Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Key Oh Toe

Originally Thursday, July 26th.

Thursday was the first full day in Kyoto, and also my father's birthday. Unfortunately by the time I'd remembered that he'd already disappeared, with my brother, to the coin laundry down the street. We had breakfast at the Ryokan, very tasty, and me, Tech Support, Mom and J-Po set out for some sight seeing.

Most of us had already seen some of the major sights, so we let J-Po lead us to some smaller shrines and temples over on the East side of Kyoto. First we got a little lost and talked to the cutest little Japanese lady who set us right. Our first Shrine was dedicated to Susanoh-no-mikoto, Kusanagi, and bunnies. Yes, it was a fertility shrine.

The sky started dropping big fat raindrops to add to the atmosphere at the small, quiet shrine. We checked out the little charms for purchase, all adorable and adorned with bunnies, but none of us knew anyone pregnant so we could not justify the purchase.

We slipped next door to an even smaller and more unremarkable temple. The main sights there was a well that some famous monk had seen his reflecting in, and a plum tree.

There was some other atmosphere as well.

Then we climbed up the hill to a much larger temple and wandered around the grounds. It was still raining and the quiet and rain added to the solemnity of the experience. There were no loud bustling crowds in the temples, and we could enjoy the experience without feeling hurried by the people bumping against our backs.

Japanese graveyards are wonderful. I have an odd fondness for graveyards anyway but I do like theirs the best overall. We walked through a few large ones and enjoyed some of the odd headstone type things we came across. We chatted with J-Po and caught up with him on some things.

Then we came down and went several blocks to Nanzenji, a temple I'd been to before and quite liked. We went up the gate, which had steep stairs I'd completely forgotten, and then looked out at the beautiful landscape at the edge of Kyoto.

We came down and walked over to the aqueduct where some people were doing art, and then climbed up to the mountain behind the temple. Ever since I'd been there last year I'd wanted to go further up to mountain, but unfortunately neither mum nor Jason were up for that. I only got a little further than I'd gotten before, just far enough to perk my interest.

I told Tech Support I wanted to go up there again, and he said he'd come with me.

At that point people started getting hungry and tempers started getting short. We went down to the bus and shot over to the Gion area, where we took another bus to actually get into Gion. We went down a sweet little street full of places to eat that had closed about a half an hour ago (it was about 3:30pm by now). Tempers fraying further, we finally found a Muji Deli and enjoyed a peaceful little lunch.

The department building we were in of course had a Muji, but I'd already found all the clothes I liked, and a large bookstore for several floors. I explored the bookstore but despite the expansive section of cookbooks and childrearing books, found little that interested me in the Knitting/Crochet section.

We then explored Gion, an area Tech Support had wanted to explore since last year. We didn't have too much time, I found a bookstore that did have some neat craft books, Mum left us, and we found some bizarre, hip hop style shirts.

We had to hurry back in time for a bizarre birthday dinner with my father at a little restaurant called Cafe Beret. The Prosciutto Sandwich that most of the party had consisted of one sliver of prosciutto, lettuce and mayonnaise on wonder bread. An opulent banquet it was not.

Dad headed back to the hotel and the rest of us went to get some pastries for him to enjoy. We split again and the boys took the pastries back while mom and I went to a craft store we'd been to before and I found a book I'd been looking for.

Back at the ryokan I enjoyed a little down time with my parents, eating half of a rich pastry with my mother. We also found out that ours was not the only group where tempers had become short, which was a bit of a relief. I went out to find a karaoke place with Tech Support, Lil Bro, Meggish, her fiance, and J-Po. Meggish and I were fading fast and the two karaoke places by the station were both busy and had a questionable number of english songs so we went back home instead to collapse.

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