Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weekend Adventures. (週末のアドベンチャー)

Even though I’m sitting here writing this Sunday evening, it won’t actually be posted until Monday. Which is, I guess, now. Just know that this is somewhat old news.


Today was a pretty exciting day, so I thought it was worth posting about. Kelly and I went to Kiyomizudera! (After, admittedly, failing to do so yesterday.)


We met up at Kyoto Station, and had some delicious ramen for lunch. I should have taken a picture of the delicious takoyaki I had yesterday, but all you get is the ramen.


Afterwards, we waited in line for a bus to Kiyomizudera. It was a long line, and when we got on the bus, it was super crowded. Not a pleasant ride. Kelly almost had a panic attack.


Luckily, since Kelly had asked her Okaa-san, we knew where to get off today. Did so, and followed the crowd up to Kiyomizudera. It was a long walk. And I mean long. Uphill. Also super crowded.


We started taking pictures when we got to the temple itself. It was quite pretty, if still majorly crowded. However, we were there for the good-fortune-granting water, not the scenery.


So, after much walking and a little confusion, we finally made it to the spring. Had to wait in a line there, too, but that was understandable. Nida had told us that the three springs each had different wish-granting powers (money, study, and love), but all the signs said that there was no difference, and that they all granted wishes, no matter what. As Kelly and I couldn’t find any distinction between the three springs, we chose to believe the signs. And then spent a while creating our really detailed wishes. We also found out that it’s the Great Merciful Goddess (who according to the legend is actually a hermaphrodite) who grants the wish, as it’s her temple.


The rest of the post will be only in English, as it is late, and I am tired.


We spent most of our time in line trying to work out any loopholes from our wishes, though admittedly, now that I know that the Great Merciful Goddess has taken my fate into her hands, I feel a lot better about it. I think she’ll understand if I accidentally drank out of the “fortune” spring… (Yes, I’m sure you all know what I wished for.) Regardless, if you know for a fact (though I don’t see how you could) that I didn’t drink out of the “love” spring… don’t tell me. It said on the signs that the temple itself didn’t support the idea that the springs were separate, after all. I believe the signs. “Wish-granting,” they said, and so a wish I made.

I also thanked the Great Merciful Goddess as I left. She’s a pretty awesome deity, if I do say so myself.

After drinking from the spring, we headed back down to civilization. Just as long a walk going back, in case you were wondering. And apparently, we just missed the rush, as it seemed to be far more crowded going back downhill than it had been coming up. Lucky. Regardless of the crowds, we both felt extremely good about ourselves, quite positive our 運命 (unmei; fate, destiny) was definitely on the up and up. (…and still is. Stupid English language and its limitations and connotations and whatnot.) Yea, we pretty much wished for the same thing. We’re simple gals.

However, upon reaching the bus-stop, we were both quite exhausted, and our feet were aching with every step. (And no advil to boot.) We were desperate to sit down, but unfortunately the buses around Kiyomizudera are notorious for being crowded beyond belief; we waited about fifteen minutes for our bus to come, and it was packed. Again. Luckily, after a few stops we were able to grab a seat.

Extremely luckily, as we were on that bus for another hour, almost.

Unfortunately, while the bus did go back to Kyoto station, it took perhaps the longest, most roundabout way to get there imaginable. However, we were pretty tired, so it was nice to sit down for a while—even if our butts were numb by the time we actually got to the station.

(A side note, which talking about the station reminded me of: while we were heading towards the ramen restaurant in the station, we found something which I called the “sparkly” store, and had to go in. They were selling, among other things, sets of five earrings—all different, all together. Only in Japan, we thought. And both wanted a set badly. Especially me, as it would have been perfect for my five ear-piercings. Would have bought them, too, if they hadn’t been about ten bucks each. Maybe some other time…)

Understandably, by the time we were back at the station, we both had a case of the munchies. We therefore set of in search of a パン屋 (panya; bread shop) and tasty treats. Found one at the back of the station, where I bought melon pan and milk tea, and Kelly got some sort of bun and lemon tea. The surprising part was that my melon pan was actually melon pan; it tasted like melon! See, for those who don’t know, melon pan usually tastes nothing like any sort of melon—which is not to say that it’s not tasty. However, this melon pan was filled with some sort of paste that tasted just like cantaloupe. Very surprising. (You know… I wonder why I’m not losing any weight yet, and it’s probably because of my horrible snacking habit. CURSE YOU, MELON PAN!)

After our snack, we went our separate ways—poor Kelly had to take the bus home. At this point, we could write a novel about our bus misadventures, I’m quite sure.

Came home, and luckily got a seat on the train, as apparently the around-five-o’clock train to Otsu-Kyo on Sunday isn’t all that crowded. Per usual, people avoided me, sitting four to a booth to avoid sitting with the 外人 (gaijin; outsider, foreigner). However, someone sat down across from me at Yamashina, which made me quite happy.

I love wearing my sunglasses on the train; I can people-watch without seeming nearly so sketchy. For instance, had I not been wearing them, I would not have noticed the guy across from me staring at me a few times. (Admittedly, I’m far more lenient with this behavior when it’s a young guy doing it. Most everyone else, it just gets old very quickly. At least with a young guy, I can fool myself into thinking that he’s staring because I’m good-looking.)

Bonded once again with my okaa-san over variety shows; the ones one tonight were quite amusing. One involved a race between two guys in Tokyo, trying to walk seven kilometers (from whatever JR station they started at to the television station) in the heat in paper shirts that fell apart when they got wet. They weren’t allowed to wipe their sweat off, but they were allowed to do pretty much anything to keep cool: one guy went to a “cooling down” salon, where they washed his hair with a special treatment to make it cold, and the other got a bag of ice chunks from an ice cutter. The latter actually went to far as to go into a department store and get sweat-preventing make-up put on to keep his face from dripping (the surprising thing was, it worked.) It was a highly entertaining show.

And now, as this post has become far longer than I’d ever intended it to be (likely because I switched to English-only mode), I’ll end it here. Thank you, and good night (or morning, as the case may be.)

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