we checked out of the ryokan early, around 9 or so. we then went to the Kyoto station to put our backpacks into a locker. that way, we can grab lunch without carrying those big backpacks everywhere with us.
we have spent four days in Kyoto and only once we saw a Geisha. it was two days ago, on the way back from Kiyomizu-dori for lunch. there was a geisha (or maybe a maiko — an apprentice geisha), wearing a red kimono with full make-up, riding on a rickshaw. the road was on a steep hill and the rickshaw went by so fast going downhill, that we both froze while pointing to the passing rickshaw… oooh, that was a zooming geisha! we haven’t had any picture of them. so we decided to walk around Gion and hoping maybe we will bump into one or two.
well, we didn’t see any geisha. we saw a few fat cats along the Shirakawa-minami dori. they’re so cuuute! the weather was much better — less cold and very sunny — compare to yesterday. we wished yesterday was like this, so that we could enjoy the Nanzen-ji area better.
we had lunch in a Japanese-western restaurant near the Sanjo Keihan station before heading back to the Kyoto Station. we took our backpacks from the locker and bought the train tickets to Osaka. i’m still amazed on how easy it is to read the Japanese train map, figure out the rates for the train tickets, and buy them from the vending machine. Japan is so full of vending machines, and they’re very easy to use.
we took the JR train to Osaka and fell asleep almost the whole way through. it was a long ride (almost two hours) since we hopped on to the local train instead of wait another three minutes for the express train — which only takes half an hour to get to Osaka. oh well.
we got to the Umeda station close to the rush hour. and, boy, the train station was packed!
we were trampled left and right by the fast-walking people. it took us a while to find the subway station, where we can catch a train to Shinsaibashi, where our hotel is located. we somehow managed to find the hotel, despite its wrong address printed on the confirmation letter.
we checked in to the hotel (yay! a warm hotel! finally!) and left a message for Melvyn, ari’s friend from Singapore.
Melvyn told us about the cheap airline prices for this season, which was the reason why we took this vacation. he and his girlfriend, Tracy, left a few days before we did, and headed to Tokyo, while ari and i went to Kyoto. the plan is to meet up in Osaka. that was the message for.
we walked to Dotombori, located in the heart of entertainment district in Osaka. as soon as we arrived there, we saw a long line in front of a takoyaki (octopus ball) vendor. Osaka is known for their Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. so we had to try it…
when we joined the long line, one guy wearing the takoyaki uniform approached us and started to talk in Chinese. we both, who can’t speak a single Chinese, went huh? he spent the next few minutes trying to guess where we’re from by trying many different languages that we didn’t understand. it turns out that he’s asking us how many takoyaki we’re going to order… since most of the people lining up for takoyaki are foreign tourists, they have a staff person gathering the order in your mother tongue. and, just like in any other countries, because we look Asian, people just assume that we can speak Chinese. gee, how complicated… how about using a plain English? (actually, if he uses Japanese, ari would probably understand it the first time he asked).
the takoyaki was great. we finished it before we could take a picture of it (we totally forgot about taking picture! sorry!). we then walked along the Dotombori, amused by how bright the neon lights and the billboards… on one of the ends of Dotombori, we found a few themed love hotels… how cool is that!?
we went back to the hotel before leaving for the dinner again. this time, we went to Chibo, a Okonomiyaki place which located on Dotombori. it is a five-stories restaurant located on the riverside. we’re seated on the first floor, right on the window seat. so it was very nice. the place itself was comfortable. the okonomiyaki was very yummy. we also ordered a Buta Kimchi, slices of pork cooked with kimchi, which also tasty… so tasty that we ordered a second portion… we were going to order the second okonomiyaki, but we realized that we may not be able to fit it in our stomach. we were stuffed!
after hanging out in Chibo for a while, we headed back to the hotel and did our laundry (yay! we finally can do laundry!) in the common room of the hotel. right in front of the laundry room, there is a computer where we can use for browsing the internet. i accidentally bumped into Melvyn browsing the internet when i was going to move the laundry to the dryer… they didn’t get our message. and we apparently didn’t get their message either — they left a message for us on the front desk, leaving us their room number and telling us that they went to Kyoto and won’t be back till late. they just got back from Kyoto and still wearing full winter gear. after i finished moving the laundry, Melvyn and Tracy stopped by our room and shared stories…
photo album: Japan Trip: Day 5 (28 December 2005).