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Oh, you guys. I’m so bad at blogging…. I haven’t updated since MARCH, and I haven’t submitted a Japan post since SEPTEMBER! Ahhh. I’m sorry guys!

I have been so busy, I know I’ve used that excuse a lot but it is so true. I am moving to Minneapolis at the beginning of July (yes, in TWO WEEKS!) and I will be living with my boyfriend. We’ve been dating for almost one year! I got a full time job (and a very small part time summer job) at a preschool through Americorps, so that will begin in August. I’ll also be getting a part time job, hopefully at a coffee/tea shop or the Mall of America. I’ll be doing 17 credits online through my school….and I will be so busy that I won’t know what to do! I’m so stressed and excited about my new life.

My host sister in Japan is getting married on October 5 in Kyoto, so I will be in Japan for a week! I’m so excited, I just wish I could stay for longer. I can’t even explain how happy I am that I will finally be “home.” Although Minneapolis is starting to feel like home, I still call Japan my home.

There will be a lot of changes happening here on this little blog…I’m converting this to blog of my time in Japan, and I’m creating another blog for my film and digital photography. So everything will be changing….this will no longer be “Girl With A Camera” but something new!

Wish me luck, grin and bear with the changes coming up and come check back soon! Thank you guys!

Kiyomizudera is my favorite place in Kyoto. I went there three times total while I was in Japan…I love it so much! The first time I went was December 1, 2008.  I spent a while walking around by myself, and then I asked a guy to take a picture of me. We started talking,and ended up hanging out for the rest of the night. His name’s J and he’s teaching English in Osaka. We watched the sunset at Kiyomizu, and we saw a male geisha…it was so traumatizing and creepy!

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" Please let us stay as the most STUPID couple in the world. =) "

" Please let us stay as the most STUPID couple in the world. =) "

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A couple from Mayalsia took this picture.

A couple from Mayalsia took this picture.

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jay2
jay

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J and I walked back towards my guesthouse, and he got on the subway to take the train back to Osaka. He got us lost (haha) but eventually we figured out where we were. And we found a kitty!!! By the time I got back to my guesthouse, I was so exhausted! But it was such an amazing day. I love Kyoto.

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I got up early and said goodbye to the friends I made at my guesthouse. After that, I decided to spend the day walking around Kyoto. First, I went to a small shrine called Yasuikonpira-gu (that’s a mouthful!) that I wandered upon. It was a very pretty, peaceful shrine and there weren’t many people there at all.

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Brenda (:

Brenda (:

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This little guy was hanging around the shrine the whole time I was there, just enjoying the morning.

This little guy was hanging around the shrine the whole time I was there, just enjoying the morning.

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Next, I went to Entokuin. It’s a wonderful temple that was formed for Toyotomi Hideyoshi after his death, by his wife. It’s beautiful and charming and I loved it. I’d definitely recommend visiting this temple when you’re in Kyoto.

Entokuin

Entokuin

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I walked through Yasaka shrine again, on my way to the Ryozen kannon. I saw a geisha at the temple near Yasaka, it was a bit unreal! The Ryozen kannon was incredible…after a 10 minute climb on a very steep staircase, you make it to the top and can look over all of Kyoto. Then I explored the kannon by myself, and it was so beautiful and amazing. I lit a candle and made a wish inside, and then spent a while just walking around the area.

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I looked up while I was taking these pictures, and these guys were just chilling....sitting there and staring at me!

I looked up while I was taking these pictures, and these guys were just chilling....sitting there and staring at me!

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Oh, Kyoto. I love you.

Oh, Kyoto. I love you.

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Ryozen Kwannon

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My candle.
My candle.

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I walked towards Kiyomizudera (which was my goal) and stopped for lunch at a cute little cafe. I had a salad, margherita pizza (!!!) and a drink and just watched people walk by. Then I walked through a little garden and finally made it to Kiyomizudera!!!

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Thank you!

My post – Yasaka Shrine; Kyoto, Japan (November 2008) – was featured in the “Freshly Pressed” section of WordPress today, August 18. I’m so amazied, excited and happy about it. Honestly, I’m in awe. It doesn’t seem real. Thank you so much to everyone who’s looked at or commented my blog…it really means so much to me. It took me 3 months to get 1,000 views….and in the past 12 hours, I have had over 600 views. Thank you so much, I can’t even explain how happy this made me. Please don’t be afraid to leave a comment or talk to me!

I took the night bus from Tokyo to Kyoto, and got to Kyoto Station around 5 am!! That’s super early, and about 1.5 hrs before we were scheduled to get there. NOTHING was open, it was terrible…so I got a locker for my stuff and went to McDonald’s. They actually opened an hour early, because there were 30 people wandering around with nowhere to go!! Once people started moving around, and places opened up, I decided to take my bags to my guesthouse. I got on the subway and went to Gion, then dropped my stuff off at the guesthouse at 7 am. There was no one outside, it was dead! I want to Yasaka Shrine for most of the day, it was amazing.

After Yasaka, I walked to Kenninji, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto. It was huge and a little overwhelming, and completely gorgeous.  I felt so calm and peaceful there, and I walked around in awe the entire time.

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The amazing ceiling!

The amazing ceiling!

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I went back to IchiEnSou after wandering around the area for another few hours. I met a few people who were staying there, and we went to the stairway leading to Kiyomizudera, so they could buy some presents for people back home. The stairs are lined on both sides with tons of little shops and cafes. They’re so cute, and an awesome place to buy gifts! Everyone had okonomiyaki for dinner…but it was the type of restaurant that only had once choice, and since I’m vegetarian, of course I couldn’t eat it. The little restaurant was tiny and had an awesome atmosphere, and it was funny trying to teach them how to say ごちそうさまでした.

 

 I wandered arond the streets of Gion for a while, and eventually ended up at Yasaka shrine. I spent an hour or two walking around and taking pictures, I think I explored every possible part of the shrine that I could! I also went to a temple that was very close to Yasaka, I’m not sure of the name.
A small shrine in Gion.

A small shrine in Gion.

Yasaka shrine at 8 am.

Yasaka shrine at 8 am.

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The Yasaka shrine complex is huuuge.  There’s a park with a lake and stream, many different paths and smaller shrines all around the complex. There’s a very big cherry tree in the park, and many smaller trees. It’s gorgeous in the fall, and gorgeous in the spring. I’ll be posting more about Yasaka when I get to March (my mom visted me & I took her to Kyoto).

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I went to a temple that was very close to Yasaka shrine…I’m not sure of the name, but it was very nice. I was basically the only one there, because it was 9 am, so it was kind of eerie. But it was very calm and peaceful. I love temples and shrines.

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one thousand

I’m at one thousand views for my blog! I’m so excited about it, and it’s kind of amazing. I never really though anyone would look at this…so it makes me feel wonderful. Thank you to everyone!! I’m working on some new posts about Kyoto, they should be done soon. Our foreign exchange students arrive in EIGHT days!! And I start school in 2 weeks. I’m so stoked for this year.

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