Day 180 - On the Train to Kyoto

Friday, August 5th, 2016
7th Day In Japan; Tokyo–Kyoto

Breakfast of
Start the day with 50 min to get everyone up and packed. Sushi and coffee jelly for breakfast. The jelly was... a mistake, too sweet, and too much gelatin swashing around in my stomach.

It was brought up that "the Japanese eat people," which sparked a debate and, thankfully, concluded that any people who are in desperate enough conditions will run a high risk of eating people. Cooler heads prevailed on a potentially heated topic. While Aurora jokes she'd want to live here, she still seems to believe the propaganda pushed about the Japanese being monsters. Also surprising, the Chinese government had taken down the anti-Japanese link she'd sent me two weeks ago, possibly because the content was too graphic.

To Kyoto!
Straining Social Courtesy

Buying the ticket to Kyoto, the guy was moving lightning speed and had no patience for our stop ups. For some reason, we needed our subway stubs that got is to the station, first stop up. Then half of us wanted to pay by cash, the other two by card. Second stop up. He rolled his eyes, subtly, but was still otherwise polite in his manner. I couldn't help but notice he kept tapping the side of the screen, on the speaker, though there was no obvious reason. 

The view as you leave
Kyoto Station
Reevaluating Comparisons

I'm left, literally holding the bags, while the four of them go to the washroom. I maintain that Japan, thus far, has broader ranges of clothing styles and body types. Definitely a greater Western influence than in China. 

Tokyo has a lot more foreigners when compared to Beijing, and seems like the average person speaks more English. Shimou said that the Average person speaks more English here, but maybe more Chinese people are fluent, making it fewer to study, but more of those who do go further. Possibly true, possibly not. Japanese holds a lot of English words – cognates – so if you don't know a word, next best thing is to try the English word with a Japanese accent. Hot-oo dog-oo is literally hot dog, while Chinese is rè gôu, literally translated as "hot dog." Japan  seems like it'd be easier to navigate from the beginning, but harder for me right now because I've made strides in Mandarin and basically mute in Japanese.

Train and Bento Boxes

The 2h ride whizes by. It was a bit early, but the idea of drinking a beer on a train while watching mountains whiz by was just too appealing to pass up. Cheers! We had bento boxes and rice balls for brunch.

Display window of one restaurant we considered
BnB Break-Ins

Accessing BnB places can be like a puzzle room, but you're breaking in, not out. Find mailbox, attempt lock combination through Engrish instructions. Input the combination to the key box, gain entry. When I gained access the mailbox, my Chinese colleagues all let out the now-familiar "Oooh!" of amazement. It's the small things that count. 

The new place is conveniently only one stop from Kyoto station. It's design is much more traditional Japanese, with 5'10" door frames. They can walk freely, but I have to duck every time I change rooms.

Note where the Parking is
Heading Into Town

It's been 3 nights of 5-6h sleep, and lots of heat, so I'm beat and I know Shimou could use a break from playing tour guide. The other 3 don't seem tired, so they grab the spare set of keys and take off. We wake up and are waiting for them to come back, but it's 8:30 and  I'm sick of waiting. Off we go. 

The narrow train platform has steel snakes whizzing back and forth, whipping Shimou's hair around and providing a slight relief from the sizzling heat. It's not really sizzling, that's just the sound of their insects. 

Kyoto Station

Outside Kyoto station stands Kyoto tower. Seems they like their towers here, though it is a cool sight when leaving through the main entrance, particularly when lit up at night. 

Katsu Dinner!
A friendly local took it upon herself to help us, asking me if I'm American. It seems as though the "tall white guy" appeal holds strong here, though I've heard stories of the older people telling Shimou and friends to go home – to get out of Japan – when she was in school here. What is it about aging that makes you xenophobic? Or is it as the Chinese say: the mean getting old, not the old getting mean. Then again, there is still some bad blood between Japan and China, particularly within the older generations. Why? World War II. Still. 

I can't imagine how difficult or painful this might be
Katsu, Again

Katsu means deep fried meat, cut into strips. They provide me an "English menu", and by that, I mean that they give me a Japanese menu and an insert that translates each numbered item. I order some pork mille-feuille, and not the dessert kind, as well as "perfect black beer" which is pilsner pale. 

Street Drinking with a Fellow Traveller

Enjoying some
ice lollies
After dinner, we stopped at a pharmacy next to the mall. I bought some unique candies then waited for the rest outside. There, sitting on the curb, I met Matthew. He's from North Carolina, and on a trip with his mom. He said Busan and Seoul were both great, and that Korea seems to be comprised Seoul-ly of 20-30 year-olds. He offered me some of Mr. Daniel's fine whiskey and I accepted. Street drinking in Japan with a fellow traveler. 

There's much more litter in Kyoto, it would seem. Best guess: it has to do with all the extra foreigners. Damn foreigners, go back to your country!

All the bathhouses are closed, so we stop at the 711 for snacks, then head home.

Word of the Day - Japanese Edition
English - Japanese [pronunciation]


Editing Music
The Police and The Private

1 comment:

  1. Amazing journey) It seems like the embodiment of my girlfriend's dream - she really wants to go to Japan to travel around the country.