I'm not sure if it's my innate anthropologist or the smashing of preconceptions or the chance to eat unidentifiable foods but, damn, do I ever like to travel. I got back from Japan on Wednesday and the jetfog is just now receding enough for me to write a coherent blog entry. Japan did for me exactly what I had hoped -- got me out of my daily routine, rubbed and opened my metaphorical eyes and reminded me that I should not always believe everything I think. It's less a matter of finding new beliefs in whichever place I am visiting than remembering that other people don't think like me, or like Americans, or like Westerners, or with whichever group I've unconsciously been stepping in line. Oh right! Independence, free will, personal connection to the universal jim-jam! All good things.
I mostly stayed in Kyoto which was old and wise. The maple leaves were showing off their best plumage in red, orange and yellow. The shrines felt sacred and the teenagers felt like shopping. I shared a magnificent view of the city with hundreds of monkeys. I think they were over it, though. Seemed more interested in peanuts and screaming.
And I got to spend time with an old friend. Which very well may have been the best part.
If y'all want to see some photos of pretty colored leaves, along with other random items of interest, click here: