Sunday, April 30, 2006

京都 2005 - 36 Kyoto - KIX - KUL - SIN

[271105] standing on platform 6 of Kyoto-eki, facing 原広司 Hara Hiroshi's Kyoto station building:

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Hara Hiroshi is also e architect behind Umeda Sky Building, a place e cat intends to explore when it visits Osaka in e future. read about e construction of e building's sky garden.

waiting for e 新快速 shin kaisoku service bound for 網干 Aboshi in 姫路 Himeji:


hopefully e cat is waiting for e right train at e right place. or it will be a long long way full of wrong trains & wrong connections & missed flights back to Singapore....*touch wood*

where to stand? after two whole weeks e cat finally realises what this bunch of signs hanging at regular intervals along e entire platform mean:


they indicate where to stand in order to board e correct train car - so that you won't end up waiting at e position for carriage #12 for a train that is only 9 carriages long....or settle into a comfy seat in carriage #7, when e train will be 'split' at some other station into carriages #1-6 heading towards your destination without you, & #7-12 heading somewhere else far far away with you on board....e latter almost happened to e Nikko-bound cat in 2002 ;) & if you think this is complex, apparently some services are even more complicated e.g. split into #1-4 headed for A & #5-12 headed for B on weekdays, & #1-7 headed for A & #8-12 headed for B on weekends & public holidays....!

cat barang:


backpack + shoulder sling bag (one of e most practical & heavily utilised birthday gifts ever, from SPS friends *grin*) + 2 carrier bags full of edibles & inedibles (contents revealed further below) for family, friends & colleagues. on hindsight e cat should have bought a lot more matcha & kurogoma edibles & konbini junkfood for itself to lessen e effects of konbini-withdrawal syndrome. especially when it had slightly over SGD200 left from its budget for this trip. & especially when e cat's mum finished off e entire box of kurogoma 八ツ橋 yatsuhashi in e couple of hours after e cat touched down at Changi. when it woke up e next morning only e beautiful box was left *weep*

Kansai International Airport on e artificial island:


here e cat caught e last day of e WW2 60th anniversary exhibition on 'Japan in e Eyes of Americans', a collection of colour photos of postwar Japan taken mostly by US occupation forces between 1945-1951. there photos of scenes like an oxcart along a street in Tokyo's Akihabara, new houses rising from amid burnt rubble, Tokyo's Marunouchi district without any skyscrapers, wreckage of a kamikaze plane, etc.


over (geologic?) time, all of these will sink underwater to become Japan's version of Atlantis? (but Japan already has Yonaguni)

ended up in a bulkhead window seat next to an exit....plenty of legroom for e tall German guy that e cat had to sit next to all e way back to Changi, useless legroom for e katek cat, room in front of us for passengers to queue for e loo, & room for an elderly Japanese oka-san to collapse on top of it when she passed out suddenly (standing up too fast after venous pooling --> syncope?), stunning everyone. e German glanced over & wondered where e cat had gone (UNDERNEATH LAH!!).

e cat had to 'hug' her up into its seat & she recovered after a matter of minutes. damn lucky no DVT, that she was small & light (if not she had better crash onto e German instead =P), & that it wasn't mealtime, or it would have been a waste of good Malaysian Airlines food (even better when e stuff comes from Japanese flight kitchens - could have eaten two whole sets), & e cat's clothes would have been ruined.

cat's loot:

  • scraps of kimono fabric from Kitano-Tenmangu temple fair
  • Uji matcha chocolate
  • assorted wagashi
  • nekobus keychain for Kuan
  • matcha wagashi
  • kyumei byoto 24 ji series 3 OST CD from Tower Records Kawaramachi OPA
  • Hajime Mizoguchi 'Far East' album from Jeugia Sanjo
  • Hajime Mizoguchi 'Espace II' album from Jeugia Shijo
  • leftover Hello Kitty postcards after long distance Hello Kitty-ing e 'family'
  • magazine full of JPMM photos for e 'family' guys
  • wine Kit Kat (didn't know Cold Storage was going to bring it into Singapore) for colleagues & e 'family'
  • o-mamori from Sanzen-in for e cat's mum, LKB & e baby
  • grape Kit Kat (didn't know Watsons was going to bring it into Singapore)
  • maple wagashi
  • new year postcards & cat note paper from Loft @ VIVRE for LKB, PET, littlesunshine, & others
  • matcha + chocolate cake
plus tonnes of beautiful travel/sightseeing brochures, pamphlets & maps, wagashi & obento catalogs (including an Isetan JR Kyoto catalog featuring a JPY126,000 - approx SGD1890 - limited edition obento), 'wrappers' from PET bottles with e monkey, penguin, fox & reindeer 2006 winter edition designs from miruku flavour クー Qoo (there was also polar bear & other animals), & approx 2.5GB worth of photos =)

e cat dreams of transplanting one outlet each of LAWSON, 7-Eleven Japan, ministop, Family Mart & Circle K & SunKus with their entire bento + ice cream + junkfood selections (plus a few hyaku-en shops - Daiso @ IMM isn't enough =P) back to Singapore.

an incredible two weeks, & e cat will be back for MORE!!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

京都 2005 - 35 Kyodai

[261105] 5 days ago e cat had to leave its camera at 光楽堂 Korakudo (at 京都市左京区北白川西町82 Kyoto-shi Sakyo-ku Kita-Shirakawa Nishi-cho 82) for 2 hours while e helpful staff there transferred 1+GB of photos from its xD cards onto CD....

camera-less, it popped into e Kyodai campus nearby, & explored e university museum & co-op (check out e co-op homepage & their location map for different types of recycling bins - JP only). both are housed in e university's Clock Tower Centennial Hall, a really happening place in e past where it was e scene of protests, barricaded by students & flooded by water cannons =P

this evening e cat decided to visit Kyodai again since it was in e vicinity of Higashi-Ichijo-dori, one of e main streets cutting across e Yoshida campus:


walking east towards e daimonji (above), it came across e man-maid:


a university health service (MC-dispensing service) run by falcons? ;)

heading towards e University Clock Tower Centennial Building that it didn't get to photograph e other day, e cat stumbled upon something that instantly lifted its spirits:


e last day of e 47th Kyoto University 'November festival' (direct translation) =))

just beyond this main gate (above) of e Yoshida-South campus is e Faculty of Integrated Human Studies building (hidden on left), where Orita-sensei's statue used to stand.....Mr Orita was a principal of e Third High School affiliated to Kyodai that eventually became e university's College of Liberal Arts. in 1991, Kyodai students decided to start 'decorating' his statue like this (Ultraman), this (Sailor Moon), this & this (Easter Island moai) =P

apparently e university authorities were rather tolerant....e worm-class university in Singapore would have put up fences + CCTV camera + signs warning of stiff penalties? still, it got to e point where e university finally removed e statue (to give e poor thing a break?). but e students simply responded by creating their own replacements like this (reminds e cat of many of e NUS Rag & Flag floats), this (Superman), this & this (Nausicaa - a Miyazaki Hayao anime) *LOL*

could we do this to e Merlion?

no statue today, but plenty of people feasting on snacks from stalls run by students from various university clubs & societies & even high schools:




across e road from e Yoshida-South campus:


Astronomy Club?


sake on offer?


can someone translate? 狂言 = farce??


Clock Tower Centennial Hall building:


cute cat!! if they don't want this signboard after e festival is over, can e cat find a way to bring it home?



beautifully-lit at night (above), & standing calm amid e chaos rampaging around....some of e funfair stalls had interesting stuff on offer, like e chance to be carried around on a sedan chair by 6-8 guys, & to get into e driver's seat of some uber-cool racing car & blast your eardrums revving e souped-up engine, apart from e usual food & game & song dedication stalls & music perfomances. there were e staples like hotdogs, waffles & takoyaki, & heavenly aromas wafting through e campus from sizzling griddles....everyone was having a great time =))


recycling bins (above) for up to 7 different catergories of trash were set up everywhere, with teams of students clearing them from time to time. towards e end groups of students ran around screaming out last minute offers for e remaining food. one of e more aggressive stalls that tried to grab hold of e cat:


e mess of bicycles:


ghostly tree:


Kita-Shirakawa bus stop in between e main campus & north campus:


this display informs waiting passengers of e approximate arrival time of their bus....right now e #3 Kyoto City bus from Kitano-Tenmangu-mae heading in e direction of Nishinokyo Enmachi was about a minute away from e Ginkakuji-michi stop, & ~3 minutes from this stop:


so much for e information....buses came & went & there were none that anyone could squeeze onto, especially e #17 service that serves e famous temples of e northern part of Higashiyama, & that would take e cat back to K's House hostel. resorted to squeezing on e first bus that had space to get somewhere where it could change to another bus to get back. hopped off after 4 stops at Kawaramachi-Imadegawa (for fear of continuing further west into e deep unknown of some unfamiliar part of Kyoto city), where it explored a little shopping arcade & found this on its way to Aoibashi Nishizume:


all too soon, e cat would be heading back to a part of e world where people understand what 'tidak apa apa' is =|

Saturday, April 22, 2006

京都 2005 - 34 Kamogawa

[261105] a walk along e 鴨川 Kamo-gawa river from Kamigamo-jinja to 出町柳 Demachiyanagi, passing under several bridges, watching Kyoto residents spend a late Saturday afternoon by e river, & simply basking in & soaking up as much of e 'feel' of e city as e cat could before its return to Singapore....a walk recommended by KK (10-Q!), although he probably covered another section of this river, & in a different season (winter).

this upper section of e 鴨川 Kamo-gawa is also called 賀茂川 Kamo-gawa - different kanji characters but same romaji spelling:


starting point = little red dot. ~4km & 7 bridges to cross under before reaching Demachiyanagi at e confluence with e 高野川 Takano-gawa:


船形大文字 funagata daimonji on e slope of 西賀茂船山 Nishigamo Funa-yama:


along e Kamo-gawa:


e glorious sky above, painted with swift brushstrokes of clouds:



why this river is called 鴨川:


bottoms up (below left) & pigeons kooning beneath a bridge (below right):

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friend =)) with a 阴阳 'yin-yang' face:


& then e cat looked up & realised that its new acquaintance belonged to one of e homeless men living beneath one of e bridges:

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a pair of washed trackshoes drying in e sun, aluminum drink cans & PET bottles collected & sorted for sale to recycling companies (above left), washed gloves hanging out to dry, dustcart neatly covered with blue tarpaulin, & some sort of clothing hanging in home-made 'suit covers' fashioned from e same type of blue canvas sheet (above right). homeless they may be, he & his friends (there are other homeless men living beneath this & nearby bridges) are still incredibly neat & 'house'-proud.

here he is, neatly dressed & in e very Japanese combination of socks & 'bedroom' slippers, enjoying a book, like any other Japanese uncle spending a Saturday afternoon in e comfort of his living room:


& he was happy to meet this gaikokujin cat, & allowed it to take photos of his humble abode & furry companion.

Kyoto City bus on one of e bridges:


e cat has been taking buses here at least twice a day for e past two weeks during e morning & evening rush hours. & it has yet to see any standing passenger thrown off balance (daily sight on Singapore buses). instead, it has watched a schoolgirl eat cup noodles with chopsticks while standing on board a Kyoto City bus, & elderly passengers with walking aids make their way along e aisle of a moving bus without stumbling.

buses here glide so smoothly to a stop, many a times e cat thought that e driver had stopped for e lights....only to hear him/her announce e name of e stop & e sound of e doors sliding open, & realise that e bus had pulled up at a bus stop.

a real contrast to e SBS32 driver who sped into a bus stop & crashed his vehicle into a stationary bus in front, bruising most passengers (including e cat) & covering them with broken glass. & sending a lady flying straight into e two smashed windscreens, embedding plenty of shards into her that e SGH A&E doctors couldn't remove. & then denying all responsibility for e accident & trying to persuade/threaten e cat to change its version of events in its statement to blame his colleague, e driver of e bus in front. NO #$*!&@^ WAY - not even if he promised e cat a lifetime supply of fish *GRRRRRRRR*

when will SBS/TIBS drivers realise that it is possible to drive without those sudden jerks & stops?

tennis court + open space for soccer & baseball on e opposite bank:


& beautiful trees =)


e setting sun - a reminder that this trip is coming to an end:

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interesting plant:


in someone's garden:


e evil ginkgo that will grow & grow & grow, one day it will be so big fat it will eat up e house behind it, gorging on e humans within, & then *MUNCH* start preying on unsuspecting *MUNCH* Kyoto residents strolling past along *CRUNCH* e Kamo-gawa:




stepping stones - one small step for humans, & a not-so-giant leap for dog-kind:


nice to see people 'getting involved' with e river instead of just keeping to e pavements on either bank & telling kids not to touch e water 'cos you will get wet' (super *DUH* things e cat has heard many times in Singapore) & 'it's dirty'. & nice to see a waterway not barricaded by ugly green railings (which have gaps big enough for kids to fall through anyway - when that is something they are supposed to prevent?).

fellow biologist spotted! checking her line transects:


also an indication that e cat was reaching e confluence at Demachiyanagi, where e Kyodai campus is.

practising some classical piece:


she is really good, & many stopped in their tracks to listen & join her in getting carried away on e beautiful stream of notes that flowed forth from her instrument =)

e confluence:


looking upriver along e Takano-gawa:


there is something beautifully poignant about sunsets:


& e cat's heart sank lower & lower with e glowing sun as e sky breathed its last orange hues of life =| something that always happens when e cat has to return to Singapore.