京都 2005.03.23 () - Planning and Conversation

This was a rainy day. Fortunately, my plans were mainly about preparing to do things on other days. On my way to see the くないちょう, I went up a street that happened to have markets (I later discovered that this was 寺町). I couldn't resist going into a computer shop. After looking around a little bit, I noticed an escalator that went up to another part of the shop. And after that -- well, it ended up being four storeys tall. すごい...

I continued through the covered mall to the park, and through the park to くないちょう. I was able to make reservations for all three imperial residences that I didn't already have reservations at.

I had lunch at a nicely atmosphered cafe nearby. I went back through the covered mall (寺町), stopping here and there. I got a couple sweets for later at a bread shop that had an Italian feel to me. I went on to Kyoto Station from there.

Back at the TIC, I picked up some travel information for the outlying areas, and they also told me that I could make reservations for 都をどり at a travel agency across the street. Next I went into one of the many stores in the same building as the TIC, and bought a bath towel for myself. Then I went to the travel agency to make my reservation. As a side-note, this is the only place where I heard highly honorific forms being used for the customers (e.g. everyone was さま). In class, for "we don't have that" in store situations, we started out using the polite phrase ありません, and then moved on to the more honorific ございません. In practice, I think I only heard the polite ないです.

At any rate, I went back to the guesthouse after that, getting a Boss Coffee along the way (mainly so I could keep the can). At the guesthouse I went into the lounge and met Hanka, a nurse from Germany (now living in Canada) and Luise from Panama (now Japan via Arkansas). Later Marlon and Tamra joined us (San Francisco). After much talking, we decided to go to Gion together.

We went out towards 四条 via 東山, and on the way we saw a lit-up Pagoda, and a pretty massive crab. 四条 was too busy and touristy, but Pontochou was a lot nicer. In Pontochou we saw a Geisha and a Maiko! I hopefully got a picture of the Geisha.

We wandered some more after that and ended up at the Jam House, a bar near the river. Rock themed, and the owner / cook / bartender was very cool. I had dinner and we all just talked.

After hanging out for awhile, we went back to the hostel. Some people went upstairs, but, I hung around downstairs with Marlon and ゆい and some others. Evenutally the group was ゆい, Marlon, Tamra, myself, and Claudia and Achim from the former East Germany (now living in Japan).

We had a long and interesting conversation about perceptions and predudice, knowing your own and your socities past and traditions, the long lasting stigma of Nazi Germany, the waning of tradition and apathy to politics and world events in Japan, Bush, America, and internal resistance, etc., etc. Later we found out that those upstairs had an engaging conversation as well. The conversation made this night one of the finest of my trip.