Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Kyoto and more impressions of Japan

After staying the night with Yoshtsune in Osaka, we went off to Kyoto. This is a place I have long wanted to visit, ever since I read 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. The old part is filled with traditional buildings, temples, tiny roads and alleyways, and of course, the Geisha. We were extremely lucky, as we saw quite a few. They can be a bit elusive, but as it happened to be a public holiday, some were taking a stroll or a ride in a carriage.

They were so beautiful it took your breath away. Later that evening we saw some scuttling along in Gion, on their way to the tea houses, no doubt.

Kyoto was full of wonderful temples in stunning parkland and gardens. These are some of the photos:

This is the Golden Temple.

I was rather proud of this 'arty' photo!

And this one!

Thought this was pretty good too!

Some foodie images for those of you who like foodie pictures. This was the traditional/Western breakfast we had in the very nice hotel we stayed in in Kyoto. (My Christmas present from Jack and Miki!). We cooked our own eggs, mushrooms and/or bacon.

To answer to some of the points raised in my last posting: Japan is not particularly expensive, and it is a lot cheaper than London. Coffee is good and reasonably priced. (NB Berky in our deli). It is also very reasonable to eat out in Japan and a meal that would cost about £60/£70 for two people in England costs about £20/£30. Funnily enough, it is more expensive to buy groceries in supermarkets, especially things like cereal, milk and bread. You can buy a very good Japanese wine for about £4 and I tended to often buy a bottle. Sake varies in price according to the quality. I bought a bottle of Nikka Whiskey for Peter because I like the name! It also tastes good, if you don't compare it to a single malt made in one of the Outer Hebridian Islands.

Allan loves traditional food and happily munches on onigiri, nori, noodles and slurps his miso soup with gusto!

The Japanese people are extremely courteous and if you try to speak even a little Japanese, they glow with pleasure and tell you how well you speak it. I have learnt a reasonable amount of vocabulary (including some 'baby talk' from Allan ) but I do have difficulty stringing words together and using verbs. But more of this in my next posting. Yes, I have loads more photos. Miki, Allan and I went to stay with her parents in Koriyama, and I haven't even started on that yet!

One last thing though; I have never come across a public Japanese toilet that makes you want to go "bleurghhhh". They are all spotlessly clean. And the toilet seats are remarkable! I would love to bring one back to England. They have buttons down the side that can be quite alarming if you press one accidentally. There is the button that sends a jet of water up your jacksy, there is one that plays sweet music so that others cannot hear you having a tinkle and there is the, oh, oh, oh wonderful heated seat button! On a cold day you never want to get up and leave!


Ju's little sister said...

Oh wow, Lorenzo!
You have been to some beautiful places and I can almost taste the serentity...

I will be back often to continue looking at your photos. The Geisha seem wonderful.

Anonymous said...

The Geisha are very pretty and delicate looking. Pics as always, superb!!

I wonder what Geisha Woman would think of the British Art of tea-making? Speaking of which, it's probably about time to dunk the old tea bag. Now where did I put my man-size mug and longlife milk.

Ann said...

Sorry, I anonymoused again when I should have Anned.

tut-tut said...

Hello! I'd love to have a button to push to play music when using the facilities.

Nice photos; very good catch of the fish and the ripples, too. What a cutie is Allan.

The author of Memoirs grew up here, btw, but he is here no longer.

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

Your photos are all especially beautiful, and I love your 'arty shot'. What JLS says about the 'serenity' is so true.


simon said...

I am with Ju's! just amazing and beautiful!!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Very nice photos, and interesting, Lorenzo- nice pic of your family, too. I really find their customs and manner interesting. Deb my wife has a special interest in Japan.

Nice you can travel there to see your family. And nice toilets, too. I try to avoid one at nearly any cost, and us guys are lucky (most the time) that way.

madretz said...

Such an amazing journey! I really hope to go to Japan one day. I'm off to search google earth for more info on Kyoto.

hennhouse said...

Amazing photos!

Ju's little sister said...

LtLl, I touch down in NZ in the early hours of 23rd December. Which doesn't leave me a lot of time to make the Brandy Balls, the Muesli, the Trifle and ummmm... there was something else

Vword= nodge - I am not joking!

Shammickite said...

The Geishas are gorgeous! I read Memoirs of a Geisha quite recently, loved it, and your picture is straight from the book!
How lucky you are to spend time in Japan, it all looks wonderful, the toilets especially. Going for a bum-warming pee sounds quite enticing.

Maalie said...

Those sheilas could be useful on a frosty night. The breakfast looks good!

Beautiful pictures but I'm afraid I find those scenes a little too "manicured" for my taste. Give me the spot-billed ducks in the swamps any day.

Merisi said...

No, I don't envy you.
Well, maybe a little.
Wait, come to think of it:
I envy you a whole lot for all that good traditional food. I love Japanese cuisine (and Korean, for that matter), and I am not even thinking of sushi.
I would love to learn some good recipes from you. Got any? Pleeease?

Deb said...

Beautiful pics and the Japanese are very interesting people.
I was privileged to have a Japanese roommate one year while at Prairie Bible Institute. She taught me some Japanese phrases and fixed a nice traditional meal for me toward the end of the year.

Maalie said...

Isn't Kyoto where they had an agreement that Mr Bush didn't agree with?

simon said...

yes maalie you are right! Why is the rest of the world out of step with george? seems crazy to me!
I am doing my bit for globla warming. Just think! no need for heaters

Barbara said...

Enjoyed your Japanese posts. Very interesting and informative. Loved the book 'Memoirs of a Geisha' but I was under the impression that they no longer had Geisha in Gion.

simon said...

Woah! Jazzy cat and Maalie! Runcible fellows!

I will have to nip over and have a look

Rob Hopcott said...

Lovely pictures of Japan!

Foreign countries are so interesting aren't they. So many different customs, different eating habits, different ... habits.

Hey, just a thought ... What is their attitude to Llamas?

Is there a Llama equivalent to sushi?

Glad you're back safe and sound :-)

Maalie said...

I thought that if I didn't say something here, you might not get a comment today.

Comment, comment, comment,...
Is that enough commentary?

Rob Hopcott said...

Er, I would like to second Maalie's comment... and raise. Anybody got a full house?

Elizabeth said...

Dear Lorenzo
What an amazing trip -and many wonderful arty photos but most informative.
Like the one of the loo too.
You do get to go to cool places.
Greetings from New York

Raelha said...

Wow, what an experience. You got some wonderful photos, and I've always wondered it it were true about Japanese loos, now I know it to be so!

Steve P said...

Oooh lovely. They look very well indeed and Allan is so big! Doesn't the Goruden Tempru just glow though?

I was searching for a picture of a stag in Lyme Park (to illustrate the beastie I found staring at me on the Middlewood Way on the way home) and I found you. Now I know where you are, and what a lovely blog! I must call Jack soon and pop round with tiny little Natalie to show off.

love Steve P. xxx

NaNcY said...

rejoice, sweet llama


To Ms. Lorenzothellama

You are heartily welcome to my blog.
I have just visited your posts. The photos are neat and taken with an artistic angle. I wonder to see that there are people, in a country like Japan too, who drag the cab by their hands. I would like to revisit your blog.

Naval Langa

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Oh Lorenzo, you do make me laugh. I love the toilet seat photo, AND commentary!!

Best I love the family pictures, although I must admit that the "arty" picture is quite wonderful too - what a reflection!

Happy Thanksgiving Lorenzo - I wish you were here. We'd fill you with turkey and pumpkin pie - well, that is if I leave my morning tea and get off the couch and go bake!!

Martin Stickland said...

Cooor nice gayshu girls!

Ok you were the 50,000 and you wind the fruit salad and black jack.

Me off to bed, me knackrede hope you are fine


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Oops, sorry Llama dear about the turkey - and I knew that! Guess I just got caught up in the moment!

We would just have filled you up with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with butter, green beans, pumpkin and apple and cherry pies...........

hummmm, I think I'm getting hungry again!

Craver Vii said...

Great pics!

When I visited Japan, we called those "Western toilets." The "Japanese toilet" was a whole other experience. There is so much to love about the ways of the Japanese, isn't there? I went to a nursing home where I saw that some of the elderly still choose to sleep on a floor pad instead of a much more cushiony bed.

If I ever get to go back, I would want to buy one of their bicycle kickstands to fit onto my own bike. Did you notice those? They're like a tripod-ish thing that comes down from the rear axle.

Esther Garvi said...

This side of Japan is beautiful! Thanks for sharing, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Greetings from West Africa,