Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gun Shot to Kyoto

When deciding to go to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan before it was moved to Tokyo, we could have taken the express train going a normal 80 miles a hour and been in Kyoto in 8 hours. Or we could ride the Shinkansen, Japan's famous bullet train and gone the same distance in 2 and a half hours. With our limited 10 days in Japan, we paid double the price and boarded the world's fastest train! And yes, it felt like a plane!
With an attendant rolling a cart of snacks and beverages, just like on a plane, except the carts were filled with Sapporos and delicious bentos, we passed through amazing country side and ocean views dotted with cypress filled islands. We read it normally takes two hours before the high-rises of Tokyo fade into the distance, but on the Shinkansen it was a mere 20 minutes before we saw the mountains. We captured video footage that is astounding and will post when we have a moment to sit still and load up properly.
We arrived at Kyoto station in the afternoon and immediately saw how different Kyoto was to Tokyo. The public transportation was tiny compared to massive maze of Tokyo's subway. Our packs were still heavy, even though we didn't buy much in Tokyo (a consumers' paradise), not even one postcard or magnet (shocking!) and we even shipped a box back home to the states. We decided to stay close to our very cute ryokan K's House and had a not-so-exciting dinner of katsu pork and curry at a nearby cafe. One item we did find fascinating was the way coffee was served at this cafe. It looked like something out of a crazy test lab. Here they are being heated for hot coffee to be poured into to serve.
Kyoto is similar to Tokyo in that there are convenient stores everywhere and right next door to the cafe was a rather large one called Lawsons. We pursued the aisles and was quickly drawn to the beverages - the Pacific NW has arrived!
The Seattle coffee drinks were in the cold beverage cooler and right next to it we discovered the hot cooler - yes, a hot beverage cooler (cooler, I guess that's what you'd call it). And why are there no hot coolers back home, with such similar weather to Portland, we need one in every grocery store pronto!
As we headed back to our hip little inn we came across a window store front with the largest collection of plastic food displays we have seen yet, if this restaurant really served all this, which we found out from the menu it did, it is impressive!

No comments: