The second step in Japan was my journey to Kyoto. I took the Shinkansen down to Tokyo. The journey was rapid – and mercifully so as I’d chosen to sit in the smoking car. The fumigation was enough by 40 minutes into the journey to make me forget myself. I left my coat and my first ever mobile phone (one of the original Nokias) lodged in the overhead and despite my attempts to reclaim them the following day they were in fact gone forever when I stepped off the train and watched the train speeding out to Shin-Osaka, the next stop on the line.
The first night I lodged in a hostel the only clear memory I have of is the picture of this room. Having lost my phone I set my laptop to alarm at the check out time – paranoid I’d get charged for another night. As memory serves I spent three nights in Kyoto. During the days I walked around the temples visiting the likes of Kinkaku-ji – famous golden temple. During the days I walked around the smaller temples – exploring as I went with my Camera.
The main memory that I have is my stay in the friendly couple run hostel “URONZA Guesthouse”. It was a brilliant counterpoint to the faceless student bolt hole from the night before. The traditional internal architecture and Tatami rooms were the essence simple Japanese beauty.
On the second night of my stay there I went out and bought a collection of things to produce one of my signature meals which not being long from the ski season were very fresh in my memory. I recall the amazement (genuine or otherwise) of the Japanese friends who Yu and Hi (the owners) invited over on hearing my plans and journey staging around the world. Indeed a feature of both of my trips to Japan was a complete absence of interaction with people of my age – it was almost as if all the people younger than 25 were hidden away.
At the time of writing there are very favourable continuing reviews of the guesthouse which I am very pleased to see. Also straight up on the google search I was surprised to see one of my photos in the google sidebar! I remember taking this…but dont now have the original – I wonder it if went in the cull of 2007 summer or in the repeated transfers between computers over the years….