Otsukaresama deshita!!!!

It is with great relief that I write the final page of my blog.

There was the dragging weight which was the winter blues, the distraction of Kyoto’s spring, and now finally… settling back into life in Cambridge, England. I’ve been back in England for almost a month now. Within two weeks of boarding my flight I accepted a new job and moved in with my new/old housemates.

I learned some Japanese, experienced a billion new things, ate a lot of new food, left lots of loved people behind. Why leave?

– Though teaching was fun, rewarding, and a great experience; I didn’t want to do it forever. Staying in Japan with my level of Japanese I felt would have given me a stunted choice of future careers.

– Sometimes expats can grow disillusioned with their life abroad and take the chance, with friends, to complain about it. Though completely valid, I wanted to leave before growing tired of things which I had once found romantic and magical.

– Rheumatoid Arthritis is a condition whereby your body turns against itself, destroying cartilage and damaging bones. Since I was 17 I’ve had many different kinds of medication, and while in Japan I managed to control it with no meds at all (I stopped taking the one thing I was on because it is banned in Japan), but in the latter months of my stay it was clear that my RA wasn’t dormant anymore, my toes, my knees, the warning signs told me.. time to stop kidding myself and go back on the drugs. These drugs that I wouldn’t be able to obtain in Japan. I’m not sad about it, I was over the moon that I had managed to live half way across the world away from the NHS and survive drug free for almost two years. I do know that my jogging helps, I do know that my attempt at a sensible diet helps, but ultimately I know that hydroxychloroquine helps too.

– My sister and her husband are giving me a a nephew in August, it didn’t feel good to face the prospect of being out of the country while my sister faces one of the most dangerous times in a woman’s life. Plus, I didn’t want to miss out on new nephew hugs (and niece hugs!).

And with that I decided – over a Christmas spent in the comforting company of my family – to move back to the UK, for a while at least.

Cambridge has been my homing beacon ever since I went to University here in 2007, so, here are a couple of photos I’ve taken since moving back. This will be my final blog, of course the more you know about something the more you realise you don’t know, pretty demotivational. Thank you so much for reading and for supporting me on my escape to the ‘Mountains Beyond Mountains’ of Kyoto.

Lots of love, Rach xoxox

Gwydir Street

Gwydir Street

Parkers Piece and Ducks

Parkers Piece and Ducks

Canned On The Run. 27.11.2014

Widely publicized as one of Japans most practical quirks; vending machines lurk around most corners. Everywhere. In my first few days here they were an absolute wonder  – not needing to speak to a person to purchase a drink, not needing to feel awkward struggling with my new foreign coins. They still are actually. Not too long ago I climbed up Mt Atago with friends – its the tallest mountain in Kyoto, and there at the top we were welcomed by a beautiful shrine and some vending machines.

Now we could be talking about how one can purchase alcohol/cigarettes/used undies (not really, that one is very illegal actually!) from vending machines as well as fresh vegetables – but – today let’s address Japans least controversial energy source – Coffee.

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There’s no shame behind my admitting that I’m a lover of brands, mainly food/drink brands. I cherish my Branston and Heinz, I long for Galaxy and Dairy Milk. Coffee is no exception – for me it has to be BOSS. I mean, they have a fantastic image. Tommy Lee Cooper is the face of Boss Coffee, TOMMY LEE COOPER. And their tagline? “SUNTORY BOSS is the boss of them all since 1992”. Suntory has been selling drinks in Japan since the 1800s, they are one of the well established huuuuuge beasts of Japanese companies which you will probably have heard of – such as Yamaha, Suzuki, and Asahi. Besides all of that, their Cafe au Lait just happens to be my preferred choice because they add all those extras which make it irresistibly terrible for your health and more like a dessert.

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See here above, two vending machines right next to a convenience store. You might think “Well that makes sense, Rachel, because when the shop closes you can just pop over to the vending machine at all hours”, but you’d be completely wrong. Most convenience stores are open 24 hours, I say most but I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that actually closes, ever. There are probably tonnes of reasons to pop vending machines right next to a store which sells the same products, we could even make it a discussion if you like. Anyway, I want you to see some of the other coffee varieties which are available here, please see below.

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So here you can see not just canned coffee but coffee in bottles and those plastic cups on the left – they have a foil top covered by a plastic lid and an opening for your straw, so they are quite nice to drink from if you don’t fancy a can. There are coffees of every nature including soy milk, unsweetened, black, white, espresso, latte etc. The coffee doesn’t have to be cold even, as you can buy hot coffee in a can/bottle from vending machines or the convenience stores too.

Cold coffee is extremely popular in Japan, it is consumed all year round – just as ice cream is eaten even in winter! Every cafe serves iced coffee, and there are sachets and concentrates available at any store so one can have cold coffee at home.

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So it was to my absolute surprise that a London based cold brew coffee company – Sandows – was breaking through the hundreds of coffee brands to make it into a fancy Japanese magazine. An old school friend, Luke Suddards, and his business parter Hugh Duffie appeared – it seems just a little while ago – on my facebook feed telling everyone about their new business, and now Sandows has turned global.

Did they know how big coffee is in Japan?? Did Luke know what they might be up against?

“There’s a big coffee scene […] in fact cold brew pretty much originates from Japan!”

I asked Luke about the company, I wanted to know how their coffee was different, how they’d managed to reinvent something which I’d felt saturated the Japanese market. He explained…

“Cold brew is in fact quite different to iced coffee as it’s brewed without any hot water; this means it takes much longer but you end up with a much less acidic, sweeter cup. In  contrast an iced coffee is an espresso which is brewed hot and then cooled down and added to the milk; cooling down coffee once its been heated provokes much more bitterness so you will find that most iced coffees are loaded with milk and sugar etc to cover that up. Our process allows you to drink it without any additives”

Well then, after gushing on about the Boss Cafe au Lait milk and sugar filled goodness I’m really interested in trying this newfangled brew. If I can enjoy a good cold coffee minus the terrible stuff then I’d be much better off. Sandows isn’t in the vending machines or the combini yet, though,  I really rather hope to see it in some of my favorite cafes here, because good coffee is worth sitting down for.

I’m now looking forward to traveling home to England for Christmas.

See some of you very soon!

Love Rach xoxox

PS here’s Sandows’ website http://www.sandowslondon.co.uk/
And tumbler for more pictures http://sandowslondon.tumblr.com/

Kamogawa 鴨川 – Duck River. 21.10.2014

Having lived here for over a year now, and faced with the arduous labor of deleting thousands of unwanted pictures from my ipad, I’ve noticed some common themes. Kyoto is beautiful – this is the undisputed truth – and today I’m sharing some of my fave snaps of Kyoto’s main artery – the Kamogawa, or, 鴨 wild duck 川 river.

The Kamogawa is a place to practice instruments, hold blossom viewing parties, bbqs, fireworks (but thats illegal so don’t..), jog, walk your dog, get into town without nearly being run over. There are always people there.

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This photo was taken at the very beginning of my time here. Foolishly I was taken in by the beauty of the river and decided to eat my breakfast sitting on some steps leading down to the water, I was bitten to shreds by mosquitos. The mosquitos seem to be less bitey this year, I think the weather has been a lot cooler this time round. This section of the river is by Demachiyanagi which is the main train station connecting the Keihan line (to Osaka through downtown Kyoto) and the Eiden line (which takes me home to North East Kyoto, and then on up to Kurama).

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Further up north by Takano you can see why people say Kyoto has five seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Typhoon season. I took the top photo in Spring, or, Cherry Blossom season. The picture underneath that one was taken during a typhoon. During typhoons the river swells, sometimes up and over the paths and has been known to flood even downtown Kyoto around Sanjo! I’ve tried to pop that into perspective below.

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The picture on the left is at normal levels, the two on the right show that you can’t see the turtles as they’ve been drowned by the water coming down from north Kyoto. At these times it is usually prohibited to walk by the river.

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Here’s a snap I took from the train on the way up to Kurama in the snowy winter, I love how you can always see the mountains around Kyoto and the stark changes they endure through the year. I don’t think the river froze, its too fast moving to freeze. My winter blog was quite a miserable one, I’ll be more prepared this year and will hopefully appreciate winters uh..unique…blessings… uch I hate cold.

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You can see here in this moody number taken in Autumn last year that the branch of the Kamogawa that comes from the west seems to be a lot wider, you can’t see it but the Botanical gardens are on the right.

My cousin explained that the guidebooks recommend not walking by the Kamogawa at night, so perhaps I too should advise this? But if you’re visiting in the summer do stop by Sanjo and come down to the river for a chu hi! And there is surely no danger during the day so be sure to spend some time watching the wild duck river go by.

Thanks for reading!

Love Rach xoxox

 

Japanese Vintage Pornographer’s House

I love all these weird and wonderful finds. Everything from abandoned sex museums to long forgotten schools and love hotels. Abandoned Kansai!

Abandoned Kansai

Old family pictures, dry plate negatives, books with titles like “Avoidances From Sexual Temptation”, a wooden wall telephone that looked like straight out of “Boardwalk Empire”… and somewhere there had to be 90 year old porn photos – my head was spinning!

3 years prior to that slightly overwhelming spring day, I went on a *second trip to Kyushu*. It was my first long-distance solo exploration trip and included amazing locations like the now demolished *Kawaminami Shipyard*, the also demolished amusement park *Navelland* and the wonderful *Ikeshima*.
3 months prior to that slightly overwhelming spring day, my urbex buddy Rory and his wife had helped me locating an amazing abandoned hotel I deemed worthy dumping 25.000 Yen travel costs on, so I spontaneously booked a flight from Kobe to Ibaraki Airport… I had 28 hours in the Kanto countryside and I was eager to make the best…

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KURO ダイヤモンド – The Black Burger.

For a couple of weeks I’ve been receiving emails from British friends about a mysterious black burger. This week Burger King’s latest creations became available in  Kyoto. A black bun, black sauce, black cheese, and a black burger. I HAD to try it.

A steal at about three quid.

A steal at about three quid.

The deal: “L of Coke Zero of Coke comes with a free purchased separately from now.” Basically its 690 yen, and you get a drink.

The Burger: KURO ダイヤモンド, or, The Black Diamond. Squid ink in the sauce, bamboo charcoal in the bun and the cheese, squid ink in the sauce, and soy sauce on the burger. The Diamond comes with veggies and mayo, The Pearl comes without.

The Results:

Charcoal coloured bun and some stuff squished inside.

Charcoal coloured bun and some stuff squished inside.

Yeah. So, I never expect the burgers to look like the picture. You can already see that the bun has a curious texture to it from the paper-like creases.

Inside:

mmmm :/

mmmm :/

So, this is actually as much as I ate of the black burger. It didn’t taste of much, and the texture was bizarre. The bun itself had an absolutely plastic quality about it, and the veggies all slid around and out in their black sauce – which makes them look like they aren’t so happy.

I don’t enjoy Burger King fries, and they weren’t anything special in this case so it is beside the point..however.. jeez these fries tasted like they’d been refried a couple of times, they were crumbly instead of crunchy and were just not right.

The Swede says no.

The Swede says no.

All in all the look of the thing wasn’t much, and the taste + texture were unpleasant.

I’m glad I tried it though, it felt like a foodie adventure. So, I’m sure there’ll be plenty more sold. Give it a try and tell us what you think!

All the best,

Rach xoxox

The Art of Living. 17.09.2014

I’m not a flexible girl. I mean, that, in life terms I try new food and experiences plus I’m always happy to meet new people  – but – even though I try to touch my toes five days a week I don’t know whether my fingers will ever reach my feet.  The kids have tried pulling my arms and jumping on my back but either Sensei’s arms are too short or it just wasn’t meant to be. So then what was I doing at early o’ clock on a Friday morning joining a blooming yoga class??! Until fairly recently Yoga has certainly been viewed by many as something reserved for those who buy hemp clothes and eat yogurt for every meal.

Lisa Allen who is responsible for my new hobby.

Lisa Allen who is responsible for my new hobby.

Here’s Lisa. She seems to be from the USA, England, and Japan. She convinced me to join her for Yoga at Impact Hub Kyoto. The scene in this photo is exactly where we did part of the Yoga class. Being Kyoto summertime it was about a gazillion degrees hot already at the crack of dawn, but in the shade of the bamboo plus a magic breeze coming off the Kamogawa river nearby we were guided most calmly through some stretches. Our instructor was Nicole Porter. She’s got an engaging voice and an extremely calming instruction about her – it was my first yoga session ever and even though we were throwing some challenging shapes I got into the swing of things fairly comfortably. The session was about an hour and a half, we ate breakfast together afterwards as a group (including yogurt). At this point I grabbed the opportunity to quiz Nicole. Nicole has been Yoga-ing all over the world for 14 years and has taught for about 8 now, did she think Yoga had changed over this time? She noted that Yoga is growing, especially in Kyoto. I agreed, I even have a friend who even cracks out her Yoga mat in the middle of her office! We are lucky here to have many vegan and veggie restaurants, the wholesome lifestyle is very popular in Kyoto.

Sexy Salad Please!

Sexy Salad Please!

The class I attend is held on Friday mornings between 7 – 8:30 but there are plenty of other classes to choose from.  There are also absolutely piles of events such as Hub drinks, blogger events, inspirational talks, idea sharing events and cooking groups. Impact Hub Kyoto itself is exactly the sort of place I wish I knew about when I first moved here a year ago. The aim of the Impact Hub is to bring environmental, self, and social innovation together – collectively known as the Art of Living – to bring about sustainable change in the world. Actually The Hub and I have something in common, we were both born in London! The first Impact Hub Kyoto was created in 2005 and there are now more than 7000 members in sixty plus cities globally. The original aim was to create a platform to spread innovative ideas and a springboard for positive change.

Free Internet and Bottomless Coffee, it's almost like they WANT people to use this space!?

Free Internet and Bottomless Coffee, it’s almost like they WANT people to use this space!?

Impact Hub Kyoto is so incredibly lucky to be using such a beautiful space. I’m a real sucker for old Japanese buildings and this one really takes the biscuit. The building was built by a Japanese artist 80 years ago and includes a traditional Noh Stage, a Tea Room, the collaborative workspace pictured above, and even a second floor filled with well lit tatami (those cushioned straw mats) rooms. All these spaces are available to use for events. Our Yoga class was partly outside and then taken inside to the stage.

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Distracting Lisa at work.

Distracting Lisa at work.

So I hope that if those of you who are new to Kyoto and need a space to meet people and use the internet – AND you guys who have lived here forever and want to learn something or share something –  will take a visit down to our very own Impact Hub. You can become a member, or you can just pop in for one shiny 500 yen coin. You may well see me there. Come and say hi, I will probably be high on several coffees trying to meet a deadline for Kyoto Journal (because I’m a proper writer now and everything!!!).

Thats all for now. Love Rach xoxox

Edit: A Quick Note from Impact Hub Kyoto…

If you have any questions or want to see/ rent the space contact: host[@]impacthubkyoto.net or check out the Impact Hub Kyoto website at http://kyoto.impacthub.net/

Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm Available for event rental outside regular opening hours.

Cats: The Darlings Of The Internet. 15.08.14

The internet blooming loves cats. Cats are so in vogue right now, everywhere. Selfies and food photos are shameful but one could post photos of cats till they were blue in the fingers but nobody would complain.

Actually I’ve never been a cat person myself, my dad is extremely allergic to cats and he would sing a ditty called ‘The cat came back’ all about trying to get rid of/murder a cat in various ways. It’s catchy. We’ve always had dogs, I love dogs. Japan loves dogs too, I’ve seen many dog outfits including the one below, oooh and there’s a gang of labrador retrievers who meet at a park near me wearing basketball shirts (with their owners..). There is also a trend of older ladies taking their dogs out in push chairs, it is as curious a phenomenon to the Japanese as the rest of the world.

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Japan, like everyone else, loves cats. There is even a cat island , and lets not forget that this country is the birthplace of the enduring old favourite ‘Hello Kitty‘. On Wednesday I took a trip to a type of cafe which has crept its way into British culture too – a Cat Cafe. Apparently the world’s first Cat Cafe was in Taiwan but due to tiny apartments forbidding any pets: Osaka found itself hosting Japan’s first Cat Cafe in 2004.

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Here one pays an hourly fee, usually including a drink, to pet and play with a number of cats. I’m pretty sure that my dad wouldn’t be able to come within a mile radius of this place without suffocating. There were about 8 people, some chairs, lots of bowls etc and 6/7 cats, all in a room which might have been about 8×6 metres. I enjoyed feeding the cats at the beginning, they were very sociable and not violent at all. My late Nan’s cat wouldn’t have put up with any of that nonsense.

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The best cat had a comedy haircut as shown above, grumpy lion cat. Once we had run out of chicken pieces the cats generally found a bowl to fall asleep in, there were many bowls/baskets/saucepans for the kitties and none of them fell out over space issues etc. They seemed content and had a good bond with the girls running the place.

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There are other kinds of animal cafes in Japan such as Owl cafes. I’ve generally got mixed feelings about these cafes as in general I’m sure owls and cats prefer the freedom of being outdoors and not petted every day by new people. Perhaps that’s more stressful for owls than cats. But then I am intrigued so.. watch this space for the ultimate in wishy washy animal welfare opinions.

In a while crocodile,

Love Rach xoxox

So Much to Write! So little TIME! – Visa extension application.

I went to immigration this morning. After obsessively scrolling through nightmarish tales of waiting in line for hours only to be turned away for not having a piece of the right paperwork: I was in and out in the space of 10 minutes.

The staff are friendly — they spoke to me in Japanese and then in English to be sure I’d understood everything (I’ve got a face which cannot hide my confusion).

So I’ve heard that actually extending your visa is a piece of mochi, there are even rumors that one can overstay their visa by a short time and still extend it. Not wanting to risk deportation I’ve opted for the usual 2/3 week leeway before my Visa expires. I will never ever recommend outstaying your visa anywhere.

What you need to extend your work-sponsored visa: supporting documentation from your employer including the contract and forms from immigration, your forms, proof of tax payment from the ward office, passport, residence card, and a will to stay in Japan for another year.

I wonder how the same process goes down in the UK.

Lots of love,

Rachel the immigrant xoxox

It’s More Complicated Than It Looks. 31.07.2014

Kimono translates roughly into ‘ wearing thing ‘. There are many different ranks and types of Kimono worn by both men and Women, there’s a huge variety and one can spend days sifting through racks of vintage and new kimono in second hand shops and markets here. There’s also a tonne of accessories, endless fun. But let’s say you know nothing about Kimono but you’d like to wear one? Here’s a basic guide to Yukata – the summer kimono – originally worn as pyjamas but now popularly worn at summer festivals and fireworks.

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So let’s begin! Here’s my Yukata, in my fave colour, pretty huh. Then we have three belts – two slimmer rough belts called Koshi-Himo plus the wider and brighter Datejime belt. We start by popping on your yukata and pulling the fabric by the sleeves to get it centred on your body. One it’s settled you pass the front panels LEFT OVER RIGHT (because the other way round means you’re dead). Lifting the bottom a few inches from the floor secure that line by tying your first Koshi-Himo belt around your hips/lower waist. Tie firmly, this is your anchor. You don’t want to be flashing everything.

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There are long slits on either side of the Yukata beneath the arms, pop your arms in there and ensure the layer of fabric covering the belt is neat and straight, use your chop action here. This overlap is called the Ohashori. And there should be at least a couple of inches showing under your final obi belt. Short people like me have no problem with this.

The back of your Yukata should expose your neck a little, very sexy. Pop your fist between the back of your yukata and your neck, this is the correct width. The higher your neckline at the front the more youthful it is. To secure your neck like use the second Koshi-Himo under your bust and tie at the front/side securely. Pull spare fabric to the sides to get rid of unsightly extra material and folds. Secure this line further with the wider and prettier Datejime belt (red one pictured). This is secretly my fave belt, it’s subtle and hidden but really pretty.

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This is the most decorative belt, it goes on the outside. Past it around yourself twice and make a bow at the front (easier).  Describing how to tie the obi here won’t work, look on YouTube, there are some great obi tutorials. Once you’ve tied your obi swing it round the back.

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Not done yet! Personally I then like to insert an Obiita into the layers of obi, it keeps everything neat and flat, getting rid of those pesky folds and bumps from the layers of belts underneath.

And finally we add accessories such as the sandals which are called Geta – they make a great sound while you walk about, and I’ve got a fan called an Uchiwa popped into the back there. This one is from Tokyu Hands which just opened downtown. I love their simple patterns.

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There, you’re ready for a day or night out at a matsuri (festival), or simply a walk down the river, or some fireworks, or take a taxi ride somewhere and have a cheap trip to a museum because here in Kyoto people who wear Kimono receive discounts. I love Kimono, and if you do too and have any questions just ask away. This was a pretty rushed and rough guide and there are much better ones on the net, give it a search.

For now I’m off to get an ice cream as it just hit 36°c.

All the best,

Rach xoxox

Haunted Streets and Abandoned Peaks 26.06.14

Today’s featured photo was taken at Enryakuji which is a Temple up Mt.Hiei bordering my end of north east Kyoto with Shiga on the other side. The monks are seen burning amulets/charms from last year, the smoke takes them up to the gods. Mt Hiei is one of the barriers which keeps evil from seeping into Kyoto city, which is sort of bowl shaped – a lip of mountains absolutely surrounds us. Thousands of warriors have lost their lives on these mountains, but it’s not just human and amulet remains which lurk here. image

Here lies an abandoned ski slope. This is the closest I’ve ever been to a ski lodge, and this one has apparently been closed for about 12 years. The story goes that one year they closed just for the summer period but simply never reopened. Skis hang mouldy under a caved in roof – you can still make out designs and colours through dusty windows. The old ski lift chairs are laid out waiting and crumbling.

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This is was my first taste of ‘urbex’. Japan has many abandoned buildings due to it’s affluence of the bubble era and the subsequent burst of the last twenty or so years. It’s not just buildings which are left but their contents which remain largely untouched, they show us the history of people who lived and worked and played there. It’s such an interesting and haunting experience. On this occasion we (Kansai Photo walks) were lead by writer and explorer Florian who posts his regular expeditions online. His adventures include my favourite, Nara Dreamland – an abandoned theme park which reminds me of Ghibli’s Spirited Away and Satoshi Kon’s Paprika. Have a look around the website and discover abandoned Sex Museums, Hotels, and Schools. It is advised that it is dangerous and sometimes illegal to enter abandoned buildings – so please do some research before jumping in.

One reason I came to Japan was because I’m enamoured with Japanese culture and traditions. I love the history, the shrines and temples and kimonos and ceremonies.. Among a hundred other things. But it can feel so hard to tap into Japan past a thick crust of language and cultural barriers. It has always been through reading other blogs, and pestering friends, that I’ve managed to find events/places I’d otherwise miss out on.

Deep Kyoto is one such place I go to to find out what’s going on and why. It is written by Michael Lambe who I actually met through a friend I worked with at Cambridge University Press! Small world etc etc etc. Together with Ted Taylor; Michael has edited a collection of 18 tales written by 16 authors (including our very own lonely planet writer John Ashburn) who all give their own accounts of walking about Kyoto – Deep Kyoto Walks. Deep Kyoto Walks has been my guide for the last three weeks.

My first walk was my favourite for a couple of reasons. Firstly it involved finding ghost scrolls, I bloody love ghost themed stuff. I might not believe in them but I enjoy freaking myself out. Secondly it was an exploration of the area of Kyoto I actually live in. Bridget Scott takes us up into the mountains by Ichijoji and Shugukuin, in particular we visit Manshuin Temple. This is where, in a dark corridor by the ornate peacock room, one is faced with two barely lit scrolls with a woman painted on each. Emaciated she disappears into the ground, clutching thick and torn hair. There is no mistaking that she’s a ghost and I’m sure I spent an awkwardly long time gaping at these depictions of horror. Another highlight was time spent reflecting over rice fields along the way. image

Jen Teeter wrote a passage about Gojo. Another haunted area filled with a history of debauchery and organised crime spanning back hundreds of years. I could fill a complete blog just called ‘things that Jen does’ brimming over with Ainu organisations, teaching, song writing, and Eco charities. But in this case we will concentrate on her writing. Jen tells us of a sweet shop visited by the ghost who takes candy and leaves a leaf, a wood block print museum (pictured belowe), and a hill made with the ears and noses of fallen enemies. Luckily Jen is a friend of mine so I got her to take me to some of the places featured in Deep Kyoto Walks.

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In the last week I’ve climbed Daimonji 4 times. This is party due to Miki Matsumoto’s chapter about taking her young daughter to scale the half an hour climb. If a two year old can do it..I thought…then I should jolly well walk up. And I did, and I met a wonderful group who meet at 6:30 am every day to do radio calisthenics (a Japanese daily stretch which has aired since 1928).

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So far Deep Kyoto Walks has been a great tool for discovering the city I moved across the world to see. Actually the anthology itself is a storybook of other people’s experiences, but, also makes places more accessible to those who’d like to make their own mark and see these things for themselves. There are chapters based on a Kyoto which doesn’t exist anymore, some of the history there is more of an expat’s bubble playground. But definitely the highlight for me has been in walking around today’s Kyoto.  Deep Kyoto Walks is available as an ebook on amazon.

Thank you to Florian and Michael for showing me around.

Ta ta for now, Love rach Xoxox