It was hot and green and touristy. I just blended in with all the other foreigners and indulged in stuff before my long winter of almost solo-Okaasan caring.
One night in a hotel - HUGE bed and fluffy towels! - and then 2 nights with a Couch Surfing host who has traveled to amazing places and done amazing things.
I walked, and the knee survived, and I sat in the sunshine and looked at the trees and the sky.
Arashiyama, an area just outside the city, with loads of shrines and bamboo groves - just beautiful. My Couch Surfing host and I wandered here for hours chatting.
The part of Japan I live in is not really Japan at all. It is the northern frontier, with two or three generation migrant-families and wide open landscapes. Kyoto is the total opposite - the heart of Japan as Japanese and foreigners alike would like to imagine it.
And the maiko dressing - such such such FUN! If you are living in Japan, if you will visit one day I totally recommend it. It is a touristy thing to do - but you do it with Japanese tourists, in a little old house and as you shuffle around in costume, dipping under low door frames with your wig and headdress - you are somehow connecting just fleetingly with another world.
But I couldn't escape Okaasan completely.
While in Kyoto I was thinking that she used to come here when Dear Son and Useless Brother were little boys. When they lived in the Osaka suburbs, she would catch the train and go into Kyoto for a day out.
She was that kind of mother - scoop up the kids and get out of the house. Go and DO something, have a day out.
I tried to imagine Okaasan 50 years ago walking the streets of Kyoto with the boys. Only 50 years ago. She was a woman with two boys on a day trip to a big city. And now she is sitting in front of a TV and folding up bits of old newspaper repetitively. Only 50 years.
We should all get OUT of the house and do stuff, while we can. Because our lives pass so quickly.