Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday 4/20/09 and Tuesday 4/21/09
On Monday we returned to one of our favorite places in Japan, Uji! Uji is a short train ride south of Kyoto, & is over 1000 years old and is the place where the emperor’s tea is grown. Uli’s biggest claims to fame are it’s tea and the two oldest temple/shrines in Japan, the Buddhist Byoudouin and the Shinto Ujigami. This time we decided not to go to the Byoudouin, because we’d been there before & we thought we’d like to pick some omamori at Ujigami for gifts. On the way to Ujigami we stopped at multiple shops which sold green tea & tea sweets, such as odango. Odango are little balls of sweet mochi which are sometimes flavoured. The ones we bought in Uji were, as you probably guessed, green tea flavour. I, for one, really like odango, especially green tea flavoured ones. After we bought the odango & various other odds & ends, we went to the oldest surviving sweets shop in Japan, which has been around for 830 years! While there I had 3 sticks of odango & some green tea, which to tell the truth, I didn’t really like.
When we got to Ujigami we did some looking around & I did a few water purifications. As luck would have it, as my parents were buying omamori, I felt I had to go to the bathroom. So dad & I started for one we’d seen on the way to the shrine, but when I entered the men’s room, guess what kind of toilet they had- yep, a Japanese-style toilet, which I didn’t feel up to using, no matter how bad I had to go (& it really stank in there). So, once mom joined us we went back to the tea shop, where the owners kindly let me use the toilet, which was western-style, thank goodness!!
After we’d had enough walking around and buying things, we decided to head back to our little machiya in Kyoto. When we got on the train, one of the ladies on the train started talking to us, & when she realised we understood what she was saying, she started conversing with us. Which eventually led to 2 other ladies & one man joining in, & eventually we all exchanged gifts, & took photos (& in dad’s case, the gentleman exchanged email addresses). All 3 ladies were fascinated by our ability to speak japanese, & as it turned out, one of them liked my nose, so she walked up & rubbed it. Maybe she thought she’d get good luck by rubbing it. After some time travelling we reached our stop & we had to part ways. dad decided that on this trip, we were on the party train!
On Tuesday it was raining so we decided to go to Kyoto Station & do some shopping. I personally was looking for 2 toys from one of mom's & my favourite shows, Kamen Rider Decade. One is called the Decade Belt, which helps the person who uses it transform into Kamen Rider (masked rider) Decade. The other is Decade's card-holder/battle tool. The belt makes all the noises that are on the show (it makes different noises when different cards are put into it) & the battle tool makes noises when you swing it. We found these two amazing toys in the toy area of a department store called Isetan.
After we bought the Decade toys we went to lunch at an Italian restaurant which, I'll be darned, served pizza. The pizza was good but messy. Then we wandered around & found Japanese-style Duncan Doughnuts, called "Meestah Donatsu". The doughnuts tasted a little different, but were still good. After that we looked for obentou to take home for dinner. Once we found them we decided we were too tired to do any more shopping, so we took the train home.