Kyoto is one of the most popular and must-to-visit cities in Japan, according to many people and travel books. Of course I also visited there in my life, however I did not recognized the beauty of the old city when I went there as school activities.
We visited there to see historic sites, seeing wooden Buddhas, taking photos with friends and etc... It was not really fun, honestly to say, when I was a KID.
However, the real beauty of the city started talking to us all of a sudden. It might be a sign of telling us "OK! You're finally good/old enough to appreciate Kyoto." And time has come to me, too. After living in the U.S. for years, traveling Europe and Africa, I finally was able to have an ability to find the true value and importance of the city.
It was surely nothing else but boring to see the old wooden statues in a shabby temple when I was a teenager. But I can feel the power of people's thoughts and sorrow when they built the old temple and the Buddha statures to make their wishes for peace. The silence along with old wooden houses, which were totally unfamiliar with me who grown up in a big modern cosmopolitan, could even touches me... the nostalgia!
Why it happened? Maybe because I became older and cultural knowledge, which was formed in the U.S. and Europe, helped me to awake my DNA as a Japanese. Of course I always love skyscrapers in Tokyo as they I grown up with them. I also love red brick buildings and European churches and castles I dreamt of visiting for years.
BUT I now fell in love with wooden old temples, castles and statures built hundreds years ago, as well as the perfect matches with autumn leaves.
Here is my compromise. I did my painting in the garden of the Nanzenji Temple and the red brick building is a bridge with waterway built in 1890. Though the bridge is not really old, compared to the ones in Europe, it is one of the oldest western-style waterway bridge in this country. Besides, the colors of autumn leaves make perfect contrast and reflection on the red bricks!
I finished this painting in 35 minutes. Am I quick? Yes, of course! Because I WAS NOT ABLE TO STAY THERE ANY LONGER, because of the rapidly dropping temperature there. It was about 5 Celsius, or 40 in Fahrenheit; the coldest day of this year!
As soon as I folded my palette, I got out of the temple and ran back to the subway station nearby. Though the scenery was perfect, the autumn leaves in sunset, it was not the prefect season/timing for my painting. I became feverish by the time I am back to Tokyo and spent a whole day in a bed...dreaming of Kyoto.