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 This morning we took the Kodama again, back to Tôkyô! (I bought locally grown figs at the train station, they were huge and the most delicious ones I’ve ever had <3). Next hotel was a small ryokan near Ueno koen, where we just stopped to shower and unload our luggage before making our way to Ueno station and then Kappabashi. I… was in a very strange, anxious and unpleasant (for everyone) mood on the way. I didn’t handle a slight change in our plans to get there very well and then every possible decision of what to possible do just felt wrong and stressful.

We got to Kappabashi eventually, with the intention of finding a sake set. In the very first store we enter hubby finds one he liked and which fulfilled all of his, a bit eccentric, ideas’ of what a sake set should look like. I thought it looked plain hideous. So I said, no, don’t buy it yet, we’ve got to check the other stores as well! (This goes very much against hubby’s philosophy of getting the first somewhat adequate/fitting thing he lays his eyes on while out shopping for something specific, to reduce the shopping time). Hubby hates browsing stores. It makes him anxious. But we set out. I try to point out prettier pieces of pottery but which fulfil his preset idea. It doesn’t go well. At all. He’s getting in a more and more unmanageable mood and I’m getting annoyed that he won’t accept any of the actually nice pottery. So. Eventually we’ve gone up and down the street, both exhausted and in pissy moods but hubby returns to the first store and buys that hideous set he first clapped his eyes on. At least it was cheap… :/ 

Now we just wanted to find some food, but before managing that we have a small fight/falling out. And then talked it over when we’d finally found something to eat, and both were in a better mood. After that we split up, in good spirits at least. I went to a Muji in Shinjuku and then Takeshita dori, specifically to find a new parasol, which took longer than anticipated.

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 Today we slept in for hubby’s sake, he’s had a bit to much excitement for his taste lately. Eventually though, we checked out from the hotel and took the Hakata shinkansen to Hiroshima. When finally there (the longest trip so far I think?) we took a tram down to the Peace Memorial park. Cause come on. Why else go out of the way down to Hiroshima?

It was beautiful and also very emotional. I started crying while reading a plaque at the A-bomb Dome. We also entered the museum but hubby had to leave quite soon; he found the atmosphere of all the tourists plowing through as if it was just an ordinary museum confusing and overwhelming. I started crying again reading about the remains of various children they’d found who’d been working in the city centre at the time of the bomb, and seeing the personal items parents had been able to identify them by, because there were hardly any bodies left.

After the museum we just strolled up the street going to the main train station, collecting ourselves and trying to find somewhere to eat. We ended up having Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, which I liked and hubby didn’t. And I forgot my parasol at the restaurant ;-; but when I remembered we were already at the station to catch our train onwards. First a Sakura back to Shin-Ôsaka and then the plan was onwards to Kakegawa. At first we panicked a bit, because there were no Kodama left running to Tôkyô, it was too late in the evening, just Nozomi. But luckily there were Kodama running to Mishima still, which meant it’d stop at Kakegawa where we’d booked our hotel for the night. We arrived close to midnight and collapsed into bed more or less.

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 Our second day in Kyôtô started very early (compared to the usual at least XD) since we wanted to get to Fushimi Inari shrine before the crowds. It was well worth it, being able to take some beautiful pictures undisturbed and walk up to the small mountain shrine before the midday heat wave hit. And I saw and heard ravens on the way up <3 hello Hugin and Munin! And we made excellent time compared to the last time hubby was here, 1 hour from the entrance gates to the top. We took it a bit slower on the way down, and a different route as well, conveniently ending up on a street filled with food and souvenir vendors. We bought various things for an early lunch and I bought a plushie kitsune :3

After that on via bus to Kinkakuji, which really was an amazing experience. I can really understand humans’ fascination with gold seeing that building glittering in the sunlight. Because it overlooked a lake and was generously cordoned off it was easy to get good pictures also. And there were some nice charms for luck in various things for sale there (as there are on any kind of temple ground really) so I bought a big bunch :3 but my kitsune plushie got ripped off my purse somewhere ;-; but also match-icecream <3

We continued on to Gion, the old quarters of Kyôtô afterwards (I wanted to catch a glimpse of a geisha ^///^ we didn’t). Hubby got real tired and wanted to return to the hotel in Ôsaka but I wanted to continue sight-seeing so we split up. Normally I wouldn’t really… be very comfortable with this, because hubby has a lousy sense of direction, but he could point to where the nearest subway station was and we’d made the trip between Ôsaka-Kyôtô a couple of times now so I though sure. Gotta trust in him and relax a little. So I gave him the room key card *(only hade the one) and went on my merry way in Kyôtô (apparently it is a thing to go to Gion and rent kimonos and get your hair done before strolling around..?) for a while before returning to Ôsaka, and then browsing a galleria I found for an hour or so before trying to find my way back to the hotel. I knew I was the right neighbourhood, Namba, but in the end I had to go down in the subway to check the numbered exits to be able to find my way XD And then, when I’m almost back, thinking hubby must have had a nice, calm nap by now, I see his, in Japan very distinctive, back while crossing the last road in front of the hotel! I call out to him and he turns and runs to me and hugs me tight and excluding such relief at having found me! Meanwhile I feel like a huuuge question mark.

So. Apparently, hubby has, in his cloud of sleepiness, taken a Hikari shikansen from Kyôtô, buuut… In the wrong direction. Towards Tôkyô and not Ôsaka. And the Hikari doesn’t stop all that often so he was on that train, stewing in his own, nervous sweat for 30 minutes before managing to get off. Now he tells me, he is mildly panicking, because we only hade the one key card remember, and what if I had returned to the hotel only to find it locked and empty? Sooo, to get back quickly, he took the next available train, which happened to also be the fastest, a Nozomi. Only our shinkansen passes weren’t valid on Nozomi. So to avoid the train staff checking the tickets, he locked himself for half an hour in the toilet XD crazy nervous all the while. When he got back to Kyôtô he had to switch trains and made the adrenalin-fuelled decision to take Nozomi again (he admitted to having some not very complimentary fantasies about my reactions at the time). and while this trip was shorter, he didn’t dare lock himself up again, but he daren’t sit in a seat only to rush up if he saw a ticket controller, so he stood in the compartment between the wagons and pretended to talk on his mobile, all the while “discreetly” checking around the corners now and then to see if any train staff was approaching. So at long last he’s back in Ôsaka, on the final trek to the hotel only to hear my voice calling him on the street. So he wasn’t to late back! But I find my husband a nervous wreck instead of calm and rested as I’d expected. Nothing to do but go inside and lay down for a proper nap :)

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 Today we had a sleep in, and then took the shinkansen to Kyôtô. We started off with Nijou castle. There we met first some middle schoolers out on a mission to practise English on tourists (they were adorable and gave us some origami after writing in their little books), and then a nice elderly couple (one of them dutch and the other brit) while sitting down for a drink and rest, and had a pleasant chat. And Nijou was very beautiful, both inside and the gardens surrounding it. There was a nightingale floor inside but, of course, photographing or filming was forbidden -.-And I got a sunburn D: horror!

Around lunch-time we went on to Nishiki dori, a long shopping street with tiny local shops, my favourite kind of street :D on that street I finally got the chance to taste hanami dango… I was. Underwhelmed :| Expectations of taste dashed yet again. But hubby found some nice sake as a gift for friends and family. Oh and I bought a gorgeous parasol! <3 (Hubby also found fake, decorative katana… Which I wouldn’t let him buy. Because they didn’t fit in our suitcases and also where. The. F*ck. Would we place those at home?! NO!! Sorry darling, but no).

Back in Ôsaka we had dinner at a yakitori-grill, now that was delicious, even if we didn’t try some of the, in western tastes, more adventurous stuff. Like “hormones” (testicles??) or cartilage or heart…

poplitea: surgery (Default)

 Today onwards! Earliest bus from Kawaguchiko to Mishima (the bus driver made the strangest arm gestures whenever he’d stopped or had to turn), and in Mishima we activated our Rail Passes and took the Shinkansen to Shin-Ôsaka. We’d gotten help from a station guard when trying to figure out how to get from there to our hotel, and he’d said go to Namba and take exit number 5. Only hubby didn’t get it/didn’t trust it, so we didn’t take exit number 5 (of like, 20 different available ones), but another, and finding our way to the hotel took a godawful while. But the hotel was very nice.

We went out pretty much straight away and took the subway over to Kaiyûkan, a big aquarium in the harbour. Only when we came to the entrance I saw the building next to the aquarium, and it had a huuuge banner with Naruto on it!! I got a little excited, shall we say.

But the aquarium first. And it was rather amazing, starting a the top of the building and spiralling down, with aquariums stretching several floors. But some of the enclosures were very small compared to the numbers of animal inside them (especially the penguins), so I don’t actually think any of my marine biologist friends would have liked it there.

After Kaiyûkan we went to the Naruto building. And it turned out to be just as great as I thought it would. It was a big exhibition of the entire series, and I had no idea about beforehand. (If I’d gone to Japan and missed it? It would have been devastating!) There were loads of the original artworks, and descriptive panels in both Japanese and English. And since it was rather late and the exhibition had already been going for a while the crowds were minimal! Two specially made movies with manga stills made to move, it was incredible, and very good soundtracks as well. And several life size statues, of Naruto, Kakashi, Sasuke (and someone else I think) but not of Sakura :( The only bad things were one, that you couldn’t take photos, and there were staff everywhere keeping an eye out (but I couldn’t resist and managed one photo in Sasuke’s room!!! Only to find that that exact one were available online with the promo pics, but whatever, I got an adrenaline shot anyways! XD) and two, the souvenir shop at the end weren’t that great. Not a big selection, you could only buy five things, not matter value, and if you left you had to buy a new ticket (!) to get back inside the shop again… Really? What’re you all afraid of?! But all in all a great exhibition, both in my and hubby’s mind.

And then we were both starving and entered the first restaurant we found, which happened to be western, but whatever, too hungry! I’m afraid we exasperated the servers a bit with ordering several times so close to closing time. Hubby was very hungry, and japanese servings are rather small. And also dessert!

 

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Poplitea

May 2016

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