Ok, we’re leaving Kyoto today, in about 90 minutes. It’s past 5.30am right now, and I’ve recently gotten back from a lovely night out in Kyoto (my only night out in this city, in fact). Some other Dins met some lovely American/Japanese-American girls at the hot springs they visited today, and these girls in turn took us out on the town and we had a marvellous time clubbing the night away.
As usual, there is really too much to say, and I also need to go pack, shower and potentially take a half hour nap before we leave our very nice hotel here (the Takaragaike Prince Hotel), which somehow has surprisingly few facilities – in particular, no pool, gym or fitness facilities of any kind. So I will instead leave a bunch of impressions I’ve been meaning to share:
- I love how the Japanese taxicab drivers all have neat, livery-style uniforms, and also that they can open the cab door with the touch of a botton (that even controls how far the door swings open).
- I’ve noticed that the Japanese all use full-sized (ie not compact/collapsible) umbrellas, which are often very fancy, and that every store will have an umbrella rack outside the door.
- I love how the Japanese can often be spotted wearing hats. Yay headgear!
- I *love*love*love* Japanese supermarkets, which are filled with nothing but cool Japanese products and foodstuffs. Kawaii!!
- I’m amused by how much aural stimulation occurs here – almost everything talks to you (bus stops, toilets, vending machines) and prattles on constantly. This also includes any kind of service/hospitality-related transaction; for instance a cashier ringing you up will give an uninterrupted running commentary which I can only guess (since I don’t speak Japanese) goes something like: “Good morning, I see you are buying a bag of chips. Let me scan that and tell you the price, which is 200 yen. As you hand me two hundred yen in cash let me put the chips in a carrier for you, together with your receipt. Thank you very much for your purchase, have a nice day and please shop again with us soon. Goodbye!”
- I’m very impressed with the French restaurant in the hotel, which has served us our (free!) dinners at place settings of Noritake bone china, Christofle silverware and Schott Zweisel stemware. Very classy.