Sunday, March 13, 2005

Kyoto (I)

I left my luggage at the hotel (a self proclaimed Ryokan with a TV blasting in the Japanese common room) and head to town. I decided to walk, walk everywhere to get a better sense of the city. Big mistake. The city is big and the map I have not very accurate. I am not lost though, finding my bearing quite easily. Japan feels safe and I soon find myself in small, deserted and silent streets. One such street borders a small canal. There are plants put on suspended planks above the water, as if to claim space from the water and there are shrines. Shrines places are set according to the good spirits which means that they can't be moved. There are shrines next to garages, shrines right below telephone poles. A shrine by a door. And there are Nazi signs.
Rotated nazi signs to be quite accurate. They are everywhere, on every shrine. I know what they are, thousand year old signs dating from long before they were claimed by the Nazis, but it is still a bit unnerving.
One after one, after one, in this deserted street, near that small brook, I came across the sign of evil and each time I am startled for half a second, each time calming down and laughing at myself.
After a while though, the cumulated effect of all the signs around starts to get to me and I am happy to get back to the streets with the ugly buildings that disfigure this town.


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