As with any University event sponsored by YPO, the Kyoto University was packed full of educational sessions, day excursions to witness the real Japan, and lots of food, entertainment and fun. Japan was quite a distance from my home base so the jet lag the first day had me up before sunrise. With nothing better to do, I joined the early birds and explored a Japanese fish market and vegetable auction. To my surprise, there was no fish odor in the market and it was cleaner than my own kitchen. I was able to eat fresh tuna right off a tuna being auctioned and tried to understand the dynamics of a Japanese fish auction that seemed to end as soon as it began. The vegetable market was just as spotless as the fish market. Every vegetable had its special place in a box, on a shelf; each one specially showcased for its beauty. I guess this is why apples cost $3 a piece!
Japan would not be complete without meeting a Geisha. I learned of her place in Japanese culture and her need to be highly educated. Participating in this unique YPO University, a very special Gecko entertained us with her music and tea ceremony. She even sang Happy Birthday to one of the participants.
My last 2 days were spent traveling the path of a Buddhist pilgrim through the mountains up to a temple where pilgrims take refuge and enjoy food prepared by the priests. Our guide was a very tall American Buddhist priest who lead us through this journey as we learned to wash before entering the temple, payed respect while walking through a cemetery and joined a Buddhist ceremony. I found many similarities of all worldly religions gaining much appreciation of our common beliefs!