Travel Report Japan – Day 8 – Kyoto

Today we had another day in Kyoto, all to ourselves, which was awesome. The rain of yesterday is gone, and we could really explore. Not that it was sunny all day, but it was good weather to be outside. The parents and me went to this super cute little restaurant called Bear, which had -surprise!- a bear theme. There were stuffed animals everywhere and everything had cute little bears on it. An old lady all by herself served us and did her magic in the kitchen, it was too adorable.

Then we walked the Philosophers path, which was an amazing experience. It is probably even more beautiful when the sakura are actually in bloom, but now it was quite amazing too. It was just very peaceful, very lovely, though there were a few streets that were way too touristy. I did buy the cutest little pottery bunny, I fell in love with it right when I saw it and I pray that it will make the trip to the Netherlands okay… I did take a picture of her just in case. It was in a store that was only selling things with bunnies, so awesome, my Chinese zodiac is a bunny (and sometimes cat).

As my parents are not really into manga, and I am not really into castles, they went to see the castle of Kyoto while I went to the International Kyoto Manga Museum, it was pretty cool, but also not really: the problem is that almost all manga in there is in Japanese, so everybody is reading everywhere, but I can’t understand that (yet?! 😉 ). The museum is pretty great, it has a good setup and it has a lot of English info to read, but it is just the manga itself that is usually in Japanese. I was thinking about buying some manga books in the museum store, but they asked 1700 yen for a Death Note volume in English, which is the equivalent of 15 euros, what the?!

Afterwards I went to the station to have some food at Nana’s Green Tea, which is a franchise of ice cream and ramen restaurants here in Japan. I had some really good veggie ramen with a soft boiled egg, seaweed and things that children usually put in their soup, crunchy stuff, it was very lovely. I was reading a book, really enjoying the time alone. Then I went to the temple close to the station, but as I came across a Baskin Robbins I had to get a milkshake, which I could not take to the temple ground. So I decided just to take a few pics and then leave.

Not just because of my milkshake, also because one of the travel mates I have to share a room with sometimes was very ill and needed some food. Tomorrow she will be flying home again, cause she got sick on day 2 and hasn’t gotten any better. Poor girl. It is very sad to see her leave, though it is very convenient for me as it means I will have a room all to myself the rest of the holiday. The other lady that we share rooms with bought her own room just for Tokyo, so I am lucky. Obviously it does not really feel that good…

By the way, I saw this supercute commercial on television that I wanted to share with y’all:

Superkawaii!

After I brought the ill lady the goodies, I went back to the geisha streets of Kyoto, to shop some more, check out the first sakura trees in Kyoto that were in bloom and it was beautiful. In the evening we had dinner at this French restaurant called Kawa Café. It had a beautiful view on the water, the food was good too, had some vegetable pizza and an amazing chocolate tarte. My parents were enjoying the food too, though they probably were a bit annoyed by me being on my phone half of the evening. Sorry parents, but I had a good goal! I was setting up a bar visit with a local Kyoto guy, named Yuu. He was just done working when I started my main course, so I asked him to wait a bit until I would be ready.

He did and so we met in front of the Disney store at 9. I was a bit late, cause even though no Japanese person really dares to look at me or let alone speak to me, some Japanese guy came up to me when I was rushing, and asked me where I was from, it was so weird and such bad timing. I would always be happy to talk back, but this time I was just stressing out cause I know how much Japanese people value being on time. Anyway, half running I arrived at the Disney store where Yuu was waiting just as we arranged online, and we went to this place called the Rub & Dub, a reggae café in some basement, that was supertiny. It was almost like chilling in someones living room. The bartender yelled something like hello and we sat down at the bar.

The super enthousiastic yelling guy was behind the bar and he was cooking, making music, dancing, singing along, and having conversations with us. Then there was this guy from somehwere in Europe who started talking to us, and some Japanese business man that seemed a bit out of place, as soon after there was a huge group of way too young students coming in and being all loud. Meanwhile I had a good time with Yuu, we were just talking about all the differences between Japan and Holland, and his life and my life and we were just drinking and it was a good time. Nothing date-ish, nothing awkward, it was just very natural and simple.

Though my father was like: are you meeting some guy in a city, while being alone? My mom was only encouraging me to go out, great stuff. I told them I just wanted out at least one evening with a real Japanese person, instead of just watching them live. Though I had felt a bit bad about this over the past few days: cause I am a person alone and people might get your intentions wrong, especially with a delicate culture such as the Japanese culture, but it was actually very laid back, Yuu works at a hostel so he is pretty internationally minded.

I am really happy that even though I feel like a cow, a viking, someone that does not has anything to offer other people, I had a great evening with a real Japanese person that was actually born and raised in Kyoto. I hope he truly enjoyed himself too, as Japanese people do not really share that easily. The bar was superfun too, a definite recommendation for anyone travelling to Kyoto being into reggae. Be warned though: it is loud, small and you can still smoke inside so please wash your hair right after 😉

At 11:30 I was going back to my hotel, as I have to wake up at 6 o clock tomorrow morning for another day of travel. Yuu and I walked back to the Disney store, we said goodbye and I walked back to the hotel feeling all excited about my great Japan experience. I should be doing more of those spontanious things: they are a real thrill, though they also cost me energy and a bit of stress, they are amazing memories that I can keep forever.

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