I’ve been MIA for the last couple of days! Internet connection from our hotel/ryokan in Kyoto was poor, as expected. We spent one day in Osaka and most of that was spent either sleeping or sweating outside, so now I’m reporting in from my apartment in hotel where I am now flying solo. I’d like to get everyone caught up on all of our activities, but it’s late so I will recap one day from where I last left off.
Gram found out about a place in Nagoya called “Ran no Yakata” and mentioned that it was an orchid garden. We didn’t have anything else planned for the day, so we went to check it out. It was very, very beautiful and hard to believe it was right in the middle of the city! A large atrium and outdoor gardens housed hundreds (maybe thousands) of flowers with orchids as the focus.
Outside this entrance/atrium area were these large water boxes with water-happy plants living inside. Pretty neat!
There was a small photo opp carriage where we took a picture inside.
After our visit to the gardens (I have video of that I’ll put up later) we headed back to the station to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto. Here’s what my Shinkansen ticket looks like.
The big bold characters at the top say Nagoya -> Kyoto. Under that is the date we left and the time, followed by the time when we arrived in Kyoto. The next line is the name of the train we took and the train’s number. Then the car and seat number. In this case, I was car number 11, row 2, seat D (and a no-smoking car). The next line shows how much this ticket cost (about $57). These tickets are checked when you get on the train. Riding the Shinkansen is very pleasant. It moves quickly and quietly, and there’s a TON of legroom. A woman pushes a cart with treats up and down the train as you travel and you can bring your own things on too. Today a businessman was in the seat next to me and he brought on a huge can of beer and some fruit. I think I might do that next time! It would make the trip even better.
Gram went to buy something refreshing and decided to try this:
I don’t know what a Pocari is or why one would want to drink its sweat, but if you ever get the chance, don’t. The have commercials that say it replenishes nutrients and refreshes you but it really does taste sweat-like. Or at least, that’s what I would imagine sweat would taste like if I ever drank it. And it’s weirdly salty. We got rid of it promptly after purchasing it.
Upon arriving in Kyoto, we took a taxi to our hotel/ryokan. Surprisingly, when we checked in we were told to leave our luggage at the front desk, remove our shoes and exchange them for sandals. Then we were lead into a back bar area where we were served a cool treat after coming in from such a hot day.
The front desk staff guy brought us a cold towel for each of us followed by a cup of green tea and the jello-like substance in the background. It was delicious. I asked him what it was, and he said it was made from “uzu”. I don’t know what the English word for it is. He described it as like an orange, except yellow. It was extremely good and even Gram tried it and liked it and ate the whole thing. We were then taken up to our traditional style room.
This is the living room area of our hotel room. The rooms are separated by sliding paper doors. I took a quick video of the hotel room before we left so you can all see the whole thing soon. This room doubled as our bedroom. While we went out for dinner, the hotel staff came in and put our futons down. The futons are kept in a closet in this room.
Honestly, I got the best two nights of sleep in Kyoto on these futons. I don’t know if it was the futons or what but I slept GREAT and wasn’t too hot or too cold or anything. The futon cover was very soft and comfortable.
This was our home base for two days for our adventures in Kyoto, which I will write about next time. It has become very late in Tokyo and tomorrow is my first day of work! I am very excited to begin and am looking forward to getting settled in to a new life here.
I will write again tomorrow after work!
Also, I posted my first YouTube video of our first day in Tokyo. This is the video footage from our trip to Meiji Jingu, The Imperial Gardens, and Senso-Ji Temple. I’ve never done video before and never edited video so I know it isn’t super awesome, but just doing that video helped me learn a lot so I look forward to improving the next videos I make while I am here. If you type “arishaintokyo” in the search box at YouTube, you will find any and all videos I have posted. I hope you enjoy!