A Change of Pace

Today was our day off, and so a few of us decided to take a break from exploring temples and instead go on more everyday adventures.

First, we visited the home of Kawai Kanjiro, a famous deceased potter who lived in Kyoto. The house was tucked away in a small and inconspicuous alley and overall very modest. When we entered the building, it was very quiet. The admission fee was ¥500 for students, so it was relatively inexpensive. As we wandered into the house, we began to realize it was far bigger than initially expected. In the house, you can view a lot of preserved pottery and explore through the gorgeous and well lit rooms. Towards the back, there is an open space and a giant kiln that Kawai worked in. Even further back, there is a giant kiln (roughly the size of the hostel kitchen) that you can walk around and peek into. One thing I really appreciated about the house was the balance of inside and outside. A lot of the windows were open, which gave the feeling of simultaneously being among nature and at home. I can imagine it must’ve provided a lot of inspiration for him at the time.

Afterwards, we visited the Ebisu shrine. I attempted the 心洗 on my own and I think I did a good job. I also made an offering to the shrine, even though it was ¥100. It was cheap so I was worried that it was a bit insulting. After spending so much time appreciating the cultural aspect of Kyoto, we decided to spend our afternoon doing something a bit more lighthearted.

We ate lunch at the ramen shop next to the hostel and I ordered some chicken and beer and rice. I had no idea that the servings would be so big, so I was stuffed when I left. One thing I miss about America is take-out boxes. After a short break, we went shopping along the major roads nearby.

There are so many shops, but we have so little time and money. We visited some great thrift shops and I found some great sales. I spent more money than I intended to, but I don’t really regret it. In the shops, there were a lot interesting people. I know Japan is known for being a homogenous country, but the people are so incredibly diverse. As we went from store to store, each one had a different style and feel, and some of the people who worked at them were very cool and eccentric. We visited a sticker store, and the stickers were made by the people who ran the store. It was nice to support artists during this artisan trip, so I guess we didn’t stray too far from the original purpose.


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