(JULY 28, 2004 – AUGUST 2, 2004)

View through our hotel window, Kyoto, Japan

On the way to Kyoto: We traveled to Kyoto by train, starting at the subway station near Nagoya University Here is a photo from the window of the 'bullet train'. It was a 40 minute ride.

We were accompanied by our some of our gracious hosts (and our suitcases).

The conference
"Designs, Codes, Graphs and Their Links"
in Kyoto, July 28-30 started the same afternoon. Rick presented a talk during the conference.

Kyoto city map that is on our window, city view in the background

Can you believe they have 'Alphabet Soup' in Japan too?

A.............The last time we were in Kyoto, three years ago, we had to search for days before we found 'Okonomiyaki' (our friend Maho had told us we had to try this).See a story about Maho and okonamiyaki from our visit to Kyoto three years ago. Our hosts this time knew this story of ours. So we were AMAZED when the first thing that happened on our ARRIVAL is to go straight from the train station to the Okonomiyaki restaurant!

Okonomiyaki are pancake-like (pizza-like) specialty, made from flour, cabbage, egg, with toppings like bonita flakes, seafood, and vegetables.

B............ We had only a few moments to stop at our hotel, so our BAGS were left in the lobby (trapped in a fishnet?) and we were off to the conference.

C.............. On our first visit we admired the Kyoto cabs. We were no less impressed this time. Each one is spotlessly clean and all the seats have lace covers.

The CONFERENCE on "Designs, Codes, Graphs and their Links V" began on Monday afternoon, and the gracious organizer, Shinji Kuriki, greeted us.

One of the first speakers was Mariko Hagita, who was so kind to us on our first visit to Kyoto.

D..............After the first conference day, was the opening conference DINNER. It was absolutley the most amazing feast we have experienced anywhere yet. At a famous sushi restaurant, with kimono dressed waitresses, an endless array of exotic delicacies followed one another, accompanied by endless toasts of beer and cold sake. It was a jouful time, full of laughter, the greeting of old friends, and mathematical jokes.

To see many of the dishes served go to the sushi dinner

E.............Can you believe that we are sitting here with you, enjoying our first conference dinner in Kyoto, we've only given you some appetizers, and we are going to ask you to EXIT Kyoto, and take a trip to NARA??? Well you don't want to miss this before we leave! Especially since Rick is getting to be such an EXPERT at using the ticket machines in the subway stations!

Don't think we were going off on our own, on the loose in Kyoto!

No, we were being well taken care of, and under the watchful eyes of our two friends and hosts for the day, Ryoh Fuji-hara (right) and Yuki Mutoh (left). You can just tell from the looks on their faces, they were not going to let us get into any trouble.

(By the way, Yuki was our guest at our home in Pasadena while he was visiting Caltech several months ago, and is a co-author on a recent paper with Rick, which Rick presented at the conference here. Here he is asking Rick a question after Rick's recent talk, "More on decompositions of edge-colored complete graphs".)

But look, as soon as we arrived in Nara, we were getting into trouble!

What, you might ask, is that???

Well, it is one of these! Nara is overrun with deer. Along with our host, and kind organizer of the conference in Kyoto, Shinji Kuriki (on Kathy's left, and holding the umbrella) they greeted us at the station in the rain. You can just see Shinji's lovely wife, Junko, who also accompanied us on our adventures in Nara, which is their home city. Here she is with Yuki, just after we arrived. What did they know that we didn't know?

We weren't the ones that bought those deer cookies. Now Rick is being overrun with deer, and we just got here! That one just bit Rick on his tummy! (Rick was protecting Kathy from the deer, by the way. someone had handed Kathy the cookies and Rick grabbed them when he saw what was happening!)

Rick was trying as hard as he could to get those cookies unwrapped fast!

Well, why didn't someone warn us? We could have just read the signs!

(Seems like those deer can be grouchy sometimes!) Now, we are sure you haven't seen enough of the deer, so you will have to keep checking back for
deer sightings
but we have temples to see, and stairs to climb, and shrines to visit and a national museum to examine and puddles to avoid, and Japanese curry and donburi to eat before we go back on that train to Kyoto!

Here's where we were, at Todai-Ji Temple...don't think there weren't any deer around, they just didn't get into this picture.

It is a good think we remembered to bring our umbrellas from Pasadena, because a typhoon was coming! Actually, it avoided Kyoto and headed for Tokyo.

You can see more of our adventures in Nara soon, and more about Kyoto, Nagoya, and Busan when we can post more about our trip. Yuki will come soon to take us on more adventures on our last day in Kyoto, then we will pack, and tomorrow morning we leave for home!!

The reason we are able to post these journals from Kyoto at all, we found out, is that the hotel NEXT to ours has a high speed free wireless connection, and it leaks out to us!! We are very lucky! Our hosts were amazed we could connect.

Kampai! (Cheers!) from Kyoto, from Kathy and Rick! And
Arigato!(Thanks!) to all of our gracious hosts in Japan (and Korea) who have made this a tremendous and unforgettable trip for us.

F..............Before we leave (in a few hours) we just have to make a note about what happened yesterday! Our host for the day, young Yuki Mutoh had a plan. (This involved many taxi rides, and miles of walking, up and down stairs and through and around temples, shrines and gardens, all new and amazing and to be continued later.) We did all of that, but there was more! We were standing at an outdoor souvenir shop looking, and inquiring about something, and the woman seller told Yuki...what we knew already...'those are toys', but I can help you find real ones. Yuki made several phone calls on his cell phone during lunch, and made an appointment. Then went a long way in a taxi with him, until we arrived at an unmarked, unlikely doorstep in an area of Kyoto we had never been before. Have you guessed yet?

The man in the background is Matano Shinryo, a FIFTH generation FLUTEMAKER. And Rick is playing the FLUTE, a Japanese shinobue, he chose to buy from him. Rick tried each one (Kathy too) and chose according to sound.

The flutemaker's cat notices one is missing.

The transaction took place in the hallway at the foot of a wooden staircase in the flutemaker's meticulously clean and beautifully arranged hallway.

We were all impressed with Yuki's resourcefulness in bringing us here. You can see his map and small electronic dictionary he uses to show us English meanings of Japanese words.

G.............. GOODBYE Kyoto!! Last night under the full moon, on the bridge over the Kamo River.

Go to the story of our journey home and the rest of our memories of KYOTO
Go back to our main travel page
Go back to NAGOYA, JAPAN
Go back to FLASHBACKS from BUSAN
Go back to Part II of our visit to Busan
Go back to Part I of our visit to Busan
Go back to Kathy&Rick Home Page