Japan Adventures – Tokyo and Kyoto
This post will be ONE GIANT THROWBACK THURSDAY. I never got around to blogging about being in Japan last year, but I took many pictures which I think are pyootiful – not because I know anything about photography but because Japan is so pretty you could have your camera on self-timer and just pirouette through the streets and you’d get lots of good pictures – so I figured I would do a massive post full of pictures or they will never see the light of day.
Backstory: My mom was there for her 60th birthday. She made lovely paintings. I jogged around Nijo Castle every evening. We lived in a house in Kyoto made mostly of paper, and then Mom returned to Switzerland and I moved into an apartment the size of a small packing crate in the depths of Tokyo’s Takadanobaba district. It was great. I’ve split this post very scientifically into phyla, classes, genera, and species, beginning with. . .
Random Pretty Pictures
Fluffy Chrysanthemums at a Chrysanthemum competition in a temple courtyard. (I hope that purple one won. It was A++ fluffy.)
I imagine these lanterns having the personalities of grouchy elderly people and gossiping about everyone who passes by. Make it a short, Pixar.
The famous Torii gates in Kyoto, featuring a black cat who is almost certainly a spirit of the dead.
This is my favourite picture. It looks like a corny postcard, but it was just a regular scene we stumbled across one afternoon in a Kyoto park.
This photo makes the Golden Pavilion look very serene and lovely, like something you would find while frolicking through a woodland glen a thousand miles from civilisation, but no, dear reader, do not be fooled. There were a million people around and I held the camera really high in the air so their heads would not be in it. If you look carefully you can still see a head, though. Off with it.
Now I’ve gotten most of the fancy pictures out of the way, here are the food pictures.
Green tea ice cream
Elena, who has an excellent instagram and who happened to be in Kyoto at the same time as me, knew of a pretty great ramen place. It was cool. You ordered and paid at a machine in a narrow passageway, got a stub of ticket, waited a good long while, because lots of other people thought it was a cool place, too, and then got the above dish, which was delectable.
Travelling with family means eating much nicer food than I would ever buy for myself. Note the six raspberries. Someone had to count those out. Imagine being a Counter of Raspberries. Also, please tell you me you thought that red goop was jam, because I did, and I dipped a ridiculously perfect bite of French toast into it and it was KETCHUP. I’m still mad about the shock of that bite.
Every department store in Tokyo has a food court in the basement with the vastest, most beautifulest array of pastries you will ever see.
YUMMMMMMM. (Ok, I don’t actually know what this is, but I’m sure it’s good. Don’t judge books by their covers. Don’t judge people by their shoes. Don’t judge gobbets of brown goo by the pale, tumorous lumps floating within.)
This was the pastry I ended up buying. It had about seventeen layers under that shiny red shell.
Look at this small adorable bird, which is edible and filled with sweet bean paste.
Look at these small adorable birds, which are also technically edible but are not filled with sweet bean paste and therefor should be left alone.
After 22 o’ clock the pasta ceases to be yummy. Don’t say they didn’t warn you.
Random pictures that are not artsy at all
Fashion. Also, how I feel when more than one person tries to call me on any given day. (Also-also, I don’t know what was going on here, but I think they were filming a video?)
My head would literally snap off my neck if I had to carry around that much hair on top of it.
The only picture I got of Shibuya crossing. Note Miss Tay Tay Swift in the top left corner, swinging on her swing, getting that Japanese coin. Look what you made her do indeed.
Uh, rude, I’m tryna take yuh pic-shah hya.
This cool squad. I love how the people in the background are wearing dark, serious clothes and this group is *not* partaking.
At some point a bullet train was taken to Kyoto. People say Switzerland is precise and has a great train system, and like… it’s fine, but Switzerland’s got nooooooothing on Japan. See those little lanes on the ground? Those are people lanes. You form a queue to board the train. Every door of the train stops exactly in front of its corresponding gate, and each gate is marked so no one has to walk through miles of wagons to find their seat. Also, every time a bullet train pulls in, these women in pink go in and do a lightning-fast, perfectly coordinated clean up and are out again in two minutes flat. It’s fascinating to watch.
Japanese convenience stores are an experience unto themselves. I don’t know what any of those things in the picture are but I find them delightful and intriguing, and if a convenience store can delight and intrigue you, it’s pretty good.
A Dance Thing and more random pictures
In Kyoto, we stumbled across some sort of dance event. I don’t know exactly what it was and never quite found out, but doooooozens of colourfully costumed dance troupes were walking from point to point throughout the city and performing choreography and looking super happy. It was a cool thing to happen upon.
More random pretty pictures
Why you starin’.
Reading material and a book.
Where does the door in the water go?
And that’s that! After leaving Japan, I went to South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, but I got very ill there and consequently took very few pictures, so we’ll see if they get a post. I hope everyone’s well! 🙂