Japan Journal: Day 1- Imperial Park
Updated: Jan 25, 2018
In all the time that I’ve spent on this planet, I’ve never woken up in another country before -well, not if you don’t count losing pseudo-consciousness on the shuttle from the airport, which I don’t because what kind of half-assed, made up crap is “pseudo-consciousness” anyways- but on Monday, April 10th, 2017 at 3:30 in the morning, I did just that.
I tried to go back to sleep, but the excitement of being in a completely different human civilization from the one that I had previously been accustomed to made me much too excited to reenter my hibernation.
My plan originally was to venture out of my coffin-room around 430 a.m. and then make my way to some hitherto un-figured-out spot in Kyoto to capture beautiful sunrise photos for my travel compendium.
I think it’s imperative, if humans don’t want their planet blown up by any of the myriad of hyper-weapon wielding alien races out there, they need to make their planet seem as beautiful and appealing as possible. (It’s not like humans are going win them over with their personalities. Their many public education system has seen to that.) To this regard, landscape photographers should be considered the most important people on the planet.
I decided, if I couldn’t sleep, I would go take a soak in the spa that was located in the basement of my hotel. I discovered it was closed from 3:30 to 5:30 for cleaning every day, which I guess was reassuring. However, as I was going to be leaving the hotel at 4:30 in search for photographs, this meant I was inevitably not going to be able to shower, and thus, I was going to smell real bad by the end of the day.
Nevertheless, I persisted in my mission.
I collected my camera gear and slid out of the hotel into the empty, darkened street. It was a little unsettling to see how empty the street was. The last and only time I had seen it, it was like a writhing serpent of humanity, every scale a different face. But now, it was devoid of any scent of it. It was post-apocalyptic. Street lights blinked and random noises bing-bonged in the dark.
I walked up the street trying to get my bearings. And then down it. And then up it again. And then down it. I had a large map and I was trying to find my cross streets on it. Finally, I did. I was at the corner of Shoji-Dori and Karasuma Dori. And I also discovered that if I walked East for a couple miles on that street, I would hit the Imperial Palace Grounds.
Or at least I hoped.
After lumbering with my heavy (completely stuffed) camera bag for about a half an hour, I arrived, and fount the most beautiful…. it was locked. So, uh, that sucked.
Also, I discovered I brought the wrong lens for my medium format camera on the trip, rendering it practically useless!
This morning was shaping up to be a right bummer.
I got a couple pics of the front gate and some cherry blossoms, but that’s hardly a thing that’s going to sway the minds of petty, small-minded, war faring conquerers form outer-space.
A bit dejected, I headed back to the hotel to grab some of the complimentary breakfast, but on my way I found a tiny coffee shop that looked more like a bar than a coffee shop. They did all their coffee’s pour-over style and served them in little, proper looking china cups. This was my kind of coffee shop.
I sat there and wrote in my journal, ordered another coffee, wrote some more, and then finished my coffee.
It’s funny, but that was one of my favorite experiences in Japan, and it was only about 10am. Just having my first coffee, in a tiny coffee shop that just happened to be exactly the kind of coffee shop I liked. It sort of made the poor experience at the Imperial Park seem worth it. It was the only place that I went in Japan that felt like home, and that's probably why I never went back there again.