To Kyoto

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Japan  ,
Monday, September 12, 2005

Made full use of the en-suite facilities again before heading to the train station at 10am. Had originally planned to go to Osaka but on reading about it there didn't really seem to be a lot to do there, apart from eat. So we decided to go to Kyoto instead.

Had a great time lugging our bags around in the heat to the tram station 20 mins away and eventually made it to Hiroshima train station. Grabbed some food to eat on the train and started the journey back east to Osaka. I bought a small pack of sushi and a sandwich for backup. I needn't have bothered. The sushi was delicious and much sweeter than I had imagined, the sandwich was rather less appealing and went in the bin.

Got on the connecting train from Osaka to Kyoto and the girl behind us seemed quite fascinated and happy to see us. She looked probably only 16 which probably means she was closer to 20. I have noticed, and it's been confirmed by someone who worked in the country for a while, that Japanese women always look about 5 years younger than they actually are. We had noticed this before in Brighton when talking to a couple of Japanese girls who we thought were about 20 but were actually 27!

Anyways she basically fidgeted about in her chair for much of the 15 mins we were on the train and gave us a big smile and a wave as we left the train. Was nice to find we are not totally invisible in Japan after all!

On reaching Kyoto we didn't have a reservation anywhere so headed to the budget area. A couple of lost American girls were also trying to find a place they had booked, which we were also looking for, so we helped them look. On reaching the hostel they checked in and we left as it was fully booked. Cue frantic phoning around all the other cheap places in the bible!

Eventually found a place that wasn't full on the other side of the train station, miles away from the best places in town. But we got a dorm room, on futons again but this time at the bargain price of 2000 yen and free beer after 9:30pm! Result! Alas no shower so if we wanted to keep clean we would have to use the public baths, and it is impossible to keep clean in this heat as you walk around in a layer of perma-sweat.

Headed back to the station to collect our bags from the locker and check out a place the bible said had free Internet, it didn't but we managed to book a couple of nights accommodation in Tokyo at a place we had been recommended. Lugged our stuff back to the hostel and couldn't be bothered to see any temples today so did nothing for an hour or 2.

Come evening we walked the 4kms to the entertainment area in search of Kyotos branch of "hub" British bar that we had visited in Tokyo. Took about an hour to walk there but it wasn't too bad. Spent about 40 mins looking around for it in vain before getting something to eat elsewhere. Spent another 30 mins trying to find a bar but with tremendous difficulty. Everywhere just wants to serve food.

Eventually we found a cool little basement bar that was supposed to be a rock bar but just showed MTV on the TV. Spent a good 2 hours chatting to the 2 people in there about what is good/bad about England and Japan. Was funny basically slagging off England and saying it was nothing more than binge drinking, fighting and chavs. I don't think the British tourist office is going to be calling offering me a job any time soon!

Got back from the walk to the hostel at 10:30 surprised to see any of the free beer left. Grabbed a free beer before settling down for a chat with a couple of people there about Uni and Alan Partridge. Amazingly one of the guys was on the same flight from London and will be leaving the same day, only to Thailand instead of Hong Kong. His mate had just finished 18 months in Japan and was headed back to the UK, so I quizzed him on how he found teaching in Japan which was pretty interesting.

Retired to bed at around 1am after what had been an interesting evening after a day of doing nothing. Realised we had to head back to Tokyo on the 14th so will have to see all the sights Kyoto has to offer in 1 day! Not likely but I'll try.
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