Day 7 (August 19th): Kyoto Shenanigans Day Two
What Exactly IS a Dutch Oven?
Don't get me wrong--The Golden Pavillion was beautiful. It almost looked like it was floating out over the water, and several of the views were pretty damn spectacular. That being said, it didn't speak to me. For something that I've heard so much about for so long, it didn't impact me nearly as much as I thought it would. Part of it was probably the heat--I know I keep complaining about it, but it really makes it difficult to motivate yourself to do much of anything, and I think it definitely impacted how much I enjoyed yesterday's trek through the city.
After Kinkakuji, I went to Ryoanji, the temple only a few minutes away with a famous rock garden where (allegedly) you can see no more than fourteen of the fifteen large stones at any one time. It was definitely impressive, but, like Kinkakuji, I expected to like it a lot more than I did.
Later that day, I ran into two awesome British people from Cambridge who were nice enough to spend the day with me. Sightseeing by yourself is kind of lonely, because you don't have a chance to share what you're seeing with anyone. This blog definitely helps, but I can't tell you how many times I caught myself thinking: "Everyone'll love this when I put it up on Facebook." It's a different dynamic when you travel with other people, and Grace and Mark were just what I needed to shake the ennui off my shoulders.
I ended up spending the rest of the day with Grace and Mark. Grace is here doing the JET Program, an English teaching program in Japan that I hope to do once I graduate, so maybe I got my divine intervention afterall! Perhaps the most interesting part of our shenanigans were our comparisons between British English and American English. Apparently "fannie" is considered a dirty word across the pond (they call "fannie-packs" "bum-bags" instead, which sounds downright dirty to me), and a "Dutch Oven" is when you stick your significant other's head under the covers and fart on them. Who knew? Also, (Cailey and Sarah, this is particularly directed at you) apparently even British people think I say the word "bagel" weird. You are officially vindicated. We ran into a man with a Border Collie on the beach, and my life was pretty much complete. Mission: Visit three temples. Status: Complete (with a touch of British flair).
Day 8 (August 20th): Onward, to Osaka!
For some reason, I chose to book a very traditional guest house for my final hostel. I could have picked something more Western, where I'd be guaranteed some English-speaking company, but I think for my last few days I was really craving something Japanese. What I ended up with was Guest House ODORI, a traditional Japanese house converted into a hostel-type facility for backpackers. I loved it from the beginning, and the staff is incredibly nice. They suffered through my terrible Japanese and invited me to a seriously intense game of Jenga. The day ended with Ayumi-san extending me a rather mysterious invitation to do something the next day having to do with Japanese television. After falling asleep to the melodious sound of RuPaul's Drag Race coming from the other bedroom, I woke up to...
Day 9 (August 21st): Japanese Television and the Tennoji Zoo!
How I Got 1,000 Yen for Pretending to be a Tourist
Ayumi-san came to me during breakfast and said something along the lines of: "Because we're going to be in the area already, let's go to the zoo before we do [insert something having to do with Japanese TV]." Now, I'm not usually too excited about zoos, but it seemed like a fun way to spend some time and get to know Ayumi-san for a little bit before we did whatever it was we were planning on doing. The zoo was, like the rest of Japan, beastly hot (forgive the pun) but we still had fun.
After the zoo, I went to the Umeda Sky Garden, and wandered around some expensive but awesome shops for awhile before returning to the hostel and writing this blog post. My first day in Osaka might have been less than exciting, but my second day was awesome!