We took the train to Nanzenji and then walked across to Philosophers’ Walk. It is pretty in spring or autumn and we are here during neither, but it is still a peaceful walk along a small canal under the trees. A man waved the girls over to a bridge to drop in some little bamboo boats he had fashioned. If they land the right way it’s good luck.
Drop a bamboo boat
in the canal. Lucky or
not it drifts away.
A little further on a man was sitting with his sketching materials drawing the view back along the canal. After we bought one and walked on I looked back and he was lighting a cigarette.
On the stone bridge the
artist rests for a moment:
smoke touches bared buds.
There’s a very good, very old noodle shop called Omen at the far end of the walk. We found it again partly by plan and partly by chance. A long time ago we took our friend there.
Fat white udon in
broth. Sesame seeds floating.
Empty black bowl gleams.
At Omen Udon
My friend sits and smiles at me.
Sixteen years ago.
We went to Ginkakuji. A temple. Nearby a much quieter Shinto shrine in the trees. Quiet and cool and no one around. The Studio Ghibli movies are Shinto in flavour. Not Buddhist.
When we got back to our hotel room the maid had tucked Fox and sheep into bed and made a love heart out of a towel.