Kyoto (5)

Saturday 21/10

From Florence:

This morning we woke up at 8:30 to go and visit a temple. The temple was supposed to be really beautiful and reflect in the little lake it was in and shine in the sun. But we were unlucky and had rain… There was umbrellas everywhere and there wasn’t any reflection. Even if we didn’t have sun and nice weather, it was still worth it because the gardens were really zen and beautiful. The colours of the trees were starting to have fall colours like orange and yellow leaves so it was really cool. While we were going back home, we realised it would be a good idea to go to the manga “museum”. It wasn’t really a museum, it was more of like a library. They called it a museum because you could see how they did the mangas in the old days and you could come with all your supplies and ask them for advice on your mangas. We stayed there for an hour because we each found a book and we went to this area with beanbags, chairs and a bunch more stuff. It was really cool. There was a whole area in the “library” where the books were in French, English, and even Dutch! When we were done, we went home and stayed there 30 minutes until mom and dad left and went to an art gallery. Ludivine, Jules and I stayed home, worked, and relaxed a bit. When mom and dad came home, Jules, mom and I made some origami’s we found online, with the paper that mom bought yesterday. We made a cat and a bat. It was really fun but kind of hard. After that, Ludivine, Jules and I ate at home while mom and dad left to go and eat at a 2-star restaurant! That was our day and it was amazing! Bye.


From me:

I think Florence summarized our day very well. I’ll just add a few words, mainly about what Isabelle and I did without them.

The temple we visited this morning under the rain is the Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion), one of Japan’s best-known sights.

In view of the weather, we didn’t go to the nearby Ryoan-ji and its nice (zen) rock garden (also one of the symbols of Kyoto and one of Japan’s better-known sights).

We go to the Kyoto International Manga Museum, a good introduction to the art of manga. Through this museum, Japan wants to give its ‘nobility letters’ / credentials to this popular graphic art, in the same way that the comics in the West is now recognized as an artistic discipline in its own. There are 300,000 mangas in this museum-library. Each of us finds something he/she likes. We read a manga in the comfortable reading room while Isabelle attends a demonstration of Kamishibai, which was a widely enjoyed media of Japanese popular culture until television came along. I found one in Italian. Many mangas have a sexual connotation so I tried to “control” the books the kids chose. There’s also an interesting computer programme allowing kids to create a manga. Jules does a nice page.

We go back to have (cold) lunch at home.

The museum that Isabelle and I visit in the afternoon is the ‘Forever Museum of Contemporary Art’, where there’s the ‘My Soul Forever’ exhibit of Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese (female) artist, whose Pumpkin statues are emblematic of Naoshima island, where we are going after Osaka. Great exhibit, which helps us to understand better her great work.

We come back home. Isabelle does origami with Florence and Jules. I then prepare diner for the kids. Tonight we indeed have our second kaiseki experience, in the 2-star Roan Kikunoi, in the Pontocho district. It’s a great 10-course meal (see picture of the menu); we eat at the counter, which is a great experience to see the chefs “preparing” (rather finalizing / cutting) the ingredients. The food is refined and beautiful (see pictures). We enjoy a lot! It’s a great way to discover the exquisite Japanese cuisine. Only (small) drawback though: since kaiseki is a cuisine inextricably tied to the seasons, I don’t think fall is the best time for me (but that’s only linked to my personal tastes).

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