February 18, 2014
My friend Larry recommended a website that a friend of his recommended. So I followed their advice and strolled through the traditional neighborhood of Southern Higashiyama with its temples, shrines, gardens and parks. I even found a hillside cemetery. In several tourist shops, young girls in red kimonos dispense green tea to the tourists. I wandered into a small art gallery and ….
The sidewalks and streets of this Old Town are mostly empty now that the trees are bare. But the guidebook informs me that in a few weeks, the bare branches will be resplendent with weeping (drooping?) cherry blossoms and the parks will be teeming with gawkers.
Speaking of gawkers, in Downtown Kyoto, two construction workers were gawking up at the side of a glass-walled building where two window washers were swinging back and forth with their squeegees. Just one of the many sights I find as I follow my nose and just wander.
Of course I always remember to look up to see what’s up there and to turn around to see what I missed.
Except here in Kyoto, I have to be on my toes. On the sidewalks, little old ladies and some young ones scoot around town on their bicycles without so much as a bell or a beg your pardon.
Jan the Cautious Gawker
In Kyoto, I stayed at the newly opened Sakura Terrace Hotel. The room was moderate in size (apparently large, by Japanese standards), comfortable, clean and modern. The huge buffet breakfast offered those small, but creative portions of Japanese food. Also, several international roasts of freshly brewed coffee.
Almost all of the food in Japan is eaten with chopsticks with which I am now quite proficient. On the buffet were small cubes of tasty American style French Toast.
So here’s a first for me: French Toast with chopsticks. Oishi!