Kyoto: The Japanese Neverland

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Not long ago I wandered wide-eyed through the glory that is Kyoto. The ultra-modern Kyoto station gives way to an incomprehensible density of temples and shrines. It makes it feel like the steel and concrete city fell away, as if it never sprouted in the first place. Kyoto, I learned, isn’t a city or a destination, it’s more a phenomenon.

It’s one of those special places you knew you’d want to remember once life in the cubicle sets in. I couldn’t quite put my thoughts into adequate words myself, until Tom Swick’s poetic words about his time there seemed to mirror the effortless Kyoto I remember.

“Everything — the scenery, the weather, the crowds — was touched with an otherworldly delicacy. I seemed not so much to walk but to float.” Later on, a local handed him a business card after asking for directions; her Western name on the front, “Becky.” Then he flipped the card over. “In Neverland.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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