jonasgoat

Misc Impressions of Kyoto

In japan, travelling on February 10, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Now there is no curfew, I’ve just got on the bike and ridden to the edges of Kyoto, (am I the only one who sees that Kyoto is an anagram of Tokyo – coincidence, I think NOT!) which feels immeasurably smaller than Osaka or Tokyo for that matter. I’ve ended up in a surf bar, which serves just shorts and mixers, no beer as far as I can see, and I settle in for a couple, because I don’t need to be back for any particular time and I need a drink, a cool drink to slake my thirst and to decompress after the long/slow journey into Kyoto as I managed to get myself onto the local express train rather than the shinkansen and it took a whole load longer than the 20mins or so I was expecting.

Looking at the tourist map I’ve got in front of me, I’m not exactly sure where I am, I pointed myself in a direction and followed the bright lights until they started to dim and then turned right. Kyoto’s based on a grid system so no turns or winding roads, so it won’t be that difficult to get back to the center just follow the straight road.

The old guy behind the bar asks me a couple of questions, and then settles into the big armchair from which he serves people. Music videos play on a screen just behind and to the right of him, and the music pours out of the speakers.

I’ve ridden here fixed, and its so much fun, I missed it. I was practising trackstanding at the lights the whole way, need to spend some time, doing it with the left foot forward and also sitting down as well. I’ve got nothing but time and with the light sequences taking just as long here as they do in Tokyo – people turn off their engines to wait at the lights here as well – I’ll have plenty of time to work it out.

If Osaka is the city of a hundred bridges, than Kyoto must be the city of a hundred shrines, just looking at the tourist map I’ve been given at the front desk of the new improved, friendlier hostel, fills me with temple fatigue. At least with a bridge you see it, ride over it, its part of your journey, you contemplate it as you move across it. With a temple /shrine, you’ve got to get there, look around, soak it in, walk up, down and around, before heading to the next one. I’m thinking like this and I haven’t even been to one in Kyoto yet. I want to see a couple but not make that the be all, and end of my time here. I’m more interested in the modern city, the shopping precincts, the back alleys, the cultural centers, the cafes and bars rather than the ancient sites of religious piety. And I have a cob on to get my drink on. I haven’t really let, what little hair I have down, so I’ve got the urge to go out and get wrecked no matter the cost, and the fallout the following day. I’ve been very reticent so far about going out and getting amongst it, I think it’s a hangover (did you see what I did there, hangover, I crack myself up sometimes) from my annual no drinking for the first two months of the year, which I extended to three months last year, and also maybe because I’m not the greatest beer drinker in the world and that’s pretty much all they’ve got here, and its not cheap either. So either spend money on a beverage that you don’t like the taste of, or spend more money on a beverage you do like the taste of, but that will last you a third as long, decisions, decisions…

  1. […] Misc Impressions of Kyoto « mrvertes great escape Now there is no curfew, I’ve just got on the bike and ridden to the edges of Kyoto, (am I the only one who sees that Kyoto is an anagram of Tokyo – coincidence, I think NOT!) which feels immeasurably smaller than Osaka or Tokyo for that … more .. […]

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