x every day: Japan day 7

13 April 2008

I'm sitting at the vanity table of our little hotel room writing this. Just had a cheeseless margarita pizza but it had anchovies on it (watashi wa _bejitarian_! Bejitarian!) and I feel a bit nasty. I swear I see some sunken cheeks on myself, but I'm wearing my glasses and a white tshirt, and I don't look in the mirror that much. Who knows.

Yesterday, day seven, we got a very late start. Coffee at the stand I discovered at the end of the Nishiki Market in Kyoto, where they grind the beans for your order as you watch. We took the bus to Kyoto Station to get reservations for the train to Fukuoka the next day. Then we walked aaaaall the way to Kiyomizu shrine.

Once there, a group of friendly female students asked to show us around to practice their English. That was a lot of fun. We didn't have the patience to wait through the line for water from the famous spring, for which you stand in one of three lines-- to drink for beauty, health or wealth. We did discuss which we would have chosen.

On to Kodai-ji, waylayed by a giant concrete buddha WW2 monument. I stood in line, fruitlessly, for the bathroom while everyone else went in for half an hour. Getting desperate, I went on to the famous tea garden; Erik joined me and the others went their separate way. Erik and I walked back up the extremely beautiful and old cobbled alleys thick with women in kimonos. I bought the world's coolest socks. We wandered back to the shopping arcade near our hotel, through the streets of Gion. We had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant that had only one dish, a curry that arrived chalk full of mushrooms. Since both of you who read this know that I'm allergic to mushrooms, you'll know how horrifying that was. I tried to remove the huge pieces and ignore the rest. I have barely caught sight of a vegetable the whole time I've been here, so a hot meal (not onigiri from the convenience store) was a real treat. I soldiered through.

After eating, I did another round of the market alone while Erik went back to the hotel. Back at the hotel, the guys went out to a toy store while I went to Nijo Castle, lit up for hanami (cherry blossom viewing). It was mindblowing. I had a few episodes in Kyoto-- eating only cold rice, needing time alone. The extra walk by myself, seeing the ancient castle all lit up by delicate bamboo lamps and candy cascades of cherry blossoms while listening to music and being in my own bubble-- refreshing. When I got back I typed my blog entry for the day (day 6), packed my bag, and went downstairs to the onsen. Aaaah, 1am. Then we had to get up at 5:30am to catch our early train.