Dave went to Nara today, the first half of my day was lost to domestics: washing and food shopping and sleep in. Sat in the laundromat for an hour just blogging and listening to sumo wrestling on the radio (I'm assuming it was sumo, there seemed to be short bursts of action and it was on at 11am). There was a Japanese lady in the laundromat at the same time, the care she took in folding each item was amazing, a good 20-30 seconds per item even if it was just a t-shirt or trackies. I had to go down to Kyoto station to buy Shinkansen tickets, so I walked 2/3 of the way and then subwayed the rest. Back into the centre of town and I just walked the streets, trying to stay away from the touristy areas as Kyoto fills up on weekends with Japanese tourists who drive here.
Cooled off in Starbucks for a bit, they definitely don't have the cafe culture Australia does so chain coffee stores are usually pretty full. One thing I did notice is that most people seem to sit and write or draw when sitting down with an ice coffee or something. I guess the arts are appreciated and encouraged at an early age here, as opposed to sports in aus. Or maybe the Japanese are sitting in Starbucks writing shopping lists.
I just made my way back towards the hostel, walking through all the shops just checking stuff out. At night there was a big river side festival with food from all over japan. It was packed and there was also a 'carnival' type part which wasn't americanised at all, so refreshing. They also had tents where kids learned the arts and crafts (calligraphy, music, needlework, Japanese chess etc) and lots of kids were trying stuff out. We had some shochu and some food and then sat on the river with Yashi with some beers. Some local uni students came and spoke to us and were pretty cool. After that Dave and I went and checked out a club and probably shouldn't have, every club just seems the same.
A couple of side notes: Only westerners and about 5% of Japanese people wear sunglasses.
All mail seems to be delivered on foot.
We've generally tried to stay away from places with gringos (westerners) and don't even really look at them in the street now. The hostel crowd has been pretty lame, we're just unlucky on that one. There's been plenty of opportunities to talk to some gringos, not so many to Japanese though...especially in Kyoto. I think we'll change strategies this week though, they actually seem to enjoy speaking in English so maybe laziness will help our cause? I dunno.
Warning, boring camera talk: I've taken about 700 photos so far (iPhone, ixus and canon) and only used the 50mm plastic lens on the canon. It's really good for low light, and weighs nothing so the big glass lens has stayed in the hostel or hotel the whole time. It's sometimes a bit annoying not having zoom but it just means you have to walk a bit more or reconsider your shot. I've had to take a few panoramas to get the whole shot but we'll see how they come out later.
I've also seen some RIDICULOUS camera gear here that tourists are carrying around. I'm talking $10,000+ value. I don't know if they're trying to get 'That' Geisha shot or something or if they're bird watchers, but I don't think you need serious gear as a traveller and amateur photographer if you have two legs.