First time in Japan.

Date: July 28, 2013
Destination: Kyoto and Osaka, Japan

Six years later of flying to ten countries every month, this was only my first time to land in Japan. Am I that unlucky? As comes with old age is my languishing sense of adventure, I was actually very excited for this trip. Got too excited that within the first hour in Osaka, I managed to lose all of my money. Boohoo! I must have dropped the envelope that contained my allowance at the elevator. That went down to the long list of lessons that I had to learn the hard way. Aaaaargh!!! But whoever found that pack of money, I am very certain that he/she was not a Japanese. Not in a million years would a Japanese take lousy money from a tourist. He would hara-kiri first before going that low.

Osaka-ready. Husband was sending me off.

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Special services for Japan flights: sake and sushi.

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Just landed. Credit card hazards just around the corner.

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We meet again, crisp, white bed sheets.

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No money? Okay. That would not stop me. 🙂

Dinner time in zashiki style. Shoes must be left outside the entrance when food is served in low traditional tables. These cabinets served as shoe storage.

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Message in a chopstick.

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The hungry crew.

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Omelette, beer and karaoke. It could not get any more Japanese than that.

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AFTER

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Meanwhile, back at the hotel. This is a typical toilet bowl in Japan.

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My cheat sheet for my day trip in Kyoto. Google, you know I love you. I think I got this printscreened from tripadvisor. I am so sorry for the lack of credits to its owner. 😦

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Before I proceed about my trip, I want to take a few lines to express my admiration for the Japanese race. Being surrounded with people like these make me gain hopes for mankind. I have regained my trust once again that civilization still lives and shall prosper. Civilized in a way that we, as the superior type of animals with the most developed brain, are able to stay free from the shackles of money-making, greed, violence and the most dangerous disease in the world which is indifference to one another. Being in Osaka made me feel alive. The Japanese people, though very materialistic, might be the most respectful, caring, helpful and adorable group of humans. Despite their troubled history and constant challenges from nature, they manage to keep their hearts intact for a touch of humanity whenever needed. Thank you, Osaka and Kyoto for having me for 24 hours. It was, indeed, a pleasurable stay.

Morning in Osaka. I could not be happier to be in this area. Men and women always dressed up to the nines from the tips of their toes to the tips of their hair. I say, life is very much less boring in beautiful clothes and fancy hair. 🙂 As usual, I was too shy to take snapshots of those beautiful people, but their images shall remain in the happy pits of my memory.

Finding out which train to board proved to be quite a challenge. But there is always a helpful Japanese around the corner. A big thank you to a very kind grandfather who approached us as soon as he realized that we looked a little lost. He purchased our tickets, walked us to the very gate and only bade goodbye after making sure that we boarded on the right train.

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Japanese fashion 101: Lace skirt, dotted socks and heeled booties.

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Got off at JR Kyoto and took a cab to Kiyomizo. Unlike other countries, cabs in Japan can take in up to five passengers. A cab driver in white gloves was more than willing to take in five of us. He gave us back our change up to the last cents. FYI, tipping is a big NO-NO in Japan. It might even be insulting, in some cases.

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My colleague’s cute but trusty camera.

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One of the wares sold along the way to the temple, among them was the extremely popular cucumber on a stick. 🙂 The Higashiyama District is one of the city’s best preserved historic districts.

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fern-meshi.blogspot.com

fern-meshi.blogspot.com

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Notes of love.

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My colleague enjoying the purification ritual in the temple. By Japanese tradition, temple visitors are to clean their hands, and sometimes their mouths, before going inside the temple. You bow twice, clap your hands twice, then bow again with a prayer and hit the gong to attract the kami’s attention.

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Incense burning in Japan is believed to have healing powers. I needed some for my flight attendant back.

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Found my pretty girls in their colorful kimonos.

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The entrance of the Kiyomizu-dera temple swallowed by the trees.

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A panoramic shot using my iPhone 5.

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These little holy statues, also known as Jizobosatusu statues, can be found in the grassy part of the temple grounds. They are the protector of the souls of stillborn children or simply, the angels, according to Buddhist beliefs.

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Walking some more around the temple.

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I wonder if this is a type of gumamela flower. My mom would surely love them.

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A doll as an accessory because chihuahuas were so 2000 and 8.

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Lunch break!

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A group photo with the kimono ladies. So far, we had never been refused for a photo opp in Japan. Japanese always oblige gladly to tourists whether you want their photo taken or you want them to take the photo for you.

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The man in a straw hat was a monk offering his blessings for some loose change.

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Goodbye, Komiyazu.

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Siopao, Japanese style.

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What do you know! A cherry blossom-flavored ice cream. 🙂

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Police patrolling. 🙂

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Old school limousine. These rickshaw runners would take the photographs for you if you take a temple tour on a rickshaw.

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A rickshaw runner carrying two geishas in the time of old.

Grabbed from the pinterest of Melinda Jancewicz.

Grabbed from the pinterest of Melinda Jancewicz.

A practical mode of transportation around the city.

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Enormous orchids for my mother.

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Went to visit the old houses in Kyoto. Could not remember its name but I have a strong feeling that it was Gion. The whole neighborhood was very quite at one in the afternoon. I wonder if it was the time of day, the scare of radiation aftermath or the hot summer season. It was too peaceful that it was almost eerie. Only a few lost tourists, Japanese men in traditional clothes in their old bicycles and the well-rehearsed paces of the wooden clogs of Japanese women in kimonos disturbed the midday silence. I turned to a corner and saw two Japanese couples in their traditional clothes bowing to each other for a number of times in the street. It felt like I was time-traveling to old Japan or snooping around a period-themed movie set.

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Spotted! The closest I could get to my living geisha in person.

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Did you know that the first geishas were men? 🙂

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environmentalgraffiti.com

Looking for a place for lunch around Shijo avenue. We walked just about 15 minutes from Gion.

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Japan’s obsession for anime fashion was visible in every street corner.

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Once you find the river, you know you are in the best area for local restaurants with a vibe of the old Kyoto.

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This area was a thriving gay quarter in 1712.

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Many tourists come to this area to catch a glimpse of geishas. By this time, I was very hungry and grumpy. Did not help that some people with me complain about not finding any food stalls that sell FISH AND CHIPS. Christ!!!

That was the menu. This was the perfect time to use any hidden body language skills.

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After ten years of deciding among Japanese menus after Japanese menus, we came back to the very first restaurant that we looked at. Arrrgh!!!

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Our three-course meal up-close.

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This area seemed to be popular to the locals too. This was the second couple doing a photo shoot at the opposite side of the river.

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A news crew.

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This naughty set of babies on display caught my eye. They remind me of my mother’s growing set of cute grandchildren.

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One of the cozy looking inns open for tourist accommodation.

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Geisha performances in the area. This poster would be very helpful…if you could read Japanese. 🙂

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Happy tummy. Happy Shawie. 🙂 Yalah! Time to go.

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