Kyoto Kimono

Nicholas Quirke was exploring his theatrical desires on 25 February 2020 when he departed for Kyoto. It was a day visit, but there was quite an agenda he had prepared, and to make the most of it he had an early start. The crowds were thronging to work and in high spirits he found himself enjoying being a part of the hustle. He experienced some mild disorientation at the station but his grasp on the layout was getting better and once he was on the platform there were no errors and he got to Kyoto painlessly. He was looking forward to visiting the former Capital City, renowned for its palaces and gardens, its temples and Shrines, and its historic rituals and experiences. It was therefore no surprise when having a tea to get himself organised in Starbucks a Geisha Stood elegantly, yeti out of time, at the counter. Alongside the recommendations Peng had made there were 11 things he wanted to do in Kyoto and he quickly realised that this was not going to be possible but the first was to see The Higashishi Honganji Temple a monolithic 759 year old Temple, one of the largest Wooden structures in the world and it meant out of respect and for the wood he had to walk shoeless round its exquisite halls. On display was immense coil of rope used to bind the original beams together, made, to his slight disgust, from the Human hair of followers. For much of his trip he had been aching to get himself in costume and today was a fine opportunity to enjoy not only the pleasure of a Tea Ceremony but to do it in style in a Kimono. He had to wear special kimono socks, kimono underwear, and he was dressed by an attendant Geisha, the final effect was something he desired but hadn’t quite managed to achieve in The Nightingale. It was another ritual and it felt to him like a really special moment, to be going back in time to a formality and respect for the pleasures and gifts Of even the simple things we enjoy that we do not give the time to in our world of instant gratification. He made a mental note to find time in his life to give meaning to the small vital things. Dressing up to perform the solemnity added to the mystique of the moment and as he returned to the everyday he experienced a moment of mournfulness. Indeed here he was in the day, in clothes he had worn for sometime , probably by now a little smelly, definitely sweaty from all the walking he was doing in the very ordinary world. Nicholas was near the Imperial Palace and decided to walk and take a look . It actually was further away than he expected and when he got there it was impossible to see. He did catch the start of the cherry blossom which was surrounded by photographers all catching this early hint of spring. One of the things he really liked about Kyoto was the lack of Huge dwarfing tower block it was all at low level and that combined with the lovely wooden houses gave it the impression of being a wide and open city, with the fresh mountain air breezing through it. He had wanted to see the Bamboo Forest but as it was about a 40 minute bus ride realised that he was running out of time, particularly as he had spent a while over a lovely vegan lunch, and needed to get to at least two more of the outstanding shrines before they closed. He had his usual problems with Google maps which meant by the time he got to Kodak-Ji temple they were close to closing. It had a small bamboo wood and he felt he was somehow seeing getting the benefit of both needs. It was a simpler shrine but full of complex winding paths through a breathtaking garden and landscape with a huge monolithic statue of Buddha Dominating the hillside.he enjoyed dusk fall as he wandered through the various buildings and shrines and decided to get a bus to the station rather than walk the 3 kilometres to get back. He had really put in some serious footwork and was a little peeved that he had to stand on the crowded bus for 20 minutes and on the train for a further 50. To his astonishment, as he looked at Happy Cow, he discovered a vegan restaurant literally less than 5 minutes from the hotel. Where had it been when he was looking days before. It was a spectacular and fine meal one of the best he had tasted for weeks. It was home to a long and happy conversation with Cole, Peng and then a wrestle with the technology which took him into the early hours and bed.



  1. So envious of you visiting the shrines and experiencing the mystical Far East. Love that photo of you, you look so well xxxx

  2. I love a good scalping and then human rope. Has Mum ever told you she once did a science project on the tensile strength of human hair?

    Also you look great in the traditional dress. I am very jealous you got to dress up and attend a tea ceremony. I shall expect a dramatic re-enaction upon your return.

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