Thursday, July 07, 2005

Another Trip to Kyoto

So today, while exciting, was a lot like yesterday. As a result, my descriptions will be shorter so you don’t have to suffer. Mary, Eric and I went to Kyoto again today. Kari had to do laundry and didn’t have enough money. First we went to Honnoji temple. Completely by accident, I would like to add. We were actually looking for Maruzen Bookstore, but the directions I got from the old man at the information window took us to Honnoji Temple instead. We accidentally snuck in the back, and as a result avoided paying the entrance fee. The temple was not that amazing, though I bet it has some sort of incredible history. Here is Mary at Honnoji.

So after leaving Honnoji, we stumbled into Kawaramachi, Kyoto’s huge shopping street. I have seen 6 shopping streets on this trip, that this was the coolest, because rather than just having modern fashions and make-up stores, there were also antique stores, traditional toy stores, cheap dining, movie theaters etc. I will probably be spending more time there in the future since I haven’t explored it all yet. We asked for directions and discovered that the old man was totally wrong. With new, working directions, we began to walk. Just then the lightning, hail and torrential rain began. Literally, one minute it was nice and the next it was like the worst part of a heavy rain storm. We bought an umbrella, or rather, Mary bought the 4th umbrella that she has purchased this trip.

We found Maruzen, and I spent an hour looking for a good textbook for next year. Once my purchase was complete we set off for the Gion district. By this time the rain had totally stopped and the street was dry. Very weird weather. We crossed the bridge and walked through Gion. I would have taken pictures of Gion, but just then the rain started again. We kind of wanted to sit somewhere and eat something, so when we saw a Starbucks, we went in. The highlight of the Starbucks trip was when, in an effort to find out why country music was playing in a shop in the center of on of Japan’s most traditional neighborhoods, I asked the guy behind the counter the name of the song. He researched this for 10 minutes, and finally wrote down the name. I really need to learn how to say “forget it” in Japanese.

Then we went to this shrine.

It was neat.

Then we went here.

This is a nice picture.

So, ready to call it a day, we made the hour long hike back to Kyoto Station, where we discovered a place that has cheap and very good sushi. It is located in the subway station, far away from the JR line entrance on the east side.

Upon reaching Seta, we decided to visit the shrine that is right next to the tracks. In fact, this shrine is so close to the train station that it is basically attached. We saw tons of people using it as a short cut on their way home. Neat little shrine. There was a large wreath in the center and it appeared that we were supposed to walk through it in a certain way. Not knowing what it was for, we started to leave, but an old woman called us back and showed us how to do it. She was very nice, but I was a little nervous that, while she showed us what to do, she did not do it herself. She probably laughed all the way home.

So yeah. Good day again. As a side note, I like traveling with Mary and Eric. They are game for anything and have a good sense of humor. Though we missed Kari and the conversations that she enables.

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