pieces of your life for sale

10/21/11   –   22:35

To cap off midterm week, I decided to test the stress levels by trying to go to Toji Temple in Kyoto this morning and be back in Hirakata by noon to take my reading/writing midterm. Every month, Toji has a huge flea market on the temple grounds which I heard sells a lot of traditional items so I figured it would be worth going to see. After groggily boarding the train at 7 this morning, I ended up [still sleepy] at Tofukuji Station. From there I had to [sleep]-walk an additional mile and a half to the west in order to reach the market. God, have I gotten used to walking.

Toji’s claim to fame is a five-story pagoda that graces the south-eastern corner of the complex. Unfortunately, you have to pay 500 yen in order to enter that enclosed area… Which is rather poorly planned because it’s hard to keep people from taking pictures of a FIVE-STORY-PAGODA when the walls around it are not similarly five stories. Look at me, beating the system.










Toji’s market definitely did not disappoint. I will admit that I really enjoy garage sales in America […I swear I’m not 60 years old], and it’s a “hobby” that I brought over to the flea markets in Europe when I went. How could I not have visited this one? There were bolts upon bolts of Kyoto-produced cloth dyed in every color and traditional food stalls selling everything from the usual takoyaki and okonomiyaki to dried fish and squid, seasonal produce, and locally made 漬物 [tsukemono] (n.) –anything pickled. [Note: The gritty substance used to pickle vegetables smells HORRIBLE. And there were buckets and buckets just filled with the stuff. As much as I love 漬物, I was not a fan.]

When he was here, Go told me that all the knife and scissor vendors in Kyoto are descended from the swordsmiths of ages past. I don’t know if I believe that entirely, but it certainly lent a sense of tradition and extra awesomeness to the place.








Probably my favorite booth in the whole market was the antique document/picture/book seller. I can not underscore enough how much I love old things and the 19th century in particular. I ranted about this before in the Europe section of this blog, but it is worth saying it again. I do not know why I have this fascination. I just do. It’s not weird, shut up.

They had an array of magazines, manga, and other books from the Taisho period [1920s] until the present and they also had photographs dating back to the Meiji era. While I was looking through, I got to thinking: “How long does something have to be trash before someone considers it history?” All of this stuff was just people’s old junk. And not even just the books, everything. Why do people put such value in old things? I really don’t understand it myself. Will people be looking at my crap a hundred years from now and paying money for it? God, I hope so.

Anyway, here’s what I ended up purchasing:

Now before you say anything, yes these are graphic drawings of people engaging in intercourse. The black and white one in the back actually isn’t, though. It’s a traditionally bound book with both images and calligraphy. But that one isn’t as striking as the people up front getting it on. And that brings up the question: “How historical does something have to be for you to overlook the fact that it’s pornographic?” I actually see these as peeks into  the sex lives of the Edo [?] period middle class. And when I showed Saori and Sena, I insisted that it was 日本文化 [Japanese Culture]. They responded with unsupressed giggles and a cheeky 確かに [“Of course it is, lawl.”] Here’s Saori and Sena being incredulous.

But yeah, I’m probably going to go to at least one more Toji Market. It’s a cool place to spend a morning.

~ ~


– So the Canadian guy [who looks like Jesse] ‘s name is actually Bill and we were hanging around CIE waiting for Pop Culture class to start when Mai and her friend Kazu asked us to help them with their philosophy class. They’re reading friggin’ Plato’s republic. That crap is so hard to understand even in English x_x But now we had to answer their questions and explain Socrates’ philosophical viewpoints and techniques in Japanese. We started and Bill sort of took the wheel and besides realizing that I have a hard time sorting the concepts out in English, I also noticed that Bill’s Japanese was good. Like. Native-speaker good. But he is not a native Japanese speaker. Bill’s Japanese is so good that he can explain Plato’s Republic in easily understood Japanese to two Japanese students [and myself] without missing any key points. I tried explaining things a bit when he took a break but I stumbled on my words and even though Mai and Kazu said they understood, I feel like they didn’t. :/ This just shows me how far I have left to go. It’s one thing when a Japanese person makes me feel like I’m incompetent [::cough:: my conversation class teacher ::cough::], but when another foreigner makes you feel that way? Yeah… I just need to get off my level-6 high horse and keep studying. [I also found out later that Bill is in level 7] Derp. I need to get better.

– Winter break plans have changed a bit. I find it absurd that there is no budget airline connecting Tokyo to Seoul, the capitals of two neighboring countries. It turns out it is much cheaper to take the ferry from Osaka to Busan and then a train from Busan to Seoul. So that’s what I’m going to do. My friend Ji-Young is from Busan and she said she might be home for winter break and she could show us around. Ji-young pays about 120 dollars every time she goes home. I thought, “well hey, that’s sort of like whenever I drive home to Miami from Gainesville. Except Ji-young goes to a country with a completely different language and culture.” Entonces, me di cuenta que en comparacion con Miami, Gainesville’s almost as foreign… y’all.

– When we learn Japanese, we learn the standard Tokyo dialect wherein the sentence final particle “わ” plays a strictly feminizing role. In the Kansai region, everyone can use “わ” because it is basically a verbal exclamation point. Sometimes I forget this. Manly-man Shintaro sent me a text saying something along the lines of “楽しかったわ” and all I could think of is this kimono-clad Shintaro laughing behind his hand while trying on clothes and texting. I need to get with the program, haha. If I’m gonna be living in Kansai, I have to talk like one.

~ ~

P.S: Doesn’t the doll in the featured pic look like it got its soul sucked out or something. Creeped me the eff out.

3 Responses to “pieces of your life for sale”
  1. hasshi says:

    you don’t speak kansaiben?!

    oh man…since i hear it so much, it’s all that comes out of my mouth. XD and i think my intonation is really similar too. >:

    country bumpkin right here!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh my sweet sugar that doll is creepy as fuck o.o

  3. Go Fujita says:

    Had to post a comment here . . . so not to mislead you.

    I didn’t mean that “ALL of the knife and scissor vendors in Kyoto are descended from the swordsmiths of ages past”. Rather, that “many of the swords smiths had to resort to selling knives and sissors”.

    One such store, is in 京都錦市場
    I couldn’t find any proof backing up my case, but I’m just passing down what I heard from a friend who lives in Kyoto.
    The particular store I’m talking about is:
    Sword smith descendants or not, you’ll be impressed with this shop.

    I think I mentioned this market place when I was visiting . . . I know you’ll get a kick out of it.
    Great location to take lots of wonderful pictures.
    It’s in walking distance from 四条, if my memory hasn’t failed me.

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