I blew into Kyoto after dragging my heavy gear through the Tokyo metro, and then finally onto the bullet train that would deliver me to Kyoto. A quick taxi ride brought me to my hotel for the next nine days. The thing that surprised me is that I expected a peaceful backwater out in the country with temples and tea fields.
Hardly, I feel as if I am back in Tokyo replete with hostess clubs and maid cafe’s. I’m sure there will be some areas that fulfill my expectations. I am staying in a plush, ultra-modern, capsule hotel. This one features nice double beds so you don’t end up that buried alive feeling that some of the coffin like containers the other capsule hotels offer.
SPACIOUS SLEEP CHAMBER – Adjustable bed and dimming lights controlled by iPod.
Fortunately the heat is due to break tomorrow, but so is the hope of any sun for the rest of my stay. No worries, I plan to return to Japan for the cherry blossom festival at some point in the future. At least the weather won’t be as stifling as it’s been on this trip.
KILOMETERS OF COVERED SHOPPING – A MAJOR BENEFIT ON A RAINY DAY SUCH AS THIS
EXOTIC JAPANESE COMESTIBLES
LE TALON – As with most healthy, young, American women, my daughter Dina is fond of shoes, and due to the rainy weather benefitted from a covered shopping spree. Most of the streets have awnings to protect from the rain, and there are large covered pedestrian shopping streets to facilitate retail therapy during excessive precipitation. This resulted in a deluge of late birthday presents.
She found the black ones to be stunning, and these to be very comfortable and chic. The great part was they were all on sale, but these quality shoes can be had for $70 a pair at their regular price.
She loves Japanese shoes, and of course she found these pink specimens to be adorable and breathable through the clear mesh.
With that pink shoe seared into my brain, I couldn’t resist the this little number that was also on sale in another shop a kilometer away. Dina just got a beautiful pink sapphire ring from her husband, Steve, which I picked up in Sri Lanka so this stuff should really showcase her bauble.
And wrapping up Dina’s shopping spree is this heavy knit top with an asymetric, ultra-fine, cotton undergarment. It was also on sale which helped to make up for some of the rain. It also gave me the chance to give you ladies something to look at and enjoy since I tend to offer more stuff that would appeal to the male of the species.
However karma has a way of intervening, and I was treated to this view on the way back from posting all of those goodies back to the States. I crammed in all of the stuff I picked up from Tokyo, and all of the cherished Godzilla chopsticks for my buddies.
And now back to some cute stuff for the ladies…
TOM’S MR. HEDGIE – Where else in the world can you go and play with a hedgehog? I managed to avoid countless cute animal cafés in Tokyo, but who could possible resist hedgehogs.
Just the cutest bristle covered creature ever.
Just don’t mess with their bristles. They don’t like that, and it freaks them out.
My little hedgehog friend directs me to an important sign. How could I deny him the 200 yen?
Fresh mealworms, his favorite.
“Arigato Zealot San”
For such an appreciative and polite hedgehog there will be a second serving.
Back into the rain.
Here you see movie critic, Dicktor Van Doomcock, projected onto a 60″ diagonal screen that pulls down to enclose my capsule domicile here in Kyoto where it has rained for five days straight.
Some of the capsule hotels in Japan offer coffin like accommodations, but “The Millennials” supplies a full size bed with a built-in, projection home theater in selected pods so I can enjoy Doomcock’s life size performance for the first time.
Here he is ranting away about “The Last Jedi” which resulted in a video that proved to be more entertaining than the movie itself.
Finally the rain stopped after five days.
I walked across a bridge to the train station, and took a train to visit the Fushimi Inari-taishi Shrine.
Quite a few women put on Kimono to visit the shrine.
Fushimi Inari-taishi Shrine – Storm Clouds Threaten
But the lucky fox staves off any precipitation, and even invites a little blue into some of my pictures.
The kimono really fit in nicely here.
Mini shrines along the way.
This is a nice break from all of the big city action I’ve seen for the past six weeks.
A young boy offers up a nice visual metaphor. Will he choose the right path in life or decide to roll the dice? You decide, grasshopper. The red pill or the red pill with the arrow over it? Hey kid, just do the right thing, or not. I definitely took the left path for the better part of my life.
Foxes inhabit the forest around the shrines so they have been chosen as the guardians and symbols of good fortune.
These fox faces are for people to draw upon for luck. On the reverse side they put wishes and such things.
One last kimono for the road. How delightful!
Blue skies have been a rare commodity here in Kyoto. I plan on returning for the Cherry Blossom Festival when it is cooler and less rainy.
I think the real feature is the blue skies. I am here to visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace which I am soon to find out is closed on this particular Tuesday.
KAN-IN-NO-MIYA Residence Site – God knows why this is open though I passed it up to save energy for the palace. This day is not going as planned.
A mom cools off with her daughter in a stream. This is a wise move considering it’s 90 degrees in the shade.
There is the structure enclosing the Imperial Palace, around which, I will take a long hot walk…
…only to find the buggery thing closed for the day.
I guess you could say it was a blessing in disguise given that it got me out of the heat that much more quickly. One must find the silver lining. At this point, a little rain would have been most welcome.
On the way back to the hotel I tried to make a purchase and found my Mastercard missing. Fortunately the thing turned up at a boutique where I purchased a couple of garments for my daughter the night before. No good deed goes unpunished.
The salesgirl turned it over to the police instead of just holding it for me. I went across the street to the mini station and ended up spending ten minutes filling out forms. God, I hate forms with a passion.
The next day I flagged a cab to Kyoto Station, and had a nice Japanese lunch before boarding the bullet train for Tokyo. I changed trains and grabbed the Narita Airport Express, where I overnighted at an airport hotel. I have to say that I have grown wearing of lugging all of the gear I have accumulated during the past two years. I made a decision after the the train trip today that I was going to downsize.
The next day after checking my enormous backpack, I spotted this little beauty in a luggage shop right there in the International Terminal. Beautifully simulated carbon-fiber texturing, sturdy wheels and retractable handle, and quality internal features comprised this 22″rolling wonder. I was in love.
I was prepared to spend 300-400 dollars for a good piece of equipment, but this beautiful beckoning baggage was a mere $63.00 on sale. For God’s sakes, that’s in an airport shop! I guess I was getting a little more karmic retribution for playing personal shopper for my daughter.
I went and had one last Japanese meal to celebrate. It was a steak and eel rice bowl. Delicious!
MY FUTURE GEAR – That awesome little bag glided through the concourse like greased lightning, and I got the feel of what minimalist, ultra-light travel would be like. My burgeoning pack languished in the hold as I looked forward to a life without checked baggage.