Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kyoto, Japan part 2

Monday’s adventures started off rough, but got a lot better. The breakfast
buffet at the hotel in Kyoto has an amazing assortment of Japanese and American foods. So good we kept talking about it long after we checked out of the hotel. Unfortunately something completely disagreed with me so by the time we were at the train station buying an all-day bus pass I was debating whether or not I should return to the hotel for the day. Ashley was really beat. Had we been in NJ, we would have called it a day, but since we were in Japan we pressed on.

The friends had another friend join them for the day -- Hiroki (not to be confused with Hiroko). We encouraged them to spend time together while we
went to Movie Land. Movie Land is a complete tourist trap, but it felt good not having to stay out of the way of cyclists. Somehow I found it a relaxing place to try to knock out my cold. Ashley drew a Japanese cartoon. We saw a couple of shows -- one was a live-action samurai fighting movie (I nodded off during it, not because it was boring, but because I was tired) and another one that showed how movie magic is made. As an actress, Ashley enjoyed that one. Mostly the place gave me a chance to sit and rest and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, while it looked like they were setting up for a movie shoot, they were not filming while we were there. I've heard it is a lot of fun to watch them film.

I had a chance to figure out the bus system on our own, which made me feel more in control. It took a few tries, but we finally managed. This was enough to give me the confidence to do some more exploring. We went to the Imperial Palace stop and found a Beef Bowl place that used the ticket system to order. Fortunately this one had pictures. It is a total student dive, but cheap and fast is good.

Walking back to the bus stop we got caught in a massive downpour. We tried to hide under the roof overhang for the Imperial Palace, but ended up sounding an alarm. We hung out in a shrine. Another bus later, we were in the Gion District. By pure chance while calling Masumi, we bumped into her on the most popular bridge in Kyoto. We walked through Pontocho Alley – a tiny alley on the other side of the river from the Gion District. A highlight for Ashley was finding a real playground. She had fun on the seesaw with Masumi, Hiroko and Hiroki.

Dinner was another quest. Even with copies of the food in the restaurant windows, it is still a challenge finding something we all like. I think the biggest issue is that I am tired of pork. We managed to find dinner at a French-style bakery. Then Hiroki took us on a quick tour of Kyoto University. Unfortunately we missed the chance for Don to buy one of their special
brews of beer – Blue Nile, that was created in a joint venture between this university and another one.

Ashley was asleep by this point, and it was after 10 PM, so we caught another bus back to the hotel. Ashley fell asleep after dinner. She is such a good sport, I had four iced teas with dinner and now feel ready to conquer the world. 

The all-day bus pass really paid for itself.

Tuesday’s adventures.

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