Japan 2009 Highlights: Nijō Castle

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Today’s destination is Nijō Castle, the stately Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa shōguns.

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Taking sides

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Hmm, these two must be Kyotoites . . .

I noticed something strange during my visit to Japan.

In Tokyo’s train stations, people almost universally line up on the left side when taking the escalator, leaving the right side clear for commuters in a hurry.

In Kyoto, it’s almost like there’s no fixed rule; people either clog up the whole escalator or line up on whichever side the first person to stop chooses. (Ahh, just like home.) But by and large, they tend to gravitate towards the right.

Now here’s the 6.4-billion-yen question: Why?

In Kyoto Station (whilst riding an escalator, naturally), I overheard a fellow gaijin discussing this very issue with his companion. He chalked it up to that age-old rivalry between the old capital and the new capital.

Sounds a little far-fetched, so I’m just not satisfied with that explanation. I’ll dig around a bit until I find a more detailed rationale for this strange urban phenomenon.

Close encounters of the K-ON! kind

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When I saw K-ON!‘s complete opening sequence for the first time, my eyes latched onto the very brief scene capped above.

I’ve seen that place before, I thought.

Rifling through the photographs I took during my stay in Kyoto earlier this month, I found the evidence to back up my sudden realisation.

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The place in question?

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The famous Meiji-era brick aqueduct located on the grounds of Kyoto’s Nanzen-ji temple complex.

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