Monday, April 30, 2007

Kyoto, Day 9: More Cute Japanese Kids

This is my final travelblog post! Just in time for me to shut down the blog for finals, which are approaching WAY too soon. There may be some intermittent posting about knitting, baking, or both in the next week and a half or so, but mostly I'll be buried in my books.

But, before that happens, I need to write about my last day in Kyoto (which seems such a long time ago now!). On that day, the Chairman's company had a special open house for its employees. The open house seemed oriented primarily towards families with kids, but the Chairman took the Chairwoman, me, and GPG along so we could see what his company is like.

I didn't take very many pictures while we were there, partly because 1) office buildings aren't all too special, even if they are in Japan; and 2) I was running out of memory in my camera! But it was generally a nice event. There were presentations about what the company does (which includes making instruments that measure various things, like pH and infrared emissions), and we also got to go around to various stations to try out the company's products, like an instrument that can remotely measure the temperature of an item. Some of these instruments were in fact pretty cool.

We also got to go on a tour of some of the company's buildings, and there was a welcome committee at each location. Each committee asked a multiple-choice trivia question about the company ("How many customers for such-and-such product did we have last year?"), and if you got it right, you got to put a stamp on a little bingo grid that the company provided. We all then trooped back to the main conference room where the open house was based and played bingo. The bingo winners got to choose a prize from a variety of little wrapped presents. Like I said, it was mostly for kids, but nevertheless it was a very nice event to have visited.

So, speaking of kids, I took pictures of a few of them. As I mentioned earlier, all Japanese kids are very, very cute. I did not see a single un-cute kid during my entire time there.

I don't understand how they can all be so gosh-darn CUTE. Some of them certainly don't keep the cuteness as they grow up. I wonder where it all goes.

I especially liked this little girl below. Her parents knew English and were very nice to us, the poor foreigners who couldn't understand a single word of what was being said at the entire open house. They told us that their daughter's Japanese name means "Seven Seas." Isn't that pretty?

The open house took most of the day. We then ran around the city buying up some last-minute souvenirs. As it probably always happens with these sorts of long trips, we finally had figured out the lay of the land . . . and then we had to leave!

GPG and I had a great time in Kyoto. It's a really intriguing mix of modern and historical, with modern buildings on one block, traditional temples on another, and teeny tiny houses all crammed in between. And although I was a bit disappointed to have missed the cherry blossoms and more blooming green things, I was glad that we missed most of the tourist crowds--we definitely noticed more foreigners showing up in the last few days we were there. For a first trip to Japan, this trip was a really good one.

Thanks for your patience and indulgence while I travelblogged our trip to Kyoto. I'm really glad that I wrote everything up, because even now I look at some of the pictures I took and have only a faint memory of the place and what we did there. I can't promise a great deal of knitting content for the next month or so, as finals and moving come up, but eventually we'll return to our regularly scheduled knitting programming.


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