Kyoto holds a special place in my heart on my second visit earlier this April. When I took a day trip out of Tokyo I only had a place in mind to visit - the Sagano Bamboo forest, which was a little bit of a disappointment as it was filled with tourists. As time didn't allow me to explore other parts of Kyoto, I stayed put in Arashiyama. I took my time wandering about the sleepy town, wrote postcards while having coffee in a retro cafe and followed narrow foot paths that brought me to the front of people's homes.
I do believe that someone up there has added a sprinkle of something to make my trip extra special, it is hard not to feel that way when you get autumn leaves and cherry blossoms sightings in late April. While capturing this shot, a cute 伯母さん (old lady) stopped alongside to admire the flowers and exclaimed "きれいね。" (saying that the flowers are beautiful)
I had her company during my short walk out to the main road while we conversed in my horrible japanese. "あなたはひとりでか?" (Are you alone?) I got that a lot in the past week of solo traveling, to which she responded with an "いいね" (expression for good/amazing) at my reply. We then spoke about the merlion when I told her where I am from and she told me that she would love to visit Singapore. Being able to connect with strangers in a foreign land is one of the most precious experiences one can have, especially when the stranger is a bubbly old lady. ☺
I also met a really sweet lady in Kyoto whom made my experience unforgettable. At 6 pm, I wandered into one of the shops thinking it was an information center while trying to find my way to Togetsukyō without realizing they were closed. In there, I spotted a precious ceramic mug (which is now my favourite) and the lady at the shop was so sweet to allow me to make my purchase even though the cashier was closed. I asked for the directions to the bridge and if it would be worth making the trip there. Again, when she realized that I was traveling alone, she made sure I knew my way and assured me that it is absolutely beautiful. And it was.
I lingered on the bridge for the longest time with the moon hanging in the skies of pastel swirls. This, to me, is Kyoto in all of its splendor. I have never been so captivated by a sight and somehow this just felt really special to me. As I sat by the river watching the moon, I looked back on the days that have past and how it has brought me to become who I was at that moment, I felt really happy.
I couldn't bear to leave but I know that I would definitely be back again. Perhaps then, I would be a different me but it is a feeling that I never would want to forget. As I was savoring the remaining bits of Arashiyama, I saw a familiar face. Seeing the lady from the shop lifted my spirits and it so happened that she was on her way home. We had a short chat and she made sure that I have gotten my picture taken before advising me to head to the train station in case I miss my train back to Tokyo. I really do kind of miss her, the kindness of a stranger is one that touches the heart. ☺
Togetsukyō 渡月橋, also known as Moon Crossing bridge, the area is wide enough for you to watch the moon sail slowly from one end of the sky to another. With every time the moon crosses the bridge, the sun would follow, which brings us a brand new day. The next time the moon crosses this bridge, it would mean that we are into the first day of July. I just received a small piece of exciting news, but it is too early to share. For now, the second half of the year is set out to be looking amazing. ☺