We registered for the conference and had an afternoon free so we ventured ouy into Kobe for a short jaunt. Kaety found a shrine on the map that wasn’t far from the train station – so we had our chance to conquer the scary kiosks that had thwarted us the night before. Thankfully colors and big letters can punch right through a thick language barrier.
The city was amazing! Signs everywhere proclaiming everything. We followed Apple’s tiny blue dot through side streets and back alleys to the Ikuta Shrine. We walked around in circles for a while looking for a big open space of land until we realized that the park and shrine were mingled closely in with the city.
It was lovely, peaceful and interesting. You can buy a charm at the gate and then hang or tie it to a designated charm activation site scattered around the grounds. We watched people pray at the various sub shrines and started to understand how visitors used the area.
We took a break for lunch and Alanna Spinrad joined us for a deeper adventure into Kyoto. Old Kyoto as well as the acres of shrines and temples was staggeringly beautiful and romantic. I found myself trying to process what I was seeing – I caught myself several times thinking, “Wow, this looks really authentic”, and then reminding myself that it actually was.
At some point we paused for dinner, which seemed like a decision point at first but then realized that every door on the street was a restaurant.
It was lovely getting to know Alanna better – there’s nothing like transit puzzles, strange toilets and stunning cultural mysteries to bring people together!