The Slightly Longer Way – Day 28

The Slightly Longer Way Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsRSJP
Day 0 – Friday, May 05 2023 to Sunday, May 07 2023Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo-
Day 1 – Monday, May 08 2023Train from Tokyo to Kyoto-
Day 2 – Tuesday, May 09 2023RSJP Orientation DayW1D1
Day 3 – Wednesday, May 10 2023Placement test, Kinkakuji/Golden PavilionW1D2
Day 4 – Thursday, May 11 2023Kyo-Yuzen Dyeing WorkshopW1D3
Day 5 – Friday, May 12 2023Mori Touki-ken Pottery WorkshopW1D4
Day 6 – Saturday, May 13 2023Ichihime Shrine, Nishiki Market-
Day 7 – Sunday, May 14 2023Nara, Todaiji Temple-
Day 8 – Monday, May 15 2023UrasenkeW2D1
Day 9 – Tuesday, May 16 2023Nijojo CastleW2D2
Day 10 – Wednesday, May 17 2023Tojiin TempleW2D3
Day 11 – Thursday, May 18 2023Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street, TsubomiW2D4
Day 12 – Friday, May 19 2023Kyoto StationW2D5
Day 13 – Saturday, May 20 2023Kamogawa River, Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai-
Day 14 – Sunday, May 21 2023Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai-
Day 15 – Monday, May 22 2023Kimono-ProW3D1
Day 16 – Tuesday, May 23 2023Ritsumeikan Library, Hama SushiW3D2
Day 17 – Wednesday, May 24 2023Domoto Insho House, Kamogawa, IchijojiW3D3
Day 18 – Thursday, May 25 2023Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Hama Sushi (with Kel)W3D4
Day 19 – Friday, May 26 2023Super KaraokeW3D5
Day 20 – Saturday, May 27 2023Nothing special-
Day 21 – Sunday, May 28 2023Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, a long walk home-
Day 22 – Monday, May 29 2023Nothing specialW4D1
Day 23 – Tuesday, May 30 2023Kyoto International Manga MuseumW4D2
Day 24 – Wednesday, May 31 2023Ritsumeikan LibraryW4D3
Day 25 – Thursday, Jun 01 2023Maiko/Geiko demonstrationW4D4
Day 26 – Friday, Jun 02 2023Final Presentation, Taiko LabW4D5
Day 27 – Saturday, Jun 03 2023Kusatsu-Juku Honjin, Lake Biwa Museum, Omi Hachiman (with Zian)-
Day 28 – Sunday, Jun 04 2023Omi Hachiman City Museum, Omi Jingu (with Zian)-
Day 29 – Monday, Jun 05 2023ArashiyamaW5D1
Day 30 – Tuesday, Jun 06 2023Nothing specialW5D2
Day 31 – Wednesday, Jun 07 2023Final exam, Osaka, Manga Cafe (with Zian)W5D3
Day 32 – Thursday, Jun 08 2023Osaka, Namba (with Zian)W5D4
Day 33 – Friday, Jun 09 2023RSJP Graduation DayW5D5
Day 34 – Saturday, Jun 10 2023Leaving Zian, Train from Kyoto to Tokyo, Ikebukuro-
Day 35 – Sunday, Jun 11 2023Shibuya, duo MUSIC EXCHANGE-
Day 36 – Monday, Jun 12 2023Shinjuku, Sakura House, Sophia University-
Day 37 – Tuesday, Jun 13 2023Akihabara-
Day 38 – Wednesday, Jun 14 2023Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton-
Final Thoughts--

Sunday, Jun 04 2023 (Day 28)

Random Notes

I forgot to highlight some loot that I picked up from the Lake Biwa Museum yesterday. This includes a new friend from Tigey, a random CD that they had on sale there (they had three, I picked the cheapest) and some stamps from a random exhibit that I filled my notebook with. The date is also wrong, and should have said Saturday June 03, and not June 04.

Also, Day 6’s report on the deconstrution by our house is that it’s just now an empty field. No more updates unless they start building on it or something before I leave at the end of the week.

Also, I wonder how often this happens that this sign is needed in Kyoto:

And what exactly happened here:

I went to bed at 2:15 am or so last night and woke up at 6:45 am. Ho hum. Our sleep was fine for a dusty old house. I did see a little spider, an ant, and something with wings around the neighbourhood of my table in the morning, but it wasn’t terrible.

Tigey met with an unfortunate accident involving a bicycle basket this morning that ended with him and his bag falling into a small ditch just outside the front door of our lodging, and some black mud stains being smeared on his poor face. This immediately necessitated a trip to the kitchen sink, and then the tray above said kitchen sink as water slowly dripped out of him and down his tail to form droplets that fell into the sink below.

This was an unfortunate start to the day for him, but it also led into probably his most exciting day ever, as he was nowhere near being dry once we checked out, so I just carried him around in my hand, or in my reusable tote bag that I was using to hold brochures and stuff, for most of the day. We walked through a couple of museums and plenty of streets, and sat on a couple of trains, and he got to do a lot of that “in public” and in full view of everyone, at first because he was damp and needed to be air-dried, and eventually just because no one was really giving me a second glance and Zian was giving me moral support as well.

Anyway, on to the day’s activities itself, we took a picture of the outside of the house just as we were checking out:

Zian had planned out a rough plan for most of the day last night (she’s awesome), starting with a nearby city museum that consisted of three or four connected buildings that we could enter for 500 yen. There was another nearby building that we could also enter for a little bit more coin, but we weren’t THAT eager to see another merchant’s old house or whatever it was since this one already was going to contain one. The buildings we went into were super interesting, and talked about the history of the town, set up and ruled over by Toyotomi Hidetsugu, nephew of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was a mercantile town that specialized in weaving mosquito nets, and it went into all aspects of the town from its layout to its irrigation, and had tons of interesting, old preserved items that were several hundred years old. Most of the area did not permit photography, though here are a couple of things from a building that did anyway.

First is a map of Kannon/Guanyin temples, my family’s patron deity:

And then some random fishing traps:

We spent around two hours wandering around in here — Zian seems to really like visual and material culture, as well as history, and I’ve taken at least one of those classes so I found it all plenty interesting too and was happy to saunter around and stare at things as long as it was something she also wanted to do. Plus, armed with her knowledge of Chinese kanji, she was a wealth of information that I never would have figured out on my own, and it was interesting to see how much more she could glean from a poster or written inscription and explain to me despite my Japanese being “better” than hers.

There was a little stamp rally in the museum with exactly two stamps, and a similar entry stamp on our tickets to prevent reuse, so we collected those stamps along the way as well. There was also a souvenir shop in the area and while the old man and woman tending the store were pushy and forward in a slightly overbearing manner, they were also a wealth of information and demonstrated and explained a couple of the weirder things in their shop to us. In the end, I just bought a postcard for 100 yen, and Zian bought two things for 300 yen.

For lunch, we wanted to try eel, so we ended up at an eel restaurant called Meijibashi Amana.

I had my most expensive meal in Japan so far, something called Hitsumabushi for 2,700 yen.

It even came with instructions on just how to eat it for best enjoyment:

I liked the 1st Bowl/Method 1 the most, but no matter which way I tried it, the eel was simply amazing! I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the taste. The helping wasn’t particularly huge for the price, but I guess eel is just expensive in general.

After lunch, we walked to a nearby temple called Himure Hachimangu to get a goshuin from there:

And then started on a long walk back to the train station past some canals, some regular and abandoned houses and dilapidated roads, and then into a newer part of town as we approached the main bus/train transit hub. This took close to 30 minutes.

We had a lot of choices as to which exact road/s to take, and we used the Zian method of rolling dice at every intersection to see if we should turn or continue walking. Since we had to go a lot further one way than the other way, it was weighted so most of the time we would just keep walking onwards.

Eventually, we reached a large field somewhat near the transit hub that we could hear loud music blaring out from:

It was a festival! To be precise, the sign below was hung up backwards (facing the correct way but read from right to left) for some reason, but it was the 2nd Hachiman Dance Festival.

One of the outstanding items on Zian‘s list of to-do things on the trip was to eat a chocolate banana. We had missed out on this at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine event because we ran into too many Buddies, and acquaintances from Case Western, and then got caught in a social trap where we had to sit around and be polite and chat instead of walking around and doing things, and by the time we actually got around to the chocolate banana stall that we had seen on the way in, it had already shut down for the afternoon.

However, we found a choco banana stall in this random little festival that we came across, and she managed to get one here! I got a strawberry one for myself too. We were happy about that, although these ones weren’t frozen like the ones in Kitano Tenmangu supposedly were. And were a bit pricey at 500 yen each. But that’s okay.

After consuming those, we continued on to the station and set off on our way to our other stop for the day, Omi Jingu. I managed to accidentally recharge 1,000 yen into my bus pass Icoca card instead of my Pasmo card here, which is annoying and/or weird because even though I can use most of it, I probably can’t exactly drain it to 0, so if I ever find my old Suica card at home I’ll now have three different transit cards with a little bit of money left inside of them. I wonder if I can transfer money between cards.

Omi Jingu, located in Otsu, Shiga, is a temple with heavy ties to karuta, and the Chihayafuru anime (and manga, and live action movie), and one that I had been to before, last year. It didn’t mean that I didn’t want to go back though, I definitely did, especially after I found out she was also a huge fan of the show. I took the opportunity to plug my essays a little, and we talked a little about our favourite poems and other things that we liked about the show.

Starting from Omi Hachiman station, our incoming route ended up being a little different from the last one. On the way in last time, I had ended up at Otsukyo Station, the second nearest station to Omi Jingu, because I came in on a separate railway line. I could have transferred from Otsukyo to the Keihan Electric Railway at Keihan-Otsukyo Station, which would have taken me to the actual nearest station, Omi Jingu Mae Station, but I quickly calculated that it wasn’t worth it, as it was a 15 minute walk from Otsukyo Station to the temple, and a 1 minute train + 10 minute walk + a potential 5-10 minute wait + a 170 yen fare from Otsukyo Station to Omi Jingu Mae Station and then to the temple from there.

However, this time, the journey from Omi Hachiman Station required a transfer to the Keihan Railway Line itself somewhere along the line upstream from the Omi Jingu Mae and Keihan Otsukyo stations, so at that point it made more sense to actually stay on the train all the way to that slightly nearer station, which we did. Also, because I had messed up with refilling the wrong transit card back at Omi Hachiman Station, I took the opportunity while we were waiting for our transit train at the fancily-named Zeze Station to refill my proper card there too, which had the added benefit of netting me a new ticket receipt. I have a number of those ticket receipts from stations scattered all across (Central) Japan now, and should try to collect them all and scan them before my Tokyo trip this fall.

We also played cards on the train from Omi Hachiman to Zeze — she had brought along a pack of cards but we had both been far too tired last night to even think about playing cards. That and I had brought my laptop along and was busy plonking on the keys late into the night. I think it was another item on the to-do list for her though, and we compared Big 2 variations — she taught me some rules that I had not heard of before regarding triples being used as bombs and jokers being used as.. bigger.. bombs, that could override other cards. We agreed on some mishmash of rules and played a few games, and I tried to teach her how to shuffle the cards in the fancy riffle style, before we finally approached our stop.

Once we reached Omi Jingu Mae Station, despite me not having been to that specific station before, the path quickly met up with another path leading up to Omi Jingu that was very familiar, and we took a slightly shorter path that I had never noticed before, leading us up some official looking brown stone steps before we reached the iconic steps leading up to the red arches prominently featured in the show.

We took a few pictures of each other before heading up.

At the top, we heard music and saw some people dancing, and some festival stalls or something being taken down — even though we had read that the event here had been cancelled, it seemed like there had been some sort of event that had taken place anyway. Oh well.

By this time, it was 3:30 pm, and we had some time constraints to work with. The Omi Jingu Clock & Treasure Museum, which I knew that she would want to go into, closed at 4:30 pm. The Omi Kangakukan, which is a side building featured exremely prominently in the show and was a little bit of a walk away but was the main reason we had come here, closed at 5:00 pm. The shrine/temple itself closed at 6:00 pm, but the goshuin counter likely closed earlier than that. So we did the goshuin counter first, since we were right next to that once we reached the top of the stairs and crossed the red arches.

Next, we went to the clock museum. Pictures weren’t allowed inside, so I hadn’t paid the 300 yen admission fee to go in there the last time that I came here, which she was glad about because it meant that I wasn’t wasting my money by following her in this time. While pictures weren’t allowed in there, I took one of Zian anyway without realizing it as she was serenading me with a song called My Grandfather’s Clock that I had never heard prior to today. She had come across that song from its Japanese version, one of many Japanese children’s songs that she grew up with or learnt at some point. I wonder what about this museum reminded her of that song?

The main museum room largely consisted of a bunch of watches and clocks, but there was one particularly intriguing clock that involved a rotating hand that lifted up a metal ball once every minute and deposited it on a slide that was numbered from 1-4 and that could hold four balls at any given time. Once the fifth ball arrived, every five minutes, that ball caused the slide to overflow, emptying all five balls and sending four of the balls back to the general pool, and the fifth ball down to a second slide labelled 5, 10, 15, and so on up to 55. That slide could hold eleven balls without incident, but the twelfth ball, which arrived once per hour as per the above pattern, would overflow that slide and deposit the first eleven balls back into the main pool, and the twelfth ball down into a third slide which had numbers from 1 to 12.

The first two slides obviously represented the minute portion of the clock, so minute 49, for example, would consist of the second slide being filled up to the 45 mark, and the first slide being filled up to the 4 mark. The third slide represented the hour, and would fill from 1-12 before the thirteenth empty ball would overflow the slide and presumably leave it with one ball on it again. There didn’t seem to be an AM/PM marker on that clock, like most other clocks.

Anyway, because we were here late in the hour, we stayed around until 4:00 pm to watch the balls falling and weaving down the slides with much interest, as all the grandfather clocks around us went off and donged four times, before we left the museum. Tick tock. Tick tock.

From there, we went to the Kangakukan, the side room located about a minute away from the main temple grounds, where there were a bunch of life-sized character cutouts, a souvenir store, photo-op locations, and some locations that are very dear to fans of the series. And of the karuta card game in general, since the Meijin/Queen match, basically the national finals, are played here every year. The wear-and-tear stains on the tatami mats of people using them for karuta games could be seen in the light of the room this afternoon.

Tigey took another picture here — he took one here in an identical spot when I was here last year as well. More sacrilege.

Zian got acquainted with some of the characters from the show:

While I went down and completed my main goal today — I had scanned the Volume 1 to halfway through 18 of the guestbooks while I was last here, and today, I scanned everything that was newly added in the past 7 months or so — the rest of VolumeΒ  18, the entirety of Volume 19, and the first couple pages of Volume 20. We also added our own messages to the guestbook, of course.

Zian then bought a souvenir from the store just before it closed and we set off again.

We went back to the temple, climbing to the altar area and looking around before heading back down and leaving the vicinity of the temple.

After that, it was time to wrap up our adventures and head back to Kyoto. We were both exhausted from our fun weekend and she had some studying to do for Monday, while I had to take care of this blog post. We were both also exhausted just from walking so much and carrying our heavy bags in general, especially after our taiko workout on Friday, which had left me with a sore left thigh (that made me go oooh when I led with my right foot while going down stairs) and left her with sore arms.

This time, we walked back to Otsukyo Station, passing by some police who were taking photographs of the bag and possessions of some poor young man who looked like he had been caught shoplifting from a 7-Eleven that they were standing outside of. The ride back to Kyoto Station from there was very quick, and the subsequent bus ride from there back to Nishioji Shijo was… not very quick, but was at least very much free with our bus passes. We parted ways on the bus since the specific bus we took also went to a following stop that was much nearer for her, and I walked over to the Aeon Mall to get an additional bento box for dinner (which I had together with a microwaved dinner that I had bought a couple days ago in case the storm got really bad) and some soup stuff for another day.

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