I got to Kyoto an hour ago, with the plan to stay here for two nights and one full day.
I will just chill.
Mia Kankimäki wrote very lovingly and generously about this city in her travel book 'Asioita, jotka saavat sydämen lyömään nopeammin'. Her task was to follow in the footsteps of Sei Shonagon, a Heian-period poet known for her collection of lists in 'The Pillow Book'.
I feel like I already know this town thanks to you.
Mia, I'm now following in your footsteps. When I walked past the Nijo castle to get to a 7-eleven to buy a can of non-alcoholic beer (ever wishing they would have Sapporo or the Beery variant of Asahi, but always also happy they have my trusted Zero Dry) and find my way up to my hostel, I think of what you said about cycling about town effortlessly. How it is easy to orient oneself in a grid-system of streets.
One is always one street away from your own street. I liked when you wrote that.
I wish I could move as effortlessly as you.
You should see me on a bike with all the gear I'm carrying with me. A yellow sleeping bag from the early 2000's, a sleeping mattress wrapped around my tent-sticks. Yes I have a tent with me, in Kyoto. But that's just because I had one in Yakushima, where it was just perfect.
Today, in Hiroshima, I bought a thin, long, pink creature with long orange stripy arms to dangle from my big black, ominous-looking Savotta-rinkka. To make me look less like I work for the defense forces and I did just in fact like both the colour and all the modular possibilities this rucksack has. I'm still yet to explore them, perhaps on my next hiking trip.
I also have one of those white and transparent konbini-umbrellas that are so iconic here. I want to bring ten of them home and make a fortune re-selling them in Vallila to people. Did you think to do the same? Did you ever use one, Mia? Perhaps you brought your own umbrella from home.
There is a lot to see in Kyoto. There is a lot to see in Japan.
I will renounce all the must-sees and just chill.
This is what aspiring to do on all my travels to varying degrees of success. Do I need to take a picture of this Torii gateway built on a tide-bank? Sure why not, but I don't have to. I can just make a google image search if I want to get back to this day someday.
Even if I did take a picture of it, I doubt I would come back to see it.
Anything that has a whiff of being 'a must' gets translated to a 'no-no' in my mind.
The least I do is lug my stern to Kyoto. I will stop there and do what I want.
Maybe fantasise about Baden-Württemberg. I was once infatuated with someone from Baden-Württemberg there so name still brings back a fuzzy feeling. I've hardly any real memories of the place.
Kyoto brings to my body an initial feeling of resistance.
So many no-nos.
What this feeling communicates more than anything else, deep down, is that I'm ready to go home. I've reached a point on my trip where I'm in a good place physically and emotionally. I'm a bit tired, especially after tending to my nibling for a week. I'm a bit melancholic of being by myself now, after a wonderful daily social life with my sisters family. I'm yearning to see my friends back home, to forget about this trip and let it's effects become a part of me and my work. Build the memories into anecdotes and stories.
Retell them and combine them with comments and interjections from other trips and other readings.
This is what you did in your second book, Mia. You went on simultaneous trips, but really it was about spending time with yourself and being generous about your observations. Your writing is addictive. You notice the smallest things and you are completely skamlös in your enjoyment of good food and fleeting moments of stillness between procrastination and idleness.
You are my idle idol.
Still I want even half of your industry.