Wow! A 14 hour day and it isn’t over yet. Corban and I walked to the metro station and switched from rail to rail until we made it into Kyoto. I learned how to buy tickets and read the train schedule. Japan is precise and punctual (those two words may mean the same, if so it is still true cuz they are double organized). On the way we stopped at the “combini” (which is short for convenience store) and got breakfast: a snack of rice and stuff in a triangle of seaweed, onigiri.
We didn’t take the express going into town (but we meant to) which gave me an opportunity to see all the rice fields that are between the buildings!??! Every inch of space in this area is used to its greatest potential.
The first place we went was to a Shinto Shrine-fushimi inari taisha. The path of stairs leads up the mountain to a shrine. (If you want to feel like you are walking up also, go to this video someone posted. Warning! It is almost 20 minutes long.) On the walk there and around the city, I captured a few interesting sites. Here are a couple: (the head is still attached to this flayed bird, see it? and yes, that is a Circle K!, a combini)
We walked around (did that all day!) and found a Buddhist Temple-Kiyomizu dera. It has two large rocks called “love rocks.” If a person can walk from one to the other with eyes shut they will find true love. If some one guides them and they get there, they will need help finding true love. Hummmmm. Again, they had the place to wash your hands before entering and a place to put your shoes when you entered the temple.
Somewhere along the way we stopped for lunch. Corban had been wanting me to try some udon soup and we found a little cafe with a good price. A tv was mounted in the upper corner. Wow! Haven’t seen any tv since EuroVision finals in Bosnia a month ago! The commercial for “Glee” caught my eye! We got two types of udon, one with small noodles the other with larger, flat ones. Both tasted about the same. And, yes, I used my chopsticks.
It must have been Friday Field Day for the schools because everywhere we went there were groups of students. Twice they came up to us and (in broken, student English) asked if we spoke English. Duh! Then from their ‘homework” paper, we were asked several questions: What is your name? Where are you from? What is your favorite Japanese food? and a few others. Then we were asked to sign our name and write them a comment. I was the volunteer for the first group; Corban, the second. I don’t know what Corban wrote for a comment but he told me to say something encouraging. How’s this: “May you have great success in school and in life.”?
On one of the streets we came upon a newly opened tea room/cafe. Just like most of the eating places, a very friendly person is standing outside beckoning passersby to enter. We took the bait. The atmosphere was nice. The tea was surprisingly served lukewarm. The five half dollar size sweets we shared, although they tasted fair, cost $20!!! But the treasure I found that was free was….ready for this?….the restroom!!! Corban had to “interpret” the instructions before I could use the facilities. I could choose a heated seat, various sizes and directions for the spray wash and, of course, the blow dry! The red bowl sink was a nice accent!
Certainly after 12 hours of walking around Kyoto we did and saw a lot! A walk beside the Duck River, A Brazilian Flag???, The mountains in the distance, “A River Runs Through It” (right through the downtown).
(Who knows if this guy was really homeless or just sleepy!)
We ate dinner at Yama-Chan’s. Yummy! The flavors were distinct and clear and the food was cooked just right. First thing they do is bring a warm damp cloth for you to clean your hands. Second thing they do is bring a large basket for you to put your things into instead of onto the floor! They were quite busy so we ended up sitting at the bar, but I had to get a picture of the next room. I had some of the best chicken wings ever. Very spicy. And, we shared some Miso Kushi Katsu.
We strolled around downtown and went in a few stores, including, to my surprise, a dollar store! I was beginning to think Japan didn’t have them!
So there are so many more pictures of the day but I’ll end with just a few random ones: