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Kyoto Tenement Blues

A peculiar apartment block in Kyoto.

I only spent one full day in Kyoto 京都 on my first visit to the home islands of Japan. It simply wasn’t time enough to form anything more than the most fleeting of impressions, none of which I am able to situate within the appropriate cultural context.

Take this building, for example. It drew my eye partly because it is different compared to what I’m used to here in Taiwan 台灣, but also because it is strangely familiar. This building, perched on the hillside leading up to one of the more famous temples in the eastern hills, reminds me of growing up in Montreal for some reason. The rounded corners, wide iron-wrought balconies, and sculpted stucco seem to suggest interiors decorated with wood panelling and shag carpets. I never expected to come to Japan and spend so much time lost in the past. Isn’t this where the future was being made not so long ago?

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