Thank you for always being there. I love that we are on this journey together.
Today I went to Arashiyama (Kyoto) with my friend Yuka, her husband, her son (my bf) and her parents. Now, I want to tell you about how Yuka and I became friends. When Yuka was 16? 17? She did an exchange programme in Timaru, New Zealand where my family used to live. In super rural Timaru, fate brought her and my sister together. They became very good friends and eventually parted when Yuka had to return.
Flash-forward 15 years, Yuka is married with a gorgeous little boy living in Osaka and I (was) teaching English near. Thanks to Facebook (yes, it does have its benefits!) I also got to meet Yuka and become her friend! Further, when my sister came to visit, her and Yuka were reunited. Also, my parents met her on their trip. Can I just say, how very amazing is this incredible world we live in?
For all of August, Yuka’s parents have left their fully furnished city apartment, bicycle, unconditional love and fresh vegetables (see previous post) in my hands. Today, they took me to Arashiyama were they didn’t let me spend a penny and bought me a pair of very pretty, green and floral personalised chopsticks! I will never forget their kindness.
My tour-guiding is much like my cooking; repetitive LOL I took my parents to the same Kyoto spots that I took my sister and brother-in-law. Alas, it was a different season and still as beautiful if not, more. Golden Pavilion, Kiyomizu Temple and Nishiki Market.
From top to bottom: a basket of treats for the road: healthy raspberry and oat muffins, raw almonds and tangerine, Golden Pavilion, Kyoto parfait consisting of matcha soft-serve, mini matcha donuts (green), chestnut (yellow), mochi (rice flour dumplings – white), corn flakes and red bean paste (anko), Kiyomizu Temple, soba (buckwheat noodle) lunch, gorgeous Japanese crockery and lastly, Nishiki Market with A 100% natural freshly squeezed (as in right there and then) grapefruit, and my dad eating a mini octopus tehe.
Talk of “Kyoto” usually elicits images of temples, shrines, tofu, leguminous dessert and women in Kimono. Here, I share some of my not-so-typical Kyoto snaps all taken and edited on my humble/not-so-humble iPhone. From top to bottom, the images present; a soy chai latte (my favorite drink) purchased at a Starbucks – (yes, I was that person who visits a far-away exotic land and still dines at McDonalds), foodporn from a Persian Restaurant (Arash’s Kitchen) and my fave Asian baby on a train.
I had the incredible opportunity to visit Kyoto for the first time today and all I can say is WOWZA. Kyoto was everything (and more) that everyone said it would be. The historical city took my breath away (both literally and figuratively as it was fookin’ hot: 38 degrees!). First up, we visited the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji 金閣寺) in northern Kyoto and.it.was.stunning. Like, so picturesque that I had to take quadruple takes just to make sure it was actually there. Of course, my photo doesn’t do its beauty justice but hopefully it gives an idea. The entry fee was 400 yen about $5NZD and we basically just walked around and fought hard to take a decent picture amongst the gazillion tourists. And of course, no temple experience is compelte without a piece of paper predicting your unforseeable futue so I spent 100 yen and invested in a fortune which kindly promised me that “everything be okay” and it was/is. So, bless!
Next Kiyomizu temple (400 yen) in eastern Kyoto- very orange. There are a lot of things to do here. I drank from the sacred Otowa waterfall from a ladle. Of it’s special effects, I’m yet to discover (watch this space). In addition, I stopped at the Jishu Shrine dedicated to Okuninushi, the deity of love and matchmaking – wink wink. To have luck in Love I was told (by a sign) was to walk SAFELY from one stone to another (6 meters apart) with my eyes closed. To make the journey entirely on my own was to guarantee me true love without anyone’s help. Alternatively, having someone guide me from one stone to the other meant that I’ll also be needing an intermediary when it FINALLY came to “the one”. But, it’s actually much harder than it sounds, especially when there’s a billion waddling kimono wearing tourists present. So, I accepted the help of my lovely friend which just means one of you (yes YOU!) needs to hurry up and introduce me to the lucky guy NOW! Two additional comments: 1.Kiyomizu is the place to snap that stereotypical gelato in rome, I mean, kimono in Kyoto pic for your instagram account and 2.the streets around the temple have some of the most beautiful (but pricey) pottery I’ve seen in Japan so be prepared to spend some moolah.
Lastly, we stopped at Sanjusangen-do (600 yen) and what a way to end! This place is home to 1001 standing statues of the Buddhist deity. Unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed (insert very sad face here) so please proceed to Google images. Here, I lit incense and prayed for the success of my Novel – which I hope you will all invest in, in the near (heres hoping) future.
OH no! I almost left without mentioning food on my food blog! Matcha soft serve with gold flakes (at the golden temple, of course) and tofu at a tofu restaurant by Kiyomizu cos Kyoto rocks tofu – especially in Winter.