Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Kyoto and Osaka: The Trip...

ok... here goes the story of this past weekend!

Friday















we got our shinkansen from Shin-Yokohama and headed to Osaka were we were staying. after about 3 hours we were there. Osaka is the second biggest city in Japan and it is realy more down to earth compared to Tokyo! in our hotel, we enjoyed the fabulous view of a city in action




and then we rushed to Kyoto. it was already late and we had to get going soon. unfortunately, when we arrived it was already dark for sight seeing. so the first night was consumed in strolling through Kyoto and its fabulous streets.












where I also had the chance to see the local market where all the nice but beautiful things used in the fabulous Kyoto cooking are sold. also, a kabuki theater! apparently, Kyoto is the cultural capital of Japan...






and then we went to the traditional japanese restaurant... my only objection is that the music playing was european slow music. I would have prefered something more japanese but I have to admit the music was soothing... the food was of excellent quality and taste! especially this EXCELLENT dish of grilled fish, and I know it doesn't look like it!






















on the restaurant we also made some new friends! maybe you noticed the HUGE plate of raw food waiting to be boiled!




after that we went for a drink... I will try to describe as vividly as possible. on the bar, one of the barmen was (apparently) gay. when he talked about himself he used "atashi" which is the female version of "I"... at somepoint he asked where I'm from and then he replied "kawai" meaning "how cute..." finally, for one of my friends (which he clearly liked the most) he said that he is "oishii" meaning "delicious"... it was a fantastic night and as for me, after two regularly-sized bottles of sake I was starting clearly to become "happy". we somehow made it back to Osaka using one of the last trains. unfortunately, I contacted a friend and he informed me that he had broken up with his girlfriend, which is really sad because they were probably the best couple I knew and she is a great girl! that actually clouded the conclusion of the night with a bitter taste. hang in there, guys. anyways, the next day I woke up with a mild headache...

Saturday

we again went to Kyoto with the immensly optistic plan to see many many sights... but given Friday night, that was too much given headaches and late wake-ups...





so after having lunch, we went to our first stop, kinkaku-ji. the temple's colours is actually plated gold. the place was packed!
















the reason for the packing is that this the best weekend for someone to get to Kyoto in all of the year. and the reason is because of the characteristic autumn leaves of the trees in Kyoto, making it a stunning visual experience... honestly, when I saw House of the flying Daggers,I thought that the stunning images in that movie were computer-enhanced! NO! Asia is beautiful. simply beautiful...

we then rushed to our next stop, Nijo-jinya. the house was used for visitor lords in the Edo era and was built about 300 hundred hears ago. at the time this was a house with fortress abilities. it has everything!!! from secret rooms and closets, secret staircases to allow for escaping when some enemy was inside the house! low ceilings to avoid sword-wielding, windows that would reveal possible eavesdropers, unstable floors, falling traps and sooo many more things! of course it was fully unreachable from the outside with places for guards and everything. an amazing place. the closest to a ninja-fortified-place in the world! unfortunately, no pictures were allowed so you will have to go and see on your own... oh, and we also found some interesting shops and places, but unfortunately most of the main sites I wanted to see were unfortunately closed...















BUT, we had time for Kiyomizu-dera. and, believe me, even if it was the only I saw in Kyoto it would have been worth it. when we got in the temple, I was just stunned by its beauty. one of the protected sites by Unesco in the world (Kyoto actually has 17!!!) it is just stunning at that specific weekend of the year and especially when lit up at night. ofcourse, if I knew it so all of Japan would. and believe me, they knew... just at the time we entered the temple, my camera informed me of two things. first, the batteries were gone and second, the card was almost full... typical. so, I will try to give you the feeling at the temple given the bad photographer I am and also the fact that it was very dark, making photography very very hard. here goes...
















































and then it happened. I saw the most beautiful thing those eyes have seen. maybe the photograph doesn't make any justice but here goes (once again, thanks Sugi-chan)...



and that was it. mind-blowing. just that. it was really hard to get the pictures above but it was worth it! after that, we went back to Osaka. even though we were really tired, Sugi-chan convinced me to go for Karaoke. and even though I thought the day was already great it just turned amazing.


this is the Karaoke room. one can identify the central unit that is responsible for reproducing the songs selected by the people inside. actually, the songs are a close reproduction of the song, not the song itself which is a bit of turn-off. still, all the words show on the screen and follow the normal flow of the singer.

IT IS SO HARD TO SING! I had about 10 songs killed that night, two of which were japanese... (ok, at least I tried). that was maybe the most entertaining night I had in Japan. I definitely have to do this in Europe!


Sunday

since we had to depart at 2pm, there was not enough time for going to Kyoto again. So, we went to the closest best thing, which is the Osaka-jo.

DO YOU SEE?!















it was huge and beautiful. too bad we didn't have enough time to explore it more, we had a shinkansen to catch... still, it was a really nice site

we returned to Yokohama, with me having one of my best weekends finished. I'm really thankful to my friends for their company and the good times we had! I hope I gave you an idea of the beauty I experienced. Let me know what you think!

2 comments:

geo said...

I SO envy you....

Irini said...

I envy you soooo much... I am happy for you though... Hope to see you soon. Not sure when you are back...but missing you here :)