For us, Japan was a country of two halves (oh, and they’re getting pretty good at rugby) the old, beautiful traditions and a new modern world adapting itself to the future. It’s all the more amazing for how easily they seem to meld the two.
For us it was the most apparent in our friends newly built home – having a traditional Tatami mat room (the majority of the family played, read, slept and relaxed there) in addition to the Western style dining room and heated toilet seats which fascinated us endlessly.
Kyoto is a beautiful city, full of the wonderful nooks and crannies I especially love, perfect for losing more than a few afternoons down it’s markets and temples…
(stopping for the all important fuel of a snack)
in bendy-windy and steep Old Town shopping and dining.
Don’t the hills in the background look just like painted porcelain?
This a great example of the dichotomy which so struck me.
We spent over 10 days exploring, catching up with friends, celebrating our 3rd Christmas Day with expat friends and then a proper Japanese New Year (with a few side trips) before heading to Tokyo, and had the feeling that we had only tasted a tiny iota of it’s charm.
I also definitely approve of their Karaoke selection – who knew!