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i saw maiko

excited. that was my first reaction when someone invited me to visit kyoto…if it would push through, it would be my first time to go to a place not within the kanagawa prefecture or to tokyo area… my excited got bigger when i found out that my trip is 200% confirmed… yes! i will go to kyoto on june 1, 2008…

saturday morning, i was on my way to shinagawa where i will ride the shinkansen (bullet train)… quite nervous inside since it will be my first time to ride in the said train, i tried to look cool..pretending to be normal…

my excitement lessened when i do not see any thing exciting along my way… all i can see was either a congested urban area or a vast field planted with rice or orange… worse, the rain has never stopped since i rode the train..

when i reached kyoto, my excited returned… i felt excited to explore the place to see the different tourist places.

my first itinerary: meet bernadia’s friend and have lunch….. trying to find a stranger in the middle of the busy environment of the kyoto station… then i heard someone called my name….having lunch with him was good… he took me in a cozy italian restaurant. time was fast with him as we talked a lot of different things over a platter of pasta….

second itinerary: kyoto university….. after lunch, i headed to kyoto university to meet the student of my friend as well as leave my things in the laboratory before i continue with my tour…
it took me quite a while before i could find the place and the person that i have to meet since it was a weekend, i seldom see people on the street whom i could ask for directions… after a few rounds in the university and studying the map, i finally found the aka renga building (red brick)… as i enter the laboratoy, i can see the confusion on their faces when i introduced myself to them… maybe they were expecting someone older rather than see a high-school-like girl as visitor…

third itinerary: ginkakuji temple (the temple with silver lining)…. since i only have a few hours to look around, i see to it that i will make the most of my time.. so i chose the places that are uniquely kyoto… one of them is ginkakuji temple… aside from its uniqueness, the temple is also near the university… going there would save me some time to visit other places…. phong, friend’s student, was kind enough to lend me his bike going to the temple…. excitement and fear went into me as it was my first time to ride a bike in japan.. as i bike my way to the temple, i thought half of my spirit was left on the street… i was not able to enjoy much in the temple because my mind was on my way home using the bike again… luckily, i returned to the university campus safe….

fourth itinerary: gion (maiko town)…. when i reached the campus, i immediately returned the bike to him and decided to take the bus instead… in that way, i would feel relaxed from the burden of taking care of the bike and being safe… walking in the street of gion is like going back to the old time of kyoto… the maiko town (geisha’s place) is very traditional… the houses were made of wood and the architecture is ancient… very traditional just like in the old japanese movies… as i toured the quiet town, i see tourists (local and foreign) standing at the sidewalks as if waiting for someone… suddenly, people gather in a group.. there i found out that all of them were waiting for a geisha to come out for them to take pictures…. i also tried my luck but it always end up having their back view in the picture… i thought i will leave the town empty-handed… as i exit in the main gate, i saw a group of geisha coming towards my direction…

with a smile on my face, i returned to the campus… and when my friend asked how my trip was, i smiled, show him the picture in my camera and said: “i saw maiko”

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