On the 29th of November, I made another pilgrimage to Kyoto, this time to see my old study-abroad faculty once more. When I was a student, I had hair far past my shoulders, so in my current shorn state nobody recognized me until I introduced myself. It was great to be able to talk to former sensei again, and I’ll definitely have to drop by a few more times, especially if they have advice on what the devil I can do to settle down here.
In my day, the program was held on Kyoto University campus, way on the northeast corner of the city, but it’s moved to Doshisha, in more of a central location right next to the Kyoto imperial palace. The imperial family occasionally stays here, but it’s no longer the main residence of the emperor, so the old grounds are a public park now. The estate has a very strange history to it, full of maneuvering, assassinations, and secret truces in the years leading up to the Meiji revolution in the 1800s. At various times, families trusted by the emperor built their own residences on the grounds, none which still remain. I had the unshakable feeling I was in the presence of ghosts that day.