It’s so trite, but it’s also so true: having the opportunity to connect with people in a different country, regardless of the language you speak, is always the best part of traveling.
This experience in Kyoto was one of our rewarding connections. The email really says it all, so I’m going to let it speak for itself:
I hope you enjoyed the stay in Japan and have now returned home safely.
Attched is a snap of Kemari practice at Shiramine Shrine, Kyoto.
We are pleased to have a visit of you and your children there on July
I am sure you did have somewhat “extraordinary” experience, joining
us in practice. Probably fewer than 0.01% of present Japanese ever
“practised” Kemari in a way you did.
Kemari was once popular and enjoyed everywhere in Japan, first among
aristocrats, samurai, buddhist priests, then in later days merchants and
common people. It sharpely declined after the Meiji Restoration (1867)
and has been always at stake of extinction. You saw then at a glance
about two thirds of all players (Kemari-freak) in Japan.
They commented you did very well and must be a good player of hackey
(name edited), Director
Kemari Preservation Society
I love that photo. A memorable moment for sure.