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Here's part one of the trip to Kyoto. On the first day we visited Ginkakuji (the silver pavillion), and later in the evening we explored the Kyoto train station, which itself is a work of modern art.
The video is a bit shakey in ginkakuji, but you get the impression of the place. In one part you will see a display of many different kinds of moss. Some of them were labelled VIP- and infact, they did look quite impressive as far as moss goes. You can't see much, but I included this anyway because the entire grounds were covered by moss, and I think this is important to the shinto belief that everything is alive. If you're not interested in eastern religions, replace the word "Shinto" with "Jedi", and read as "The Jedi belief that everything is part of the force." It's essentially the same religion, as far as I can tell....not to offend any Shintoists out there, I just don't know anything more about it. Point is, the whole garden is so green and alive, as you walk through it you feel like it's breathing and growing with you.
Kyoto Eki is really quite an impressive building, although many locals protested it when it was first errected; calling it an eyesore in the middle of a beautiful traditional city. On the contrary, I was quite impressed with Kyoto station. Down the middle, an endless line of escalators carry you up a whole 14 floors from ground level. At night, many people were sitting on the roof top where there is an open air bamboo garden, and a small patch of lawn. The station is filled with large bizarre curving shapes, and is mostly open to the sky. I think it is a good example of the harmony of the modern world with ancient tradition, which I think Japan pulls off so well. It also incorporates the natural world with the constructed human world, an ideal that Kyoto pulls off perfectly. As you will see in future episodes, the city is a wonderful harmonization of these opposites, and that is what made it such an intriguing city to me.
P.s. Please see Tara's pictures below if you haven't already!