day 6: kyoto, japan

18 March 2016
AFTER A FULL MONTH OF PROCRASTINATING AND MUCKING ABOUT... 
May I present you, 
The 6th and final post of Japan 2016. 

FINALLLLLLY.

I'm trying out this new thing for March where I try and be as productive and not be such a frustrating little shit with all my procrastination. Day 1 going strong so far... Well. Here's to nothing. 

For day 6, Chiyomi, Shereen & I took the bullet train to Kyoto to visit the Arashiyama bamboo shrine. Driving takes about 55 minutes to an hour. The bullet train took about 10 minutes lol. 



Women's only carriage. Here's a little trivia for you.. What's the no. 1 crime committed in Japanese trains? Pick-pocketing? Nope. Molestations. 


Chiyomi-san and a little peek of adik

When we were at the train station, we saw an eki-ben stall. Eki-ben literally translates to, food you eat on the train! 

Premade meals to go

THEY EVEN SERVE UNI ON RICE?!?!?!!


Bullet train. At maximum speed it goes up to 320 km/h. Chiyomi mentioned they were in the midst of testing trains that go up twice the current speed. That's 640 km/h. Can go to the moon and back no problem lol.


Despite its astounding speed, bullet trains in Japan are really, really safe. There are no instances of accidents in its history of operating. There was one incident last year that happened on the bullet train, some guy lit himself on fire -_- 

My eki-ben!! Quick lunch (literally), had to quickly chomp down my food within 10 minutes. Thank god I'm a fast eater. 

So delicioussss. I'm so easily satisfied hahaha.

WE ARE IN KYOTO!!! Ohaiyo Kyoto residents!!!


In the taxi driving to Arashiyama


Mountain side. Kyoto feels a little bit colder than Osaka. Actually. No. A whole lot colder than Osaka. Hahahaha.

At the base of Arashiyama. You couldn't immediately see the bamboo grove. There's a bit of a walk uphill but I assure you - it is very scenic!


Behold - Arashiyama bamboo grove!!!!!

So happy I got to tick this off my bucket list!


Being in a bamboo shrine reminded me of Studio Ghibli's movie The Tale of Princess Kaguya. It is one of the most beautifully done animations I've ever had the privilege to see. Watch it.

I watch all of the Japanese anime and Studio Ghibli movies in Japanese with subtitles. I don't really like watching it with English dubs. I quote my 9 year old niece, "More feel lah, aunty," hahahah.

Lots of blurry photos, my apologies. Camera wasn't absorbing as much light as it wanted!




The 'sweet spot' of the bamboo grove. Enthralling in its own right.


I will never get bored of this view. I want to come here again with Faiz and again with every single person I love and cherish. 




After the bamboo grove, we walked uphill and around the hill to enjoy the park. Tragic that we came here in winter. It's meant to be beautiful when it's in full bloom. 

Sushi socks!!!! To commemorate my love for Japanese food. Hahahahha.


On top of the summit

View of valleys and a river piercing through it. In spring, sakura trees will surround the base of the valleys.


I'm really grateful that I met my tour guide, Chiyomi. Even though she was closer to age with my parents than myself, towards the end of our final days in Japan, she didn't feel like a tour guide or an acquaintance, she felt like a long-lost friend. I was grateful that she had so many trivial facts and knowledge about the country I've grown to love and she was grateful that I offered a genuinely curious willing ear. We grew close in such a short period of time over our shared love for manga, anime, Japanese food and culture. Arigato gozaimas, Chiyomi-san! You made my Japan trip ten-folds more sweeter with your soft demeanour and lovable self. I can assure you, I will see you very soon. 










Finally descended down the hill and walked along the river.







View of the Togetsu-kyo bridge

How they can make drinking so cool, I dunno






Shopping street! 


Man selling mochis!!


YUMMMMMMY. I can't believe I only devoured 2 of these in the whole trip. Next time I'm gonna eat 10 in a row. 


We stopped by a traditional Japanese tea cafe to have desserts and matcha tea

Beautiful paintings.


Dry garden. Pebbles are used to symbolise water, and ripples are symbolised by lines made through raking. 

Green tea cakes

Taken while waiting to be seated

Couple view facing the dry garden

No chairs - instead, we're sitting on tatami mats. Very Japanese and very traditional. Chiyomi said it reminded her of her grandmother's house!

Sitting against interior murals. 




With our desserts! Both of us had ice-cream. In winter. NO RAGRETSSSS.

2 different types of green tea ice-cream (ocha and matcha) with mochi balls and red bean. For drinks, I had matcha tea.




Japanese fans. So detailed and articulate and colourful. My 3 favourite things in 1 sentence.


On Togetsu-kyo bridge. A famous Arashiyama landmark!

Back at the hotel! 

I've also become more open to wearing baggier clothings!!! They are so comfy like you wouldn't believe. Who can tell I've had 3 servings of dinner? Not me.

My two little nephews disturbing me while I pack! So cute but sooooo naughty! They're only 6 months apart but really different in personalities.

Souvenirs for my phone. Japanese stickers!

Sat with this lovely aunty in the flight. I loved listening to her stories about living through the Japanese occupation in Malaysia. She even saw a live execution on the street! Stories about her kids and their wives. Stories about her favourite food. Can you believe she's 90+!!!!!! I can't.

The last pic taken at Bamboo Grove to tie this post up. 

 I loved the Japan trip soooooo much, I didn't want it to end. I don't care about the language barrier, just immersing myself in something so culturally rich feels so incredibly fulfilling. 
Here are some fun Japanese observations that I found most interesting while I was there:

  1.  Sumimasem is one word summed up for 'thank you', 'excuse me' and 'sorry'. 
  2.  When I first met Chiyomi, I realised she is always bowing. Even when she's on the phone with the person on the other line, who can't see anything, she's bowing! When I brought it up and asked her about it, she said it was just a subconscious habit - Japanese people are inherently polite!
  3. When I was staying at the hotel, whenever I came across housekeeping, they would drop whatever they're doing and turn to face and greet you. They wouldn't turn their back on you even if you're just passing by?
  4.  98% of the toilets that I've been in have 'flushing sounds' to fill in the silence. For the first few days I thought the toilet was defunct hahahaha. But Chiyomi talked about how Japanese people are really shy. They're afraid of feeling shameful. So they need the flushing sounds so that other people don't hear them excreting their bodily fluids lol. Another example Chiyomi mentioned was how Japanese people have to learn English for 6 years but they rarely converse in it because they're too afraid to make mistakes!

I hope you guys enjoyed the 6-day/posts on Japan. Its definitely not my last time visiting!!! Next post will be about my summer holidays in KL for Dec/Jan/Feb. I'll probably divide that in posts too but we'll see! 

Have a beautiful day ahead!!! Fit for a beautiful soul like yours.

Lots of love,
Sara
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