Kyoto

I am sad that we only got to spend one day in Kyoto. Tiff and I watched Memoirs of a Geisha last week and were reveling in the thought of possibly spotting one (it’s very rare unless you want to shell out tons of money) but we didn’t get to go to the Geisha District at all. Nonetheless, I loved our short stay in Kyoto.

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1. I was talking to a friend about fashion in Japan and she put it really well when she said, “Their voice is through their fashion style.” I love the idea that style is a means of telling other people who you are without having to use words.

2. I take and Instagram more pictures than the average human being, but even I have times where I lift the camera to my face and then decide not to take a shot, because I want to save the moment for myself. Looking at life through a lens has been one of the greatest gifts for me, but everyone needs to treasure the things that can only be seen behind closed eyelids.

3. If you are caught in an earthquake in Japan, the safest place for you to hide is under the sink, because if you get stuck, you will:

a) have drinking water, and

b) be able to use the drainpipe to call for help.

Osaka

We arrived in Osaka today! We’ve only been in the city for a few hours, but here are three things that I’ve noticed:

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1. When I was in high school, it was really obvious what the trends in fashion were. I remember asking for a TNA hoodie for Christmas, and then everyone started wearing American Apparel and then I was distraught about the switchover to skinny jeans. Japan is the opposite of that. Of course there’s trends like New Balance sneakers, but everyone here is so well-dressed in the sense that they are all doing their own thing. Whether you want to dress grungy or hype or just plain and simple, there’s space for that here, and I like that everyone looks like they love what they are wearing. Being fashionable doesn’t necessarily mean being on point with what’s in style. It’s often more so about representing yourself well.

20140525-232622-84382280.jpg2. It’s bike city here. I thought there were a lot of bikes in Vancouver, but I think there are as many actively used bikes per person in Osaka as there are cellphone owners in Hong Kong (I think the statistic is 1.6 mobile phones per person or something). There’s lines of bicycles packed in front of every shop and restaurant, but unlike Vancouver:

a) People don’t lock up their bikes here. Maybe it’s because every person in the city already has a bike so stealing one wouldn’t be beneficial (but if you did that in Vancouver, it would get stolen in 1.6 seconds).

b) There’s not a lot of bike lanes. It’s like when you try to walk to class at UBC during peak hours, and there’s always that one person who’s trying to bike through a crowd of people, except that one cyclist is many cyclists who are used to people moving out of the way for them.

I’ve had a slight phobia of cyclists since I got ran over by a rogue biker last year (I bled a lot. It sucked.), but I guess it’s time to get over it now.

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3. People are very ritualistic and respectful in worship. We passed by a set of shrines and watched people pray and pay their respects for a little while, and it made me wonder what all their customs and traditions mean. I saw a girl running by, and even though she was obviously in a rush, she still stopped to bow at the shrine. It was such a small, but powerful, gesture of humbleness.