The mean of the phrase "Lost in Translation" became increasingly apparent as we struggled to explain to the taxi driver which hotel we were staying in. Much gesturing and frustration later, the exclamation of "Ahhh, Bestu Western!" meant we were finally on our way. This became one of the catchphrases of our time in Japan!
Kyoto is famous for being the postcard of Traditional Japan, and is home to the Golden Pavilion, which we visited on our last day there. Despite the rainy & cold weather, and the fact that the blossoms hadn't really come out yet, it was breath-takingly beautiful.
This was probably the most memorable of the temples/ shrines/ palaces that we visited, though all were surrounded by stunning beautiful gardens. One of which was so beautiful that it brought tears to Steve Jobs' eyes (and also Peet's!).
We took part in the "Tea Ceremony" where you kneel on a weaved floor, and are served "matcha" (traditional Japanese tea... bright green, totally gross, though for some reason Peet loves it!)
On a night time visit to the old town, we glimpsed a geisha going into one of the more impressive looking buildings. This led to a discussion about the different roles women played in feudal Japan.
While wives would be modest in dress and behaviour, Geishas would be entertaining, flirtacious and accomplished; and while typically they didn't provide sex, their clients would often be infatuated with them. Being married myself, this concept makes me feel very uncomfortable - that the wife provides a functional role, while her husband desires someone else. I guess this won't be the first cultural difference that will leave me feeling a bit uneasy!
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