Day 181 - Castles and Temples

Saturday, August 6th, 2016
8th Day in Japan; Kyoto

Best Way to Start the Day

When all the 4 of the girls have finished getting ready. I piece myself together in the 5 minutes it takes. Maximum sleep, least amount of waiting. Some seemed displeased that they had to wait for me at all, but I'm hard pressed to feel bad.

We hop on the bus after buying a day pass, which you swipe when you get off. I wonder what happens if you get on without any means to pay. Aurora misplaced her card somewhere between buying it and getting on the bus, so they just let her ride for free after looking for a minute and holding the bus up. I guess that's what happens.

Old-New World

So hot. My god, so hot and no clouds. Burning rays press down and radiate off the brick walls and stone walkways. Bad day to be pasty. We hop from hardly air conditioned shop to non-AC shop, buying souvenirs. Shimou and I reinitiate the game where we set a price limit and have to buy each other gifts within that range. this time is ¥1500 JPY ($20 CAD) It's less fun when the bartering isn't as present.

I bought some water in hopes of cooling off... but the first vending machine was empty, and the second provided lukewarm drink for higher price than normal. Awesome. 

Orange Torii Forest
My skin sizzles shut, holding my liquified organs inside. Even with sunscreen, the heat sweats it off and I'm burned by The God of Forgetting Your Hat on Cloudless Days.

See? No People!
Fushimi Inari Taisha

That's the name of the temple. It's a sight to see. Very Orange. I manage to sneak the odd picture between the crowds, but it's flooded with accents and languages of all sorts. Spanish, Italian, French, British, American, Russian, Chinese, and, of course, Japanese. The souvenirs aren't too expensive, usually around ¥100-500. 

The temple has a long, uncovered walkway about half a km up to the first giant torii (japanese gate). There are several pathways leading around to different sections of temples, with a few of them covered entirely with closely placed orange toriis. You've probably seen pictures, as it's perfect for them.

Moving On

We are all burnt, dehydrated, and hungry. We irritably catch the train to an area famous for its traditional clothing and art. There, apparently, is a very well known Ramen shop. So hungry and dehydrated, I ended up having 3 full servings of noodles, and a lots of water on tap.

You sit at these booths like old bank tellers desks, dividers on either side of you. In front is a window that you place your purchased meal tickets, they return with your food and give you tokens for whatever you still have coming. There are about 6 booths per room, each with a cold water tap. You can buy more food while you're sitting there with cash. It's got a cool screen outside each room which show which seats are empty, and I can't help but wonder if it works from weight on the stools, or if they have to actually adjust it for each room.

The Waiting Game

Dem Noodles. Also Matcha Pudding,
a refill token, and some Pork.
After a few more shops, and turning our nose up at a cat cafe that had an entrance fee, I wind up resting and caffeinating at a coffee shop for several hours while they run around shopping. Shimou said the girls keep saying that they shouldn't buy any more, yet they can't turn their nose up at these prices. 

Honestly, people kept saying how expensive it was in Japan, but it's similar to North America on most food or lodgings, while retail stores are much cheaper and good quality, so they've reported. Example: decent looking watches with a leather strap for 3000 yen, which is roughly $36 CAD. Some of the upper end watches had tech I didn't know we had yet, like solar powered, radio/satellite adjusted timepieces that you have on your wrist. Amazing. 

Japan Cuteness
Waiting in the cafe, I see a little girl go to the counter and ask for a glass of water, encouraged by her mother from around the corner. Later, she skipped out of the shop and into the crowd of people, each cooling themselves with small hand fans. What's the point when it feels like you're standing next to a stove everywhere you go? People said Japan was hot in the summer, but the forecast for Beijing is slightly worse, plus smog. Just goes to show that you should go places anyway, even if people warn you about things. Seems they're often overblown, if well-intentioned, warnings.

Zee Castle
Nijō Castle

After waiting a couple hours longer than I would have wished, we reconvene and head to a castle where a Japanese Emperor / Warlord / Baron lived. I didn't really get a straight answer, but it was a nice, serene location with lots of zen-like gardens.

Wander through the palace, plenty of women in kimonos, clacking their wooden sandals as they walk through the spotlight-lit ponds and gardens. A cicada loudly chirps and swoops at me as I entered the bathroom, finding a welcome party spider the diameter of a baseball when I enter (pic at the bottom). Near the end, a western woman is using the spotlights to play shadow puppets with her body's silhouette. Onlooking kimonos giggle at whatever she's trying to accomplish for her videotaping friend.

We had some trouble getting home with the busses, and were too late for bathhouses again. After such a long day, it would have been nice to unwind in some near-boiling water.

Word of the Day - Japanese Edition
English - Japanese [pronunciation]
Want (verb)

 Bonus: Check out those Fireflies

The Spider beside the Urinal:

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