It’s funny because this was the one night I didn’t manage to write anything in my journal. Was probably too tired from all the traveling because it was the day that I…went to Kyoto~! The second block of our consecutive 2-day rest day period of the month and I decided to head off to Kyoto in the evening to meet up with Tea friend T, who had come to Japan with her bf for a holiday. It was too good an opportunity to miss, us being in Kyoto during the same period of time, so I booked two nights in Kyoto, packing my bags rather last minute after 5pm since I’d wanted to maximise my time in the studio.
That day, the only thing I can remember was us eating delicious cat-shaped butter cookies during our afternoon tea that I’d bought the previous day during the Kiln Walkabout. It’s true that when our memory fails us, the one thing that can be relied on is are iPhone photos with their time and date stamps. ^^;; (That, and cooking some of my usual mushroom pasta for lunch which I suppose must have tasted decent since I also have a photo record of it.)
The somewhat woefully hilarious thing though, was how I was so confident of my bus timings that it was a real shock to me when I realised I only had 3 minutes to get from the studio to the bus stop down the hill. For some reason despite having checked the bus and train and Shinkansen timings the night before and jotting them down in my notebook, I was under the impression the bus would depart at 1813 and I would have more than a leisurely stroll from the studio to the bus stop which usually takes a little less than 5 minutes. Imagine my horror then, when I was feeling proud of myself for having packed up everything by 1805 with ‘plenty of time’ to spare to take a slow walk down, when I opened up the screen shot of the bus timings and realised that actually the bus would be departing at 1808. I literally ran as fast as I could through the neighbourhood shortcut, down the hill past the little shrine (that’s the first visual cue greeting us and telling us we’re on the right way to the studio), across the street likely having dashed through the red pedestrian light…to have reached exactly as 1808 in time for the bus to arrive. It’s always a good sign when you see other people waiting at the small little road side bus stop. Though unlike me, most of the Japanese probably arrive there 10-15 minutes ahead. Because these small town buses come usually once per hour. T_T Being ahead of time is really something that I still need to work on improving. Yet it’s also incredibly lucky experiences like these that subconsciously reassure me that my tardiness will also work out in the end (and that the main conclusion I could take from this is that I technically only need 3 minutes to get from the studio to the bus stop). ^^;;
The time it took via Shinkansen from Nagoya to Kyoto was surprisingly shorter than expected. Just about 35 minutes and there I was, in Kyoto. An entirely different universe. Despite knowing Japanese and being able to read signs, it still always is a pretty nerve wrecking experience for me, navigating large stations and being able to locate the exact platform to board the Shinkansen. It definitely helps not having a reserved ticket because you could just hop onto the next train that arrives but whenever I had a reserved ticket… the sheer relief I experience when I was able to sit down at the right seat on the right train never failed to remind me un-savvy a traveler I really am.
At the station, headed to a random restaurant for a classic set meal – variety of ‘seasonal’ dishes, along with rice and miso soup. Not the best Teishoku/set meal I’ve head in Japan for sure, but it’s always nice being able to eat a meal with such variety after having cooked more or less single dish meals for a few weeks.
Stayed at a small no frills ryokan off Shichijo that was surprisingly trusting of its guests! Arrived after 10pm and on the table at the closed counter was the an envelope with my name, key and in it a letter requesting that if the next morning I leave the ryokan too early, to put the money into the envelope and leave it at the counter. Only in Japan, eh? 😉