Friday, July 15, 2005

Kamo River at Night

Over the weekends, I decided to take more pictures of the Kamo River. The weather wasn't really bad. Although it was gloomy but at least, it only started to rain after I have taken the pictures I needed for blogging.
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Full view of the stone steps (some turtle-shaped) put across the river to bring people closer contact with the river.
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Kyoto is indeed utterly charming and romantic at night.
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No wonder it has been one of the best kissing spots. The stretch along Shijo-dori to Sanjyo-dori is considered by many the best stretch of the river. Nevertheless, the upper stretch of the river offers more privacy, away from the crowds.
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Pontocho is one of Kyoto's traditional nightlife districts where if lucky, one might be able to spot a geisha apprentice at night. It is a narrow street running from Shijo-dori to Sanjyo-dori, one block west of the Kamo River.
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The Pontocho districts are stuffed with dozens of noodle bars, restaurants and izakayas (a japanese bar popular for after-work drinking).
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In the evenings, this place offers a great atmosphere and restaurants ranging from inexpensive yakitori (grill skewered chicken) shops to highly exclusive establishments which require the right connections and a fat wallet. With an outdoor platform, these restaurants (yuka) offer a good view of the river. Today, there are 87 yuka along the Kamogawa River.
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But in traditional izakayas, some have said that foreigners are often greeted with suspicion and may not get served.
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Held every year in July, Gion festival is one of the biggest festivals in Japan (previous posting entitled Matsuri Magic Part 1). The preparation of this festival begins July 1st and celebrates until July 31st. It is said that the hot summer of Kyoto begins with the Gion Matsuri.
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There are many events held during this festival, but the highlights are yoiyama (eve) on the 16th and yamahoko-junko on the 17th. Yamahoko-junko is the parade of colorful floats through downtown Kyoto. Tonight, yoiyoiyama (eve of the eve), my host parent will take me to the funaboko (decorated float, built in the shape of a ship) and I hope to be able to visit some of the Kyoto old houses as well, which display their household treasures.
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A bird spotted by the river bank of Kamogawa.
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Another picture of the Kamo River.

9 comments:

Primrose said...

Wow, so colourful and so happening. I liked the stone steps. So unique. Bet you can never find one in Malaysia...

arGlene said...

kamo river looks so serene to me. it is very soothing...makes me want to meditate.

Mad Ethel said...

Why wouldn't foreigners get served? And BTW, I LOVE your blog. It's like a magazine dedicated to Japan with hotspot and cultural info. I haven't been able to find this sort of stuff on the internet elsewhere. You take great pictures!

emotionalistic said...

Kamo River has its own beauty at night....very romantic indeed.

Quote: "But in traditional izakayas, some have said that foreigners are often greeted with suspicion and may not get served."

I remember reading from somewhere that foreigners can be treated well too if they are brought in by a Japanese (usually a regular customer). So did you experience that kind of 'cold' treatment before??

Patrick Leong said...

primrose : thats why i still want to stay here in japan for a few more years. there is still more to see. i have never been to shikoku and kyushu. and summer in hokkaido is splendid. only if i have the time ...

arglene : yea. sometimes i do cycle along the river bank. sit on the step stones and dip my feet inside the cold river water. but these days are too hot to stay outdoor. i rather work in the lab or stay at home, watching video. my ex-dorm mates and i might do bbq next month i think at the river bank of kamogawa.

mad ethel : i am glad you like my blog. i was afraid to bore readers to keep writing about temples and shrines and festivals. for the next few months, postings will be all related to japan, unless if i go somewhere else for traveling. my pictures are quite ok. you should see my other blog friend's picture sites, you will be more impressed. they are like professional photographers (read below for answer to 'why wouldn't foreigners get served?' anyway did you watch Lost In Translation by Sofia Coppola ?

emotionalistic (as well as mad ethel) : as regard to foreigners being greeted with suspicion, i am not very sure. i read it somewhere in the net. one of the things you have to get used to in being a foreigner in Japan is being stared at like some kind of alien freak. not so much in big cities like tokyo and osaka. perhaps it is the nervousness about dealing with someone who doesn't look or act like the japanese. this applied more to foreigners from the West. as for my case, i think i can be mistaken as japanese. i am asian. so far, i have never experienced any cold treatment in a restaurant. of course there could be certain restaurants which are connected to some sort of a secret society ... i have never been to any of those.

Acrix said...

I like the photo on the Pontocho district~ Feel kinda warm :P Anyway, have u tried kissing at the riverside?

Anonymous said...

Dear Patrick,

1st and foremost, how's you and your study life? how's your accommodation of your new home? everything seems okay? i presumed everything is fine with you.

About your recent blogpost 16/7:
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1) hoko floats carries musicians? that's sounds nice really, do you meant the sounds continues playing? or it pause somewhere in between?

2) I like the ancient capital city of kyoto, i don't know, i like that kinda scene/place.

3)So then, part of your friend are a group of singer? or they participate in the event? coolness! i wish i could see you there.

4)Kyoto university clock tower? isn't your university front view? it's so freaking beautiful! am sure you have alot of chance to take the picture during this time especially in the beautiful night.

About your recent blogpost 15/7:
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1)Yes. I also like the stone steps. Imagine if someone as a model and snap some photo with the stone steps, standing into a different angle..well i can imagine the beauty in it.

2)Kamo river. So you take this photo at this late beautiful night right? must be la. Well, i wouldn't see it as romantic but it's charming.

3)What is geisha apprentice?

4)Is that what you meant the japanese bar along the long row street? how often you go there? speaking of bar, do japanese bar also have certain music entertainment like jazz or somesuch?

5)I really like the evening restaurant place..firstly, i like the overview, 2ndly, i love the atmosphere, looks interesting. i beg you be here often? or once in awhile?

May i know how would you suggest that when is the best time to travel Japan? July or September? Well, if i would have go Japan, there's gonna be next year, so you'll yet to be back to msia right? well, if i visit jp, will pay you a visit.

Thankies for your regards. I suppose my eyes are getting better.i check up every saturday.

charlene.

zbjernak said...

i like the turtle shape stones...very cute...the local people are very considerate.....

and i love the small small alleys with those restaurants.....the pontocho...
ahhh so lovely...

and geisha...fascinating....
japan japan......

Patrick Leong said...

acrix : tried kissing by the riverside ? no one to kiss wor ...

charlene : thanks for concern. my new place is good. summer is hot and humid. research is slow. no results. will try harder. no worries :P

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blog post 16.07

1. yes, people sit inside the hoko float and play traditional instruments (metal bowl-like instruments and flute) during the parade. during the eve as well, i think they play the kon-chiki-chin music from time to time.

2. yea. i am impressed too with Kazu-san's talent. he is very good with the harmonica. there are alot of life bands in big cities like osaka. some of them students. during weekends, it can be very happening.

3. yea, the clock tower and the camphor tree is the symbol of the kyoto university.

blog post 15.07

1. when i took the picture of the kamo river in late evening, it started to drizzle abit.

2. girls who wish to become a geisha, have to go through a rigid apprenticeship during which they learn various traditional arts such as playing instruments, singing, dancing, but also conversation and other social skills. in kyoto, geisha apprentices are called maiko.

3. i have never been to the restaurants and bars in pontocho. i should one day. i dont really go drinking in bars or disco. only occasionally to karaoke. there is no music in izakayas. people go there for drinking and food is also served.

4. i will be in japan for another 3 years, at least. let me know when you come here. the best time to visit is early april or mid november to enjoy sakura or autumn. summer is very hot here. but it is nice to visit hokkaido this time of the year. summer in hokkaido is beautiful.

zbjernak : in fact i have never eaten in any of the restaurants along the pontocho alley, having the impression that i might need to have a fat wallet to be able to dine there. but i think there are also some affordable ones. i might try one time eating there, perhaps this year.