Wednesday, May 22, 2013
After we're done and was given some time to explore the surrounding, I decided to greet the Indonesian group who were sitting in front of me in the bus. Maybe because I've been away from Indonesia from some time, I may have forgotten certain norms in addressing people since I don't get to address people in Indonesian here that often. I started addressing the ladies of the group as "tante", which means "aunt", which is perhaps a bad way to address them since it made them feel so old and hello I'm not that young myself. The proper way of addressing them is to call them "kakak", I guess, which is an Indonesian word to address anyone slightly older than you be it a woman or a man. However, since I started with "tante", I just continued on. In this trip, I just started greeting every Indonesians I can find :P I found myself gravitating towards the Indonesian so much and not so to the Singaporeans :P I guess it's very telling about where my heart lies and where I feel more comfortable in :) Anyways, on a weekday, this tour would visit Kyoto Imperial Palace too, but since I was there on a Sunday, we went to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine instead. It's quite a pity that my schedule didn't allow me to visit the imperial palace in Kyoto as well as in Tokyo. I read that it's quite a hassle to visit them. You have to join a tour and I think if you choose to join the imperial palace tour group, you have to register with your passport. Also the visit doesn't mean you get to go inside the building, it's most probably just walking on the ground around the building and getting official explanation on it. The east garden in Tokyo imperial palace is free though and you can roam about it freely so that seems interesting, but yeah I couldn't fit in my schedule when I was there.
After which, we went to Kinkaku-ji which I can only described as delightfully golden. There were many tourists taking its pictures from across the pond. It is very beautiful and on a sunny day it's very shiny. It emanated golden ray all around :D I love it a lot. It's one of those things that made you gasped and made you feel warm and fuzzy because you see something wonderful. It's also telling how I really had little knowledge of Japan, since I've never heard about this place before I visited it. I basically just went straight away to take pictures and didn't listen to Mariko when she was gathering people and explaining about the temple. So now, I looked for Wikipedia to enlighten me :P
This beauty ended the Kyoto part of the tour and next was lunch. Lunch wasn't great :( There were free flow of ice cream though. I did take them, but with me being in recovery mode, I was trying to avoid all things cold. I sat with the Indonesian group and found out that one of them is actually Singaporean. Then I got very curious. She's been in Singapore only for 6 years and she managed to change her citizenship. How that did it happen? Did she get permanent residency straight away when she arrived? Or is it actually possible to change your citizenship even if you haven't completed a 5-year permanent residency? I know the answer is actually possible, since Jet Li can be a Singaporean even though it's questionable how long he actually spends in this country. I'm not a Singaporean but I do share the sentiment of many Singaporeans that there are too many foreigners here and I can see where they are coming from when they're annoyed that many foreigners can get citizenship "rather easily", though perhaps it's not that easy actually. It's just as pure blood Singaporeans, many do feel that there's something culturally different about being a Singaporean and just because foreigners can change their status, they're not necessarily one of them. The fear is perhaps that when there are more of these new citizens keeping their own culture, the culture of Singapore will actually be disappearing. The government will say that's what you get when you don't want to make babies. I did read an article that says something along the line that it's useless to argue about the need of foreigners becoming citizens and the changing of Singapore culture, since it's something unstoppable. Singapore will always need immigrants and with them the changes in culture and society will be something which is to be expected and valued instead. Alright then :D Coming from the other side, I get why people would like to be Singaporean. Coming from Indonesia, I think for every non-muslim Indonesians, citing discrimination and muslim extremists is a good enough answer. I personally like to think that I'll stay through thick and thin with the country that God chose for me. There's loyalty for me. Does it mean that people who change their citizenship are not loyal? I usually think it's unfortunate that they do it when their original country does not cause them to be in dire harm, but who are we to judge. This lady though is not that very good of a new citizen. When I said that after all these years, I still do not want to change citizenship, she said changing citizenship to Singaporean is a stepping stone. So yeah, not much loyalty. I guess if you can do it once, you may be able to do it again. I feel rather disappointed hearing her. I feel if you have chosen this path, you should be committed damn it. Anyways, I digressed pretty far off. After lunch, I parted ways with them because they were continuing with the second half of Kyoto tour and I was to start on my Nara part. I had to leave first so I said goodbye, got on the bus and we started picking some other tourists.
After that, we went to Kasuga Grand Shrine. The compound is also very big and because in the area there are a lot of old trees and there are deers (they were among the first things we saw there) and there are many stone lanterns, I was feeling a bit of Bali in here. Like in one of those temples in Bali where the monkeys roam free. Different country, different animal, different things, and yet my brain was making this connection. The deers were definitely not shy. They were looking at us and didn't run away. Mariko said since it's Sunday, there had been many tourists in the area and most probably the deers were already well fed and that's why we're not seeing many of them. We saw 2 when we came and of course everyone including me was approaching them and started taking pictures :P Walking around the areas seeing the lanterns was very nice because it's outside with the nature and the weather was agreeable. I wonder if there's a period where the lanterns are actually filled with candles and people can explore the shrine at night. It must be so cool as well.
Before we left, 2 of the tourists in my group, including the American guy sitting next to me in the bus, were feeding the deers with biscuits which I wonder if a special deer biscuit or human can eat it as well. There were 2 deers and they were eating calmly. This one was actually blind in 1 eye I think because its left eye was rather white. Poor little thing. This is the only picture I had of him which doesn't make him looks so scary
Before we ended the day, we visited a souvenir shop. I think I got something from there. Then it's the drive back to Kyoto. I was dropped at my hotel, yay! Got dinner and since I was staying at Kyoto Tower Hotel, I got a free pass to go up the tower. Since it's free, I might as well use it though for real I wasn't interested at all. Kyoto Tower is really not something beautiful and I'm just not interested anymore in going high up to see a view of a city, though I will still be interested to go up in Monas to see the view of Jakarta. I thought since the tower is not actually that beautiful, there wouldn't be many people going for it. Boy was I wrong. There was a long queue and I ended up waiting 20 minutes or so. If not for the free ticket, I wouldn't waste 20 minutes of my life for it. I also didn't feel particularly amazed seeing the view, maybe because I couldn't identify anything. I guess it would be interesting to see the view during Kyoto bond fire festival since there will be bond fire lighted in the form of a Japanese character in the surrounding mountains. I actually saw the character during the day when one of the mountain was visible. In this picture, you can see a pagoda on the right. I don't know which temple or shrine it belongs to.
To see more pictures from the Nara trip, you can go here and I'll try to write more about the trip soon. Writing this and looking back at the pictures, I realized how I really had a good day that day and how fortunate I felt seeing many wonderful things. Thank you God :)
:) eKa @ 10:44:00 PM •
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