Wednesday 25 January – Saturday 28 January
We made it to Kyoto safe and sound! It was a bit of a hike to the ryokan from the station, but what made it worse was we were all a little over dressed for the Kyoto weather. Once at the ryokan (the Yadoya Hiraiwa 「宿や平岩」 ) we checked in and quickly and met up back outside for our walk to Sanjūsangendō 「三十三間堂」 . we saw 1001 Buddhist statues which was really cool, though we were rushed through as we had a tight schedule to keep. (http://www.taleofgenji.org/sanjusangendo.html)
Next stop was Fushimiinaritaisha 「伏見稲荷大」 where we had snacks and saw the 5000 orange torii gates. (http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3915.html)
After returning to the ryokan, we went for an onsen bath down the street which was refreshing. Before heading back to the ryokan, Brant, Sensei and I went out for drinks at a nearby bar. We talked about Japan and Linguistics while drinking beer and Fugu Sake, It was fun bonding with the boys over a few drinks.
Next day we visited Kinkakuji 「金閣寺」 the golden pavilion, it was extremely beautiful the way the gardens surrounded it. We walked through buying lucky charms and hot chocolate before leaving for Nara 「奈良」 to see the Deer and Tōdaiji 「東大寺」. (http://kyoto.travel/en/shrine_temple/132)
The deer were everywhere and really cute, we even got to feed them. Todaiji was incredible, built in 752 Todaiji Temple’s Great Buddha Hall is the largest wooden structure in the world and houses an immense statue of Rushana Butsu weighing 500 tonnes. (http://www.taleofgenji.org/todaiji.html)
After leaving Nara we went for dinner in Osaka before bed back at the ryokan.
Our last day in Kyoto was a little more relaxed, first we left to visit Kiyomizudera 「清水寺」 where I got to try the special water from the Otowa waterfall, the three channels of water fall into a pond which supposedly have wish-granting powers. Each of the streams is believed to have a different effect such as bringing success, love and longevity. (http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/en/)
After the Temple, we split up for free time and lunch. I left with a few other for Soba noodles before spending the rest of the day relaxing in my room. One of the interesting things I noticed while travelling around the Kansai region of Japan was the difference in regional dialect. For example, Kansai ben and Osaka ben. I overheard a lot of strange Japanese that I didn’t quite understand walking around the streets, most prominently I was exposed during my homestay in Akashi. Ritsuko would play with me by throwing in some Kansai ben during our conversation. Some of the words I heard were like
- honma 「ほんま」(truly),
- meccha 「めっちゃ」 (very),
- omoroi 「おもろい」 (interesting),
- doushitan 「どしたん」(what’s wrong),
- tabetan 「食べたん」 (ate),
- nani shiton 「何しとん」 (what are you doing?),
- and of course Osaka’s nandeyanen 「なんでやねん」 (what the hell?).
Studying linguistics, it made me interested in how this dialect conjugates compared to the standard. I did notice that to make past tense for example, the usual (tabeta) 「食べた」 has the final (ta) 「た」 dropped and replaced with (tan) 「たん」 making it (tabetan) 「食べたん」. For the present future tense (yomanai) 「飲まない」is suffixed with (hen) 「へん」 instead of (nai) 「ない」 making the verb (nomahen) 「飲まへん」. I also heard the slur when pronouncing words such as (omoroi) 「おもろい」 that I assumed was (omoshiroi) 「おもしろい」without the (shi) 「し」. I was also intrigued with the drop of the glottal stop 「っ」in word like (tsukatte)「 つかって」 where it is replaced with a long (O) 「お」 vowel (tsukoute)「つこうて」. Another oddity I heard during the homestay was (nani shiton) 「何しとん」which confused me abit as it seemed like a form of past tense, however it is actually the continuous form. I’ll stop there as I could dribble on forever about dialect. I really like Kansai and Osaka ben, I find it more expressive and less plain compared to the Japanese we are taught in class. (http://www.kansaiben.com/)
We left early the next morning, during my time in Kyoto I saw a lot of things and had tonnes of fun… I’ll definitely consider returning one day.