25 December 2005

Merry Christmas!

So today is Christmas and I had to work! Oh the shock, the horror. It was OK though, I had all good students in the morning and then in the afternoon a free lesson, a no-show and a voice. I wish I had something more Christmasy to post about but for lack there of, here, for your delectation, are some photos of my recent trip to Kyoto. (All actually taken by me and not stolen from Google Images or photo-shopped.

This is the actual Matt Harvey and his girlfriend Hiroko in the lobby of the ANA Kyoto Hotel. Although I'd spoken to Hiroko on the phone once before this was the first time that we'd actually met and she turned out to be lovely. A really great sense of humor and lots of fun. And she's a weaver! Like for a *living*. How cool is that? (Answer: Pretty frickin' cool.)

This is one of the shrines that we visited, called Fushimi-Inari. It's the main shrine of all the Inari (稲荷: The Harvest God) shrines in all Japan, and all over the grounds they have these endless rows of torii (鳥居) gates that have been donated by the various lesser Inari shrines. The shrine grounds are fairly hilly and we didn't explore the whole place, but we did stop for lunch where they had (of course) o-inari-san, and kitsune udon. (Why of course? Because the Harvest God's sacred animal is the fox and foxes are supposed to love sweet tofu skins, which are in both o-inari-san [note the name] and kitsune [fox] udon.) I also bought a lovely bamboo walking stick for ¥200 which I promptly lost at the next temple we visited.

This last picture is one of the foxes guarding the entrance to the shrine. He's holding a rice plant in his mouth to symbolize a bountiful harvest of rice.

Goog Niter. I'm off to the boys' Christmas party, but I'll see if I can't find something a bit more Christmas-y to post for you guys by the end of the day.

Merry Chirstmaser!

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