I will neither bore you with historical dates and figures nor raise your brows with my detailed itinerary; Instead, I will share to you how I discovered a treasure in Kyoto.
My Kyoto trip (December 2008) was sponsored by Matsushita International Foundation (MIF), the same scholarship foundation which sponsored my graduate studies, and it kicked off my next 18 month-adventure in Japan. But most importantly, I dug tons of gold and I got richer than Mark Zuckerberg. :)
Kyoto is the best site for treasure-hunters of melancholic past and inspiring sceneries. Temples surrounded by peaceful and beautiful gardens would make anyone dream of becoming a geisha or a samurai during the shogunate era. I only read of Ieyasu Tokugawa from James Clavell’s Shogun and there I was able to walk along the same corridors of his castle, barefoot, as the wooden planks squeak the secrets of history.
Kyoto witnessed the friendships I formed with my fellow MIF scholars and 2 of them I now consider friends for life. There we discovered Japan’s glorious past, we dreamt of our next destinations and we shared the blessing of the opportunity to study for free.
I left Kyoto richer with knowledge, friends and a pocketful of golden memories.
*Most pictures were taken by William Rimbun.