Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day 4 - Tokoname to Kyoto

(The Ryokan in Kyoto was great, but only offered internet on the computer in the lobby, so I was unable to post anything the past three nights, I did however, write two of the days up so far and will post them. This post was written 5/29/06)

Sunday started out with us getting our stuff together and leaving the pleasant little Inn by the sea. At Tokoname Station That Girl's father helped us get tickets, and then directed us to the wrong platform. I stood there looking at the signs, and realized that we did not want to go to the International Airport, no matter what he had said. As we came down the stairs to go around he ran up and apologized, and then stood with us and waited until the train came. He seemed quite elated to have a day off.

A Nagoya Station a maw of writhing people promptly knocked Kirby over, as he took a step back to try and appease the crowd and slid his foot between the train and the platform. There was great concern over the fallen Gaijin (foreigner) and though he was a little bruised, he was OK.

At Nagoya we got our JR passes and ate at a bakery while we waited for our next train, the Shinkansen (bullet train) which bore us off to Kyoto.

In Kyoto we checked into our Ryokan. Exhausted from hauling our stuff around, we collapsed briefly onto the Tatami mats before venturing out to the station again. But before leaving we discovered our bathroom was the size of a very small closet.

And I discovered one of the resident kitties, a cute tabby who made me miss my own kitties.

First we stopped at Muji. A very trendy department store that sells items with no brand name (Muji is short for something longer which means "no brand"). Tech Support and I had visited this store briefly last time we were here, and very much regretted not being able to explore it more. The clothes section was particularly wonderful for me, as they definately had my size in mind.

Mum was very visibally fading but we pressed onto the station itself, and discussed the possibility of doing the Fushimi Inari shrine over donuts (from Mister Donut). Mum at first agreed to come, and then to the relief of us all, decided to go back and rest. She really did look tired. So we escourted her back to our room and set out just me and Tech Support.

We went back to the station again,and discovered a little concert of Hawaiin music playing.

We sat and listened before pressing unward to the very top where we could get several panoramics of Kyoto, which looks like any Japanese metropolis. Dense.

After crossing some catwalks high atop the station we decided to content ourselves with Muji, and I cuted my way into Tech Support getting me a jacket, skirt and shorts which I looked quite fetching in. Then we went back and picked up Mum, who had taken a nap and now looked like she belonged in the world of the living once more.

After two days of rich and often raw food, my poor Mum was feeling a little sensitive in the stomach so we went to a pre-approved area of Kyoto station that was composed entirely of ramen shops. These kind of shops have what appear to be vending machines right outside where you put your money in and select your dinner, drink and any appetizers you want, and get a ticket in return. We picked one that was the most Gaijin friendly, with useful numbers and english lettering, then handed our tickets to a young woman and sat down inside. Minutes later, we had dinner.

Despite our loose reasons for picking it, the food was delicious and I slurped mine down.

We then spent a bit of time exploring the underground station. Undergrounds became a fascination of Tech Support's and mine last time we were here, for the sheer distance and number of shops that Japan has crammed underground. Kyoto has nothing on Osaka, but it still provided some entertainment. We even found a yarn shop where I picked up some Bamboo yarn for socks (rather dissapointingly from Italy, but still the first I've found in a store) and Mum bought some cheap Noro.

We went back to the hotel, where the other resident cat greeted us, and posed.

Tech Support was quite exhausted and retired quite early, while Mum and I watched Transporter on TV, which was probably improved by being dubbed in Japanese. I faded quickly and the last thing I saw before I went to bed...

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