It is noon, and the smoke blanketing Edmonton is so thick that it feels like sunset. #yeg
Kansai International Airport → Vancouver International Airport → Edmonton International Airport
I’m starting my day in a Japanese Cafe and a lot of the radio ads sound like the intro to a future-funk track.
Yesterday I visited Nara and hiked to the top of Mount Wakakusa. The friends I met at the top weren’t just hanging out at the peak: deer are all throughout the city, mingling with people; however, this congregation was a bit more wary of me than the city-dwellers. After sitting and resting a bit they warmed up to me and continues grazing as I watched the sunset over Todai-ji. In Nara, deer are sacred natural monuments believed to be messengers of the gods by one of the local temples.
Kyōto Station → Tōdai-ji → Mount Wakakusa
Yesterday I made it to the top of mount Hieie: the second highest mountain in the Kyoto prefecture (according to the family I met at the top). At the top of the mountain I took a break to enjoy some tea and met three groups of people who made it to the top.
The first was a Canadian from Toronto who was traveling.
The second was a trail-runner. He started digging around behind one of the trees and retrieved a mysterious granite pyramid which he placed in front of the tree. He said it was famous. I’m still confused by this.
The third was a Japanese family who hiked the mountain. The father started telling me how young Japanese people don’t like hiking and that Japanese people don’t hike anymore. He told me about all the mountains in the area, the number of mountains in japan, and the heights of their peaks.
I left the mountain informed.
Kyōto Station → Ōtsu → Mount Hiei
Wandered up to Kiyomizu-dera yesterday: a temple founded in 778. The view of Kyoto from the pagoda is breathtaking. Overlooking the city there’s an architectural gradient from the ancient to the modern. Like many Buddhist temples in Kyoto, the gardens have a dense canopy covering the paths. I found a spot where the pagoda was peeking through the trees.
I made it to the top of Mount Hiei, a sacred mountain in Japan. At the top, I met a guy from Toronto. Canadians are everywhere.
Photograph of the the moment I consider giving it all up to become a tea-farmer. Maren recommended coming to @obubuteafarms for a tour of their estate. The tea tasting we had was so memorable because we also got to see the whole process: from tending to the bushes, to harvesting and processing! I even learned a few new brewing techniques 🍵
Kyōto Station → Kamo, Niigata → Wazuka, Kyoto