In my ambitious goal to spend as much time on Japanese trains and buses as possible, I’m heading out this afternoon for a weekend in Kyoto, which is about 115 kilometers (do the conversion yourself) to the southeast of Fukui. There, I’m staying at my friend Inna’s house in the city. She’s promised to show me the “real” Kyoto, which I really hope does not involve a lot of karaoke.

The last time I was in Kyoto, it was mid-August, my second weekend in Japan, and it was 39º C in the city, which made breathing difficult, not to mention walking around. Given that there are an estimated 1,600 temples to see in Kyoto, almost all of them on the International Register of Outlandishly Important and Unmissable Historic Sites, I’m fairly wriggling with happiness over the fact that while I’m there this time, it’s going to be a bracing 10º, on average. (Okay, fine: 50º F. Happy?)

Also, I realized this morning that I hadn’t properly posted any links to my Arashima-dake photo gallery, and hadn’t made any mention at all of my trip on Saturday to Katsuyama’s Heisenji Shrine, picturesque rebuilt castle, or space-age dinosaur museum. So here they are. As an aside, I should note that eventually – sooner, hopefully, than later – I’ll be moving Man and Ultraman out of its current digs in WordPress’s free blog-hosting ghetto and into a spiffy new self-hosted ranch-house in the upper-middle-class suburbs, now that I’ve ponied up for my own domain. There, I’ll have access to loads of new customizable options, which will include bell-and-whistle-dripping photo gallery plug-ins as well as curbside trash pickup, though I’ll also probably have to deal with a dictatorial neighborhood association. You take the good with the bad, I guess.

For the moment, then, a couple of photos from (and links to) my trips last weekend to Katsuyama and Arashima-dake. Unless I manage to file a report from Kyoto (say, by sneaking out of a karaoke club and into an internet café), this blogger will return with Kyoto stories aplenty – and an impressive new bus mileage total – next week.


Katsuyama Castle and Old Woman Working in Field


Sunset on Arashima-dake (No I did not wet myself, thanks very much – that’s sweat. Note also the soaked boots. That’s not sweat, that’s ice water.)