The Slightly Longer Way Series - Table of Contents
|Day 0 – Friday, May 05 2023 to Sunday, May 07 2023||Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo||-|
|Day 1 – Monday, May 08 2023||Train from Tokyo to Kyoto||-|
|Day 2 – Tuesday, May 09 2023||RSJP Orientation Day||W1D1|
|Day 3 – Wednesday, May 10 2023||Placement test, Kinkakuji/Golden Pavilion||W1D2|
|Day 4 – Thursday, May 11 2023||Kyo-Yuzen Dyeing Workshop||W1D3|
|Day 5 – Friday, May 12 2023||Mori Touki-ken Pottery Workshop||W1D4|
|Day 6 – Saturday, May 13 2023||Ichihime Shrine, Nishiki Market||-|
|Day 7 – Sunday, May 14 2023||Nara, Todaiji Temple||-|
|Day 8 – Monday, May 15 2023||Urasenke||W2D1|
|Day 9 – Tuesday, May 16 2023||Nijojo Castle||W2D2|
|Day 10 – Wednesday, May 17 2023||Tojiin Temple||W2D3|
|Day 11 – Thursday, May 18 2023||Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street, Tsubomi||W2D4|
|Day 12 – Friday, May 19 2023||Kyoto Station||W2D5|
|Day 13 – Saturday, May 20 2023||Kamogawa River, Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai||-|
|Day 14 – Sunday, May 21 2023||Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai||-|
|Day 15 – Monday, May 22 2023||Kimono-Pro||W3D1|
|Day 16 – Tuesday, May 23 2023||Ritsumeikan Library, Hama Sushi||W3D2|
|Day 17 – Wednesday, May 24 2023||Domoto Insho House, Kamogawa, Ichijoji||W3D3|
|Day 18 – Thursday, May 25 2023||Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Hama Sushi (with Kel)||W3D4|
|Day 19 – Friday, May 26 2023||Super Karaoke||W3D5|
|Day 20 – Saturday, May 27 2023||Nothing special||-|
|Day 21 – Sunday, May 28 2023||Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, a long walk home||-|
|Day 22 – Monday, May 29 2023||Nothing special||W4D1|
|Day 23 – Tuesday, May 30 2023||Kyoto International Manga Museum||W4D2|
|Day 24 – Wednesday, May 31 2023||Ritsumeikan Library||W4D3|
|Day 25 – Thursday, Jun 01 2023||Maiko/Geiko demonstration||W4D4|
|Day 26 – Friday, Jun 02 2023||Final Presentation, Taiko Lab||W4D5|
|Day 27 – Saturday, Jun 03 2023||Kusatsu-Juku Honjin, Lake Biwa Museum, Omi Hachiman (with Zian)||-|
|Day 28 – Sunday, Jun 04 2023||Omi Hachiman City Museum, Omi Jingu (with Zian)||-|
|Day 29 – Monday, Jun 05 2023||Arashiyama||W5D1|
|Day 30 – Tuesday, Jun 06 2023||Nothing special||W5D2|
|Day 31 – Wednesday, Jun 07 2023||Final exam, Osaka, Manga Cafe (with Zian)||W5D3|
|Day 32 – Thursday, Jun 08 2023||Osaka, Namba (with Zian)||W5D4|
|Day 33 – Friday, Jun 09 2023||RSJP Graduation Day||W5D5|
|Day 34 – Saturday, Jun 10 2023||Leaving Zian, Train from Kyoto to Tokyo, Ikebukuro||-|
|Day 35 – Sunday, Jun 11 2023||Shibuya, duo MUSIC EXCHANGE||-|
|Day 36 – Monday, Jun 12 2023||Shinjuku, Sakura House, Sophia University||-|
|Day 37 – Tuesday, Jun 13 2023||Akihabara||-|
|Day 38 – Wednesday, Jun 14 2023||Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton||-|
Sunday, May 28 2023 (Day 21)
I carry a receipt/brochure bag with me, this is a tradition that I’ve carried since my Portland trip in 2013, and Korean trips in 2014 and 2015, and quite possibly before that too. Everything I get from the trip that is a piece of paper, so receipts, brochures, and more, goes into the bag, and becomes part of the historical record that I sometimes dig into when trying to find out what I did on a certain day or where I got a certain plushie from. Many of the Korean receipts have virtually faded to blank sheets of paper by now though, oddly.
Anyway, I obviously have one of those bags for this trip as well. I usually use the first or second plastic bag that I acquire on the trip, though it varies and sometimes I use a paper bag, or like my last trip, an old reusable bag that was otherwise on the verge of breaking. Also, since my last trip, I’ve also gotten into the habit of using sticky labels on some of the brochures and stuff I put into the bag, to separate them by day so that I can more easily find or draw conclusions or connect things with blog entries in the future. I use a single sticky note per day for it, and usually stick it to the front of the largest item I have for the day (though sometimes it’s just a poor receipt) and I use those in the bag as a divider between days.
I hung out in my room for most of the morning, then told my apartment’s front desk about my shattered chopping board, and they gave me another one for free. Yay!
Afterwards, I decided to look for a place to go out to. I particularly wanted to visit a shopping arcade/street across town for lunch so that I could stretch my legs a bit. I picked Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, a short-to-medium-length shoutengai north and east of the city core, on the west side of the river that cuts through Kyoto that Zian and I had walked by four days ago. This was about a 40 minute bus ride through Kyoto with a 5 minute walk on either end of it, since Nishioji Shijo, where I live, on the west-central side of Kyoto, directly west of the city core.
But for some reason I decided after going there that I was going to walk allllllll the way back home — I first walked around the shopping street and had lunch there, which took an hour and a half or so, and then the walk home plus distractions, adventures, and side explorations took another nearly 6 hours. The Google Fit phone app clocked me in at 20,877 steps for the day, though I believe its numbers are always on the conservative side because it doesn’t track elevation or close-quarters walking very well. My route looked like this, with dark blue being the bus ride up to the northeast side, and light blue being my walk back:
And my feet hurt now. Anyway, I saw a bunch of notable things along the way, and this blog post will largely contain a bunch of pictures of things that I found interesting without too much commentary on them.
So here we go. Just before I arrived at Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, just south of the east entrance was this doozy of a line:
The store they were lined up for was called Demachi Futaba. The queue was so long that it doubled back onto itself, twice, and was cut into two, and there was one employee whose sole job was to usher people from the longer overflow line into the shorter front one. And when I came back here on the way out nearly two hours later, the line was STILL just as long!
As a consolation prize, I wandered into one of two supermarkets in the Demachi Masugata Shoutengai, the one near the east entrance, and I picked up a croquette and what turned out to be fried oyster tempura to eat.
You know a supermarket is old when its name, Yebisu, uses a hiragana that was deemed obsolete in 1946 (the ゑ/”we”) one. it’s the first time I’ve actually seen it in the wild that I’ve noticed.
i sat down on a metal bench next to what looked like a little shrine to the Tamako Market anime to eat those things. The anime, from Kyoto Animation, pays homage to and heavily features scenes and shops from this Demachi Shopping Street. So the street in turn reciprocates here and there. The flyers on the table were all unrelated, though. And there were only a couple of traces of the show around in the end.
I’m not a huge fan of the show, I just more or less like it. The shopping street wasn’t terribly long, so I walked through it, popping in and out into some shops but not purchasing anything else. Appearing out the west end of the street, I looked around for some actual lunch and found a shop that was marked Closed on Google Maps but was actually open, Demachi Kalavinka.
Looking at the first of the three pictures above, that blue sign on the door has a bunch of 休 kanji on it — those are the days that the store are closed. Besides constantly being off on Tuesday, they’re really irregular! I’m not sure Google Maps supports that sort of schedule, especially if it changes by month, which is probably why it was marked Closed today and perhaps why the shop didn’t really seem to get many customers.
My dish was the monthly special, Anchovy Butter Chicken Curry. It was nice. And not spicy in the least, to me.
I inquired where the exit to the kitchen was, as there wasn’t actually a door or table flap that I could see so he looked like he was trapped inside the kitchen area to me. He pointed to a hole under the table (next to the rice cooker) that he had to use to crawl in and out of the kitchen area, and muttered something about a bad back. Poor chap.
After that, I headed back through Demachi Shopping Arcade to the east end of the covered street. I photographed this colourful fruits shop along the way.
There were many interesting shops here, even though I didn’t stop to buy anything. Most of them had the “local family owned and operated” sort of unique feel, rather than being chain stores.
Besides the earlier pictures, there weren’t many Tamako Market references at all, but I did find these shirts:
And I think this might be the record store/cafe from the show:
But soon enough I was out of the arcade, past the sweets shop with the incredible lines again, and headed east and south to walk along the river path. Here’s a picture of a roadside fish stall.
This was my 3rd time this trip walking along the Kamogawa (River), but for some reason, perhaps because it was a Sunday, it was completely different! Both Zian and I did not see anyone actually in the river when we walked by the other day, annd I had never seen people in the river on my other previous trips here as well. But today, I saw nearly a couple dozen people and a dog at various points in the ankle-deep river. There were many people doing things on the sides that I had never seen before. An abundance of pictures follow.
Here’s someone fishing on the left by a water cascade, and other kids walking around with nets on sticks.
People having family picnics:
Some with tents and dogs:
Some with their musical instruments:
Some with huge mats and a little sled to pull children along on:
There were also people doing things on the other side of the bridge, but I didn’t cross over to look.
There was plenty on this side, after all. Here was a large group of people practising some kind of yosakoi-esque dance, complete with vocal yells. They paused occasionally as some of the people on the sidelines moved in with comments for specific people:
Here’s some people pulling an inflatable.. thing up the river and getting yelled at by a police officer.
Here’s a man and his dog going the same direction as I was, so I saw a bunch of them as I went down the river.
Here’s a gathering of people from a.. club called Malam Indonesia?
And another group of dancers — the two youths nearest to me were practising their dancing and trying to synchronize it or something as I went past the group.
I was tempted to take off my shoes and socks and wade down into the river too. But I didn’t.
Instead, around here, I cut away from the very relaxing and healing river to follow the roads south and slightly west. So scenery pictures turn into urban oddity pictures, like these folded bicycle-like things:
A bunch of people noisily praying at a temple:
And a convenience store selling cheap fireworks:
After a bit of walking, I hit the throng of shopping streets linked up to each other in the downtown core — Teramachi Street, Shinkyogoku Shopping Street, Sanjo Meitengai, and really I think there might be a couple other lanes with slightly different names that fold together into this huge and almost totally corporate/chain store controlled shopping street. Still, I like stores like that too sometimes. I went into one of the stationary stores for starters, and came away with a cheap and small notebook. At another second-hand CD and vinyl shop called Super Milk, I came away with a couple of CDs for 100 yen each.
There was a regular CD store called Jeugia that I had never heard of, but which had, besides CDs, a section for Kyoto Animation paraphernalia.
I do like KyoAni, but not THAT much, so I didn’t pick up any of their stuff. Definitely gave it some thought though. The store also had a stamp in there, so I decided to claim a stamp in my notebook:
I’m not sure why this stamp was randomly here, but I do know the person involved with it, Kashitaro Itou, from playing way too much AMQ. He has a very distinctive voice.
Here’s a musician sitting and playing at the intersection between two or three of the shopping streets:
And a shop selling Ranma ½ shirts, of all the things to see in 2023:
Here’s some manga meat roasting over an open fire:
And after leaving the shopping streets and heading west past the more commercialized downtown buildings and department stores along a really long thoroughfare that would eventually led to my home, I went into a Tokyu Hands store and tried to find a Curry Spoon. I failed, though I did find a few other variety of specialty spoons:
I did, however, find a card purse that I like and that I can finally replace my tattered one with. It uses a cat motif, so now both my coin purse and card purse have that motif. Hopefully I like it anyway, it clocked in at 1,980 yen, which was a lot compared to the rest of my day, including lunch AND dinner, which clocked in at just over 2,300 yen.
Anyway, I also at one point found a food stall in a “food court” (a really expensive and high-class one) called Alberta, which is probably not affiliated with my home university:
Eventually, the swanky department stores gave way to smaller shops, and random side alleys like this that I wandered down:
Here’s a picture of what I am guessing are some kids from another city or prefecture, on a class trip to Kyoto, and staying in this hotel together, and also (very visibly from the street) lining up for dinner:
As the long and straight road stretched on west, I reached the Omiya Station area, and really liked the look of the place, so I took a few pictures of the area:
There were lots of little roadside shrines along the way too:
And roadside.. roadside.. other things. Did I have an upside down figurine of a crow tied to a tree on my travel bingo card?
And here’s a slightly blurred picture of someone’s nice Japanese garden:
That necessarily skipped over a lot of things because 6 hours was a long time to walk. I stopped in at least five convenience stores and three grocery stores along the way to cool down from the heat, although it was also drizzling a little at some point.
I also bought a couple drinks, one of which was “black bean tea” or kuromame tea. This thing tasted like a blend of roasted tea and natto! I’m not sure natto tea actually exists, but if not, then this might just be the closest thing to it. It wasn’t bad though, since I don’t mind natto at all, though I wouldn’t consume it without rice.
I also bought a packet of “Singapore Laksa” from a supermarket, the Seijo Ishii Shijo Karasuma store, and while it came in an instant noodle type packet and there were five helpings in there, each helping was so tiny, it was basically one spoonful of noodles and a spice packet with enough spice to drown the spoonful of noodles in. This actually worked for me though since my apartment does not have a regular-sized soup bowl, only a small rice bowl, so I could eat each helping in that bowl anyway, boiling water for the noodle and spice mix as I went. Each helping was so small that I finished all five helpings for dinner.
I did take a picture of my loot for the day (minus brochures and stuff which went right into my receipt/brochure bag) before consuming those noodles: