Hello Seattle!

Well here I am in Seattle, U.S.A. I must admit that being in another new country is a lot more thrilling than I thought it would be. The bus trip took about 5 hours (with a stop in the middle at the US border). They let me in! YAY! hahaha. So then when I got to the Seattle station I decided to just get a taxi to my hotel and save the 20 min walk through unknown streets. I was going to do the walk but after passing some strange people on the bus I decided against it. So I arrived and they upgraded me to a queen suite. YAY! My room has a window that opens and its on the 15th floor. I couldnt believe the window actually opens! I put my head out and got some good shots but I thought they didnt let windows open when they are so high?

After recovering with some room service (before which the door man totally hit on me) I took to the streets to walk around in AMERICA! haha. Dont mind me. Anyway, yes, I passed a few people who wolf whistled at me (generally old men) and remembered that thats why I usually wear my ipod when I’m walking, so I put it in my ears and that was so much better. So I went down to what I thought was the waterfront, but there is a HUGE highway infront of it and I had no idea how to get there. I just walked along and then went back to the streets where I came across a dude jamming on the electric guirar and then a crew of B BOYS doing some breakdancing!! AWESOME!!

Looking forward to some major exploring tomorrow.
Photos on flickr soon.


getting lost in the crowds

Everyone was out today! And they all seemed to be headed where I wanted to go – Nanzenji Temple

This place was huge! Not only was there the main temple, but everywhere you looked there were more gardens and shrines and everything you can imagine. It was beautiful!

After much admiring and a little more walking I came across the main section.
I changed into these delightfully stylish slippers and walked into the main garden area. They werent too hard to walk in, but obviously not as comfy as my sneakers! I’m not one to question tradition though, so I didnt hesitate in following directions.

I was happy to see my first proper zen garden! Look at the way they’ve raked the pebbles.

Yeah, someone else took this photo for me! haha. I have found the saying “photo” and pointing at myself and then handing someone my camera usually works well. And hey, if anyone should know about cameras it is the Japanese!! They have been very nice to me.

Ok so after I had seen all I had to see at the temple I walked out and decided to wander along. I didnt have the faintest idea where I was going, but I figured it was only early and I had the whole day!! I went down an alleyway and along a winding street, around and down, up and along. I passed some shops where I bought a few more little things.

And on I wandered until eventually I found myself standing here.

At the Philosophers Walk!!
I dont know how I found it but I was feeling good, so I asked someone to take this photo for me (I copied what she had been doing earlier).
There were many people on the path, and also stall holders selling wares and artists creating. Like this lady.

Before I knew it my tummy was rumbling and I knew that I needed some lunch. I mustered up my courage and took it and myself into this traditional teahouse.
The lady gave me the menu (which was actually drawn on rice paper) and I ordered.
This is what it looked like in the book.

And this is what came to my table.

I’ll be honest with you – I didnt particularly like it. It tasted like dumplings but without any filling and a soy/sweet sauce. I couldnt finish it, but I did walk out feeling a little fuller than when I’d come in. So I kept on going down the path, not knowing where I was going or even really caring. This is one of my fave shots – traditionally dressed women – they were so pretty!!

I forgot to mention that I saw a geisha in a taxi yesterday, I didnt get a photo though but I was glad to cross it off my list.
Then I decided that I should probably try to find my way back and head back to the hotel. I knew it would be a long walk and I was already feeling tired. I headed in the direction I thought I should be going and kept walking for a while.

In the end I asked someone for help, she couldnt speak much english but I got her to point to where I was on my map and that put me in the right direction. I had to turn around and go back a little bit hehehe. I ran into this buddhist temple though!

And I walked and walked and walked. I thought I must be going the right way. I came across a run down building that had collected bikes! I wondered often what certain buildings where, and this is one of them!

Then after a few more blocks I found the river again and I knew I was in the right direction! What a sight for sore eyes (and legs!!!!).

And then I was back at my hotel in time to relax and recover!
What a day!

I’m getting the train back to Tokyo tomorrow and then I fly out in the afternoon – to arrive in Vancouver in the morning of the same day! This time difference thing is weird. Canada, here I come!! 🙂