Just right after Halloween had ended, the enterprises in Japan switched their decoration to Christmas inspired themes. So starting from November I could listen to Christmas songs while I went shopping, and admire Santa Claus figurines advertising the latest products. Autumn is known to be the finest season in Kyoto and therefore thousands of domestic and international tourists are streaming into the city to take pictures and buying souvenirs (お土産) for their friends.
Yeah, one could say the business is booming in Japan from November until the end of December. But actually the newspapers reported that the Japanese economy has been stagnating for ten months in a row. But not only the economy but also the temperature has been falling steadily during November and as for today I could witness the first snow fall in Kyoto for this winter. International students from warmer climate zones are excited about seeing ‘real’ snow for probably the first time in their lives.
November is also the time where the emperor opens his palace in Kyoto for visitors. An event that only occurs twice a year – in spring and autumn. As I had missed the opportunity in May, I went to the palace took take some pictures. Interestingly most other visitors on a Friday morning were almost exclusively pensioners or pupils.
As November was a busy month with mid-term exams and part-time job, trips had to wait. Studying was (and still is) priority at the moment. Therefore the weeks passed by without any major occurrences. But when December started, Mount Hiei was calling for a visit.
The Mountain is separating Kyoto and Shiga Prefecture from each other. Therefore scouting east one can see Lake Biwa and looking west Kyoto and parts of Osaka are visible. The mountain does not only provide a great view, but also features also a large Buddhist temple complex. As a visitor you have two choices to access the mountain, the first one is the cable car and the second one would be old-fashioned by foot. Because my friends and I are neither pensioners nor children, we decided the latter one. As we went there on a Sunday the entire Temple area was lively filled with visitors spending a nice afternoon there. In general a good and intensive hiking trip with lots of fresh air that I had needed so much.
Also Japanese politics have not been working fine the recent months and so Prime Minister Noda dissolved the parliament on November 16th and hence on the coming Sunday (30 days later) elections will be held. I hope I can find the time to post a small summary of Japanese politics the upcoming days.