Sunday, July 14, 2013

Golden Pavillion and Statistical Fluctuations

Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto (Jun 2, 2012)

In the Kinkaku-ji garden
Of all the temples we visited in Kyoto, Kinkaku-ji was definitely the most touristic intensive. A horde of people was there to see the Golden Pavillion, which is shown in the photo above. There were in fact so many people that there was one person organizing the foot traffic to keep the people going around the pond. Getting the people-less image above was just the product of a statistical fluctuation. Given enough time even unlike events are bound to happen: some people call them miracles or bad luck (depending on the case), I just call them a product of chance. And by chance it happened that while I was ready to get my crowd-filled photo, the people on the other side of the pond all stepped behind the trees, all at the same time before other people could get their place. And so I got my photo of a seemingly deserted pavillion in high touristic season. Kinkaku-ji was originally the villa of an important XIII century statesman, bough by a shogun in the XIV century and then converted into a Zen temple. It all burned down one century later during a civil war, with the exception of the Golden Pavillion. The pavillion itself, however, was destroyed by a mentally ill young monk in 1950. The current structure, covered with gold leaves as the original, was rebuilt in 1955. Many books and movies have been written about the temple-burning monk episode (including, bizarrely, an adult movie series).

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