Kyoto, through my eyes

Take me to a place, O Muse,

where the birds already sing.

Take me away from Seoul,

where the winter cools my limbs.

Bring me to Kyoto,

let my eyes drink in spring.

 

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Fushimi Inari main gate

 

Fushimi Inari, your entrance so grand,

oh how I love returning to your gates.

The pilgrimage up to your lofty heights;

few make your peak.

Wealthy Japanese merchants and businessmen,

have lined your trails with amber gates,

to pay their respects to Inari, god of rice.

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Kinkakuji, The Golden Pavilion; Entry ticket: 400 yen. Travel from Kyoto station, bay B-3; Buses 101, 102, 205; cash single fare: 230 yen (40 minute bus ride)

I gaze upon you, O Kinkakuji,

from across a pond,

your two levels sparkling with thick gold leaf.

Built in a period of opulent wealth,

and burned to the ground;

rebuilt over and over again.

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Sanjusangendo Temple, Hagashiyama 600 yen entry ticket

Sanjusangendo, your thousand statues continue to elude me!

Whenever will I capture a stealthy photo within your walls?

You are Japan’s longest building, made from wood;

within fearsome gods and serene goddesses,

all with different faces.

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple

At Kiyomizu, I’m a fly on the wall.

Nobody sees me.

I watch hoards trekking up your steps,

armed with smiles and selfie sticks.

They bustle by, in Japanese wear,

scoping out a suitable photo scene.

Sitting on stone steps,

an old woman in Kimono passes by.

“I’m from Thailand,” she proudly proclaims,

I reply, “Sawadika.”

She doesn’t listen.

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From left: myself, CeCe and Riley; near Matsubara Dori/ Kiyomizu-Dera

Tourist distractions, on Kiyomizu’s pilgrimage.

 A silly respite from our majestic target

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Caramel rice cakes: Shijo Dori

Shopkeepers sell while tourists queue,

300 yen please for soft, sticky balls.

Hot and sweet. Please give me more.

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Ichiran noodle restaurant, Nishiki Market

Why, O Muse, does Kyoto call?

Delicious enjoyment ready for all!

Use a vending machine to order cuisine,

fill out a form to dictate your norms.

Ding a bell to reorder,

and have cash ready. No disorder.

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Fushimi Inari, mountain of gates

Walking Fushimi‘s steps,

I recalled my dear Beth.

My former travel partner, I missed your spirit.

I saw the same stones, the places we sat,

wishing you were here.

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Neighbourhood map

Kiyomizu Gojo station and the Kamo river,

what a perfect location for an Airbnb.

Between Nishiki market and my special bake shop,

this place was truly the optimal spot.

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My fav bakery: Honmachi, by Sayamachi Dori, Shichijo Station

How I delighted to find you still here!

My favourite bakery in the wide world!

Grandma and Grandpa,

do you recall this former customer?

Your fresh baked bread rolls, stuffed with white chocolate!

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Ippudo, Nishiki Market; meals were around 1,000 yen

Ippudo, I’ll return to you,

no doubt about that.

Mince and noodles, in a spicy broth,

Gyosa dumplings and side dishes.

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Nishiki Market, my favourite!

Nishiki market, endless supplier of tasty food.

Wondering your periphery,

I discover your golden gates.

I’m always ready for your gems.

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Green tea and sweet rice cake

Green tea, how I’ve longed for you.

Macha richness in simple arrangement.

Mother and daughter, trying their best,

your kind café provides sweet needed rest.

img_20170127_171501I discovered your colours sixteen months ago.

Forgetting your location, I hoped to spy you.

Imagine my glee to turn and see,

you in full glory, how enthralling for me!

How many visitors trekking up Kiyomizu

have posed with you?

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Gion, Gion…

O Gion. Where Geiko and Maiko evade my stares.

Let me melt in your narrow alleys.

Fill my eyes with your delicate designs.

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While this was my second visit,

My former was all awe.

I wrote about your touching beauty,

and hope for a third visit.

May my return be not long away.

Farewell.

Dedicated to my father, Laszlo Victor, who wrote poems and shared them with me and my siblings in childhood.

Also, dedicated to my university professor, Cedric Littlewood, who instilled within me  a deep love for Latin poetry.

 

 

 

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Kyoto, through my eyes”

  1. Loved reading this and walking through my memories of Kyoto in the process. Do you often write poetry on your blog? I really enjoy travel-related poems, and write ones from time to time. I only publish a few on my site, though.

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    1. Hi Nathan, thank you so much. Actually, this is my first blog done in verse. I was experimenting, and actually really enjoyed it. I will do it again, for sure. That’s brilliant that you also publish travel-related poems on occasion. I’d love to read your next piece!

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  2. This is not a post, but a hymn to surreal Kyoto!!!!! Brilliant!!!!!!

    Uhhhhhh, I wanna take a plane now and fly to Kyoto right now when I see these!

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  3. Very beautiful Tash. It really captured your experience in a very beautiful way. I loved the Beth part to, very sweet
    I never knew you had papa’s poetic side in you!
    The only downside was, it did make me very hungry.. haha.. the food you had looked absolutely delicious

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    1. Hi Viv, I didn’t know I had papa’s poetic side either. This is my first poem I’ve written as an adult. I had already written a blog about Kyoto about 15 months ago, so I wanted to capture my new experience here in a slightly different way. It was an experiment, really… Yes, the food is to die for! Ohhhhhhh

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  4. I don’t think I’ve come across a travel post in a poem form – that was awesome! I like how you intertwined it with your images to create a story and guide the reader through your experience in Kyoto. 2nd time there, you must really like it, considering Japan is pricey, has so many other cool cities and you’re never too far from the cheap places of other SE Asian countries.

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    1. Hi Alla, thank you for your comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. It was an experiment and I really enjoyed the process. Yes, Kyoto found a special place in my heart, and I suspect that I will head there again sometime in the next 12 months! India calls me next.

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  5. Never read anything in this style before – loved it, what beautiful words. Kyoto was our favourite place when we visited Japan, would love to have another opportunity to go back your words and photos bought back a lot of memories.

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  6. What a refreshing way to take in a new destination! I wish more travelogues were as poetic as yours, I think you found your niche girl! You should seriously write this out in a journal one day, I’d be so proud of myself if these were my own words. Glad to hear you had a great time, enough to inspire a full ode out of you 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much Izzy. Yes, I will definitely write another travel poem, but I have to feel inspired and passionate enough to do it! Perhaps on my upcoming trip to India^^

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  7. Ah, Kyoto. So picturesque. I really want to go back. I went there oh so many years ago, seriously a decade when I was first traveling and was horrible at taking photos hahaha. Such a nice city though.

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  8. What an elucidated musing on Kyoto! I’ve never thought to write poetry inspired by travel destinations, but now I might have to give it a shot. Well done. This instantly transported me back to those beautiful Kyoto districts.

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