


university entrance exams:


[1] Kyoto University of Education [2] some medical university [3] Kobe Pharmaceutical University [4] to major in Chinese in e foreign languages department [5] international relations in Ritsumeikan University (quite near to this shrine) [6] sociology? [7] law [8] Nippon Sport Science University, Osaka University of Health & Sports Sciences & International Budo University [9] Osaka University of Health & Sports Sciences again

& when you think you're done with uni, more lies ahead:


[1] to qualify as a dentist [2] to qualify as a nurse [3] to get a minimum score of 730 on e Test of English in Conversation [4] civil service?


[1] something about police [2] to fly a Boeing 777? [3] tax accountant?

something closer to e heart:


大学院 daigakuin =)

e two triangular purple 'cushions' used to hold e painting in place are so cute:


a few of e temples & shrines in Kyoto have monthly flea markets on their grounds. Toji temple's is on e 21st, & Kitano Tenmangu's is on e 25th which was today:


here e cat got 1300 yen worth of kimono cloth remnants for e (long way off) day it has time to sew tsurishibina again =)

figured that e quickest jam-less way to Arashiyama from here was e 京福電鉄 Keifuku railway. one of those complicated automated parking structures along Imadegawa-dori, on e way to e Keifuku Kitano Hakubaicho station:


e hidari daimonji above Kinkakuji temple, seen from e Imadegawa-Nishi-oji intersection:


from Kitano Hakubaicho to Arashiyama:


[1] e trams that look like streetcars [2] yatsuhashi advertisements on e pillars of Keifuku Arashiyama station [3, 5] e tracks running through e neighbourhoods of northwest Kyoto [4] 嵐山温泉 「駅の足湯」onsen footbath for tired feet on e Keifuku Arashiyama station platform

e only thing e cat knew about this private railway was that it had a station right smack in e middle of Arashiyama. no idea about e route(s), e fare nor any of e station names - didn't even expect e trains (more like trams) to be so small & quaint, much like e carriage that e brother & sister sat in in Miyazaki Hayao's Grave of e Fireflies anime =P

there were a couple of announcements in Japanese that e cat couldn't understand. & suddenly, there was plenty of space as everyone rushed out of e carriage at one station....blur cat finally realised out that e hard-to-pronounce Katabiranotsuji-eki was an interchange, & somehow scrambled onto e right connecting tram to Arashiyama....

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