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Kyoto Noir


KYOTO, 2021


ven in Kyoto, I longed for Kyoto,” wrote the poet Matsuo Basho. His

famous haiku had bemused me until I lived in Kyoto... for even in Kyoto, I pined for the mysteries of her past. In the gleaming present, wary of curious travelers, the real Kyoto was as elusive as a dream. Then along came a virus. Suddenly devoid of tourists, stripped of noise and chaos, she emerged naked and free. Spellbound, I roamed the streets like paparazzi, in pursuit of this fabled beauty. Now and then, I caught a glimpse of her magic... The glow of red lanterns spilling onto cobbled roads. The faint aroma of incense from a nearby shrine. The wind creaking through the wooden teahouses. A solitary figure blurred by the fog. Moss blanketing sleeping stones. Fireflies and cherry blossoms along a stream. A monk ringing a temple gong. The footsteps of a stranger. An alley cat retreating into the shadows. The whispers of geishas and gangsters... These are the fragments of a deeper mystery. ▪️

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