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Souvenir shopping in Kyoto / 15 April 2011

photo of a bonsai tree standing against a wall

I wish I could have taken some Bonsai home! Photo © Gini

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Plink, and I awake
to the wood on wood
sound of a falling
chopstick. I crawl out
of bed in the dark
and activate the
emergency torch to
search underneath.
Here I discover
my bed anchored
to the floor by four
solid steel brackets.
Reminders that Kyoto
is also vulnerable
to the earth dragon
and the great fish monster.

Today we have decided to walk/roll to the Gion district for some souvenir shopping. Now that we have discovered the Keihan Railway we know we can always get a train back to Kyoto station.

The walk is punctuated by the familiar "ice-cream ritual" where I have discovered that I rather enjoy bean ice-cream, together with "love potion", a portion of vanilla, with bitter chocolate hearts and a blood-red sauce, it's particularly good.

I never find souvenir shopping easy and welcome distractions like the elegant cranes on the river, and the Temples and museums that appear around every corner; from the solemn to the rediculous, they all need exploring.

After I've found some souvenirs I can relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

The chopsticks in my hair
often attract
a lot of attention;
amused and bemused.
People smile and laugh
and seem to be saying
complimentary things
though the words are
Fingers and faces
make signs of approval
and slowly some words
take shapes that I
begin to understand:
"stae-ki hed-e"

After dark we explore tiny restaurants in dark little alleys, looking for atmosphere. We find all sorts, mostly up or down steep and narrow flights of stairs, but some are accessible. We choose one and it's great. The food is fresh and delicious and the cold sake goes well with it.

We roll leisurely home through the brightly lit and busy city. The day has been good.

I did miss out on a beautifully illustrated art book souvenir as SP didn't think some of the illustrations were acceptable, but he raised no objections when I stopped to photograph "Hotel Chapel Cinderella" with it's hourly rates.

And he was quite complacent about some of the seedier places we stumbled across when restaurant hunting: "this seems to be the way of the Japanese"