We thought checkout was 11 but turns out it was actually 10. At about 10:10 we got a call from reception so we had to be pretty quick about getting our shit together and getting out of there. So we loaded up and headed to Tokyo station to get the Shinkansen down to Kyoto. Had a champions breakfast of Suntory Silky Black canned coffee and almonds and peanuts. Found some sandwiches and got those for lunch cause all the good bentos were already sold out. One interesting thing we had noticed and did see again this morning is a Yakult delivery girl. She rides her pushy around delivering yakult to what we assumed were businesses and offices. She was quite good looking and seemed to do the job with class. I'm sure in Australia she would be looked down upon but it just doesn't seem that way here. We've seen her 3 out of 3 days in Shinjuku.
The Shinkansen trip was pretty quick, nothing really to report, my first chance to listen to music in a few days. A change from the usual 3-4+ hours I do at home. Got into Kyoto about 2:30pm and got a train headed to Gion-Shijo station to get to the hostel. Same hostel as I stayed in last time: Ichiensou, run by Yashi who is a real stand up guy and speaks English with an Aussie accent because he did a few years uni in Tasmania.
We dropped off our bags and headed out to find some lunch and a cool spot to sit. It's way hotter in Kyoto and more humid, I'll definitely lose a few kilos here I reckon. We walked through Kawaramachi area and Teramachi St which is a big long arcade that has heaps of shops and food. Did a lap and couldn't find anything really interesting so we were even less interesting and had maccas. It was a pretty flat afternoon, not much happened and we went back to the hostel to catch up on interwebs and so I could upload a few blogs. Managed to lose one thanks to the wordpress app crashing, so had to retype it.
Yashi offered Scott from Hawai-i (that's how they pronounce it), Dave and I some Soju which is a Korean version of Sochu, nice and pretty sweet. After that Dave and I went to a ramen bar not far from the hostel for dinner with Yashi. A lot had changed with him in a year, and he asked me what had changed for me? Big fat zero. We talked shit for a few hours, from Japanese life, his 5 year plans, history, Japanese pride and economic downfall to Australian politics, bogans, world cup soccer etc etc.
Yashi then had to go cause he had friends coming over so we went for a walk through Gion corner and surrounds. I think this little area might be my favourite part of the world so far. I think I raved about it last time so I won't bore you again with the details, but it's just super fucking cool to walk through there about 10pm on a warm night.
From there we walked down a narrow pedestrian street called Pontocho looking for a bar but came out empty handed so we people watched by the river after buying beers at a Lawson convenience store. Also picked up a caramel and salt kit kat, which was awesome (tasted like a burnt caramel, like the top of creme brûlée, with added salt goodness). It seemed to be mostly uni students and a German dude seemed interested to talk as he was hanging out with 2 French dudes. The feeling was best summed up by the words of Dave: "There's only so much sword this samurai can handle".
After a bit we headed back down pontocho and were lucky to see 2 geisha separately within the space of a minute. You gotta be lucky and quick to spot them, one hurried past us alone and the other literally crossed the road from one venue to another with an older lady dressed in kimono.
Onward to home and back into the air con.