Friday, July 5, 2013

Japan [Day 3]: Kyoto




Thank you for watching. -S.Y.

I decided to skip over Kyoto and make the Nagoya video first because it was the accumulation of a difficult journey thus far. Nagoya, as I may have mentioned in the last post, was home. It was a resting place.

I may have portrayed Osaka as some what of a care-free "eat-until-you-drop" time. However, in reality, I flew into Tokyo the day before I was in Osaka. As soon as I landed, I took a train to Yokohama for about 2 hours, walked around for 7 hours, then took an 8 hour overnight bus to Osaka, in which the first two hours were spent lost walking from ward to ward looking for my hotel. 

I asked five different people for direction, but each time I would only get close. As embarrassing as this may be to admit and as ridiculous as this may have looked, I just started crying in the middle of the streets out of frustration and exhaustion. When I finally found a cab, the cab driver took me back to where I had been roaming around before, but he too couldn't find my hotel either. 

I found out later, that the name of the place I needed to find was a subway station named "Doubutsuen-mae," which translates to "In front of the Zoo." I had been looking for my hotel literally, in front of the zoo.

After seriously considering whether or not I should explore Osaka or rest, I asked myself, "When will you ever be in Osaka again?" I didn't have an answer, so I decided to kick myself out of the hotel room and back on to the streets of the city. As I walked around, I calmed down from the emotional roller coaster and thought about what it meant to travel as a young woman. Quite frankly, I don't think I could travel the way I did in any other country. I was out late waiting for a bus at midnight in some alley way outside the city. I walked around shrines in the dark. I made train schedules with 2 minutes between transfers in the middle of somewhere unbeknown to me without a back up plan that would save me if anything went wrong. And I talked to many strangers. What was I thinking? Maybe a year ago, I would have answered that I was young, stupid, and fearless. However, this time, I can only comply with two. Fear was constantly rolling down my back and straining my breathing. I would create scenarios in my head about how I would escape with 30 kilograms of luggage if I were to run into bad people. And as I was thinking up these ridiculous scenarios, I wondered what kind of concerns young men have when they travel alone. If anyone has read this far, I would love to have some feedback.

I have strayed too far from the topic of Kyoto. This video is not as informative or as engaging as the other videos. I still feel guilty about not going to many of the major sites in Kyoto. However, I don't think I would have been able to deliver anything better than pictures we all can find on google at the touch of a finger. Thus, I could only provide a simple reflection of my mental state at the time. A little lost, a little exhausted, but calmed by the atmosphere and muted by the rain. And in the middle of it all, stopped by the smell of taiyaki to enjoy the small things.


Photo by: Soohyun Yang

I hope you enjoy the video.


Soohyun Yang
B.A. International Economics and Japanese Language and Literature 2014
Sigur Center 2013 Japanese Language Fellow
Sendagaya Japanese Institute, Japan

P.S. I promise the next one will be about Nanzan University!

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