Richard Steiner displays his love of Kyoto.

Richard Steiner displays his love of Kyoto.

The winner of the third prize is Richard Steiner, who is a longterm resident of Kyoto, a noted woodblock printmaker, and a member of WiK. (See his piece on writer’s block.)

The judges felt that while the piece was simple in conception, it captured the charm of the city which lies beneath the tourist veneer.  There is no mention here of famous sights, but anyone familiar with Kyoto will recognise the references in the listing – and be able to add their own.  It is after all in the back streets and small interactions of Kyoto that the true appeal of the city lies.


To live in Kyoto,


to be one part of this city, to wander the back streets anew, to smell dinner being prepared, to hear at night feral cats in heat, to be given a seat on a crowded bus, to see mothers gossip while watching their kids play in the park, to hear dogs barking for no reason whatsoever, to smell the air after a storm, to realize you’ll never be able to taste all the endless variety of pickled veggies made here, to step on melting streets in August, to yell out THANKS to the garbage collectors, to give coins and mikan tangerines to a trio of begging monks, to see a building being torn down which you saw being built a couple decades before, to cry noticing a fine old house being ripped out of history, to overhear screams from a window of a child not wanting to do anything it’s told, to listen thru the night to countless ambulances, to greet the old woman tending her flowers on the curb, to climb Mt Hiei and marvel at the city below, to join the thousands coming to the Setsubun celebration on Yoshida Hill, to eat hot nisshin soba in a small local restaurant, to wonder why a foreigner naturally bows to strangers who bow back, to always marvel at Kyoto Station’s 0 platform, to take in the rarefied atmosphere of a very old coffeehouse, to take a bath in the sento and wish to die in that liquid pleasure, to walk like a kid thru temple markets, to always be commenting on the weather, to slowly understand why this city is so precious and unique and necessary, and to love it daily.


Kamogawa rainbow