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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: HC Travellog
Thread: HC Travellog This thread is 2 pages long: 1 2 · NEXT»
Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted March 07, 2008 08:38 PM bonus applied by pandora on 14 Mar 2008.
Edited by Azagal at 11:27, 14 Mar 2008.

HC Travellog - Kyoto

So here on HC we have many things… we have discussions, reviews, gameing advice, tests, RPG and so many other great things. And we have a whole lot of members from many different countries. However I’ve never seen anything here on HC that would have much to do with culture (unless it’s used for some argument over some topic…) and I think that’s sad. I’m sure that we have plenty of people that aren’t very interested in such things but I think (or at least I hope so) that there are some people who would perhaps appreciate something like this. Basically I’m just introducing you to the culture of the place I’m currently living in and I would be happy if some of you could do the same for the places they live in. Like that we would actually know a little bit more about other countries from a person who actually knows what he is talking about!. But well let’s see how this works out.

As some of you might now I’ve spent the last three years of my life in the wonderful country of Japan.

There really is lot more to this country than people see or hear via the media (which is the same as for any other country) so I thought that I’d write a little bit about this place so that you guys could see what Japan is like from a person that really lives here. Of course as a half-Brazilian half-German (so in case you also mistook me for a Japanese… I’m not! Don’t know how I gave some many people the impression that I’m Japanese :S) I’m still a foreigner and what I will tell you about Japan may  differ slightly from what an actual Japanese might tell you since they have more knowledge about their customs and they most certainly know the people better than I do. But I think that for a report about this country my knowledge should do. So let’s start.
Heehe I won’t start with the most stylish capital in the world though (a.k.a. Tokyo) as I wanted to include lots of pictures and stuff which would best be taken in spring in my opinion. Tokyo is alive 24/7 the whole year but I prefer it in summer so I’ll give you my report then.

Instead I will start with the “cultural capital” of Japan


Table of Contents:
Introduction
Sights:   - Kinkaku-ji (located in the Rokuonji Temple)
             - Kiyomizu-dera
             -Ryoan-ji (Zen garden)
Personal opinion

To come if there is interest
Sights:   - Inari-Shrine
             - Nijo-jo

Food:         -Gyosa
             -Rahmen
             -Takojaki
             - Mochi

In case you expect some action filled sequences about my experiences in the Kyoto nightlife I’m sorry to disappoint you (not that I thought that you’d really like to know) but here I will only write about the culture and do a little explaining. This may sound a bit boring but I hope I’ll find a way in order to not make it too dull. A report of mine will consist of two things. The things you should know -cultural info, etc.- (normal font) and my impressions of the places.

Introduction:
Nowhere in Japan will you find as many remains of the past as in Kyoto. Kyoto has 1600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines, palaces from the Shogunat (the Shogun was the supreme Warlord that controlled the biggest part of Japan) and the Emperor and many beautiful gardens. This is the reason why I didn’t get bombed during World War II (!) Kyoto was spared out of respect for its cultural heritage (well technically it wasn’t that big of a strategic target either but it sounds better if you say you spare it out of respect for it’s cultural value…). So due to its cultural value the UNESCO declared the region of Kyoto a World Heritage site.
Now to Kyoto itself… it’s kind of a perfect example for Japan efficiency as it is really tourist friendly. You have a tourist information center right in the main station with full English speaking personal, free maps (in English of course), every bus lists the names of the stops in English (you even have a voice that tells you what you can visit at that station and what lines you can transfer to in English ) and you have sightseeing buses and much more. Well ok this may also be due to the fact that Kyoto is the main tourist attraction of Japan but nevertheless I personally think that this is nothing completely self-explanatory. Nevertheless Kyoto is kind of small but well I’m only really used to big cities (Seoul) or huge megacities (Tokyo) so Kyoto may be big for some (most?) of you. Nightlife there is ok, when you are with friends you’ll have a good time no matter what as you can just go anywhere and have a good time eating/drinking/dancing etc but when you are alone it may be a little more difficult to find the right club/spot too have fun. But that also depends entirely on you Kyoto itself gives you plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself in case you get tired of the daily culture workout. Personally I didn’t really grow tired from the daily cultural visits to the shrines and temples and gardens and what ever I visited since everything you visit is very beautiful and I enjoy learning new things about cultures. But in case you don’t appreciate culture I wouldn’t come here in the first place if you are looking for party and lifestyle I would definitely go to Tokyo. Now to the sights!!

Sights:

The Kinkaku-ji a.k.a. The Golden Pavilion

I’ll start with the perhaps most famous temple in all of Kyoto, the Kinkaku-ji. However this name is not quite correct as it only refers to the world famous golden pavilion, the actual name of the temple is Rokuon-ji (which means as much as “Deergarden-Tempel). The Kinkaku-ji and the temple complex were established in 1397 (the thing is over 700 years old…) and well the perhaps most notable fact is that the surface of the Kinkaku-ji is entirely covered in gold (the Kin of the Kinkaku-ji means gold) During the Onin war (a major civil war which would lead to a era of uncertainty, war and chaos for the next 100 years) the temple complex was burned down but the Kinkakuji survived. It wasn’t that lucky throughout its existence though. In 1950 a monk burned it down… he had the most peculiar explanation: He said that he could not stand so much beauty … Well anyways it was rebuilt in 1955 and it’s still very beautiful.


Apart from being of exquisite cultural value the Kinkaku is really a sight to behold. The photos may not really bring it across (I’m a terrible photographer I’m sorry…) but that is really something. Generally you can say it’s nothing else than a normal pavilion covered with gold… that may be right but it’s oversimplifying things the Kinkaku could also not be covered in gold and it would still be of exceptional beauty since the lake and the garden around it are all part of it the gold is just an add-on which makes the whole thing every more fascinating. When you’re in Kyoto this is definitely a must see. Oh and while your at it you may want to visit the Ginkaku-ji aswell it’s the silver pavilion it’s the counter piece only in silver (forget the fact that’s it’s not in silver as the construction wasn’t finished.) Personally I wouldn’t recommend the Ginkaku-ji unless you’ve got much time

Kinkaku-ji pictures:1,2,3,4

Otowasan Kiyomizu-dera
(Kiyomizu meaning “clean/pure water”)



This Buddhist temple, which belongs to the Kita Hoso sect was founded by Enchin, the great priest, in the 8th year of Hoki (which is 778 a.D), enshrines in it’s main sanctuary an image of Kannon (the Buddhist god of Mery) Bosastsu (Bodhi-Sattva this is not an actual name but a name which indicates that the person is a god).
This Buddhist god of mercy and benevolence has been the object of the ardent faith of Japanese people of all classes though the age. The present structures rebuilt in the 1633 consist of Romon (the two stored gate, xyz-mon meaning “Gate”)
These are the Guardian Spirits of Romon

Oter Pictures of the Guardian Spirits:
Gate Keeper 1
Gate Keeper 2
Gate Keeper 2
(I’m not sure whether or not they are Oni which would make them japanese devils/demons. If their skin colour would be red/blue they most probably would be Oni…),
Sanjunoto 1 (three storied pagoda) (and here is Sanjunoto with his little brother), Shoro (the belfry) and other things.
The temple is the most beautiful I have ever seen, both architecture wise and landscape wise (and trust me I’ve seen a lot during my 6 years in Korea and 3 in Japan…) but what really makes it famous is that the whole temple is built on a 13m high terrace which is entirely made of wood… that construction is epic!

The funny thing is that there is a Japanese saying: “to jump down the terrace of the Kiyomizu” which means as much as “to come to a resolve”. This saying however has a real reason: during the Edo-period (1603-1868) all the wishes of a person who dared to jump down this terrace would be granted (don’t ask me by whom though…). Even though the terrace is 13m above the ground there is a very real chance of survival as the mountain vegetation on the hillside below is pretty dense and you have some big trees who’s branches would (eventually) stop you from hitting the ground very hard. 234 jumps have been witnessed during the Edo-period and 85,4% of the Jumpers actually survived (don’t ask me in what condition they were in when they landed though…).
The other thing that makes this temple so famous is also what gave it its name.

The holy water well of Otowa-no-taki.



History:
The monk Enchin was told in a dream to look for a holy water site. At Mt. Higashiyama he found the Otowa spring where a hermit named Gyoei gave him a log for carving in the likeness of Kannon Bosastsu (God of Mercy and main god enshrined in Kiyomizu remember?). Enchin then enshrined the image at the spring which was the beginning of the Kiyomizu Temple. However at the small platform (from where you catch the water in a tin bucket on a stick) Fudomyoo (a servant of Acala a Buddhist god that protected from evil) is enshrined together with two helpers as a Guardian together with Gyoei sitting on the left of them.
Since the water is holy it is said to fulfil wishes, now it doesn’t really matter if you believe in it or not it’s a nice experience nevertheless . So when you drink the water you will have the blessing of Kannon Bosastsu and that can’t be a bad thing no matter how you look at it now can it?

Now in this temple complex there is a small shrine called Jisju-jinja (btw whenever something is called xyz-jinja you know it’s a shrine while xyz-ji is temple) which is dedicated to Okuninushino-Mikoto the god of love.

That’s him: the rabbit next to him is his messenger.
It’s small but quite amusing to look at it you have all sorts of thing that will help you with your love life: A hammer which - only when shaken together with your partner - will let you receive his blessings, two love stones (they are about 10m away from each other and if you manage to walk from one to the other with your eyes closed you’ll be lucky in you love life or something like that… the thing is it’s good if you make it), a tree where you can pin small strawfigures of your enemies in order to get them cursed (and wouldn’t you know it this was a thing that Japanese women practised a lot…), a statue which helps you fulfil your wishes if you pet it, a wall on which you can hang your letters to god so that he fulfils your wishes and so much more.

As I said before… this temple is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. It’s set in the mountains, the nature surrounding you is like a dream (especially during the cherry blossom season) you have a magnificent view over the whole city from up there and the buildings are just outstanding… It’s kind of hard to describe. This place kind of radiates wisdom and grace. Call me stupid but I grew a bit silent when I was there just out of sheer respect for this complex. Naturally I respect everything I see no matter where I am but this was kind of different. Maybe I was just overwhelmed by the whole thing I don’t know but… it’s difficult to explain.
Anyways this may all sound a bit farfetched I admit it but the fact is that this Temple is AWESOME. So I won’t allow you to go to Kyoto without visiting this place!! And seriously even if you don’t value culture that much and you prefer partying this is still a place you should see.


Other pictures:
Kiyomizu and the terrace
Dragon Fountain which is for washing your hands/face. This is also symbolic for cleaning yourself "mindwise".
View on Kyoto from Kiyomizu

Ryoan-ji famous for the Hojo-Teien Zen Garden

This is “The temple of Dragon who came to rest”. It’s a Zen temple which was founded in 1499. Besides having a beautiful complex the main attraction is the world famous Hojo-Teien.
This is a Zen garden in the Kare-san-sui (literally “Mountain without Water”) style (this means it consist of nothing but white gravel and big mountain rocks and the only plant that is used is moose). Now Zen gardens themselves are a hard to comprehend subject and are faaaaar more complex than what you usually see if you by chance know a little more about them. So I will not go into detail on how they are kept or what inner values the Zen monks have for them etc. so please forgive me. If you want to find out more about it please do it’s a very interesting subject.

Hojjo-Teien:
The garden is in a rectangular shape (10mx25m) and in it you have 15 stones on small moss pads. There is no angle from which you can see all 15 stones. You have a small terrace from where you can look at the garden. Now it’s up to the spectator to see something in this.



This one is somewhat difficult as this demands you to  kind of respect or acknowledge (those are both the wrong words I guess but sorry I can’t to better than that so I hope you understand what I mean) the garden because this will be a waste of time and money if you look at it just as “a bunch of stones in white gravel thrown in their randomly”. That won’t do. If you however choose to go there I promise you you’ll be up for something quite unique and very interesting. I roughly spent 40 minutes just sitting there and taking pictures from time to time. The garden kind of calms you down and you start to find all pictures or meaning in the garden. This may all sounds like the standard tourist crap you would hear from some bimbo who thinks he knows about culture or who just wants to make money from stupid tourists who would actually believe anything you tell them but it’s not. Since I’m not trying to lecture I hope you believe me. But again as I said this only works (I guess) if you don’t look at the garden as a random thing with nothing more to it. So I’m not asking you to go there but if you think that you are the kind of person that respects such an idea then I would definitely go there.

Other Pictures:
Hojo-Teien I  
Hojo-Teien II
Hojo-Teien III
Hojo-Teien IV
Hojo-Teien V
Hojo-Teien VI
Hojo-Teien VII
Hojo-Teien VIII
Hojo-Teien XI
Hojo-Teien X
Hojo-Teien XI
Hojo-Teien XII



So this was the first part of my travel log or whatever you’d like to call it. I hope you liked it.

____________
"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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baklava
baklava


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Mostly harmless
posted March 07, 2008 10:03 PM

I have to show this to this friend of mine, she's sort of obsessed with Japan.

Mods, how about a nice and shiny QP for this one?
____________
"Let me tell you what the blues
is. When you ain't got no
money,
you got the blues."
Howlin Wolf

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Minion
Minion


Legendary Hero
posted March 08, 2008 02:49 AM

Being from finland... we having no culture.. so from that perspective this is a wasted topic...
But if there is anyone living in Egypt or other arabic countries, I would like to hear a little about that. Planning on an exchange year there soon.

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Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted March 08, 2008 04:52 AM

Heehe I take you like it then Baklava? Thanks for the compliment.
@Minion
Well just because you don't have any culture (which I don't belive) it doesn't mean you couldn't write something about finnland. I know lot's of people that want to go there.

Oh and incase you have any questions feel free to ask.
____________
"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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gallow
gallow


Bad-mannered
Known Hero
Avenger
posted March 08, 2008 11:12 AM

Too many pictures poping out that i couldn´t read anything

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GenieLord
GenieLord


Honorable
Legendary Hero
posted March 08, 2008 12:28 PM

Quote:
Mods, how about a nice and shiny QP for this one?

I second that.

Excellent post, Azagal. Very intriguing.

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TheDeath
TheDeath


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
with serious business
posted March 08, 2008 05:59 PM

Awesome work

I've always been fascinated by the ancient cultures (Ancient Egypt, Babylon, Mayan, etc) and Asian cultures (especially East and South-east Asian cultures).

I'd like to write something about Romania but I doubt I have the time or inspiration to make it understandable.

Nevertheless I'll briefly start with the story of Dracula (but it's brief, sorry). I think some may know about the story of Dracula (Vlad Tepes was a "ruler"/king but it wasn't called 'rege' (which means king) rather "domnitor/voievod" in romanian). His anger on foreigners (especially turks) was outstanding; he piked them to death to show his brutality. He was not merciful and some stories say his revenge (whatever that is) still haunts the Castle, which is in Transilvania. There are various stories and some movies made around this, and some not related to Dracula (but to, for example, Cerberus or underground caves).

sorry I don't think I am able to continue this at the moment (but depending on how time permits).

again awesome thread and nice effort!

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Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted March 09, 2008 06:48 AM

Thanks for the compliments. In case too many people have the same problem with the pictures I can remove some.
I don't expect too many people to do the same thing as I did as this really was a lot of work but it's more about the initiative since I felt that something like this is a nice alternative to the mayhem that's lately been going on the VW and would be a good thing in general so if someone has a lot of spare time they could prehaps do something like this. Anyways thanks again for the compliments.
____________
"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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Mytical
Mytical


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
Chaos seeking Harmony
posted March 09, 2008 07:39 AM

Sadly, the town I come from does not have much in the way of tourist attractions or such.  In fact, 90% of the town rolls up the sidewalk (ie closes) after 11pm at night.  Now that is not to say that there is not a few things worth mentioning, just not much.

We have a actual theatre (and a movie complex, which is two different things, though for some reson people seem to get confused about that).  It is called Murphy's Theatre, and actually has a few decent shows.  Though it is sporatic and opens only on occasion.  We have a nice park, and are not far away from two places I love to visit.  A lake and a state park.  Both can be absolutely breathtaking at cetain times.  In fall with the multicolored leaves, in winter with a soft cover of snow and the water frozen over.  In spring during the blooming season, and in summer when you want to cool off.

Aside from the theatre and movie complex there is bowling...and that is about it for entertainment (well there are bars, but I don't like bars that much).  Since it is not far from Dayton, however, I do sometimes visit Diamond Cabaret .
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Message received.

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Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted March 09, 2008 07:58 AM

Ok I've edited the whole thing so that now the page doesn't stretch anymore.
____________
"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted March 12, 2008 12:07 AM

Well thanks for the comments sofar but would someone actually be interested and read it if I post more about this?
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"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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JoonasTo
JoonasTo


Responsible
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What if Elvin was female?
posted March 12, 2008 02:14 PM

Yes someone would.
Well me at least.
That's someone.

Do you have any experiences from small towns or somewhere tourists don't usually go?

Those would be nice. Although I visit some tourists sites, must see sites usually, occasionally I prefer some quieter areas.

Don't get the wrong impression though. I'm liking that previous post very much too.
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Elvin
Elvin


Admirable
Omnipresent Hero
Endless Revival
posted March 12, 2008 02:39 PM

Reason I took so long to reply is that this thread is just too long That's really inspiring and I'm glad you took the initiative for something like that. Both practical and informative, I especially liked the pics. Actually without them to divert my attention from this extensive text I might have gone nuts

As I told you I like expanding my knowledge on foreign cultures
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H5 is still alive and kicking, join us in the Duel Map discord server!
Map also hosted on Moddb

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Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted March 13, 2008 09:44 AM
Edited by Azagal at 15:01, 13 Mar 2008.

Now Gallow was already the first to adress this problem. I had a lot of pictures in here and of course there are people in this world who don't have the kickass internet connection I enjoy here in Japan. I wanted to change that but I didn't want to put any images out of the thread... my small brain of course didn't find a solution for this complex problem. However our analytical genius TheDeath was nice enough to give me tip to replace the [img] tags with [url=] and TAAAADA there would be a link to the picture!So now from the 39 pictures in the beginning, only 12 are still in the thread as real images the rest have been linked to. I hope 12 isn't too much anymore but I dind't want to take out to many as there is an awful lot of text too and as Elvin said they prevent the reader from going nuts (=getting extremly bored from all that info) . So thank TheDeath for your shortened loading times.
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"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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Azagal
Azagal


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Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted September 27, 2008 03:08 PM

Ok you guys since it's the weekend and we have a lot of small over eager new members I thought I'd revive this in order. PERHAPS someone out there would share a bit of info on his country.
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"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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doomnezeu
doomnezeu


Supreme Hero
Miaumiaumiau
posted September 27, 2008 08:31 PM

Such a nice post about Japan and nothing about Akihabara?
Shame on you.
____________

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Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted September 27, 2008 09:20 PM

My my... In a post about Kyoto I'll hardly be mentioning Akihabara now will I? Anyways I'll make a big biiig post on my beloved Tokyo some time in the future and naturally Akihabara shall be included.
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"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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doomnezeu
doomnezeu


Supreme Hero
Miaumiaumiau
posted September 28, 2008 01:02 AM

Isoginasai then, Azagal-kun.
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Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted October 29, 2008 05:53 AM

Fans of the land of the riseing sun fear not!!

It is 13:50 I frustrated and somewhat weired. What is the solution? Load my mp3 full with inspirational happy music and off I go to downtown Tokyo!! I shall be armed with a Sony Cybershot 5000 and the will to annoy the living hell out of people by takeing pictures whereever I please!! AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!

(So if you didn't get what I was saying I'll update this thread with Tokyo in the next couple of days)







Oh yeah and

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"The superior man is modest in
his speech but exceeds in his
actions." Confucius

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Totoro
Totoro


Famous Hero
in User
posted October 29, 2008 05:27 PM

Quote:
There is no angle from which you can see all 15 stones.

What if you take helicopter?
____________

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