Happy birthday, subway! Today is the fiftieth anniversary of Canada's first subway system, here in Toronto. Fittingly, the TTC was feted, and an unprecidented agreement was signed by all three levels of government, to rund the TTC by an additional $1.05 billion over the next five years.

The original Yonge line subway, originally planned as an underground streetcar line but (smartly) re-planned as a real subway line, was from Union station up to Eglinton station. The inaugural trip, from Eglinton to Union, was attended by Premier Leslie Frost and mayor Allan Lamport, among other dignitaries; today the trip was duplicated by our current politicians, such as Premier Dalton McGuinty, mayor David Miller, and others. Prime Minister Paul Martin was not at the ceremonies after the ride, but he was at TTC headquarters this morning for the funding announcement.

And there was cake, provided by the chef school of George Brown College (dutifully pimped; I'm not at the chef school but I am a GBC student). And it was good cake.

Hopefully, soon the TTC will be able to expand once more, and reclaim its rightful place as the best transit system in North America. I look forward to celebrating the 100th birthday of the TTC subway system, and expect good things to happen throughout the next half-century.

Kyoto, Japan
from the foreign female perspective
Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

We took the train to 奈良, the first capital of Japan and the alleged birthplace of Japanese culture and tradition. It was small, quiet, rainy, and nothing like I expected. The ambiance of the city was just like any other place in Japan and hardly as historical as I had thought it must be. It was peaceful, surely, and quite quaint once we got past the larger buildings around the station, but hardly awe-inspiring.

There were only two things I wanted to do : see the deer and (Todaiji, and no, it has nothing to do with my university despite having the same kanji!). We wandered along the streets towards a park area, it was cloudy and dreary. We stopped by a pond to admire the multitude of turtles poking their heads out of the water into the rain, laughed at a pigeon using a turtle as a chair, and kept moving.

The deer were everywhere, as was their excrement. One even had poo all down the back of his legs, which was hardly becoming of a messenger from the gods and a National Treasure of Japan.

After having our fill of the deer, we made our way to Toudaiji to see the largest wooden building in the world that houses Japan’s largest 大仏, which is just short of 50 feet tall. The boys did not seem to be impressed.

We bathed in incense, admired the statues inside the building, marveled at a bunch of children who’s parents were encouraging them to squeeze themselves through a tiny hole cut into one of the pillars of the building. We ran into Evan the Australian, which was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately he was holding himself to a tight schedule and couldn’t spare much time for chitchat.

We wandered the streets for a while after seeing the daibutsu, meandering down arcade alleyways and window shopping aimlessly. We saw a man in a blue dress, complete with facial hair and unmistakable manly thigh muscles and calves to match. The dress was the only feminine thing about him, so I’m not sure what he was trying to do.

We stopped by a post office so Kyle could write a quick post card, which was accomplished while sitting in the lobby and getting odd looks from the employees since we weren’t asking for help or buying anything. We had stopped by a 100 yen vending machine to get drinks, though I made Aaron finish my CC Lemon for me. I really don’t need 1000% of my daily Vitamin C intake from one can of sugary lemon drink.

We were at a loss for what to do after that. Nara was a bit dull, so Aaron suggested going back to Osaka to see the famous Osaka castle (as shown in the TV miniseries Shogun as Lord Ishido’s domain, for those of you who have seen it), but the weather was so crappy that I wasn’t in the mood to climb a mountain and look at a beautiful castle shrouded in misery. So Aaron suggested the Osaka aquarium, which no one was too enthusiastic about due to it’s distant location and assuredly expensive admission. So what did we do, you ask?

We went back to Mister Donut in Kyoto.

What a day.

Day : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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