Here’s my nightcap report.
After I got back and recharged for a couple of hours, I headed back to Kyoto Station and Isetan’s 11th floor.
FYI– The mall stores and the stores in Isetan in Kyoto Station close at 8PM, and the restaurants all close at 9PM. I made it in time to go to another sushi restaurant.
This time, I went for the 2,600 yen chef’s omakase plate. The chef decides what you should eat, and puts it on a plate for you. The first few were great. Shrimp, some eel, a little squid, some tuna, salmon. Then he decided to put some weird stuff on there. And by weird, I mean weird I don’t like.
But a dare is a dare.
Next was some sort of brown thing with little spikes on it, with sauce on it. No idea, but it was fragrant. Not one of my favorites.
Then came the sea urchin. It didn’t taste bad, but the meat just sort of melts in your mouth, and the texture just turned my stomach. I don’t usually have texture issues with food, but sea urchin got me in an unexpected way.
There was also fish roe. I’m not sure which kind, but it was another one that texture-wise didn’t work for me, because the little eggs all just sort of burst into juice in your mouth, kind of like the sea urchin.
Finally there was this crunchy yellow thing. I have no idea what it was, but it had the texture of cauliflower, smelled fishy, and was hard to choke down.
I had saved a couple of pickled plum rolled sushi to clear my palate, then one last piece of tuna and some pickled ginger.
Oh, and beer.
Lots of beer.
It was a good meal. Kind of a mixed bag, but Japan isn’t fun without trying some of the weirder stuff. And the normal stuff was awesome.
Then after that, it was a trip to Cafe du Monde (yes, they have one in Kyoto) for beignets and iced chocolate milk. (Which is the BEST DRINK EVER.) It did wonders to cleanse my palate, although my stomach is a little upset from the yellow crunchy fishy thing, I think.
I went up to Shijo-Dori, which translates to 4th avenue, except that it runs East->West. Shijo-Dori is a fun place to stroll, because that’s where all the action is. I’m staying on Gojo-Dori, which is relatively dull. (Or quiet, if you like dull places.)
Shijo-Dori is definitely a place to visit if you like to shop and people-watch. I saw my first clump of gothic lolitas tonight, waiting for a club to open. It’s an interesting look. Hey, whatever floats your boat. (Gothic Lolita is a fashion trend in Japan. It’s often just called goth loli. Google it.)
Then I stopped by a convenience store for some food, since my room has a fridge in it.
The Comfort Inn here rocks. It’s cheap, they have a decent free breakfast, the rooms are nice, and they have a “Drink Service” from 3PM-midnight with free drinks. Who doesn’t love free drinks?
The people working the front desk speak pretty good English, if your Japanese is lacking. The location isn’t ideal, because it’s a bit of a hike to the nearest subway station, but it’s good enough for saving a few thousand yen a day. AAA discounts, work here, too! (Use the website to get those AAA deals.)
A few general Japan observations: everyone keeps to the left.
(Visual aid from my later trip to Tokyo.)
The same way that Americans all keep to the right when driving, walking, etc., in Japan, you keep left. That’s how you can spot the Americans and Canadians. They keep bumping into people because they all keep right. Generally. There are times when everyone keeps right, but it’s not as common.
One thing I had a lot of problems with were the raised bumpy areas and channels in the pavement for the visually impaired. I do not begrudge them the help, and I think it’s great that they’re all over the place, but my wheeled luggage got caught in them all the time. My suggestion: get a backpack. Or get wheeled luggage with giant honkin’ wheels.
(Another visual aid from the future. This time, Hiroshima.)
In Japan, you line up for everything and wait your turn. It sounds silly to Americans, but I think it’s great. It means that when you’re at an attraction, say, Kinkakuji, and you want to take some pictures, you stand behind the people in front of you, and wait patiently. Then you do your stuff, and the people behind you wait for you to do your stuff. It’s very nice, actually.
Here, a visual aid from Kinkakuji. Everyone lines up to take photos, and waits for their turn patiently.
Same goes for trains. There are marks on the platform where the doors are going to be, and everyone lines up at the marks and waits for the people to get off, then they get on in an orderly fashion.
Tomorrow is a laundry day, then I’ll try to go to Arashiyama and Eiga Mura, then maybe go to Ponto-cho for some more shopping, then I’ll hunt down the cardboard box I need to send a bunch of stuff back in, so I don’t die lugging my stuff to Nara.
TV here is still pretty meh.
Oh, one last thing– they have an interesting way to deal with porn–err, “Pay Per View.” Instead of embarrassing charges on your hotel bill, you go to the vending machines, and buy a 1,000 yen “TV Card” that will dole out 150 minutes’ worth of “Pay Per View” TV. At least that’s what the hotel directory says.
One last weird moment– I flipped on the TV on to see if anything was on, and I stumbled on to old Star Trek in English on BS-2, one of the NHK networks. We learn Japanese from Doraemon, they learn English from Star Trek?
Set phasers on educate!