This morning we went back to the illuminated temple (turns out the name is Kiyomizu). At 8am on a Sunday morning, you’d think we’d be the only ones there, but it was already pretty busy with young and old people alike. Since there was less people than the previous night, we saw new stuff. We bought a paper fortune (like an horoscope), saw the “love stone” (there are 2 stones about 50 feet apart, it is said if you can walk from one to the other with your eyes closed then you will find your love soon). They were also selling charms for special occasion: for good luck, for finding love, for happy marriage, for good grades, against traffic accidents, for conception, and – the one I almost bought – for easy delivery! The variety was definitively entertaining!
After visiting the temple for the second time and taking lots of pictures, we walked back to our nearby hostel, stopping by many shops on the way, mostly any shops offering free food sample. Whatever holiday this is, there is one treat very popular for it and everyone was selling it. Picture a triangular ravioli made of mochi (rice dough – the outside of an ice cream mochi ball) with a sweet jelly filling. Flavors of the mochi and filling varied wildly, and we settled on a box with half-half: banana mochi with chocolate filling, and strawberry mochi with chocolate filling.
We had to check out by 10am, so we packed our bags and headed to the next hostel which conveniently was only one mile away, and this walk of course involved a stop at a convenience store for pastries and weird items. We bought one pastry (still uneaten), Ginger ale flavored KitKat (disgusting but I had to try!), and sour peach candy (super yummy!). We also saw there green tea flavored KitKat, Brie flavored Pringles, and Blue cheese and Gorgonzola flavored Ritz! Japan is a fascinating place!
It was still super early, but our new hostel agreed to hold our bags while we walked around for the day. The neighborhood of Gion was very near, it is more urban with less traditional and less touristy stores. We walked alot around Gion in the morning. When I was cold and tired of walking, we stopped for Yakiniku for lunch. We’ve had this meal a lot in Korea, they bring you raw meat and veggies of your choice and you have to grill them on the BBQ intergrated at each table. It was warm with the fire in the center of the table, so we took our time!
We spent a good part of the afternoon in various arcades (their arcades are very large and multiple stories high, think Las Vegas casino). I sadly spent way too much money trying to pick up plush toys for the metal claw picker-upper, but I did end up catching 2 cute Hello Kitty dolls in one draw at the end and teenage girls applauded me with excitement that matched my own. It was a proud moment for me! We also played a zombie shooting game (my selection), where you actually hold up plastic guns to the screen, Duck Hunt style. I beat Chris! Chris then selected a motocycle racing game, where you sit on a full size plastic motorcycle, and he beat me to that one. And of course the day would not complete without some Street Fighter action.
We walk outside some more, but finally it started to rain so we headed back to the hostel. On the way we noticed one restaurant serving ice cream parfaits with a very long waiting line outside. We figured these must be the world’s best parfaits if that many people are waiting in line for it, so we got in line! The teenagers behind us started asking Chris some conversational questions in the worst English ever, slowly searching for their every word. Chris patiently waited, and after a little while broke out into Japanese – oh my gosh you should have seen their faces! Jaws dropped and they screamed with surprise! So funny! Finally we got our table and each our own banana-chocolate parfait (I am pregnant so I cannot share!), it was so big and so good. It had everything but the kitchen sink, from bottom to top: chocolate pudding, something crunchy like rice krispies, bananas, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate cake pieces, vanilla cake pieces, chocolate ice cream, chocolate mousse, a chocolate cookie, more bananas, and finally chocolate fudge on top. Holy cow. It cost more than our lunch but worth every penny!
Then it started to rain even more, so we ran off to our hostel for real (this one also with tatami mats but thankfully with real pillows, not bean pillows!) where we’ve been reading since about 4pm. It is nice to relax my legs, warm my bones, and get some reading done! I think we will skip dinner tonight!