The second we exited the shinkansen (fantastic ride as usual), an unbearable heat scorched us like the desert sand.
We went to Sagano (North-West Kyoto) the following morning, but could not make it very far, as my body was losing liters of water as were going too far atop. We eventually kind of made it to Horinji, a temple pretty high onto the hill that welcomes 3 visitors per year (us).
Our visit around the Imperial Palace the previous day was similar, as tourists seemed to have deserted the place. Some policemen were patrolling the lifeless park going back and forth – I wonder whether something ever happens on their duty.
Our first attempt to visit Osaka having been ruined by a sudden breakout of swine flu (I wonder if I’ll see Tennoji one day, the temple seems doomed to drive me away), my sister and I just went to the cinema to see Evangelion – You can (not) advance. I was left with the weirdest of feelings – for a movie that was supposed to tell the original story, there were hell a lot of differences! There was even a moment at which Asuka appeared to have died… It was really getting on my Nerv (ok, that one was easy…) so that I wondered whether the director might have been killed in broad daylight after this, but Asuka will apparently be back in the next movie with an eye-patch on her (lost?) left eye. The new character seems promising enough, though she’s not likely to be of any use to the story. The animation is top quality as it was in the first one, but it would have been better off without the reshuffle I think. We fortunately ran into a good bookshop by exiting the theater. I didn’t believe there could be decent bookshops outside Tokyo (true, decent means ‘at least several floors’ to me), but I was able to find the novel for ToLove, one for Tales of Vesperia and the manga of Valkyria Chronicles. The latter is a complete failure, given that the drawing style doesn’t have the remotest resemblance with the original game. I am still trying to understand why Namco is editing a novel (and directing a film from what I could see) while the game has not even started to sell yet. Maybe they want to compensate the dismal sales of the Xbox360 version…
Despite the expected absence of high-school girls, the trip to Kiyomizudera turned out to be quite fun, although painful as I was sweating bullets every time I entered a wooden temple. We had lemonade at some point, and I can say I’ve never appreciated a lemonade that much!
2009 appears to be a 厄年 (yakudoshi – year of misfortune) for people turning 25 this year or last (it varies depending on the temple). But it would make sense to say it was this year, given all the disastrous events that happened to me so far : I’ve been fired, there is an increasing number of wasted RPGs on DS, Atelier Rorona doesn’t sell, and the worst of all – Star Ocean 4 is out for Xbox360, with still no clue of a PS3 version. To add to the misfortune topic, my cousin actually picked a 凶 (kyo – bad omen) saying she was bound to meet troubles, catch illnesses and lose friends. Luckily you can tie it so as to prevent those. Last but not least, my sister happened to buy a S-size kimono, but the shop lady insisted for her to take M size. I politely made up all kind of explanations to justify my sister’s choice without upsetting the old lady. When ended up bowing and throwing aplologies at each other at qn astonishing pace, but I seemed to have beaten the lady in this politeness match, for she did not insist further and eventually said とんでもございません when accepting my last and victorious apology, it can be understood as 「you’re welcome」 amplified 60 times.
Originally published in August 2009.