Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kyoto, Day One: Part Three

After we left Yasakajinja, we wandered around in an oh-so-charming residential/commercial area called Sannenzaka, full of cobbled streets. Kyoto is known for long, narrow lots, with "townhouses" on them called machiya, and there are lovely gates everywhere. As can be seen here, "stepping stones play an important role in a symbolic bridging between the interior and exterior space of a house ("

I love this basket for the newspaper (and perhaps mail?)... Many houses had statues of various household gods:
This is a statue of a tanuki, a raccoon dog; they are, among many other things, associated with sake, thus the little glass of sake in front of him. The more the merrier!
This is Yasaka Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Kyoto ...
There were many jinrikisha (rickshaws); this fellow is taking a break. And riding in some of the rickshaws? These lovely women--geisha (called geiko in Kyoto) or maiko (apprentice geisha). If you've read Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, you owe it to yourself to read Geisha, a really fascinating nonfiction book about geisha culture, written by Liza Dalby: here is her website, which I also recommend.

And still more ... in Kyoto, there is a booming industry in businesses where anyone can dress up as a geisha and have their photos taken, and even walk around the city for a bit, so it's a little hard to know who is authentic and who isn't...but I choose to think that this beautiful gaggle was the real deal. Just lovely...

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