Journey in Japan, 24th June 2015

Walking to Osaka Station

Waking up in Osaka

I awoke early and turned on the television... There was gasping from the speaker and then the image appeared of a girl...
What was going on was what in English we'd call "bonking".
I didn't order this!

I changed channels after a discretionary time.
Back on regular Japanese television I watched the news and weather.
There are usually two presenters, a man and a woman, and guest presenters stand at a separate dais to present their topic.
Sometimes people are interviewed off site, and a little window or two appears with the studio participants viewed to show their reaction to what is being portrayed.
Many of the things used as props are very simple, it's odd to see this in a technologically advanced country where electronic - computer generated graphics might be anticipated.

The weather girl uses a pole to point out clouds and weather features!
As in all developed television systems one has to divide one's attention between the subject and the attractive weather girl!

The hunt for breakfast

There was a desire for a genuine Japanese breakfast, but what is this?
Most Japanese it seems eat at 'western' style bakeries and eateries...
there was disappointment on the way to the station as apparently we passed a few 'genuine Japanese' fooderies serving a genuine Japanese breakfast but I didn't see them, I'm sorry.

We stopped in a bakery below the railway station where we ordered breakfast at the counter to be served by Japanese maids in pretty blue cotton uniforms.
The Japanese like to look the part, and why not, as around the World there are girls who dress Cosplay in Japanese style, looking pretty and feminine in spite of the feminist (masculine) androgeny many women portray in politically correct countries.

Everyone in a work world is in some sort of uniform, from the school children in their navy inspired uniforms, to women in black skirts, and men in suits.
Anything else means you're at leisure.

Densha de Kyoto ni ikimasu
Train to Kyoto

There are no specific tickets to go anywhere on Japan Rail, there are prices, and you need to find the machine that sells the ticket for your particular line.
It's a bit confusing but there are people in the Information Counters who will direct you in very good English.

The ticket to Kyoto from Osaka costs 560 Yen one way on the express train, and the journey time is only 28 minutes on the Special Rapid Service.
Make sure you queue on the correct line, ours was the
blue line.

The Rapid Service is slower, stops at more stations, and this train came in to Osaka station a few minutes before the faster train arrived, so somewhere along the line we should have overtaken it.
It didn't matter either way as we had plenty of time.

From the hotel window


The train arrived at Kyoto no eki and it was an easy walk outside... Now where's the hotel?
At the street side we asked a taffic person, and he pointed straight across the street. The hotel ibis was right there, benri desu, very convenient.

A twin bed room at the Hotel ibis costs $247.34 Canadian ($192.61 USD) through Agoda and this price included breakfast which was very adequate, self serve buffet, all you can eat and drink.

This is a smart hotel and very comfortable and convenient.

We decided to stay a third night as there's a very good bus service direct to Kansai Airport from besides the nearby Hotel Keihan Kyoto which is a couple of hundred metres along the road from the ibis, besides the Avanti shopping mall.

The ibis is deservedly popular and so we were not able to book a third night there and so the next best thing was to book the Keihan Kyoto Hotel which cost $135.96 ($104.86 USD) for one night, no breakfast, through Agoda.
The Keihan is an older building and the doors use real keys.

On Friday morning rooms were not ready and so we put all our luggage together and stored it with reception.
Later this was to prove an annoyance as I returned earlier than my travelling companion and I did not have the tag.
I thought no worry, I can wait, but a few hours later I couldn't, I wanted to go to bed, and I needed a shower.
I'd asked before twice for my bag and it was refused... Now I demanded it, and threatened to get the police because they should not hold on to my property like this... I got my bag back.
So if you check your baggage, do it with separate tags!

  The Avanti Mall next door

It's Wednesday afternoon and we arrived at the hotel ibis, and my companion wanted to rest.
I should have rested too but I'm touring and so I go out to see regardless.

Girls going out on the town need not do it themselves

The first thing on my agenda was to buy another Japanese - English dictionary and so I went to the bookshop on the top floor of the Avanti shopping mall.
I took two of these pictures on my way through the mall and the Laura Ashley one as I passed under the railway station.

My aim was to visit two Buddhist temples on the north side of the tracks.

Yukata's are a popular purchase for tourists, but most are made in China!
You can find higher quality Japanese Yukatas, but these cost more

Kyoto Railway Station has all sorts of shops underneath and beside it
This British quality clothes and housewares shop is very popular in Japan

Kyoto no arukimasu (walk about)

I walked to two temples
Here I observed how people interact. It's positive

I walked to a Seven - Eleven and bought a chocolate milk before carrying
on to a park with an aquarium I didn't explore.
I skipped lunch, but drank a lot of water.
Then on to the Aeon shopping mall where I bought a new Polo shirt from Uni Qlo... Else I would have to do laundry!

Pure Land Buddhism

Like the Chinese the Japanese tend towards Pure Land Buddhism where there are Bodhisattvas (sort of demi Gods) who help guide people towards enlightenment, and enlightenment leads to a Pure Land of gold and jewels, a Nirvana heaven.
I tend towards the Theravada rather than Mahayana Buddhist philosophy.

Christianity sold itself to European peoples through replacing their celebrations such as Yuletide with Christmas, and Easter with a celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ, and many of the pagan festivities survive to this day.

In the same way Buddhism incorporated Shinto customs in Japan and the two religions intergrated into a tolerance of each other with many people practicing both beliefs.
I'm not sure how Shinto and its belief in the Sun God (as in the Japanese flag) and the Emperor's divinty has survived as it has to the present day.

In any case, since I am somewhat ignorant of Japanese beliefs; it's something I should investigate more.
This was a short visit and so I could only glance at it.

I spent two years at night school studying Japanese, and while I can read Japanese script somewhat less well than once upon a time, my aural understanding of spoken Japanese is very poor.
Above, a monk was giving a discourse and instruction to the people siting on the tatami floor.
I wish I understood more.
Like with many monks giving such talks there was a smile, and an upbeat even humour to his speech.

The Japanese are far from boring in what they do

On the bus

It's easy to take a bus in Kyoto and there's only one fare as below:

You enter the bus through the middle door, and exit at the front. You pay when you leave the bus, and not when you get on.

If you buy a day pass you pass this through a machine at the front of the bus as you leave it on your first journey. This will put a date stamp on the back which you show to the driver as you leave the bus on subsequent journeys.
The day pass allows open travel throughout the city and as far away as the mountains to the northwest. It's a bargain at 500 Yen.

We shopped until we almost dropped, and late in the evening
stopped for a soba don (noodle soup) at a stand up roadside 'bar'.
There's so much to look at, so much to buy, it's astonishing!

On to part three