Kyoto: Diving Into the Supermarket (and accepting awards)

Japanese supermarkets really make a show out of displaying their food. These are just some snaps of the colorful world we stumbled into along Kyoto Tower!

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Utterly fascinating little octopi.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the balls to try them.

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The highlight of the culinary wonderland was this pastry store featuring a purely strawberry-based selection.

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The attention that the Japanese put into the finer details is really something I wish I could emulate.

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I’d just like to insert a segment to thank some new friends and accept their award nominations! So, I’m not entirely sure how this blogger-award-nomination system works, but I’ll do my best to get it right.

First off, I’d like to thank confabler for nominating me for the VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD. The seven random facts about me are:

  1. I’m absolutely in love with all the different facets of Asian cultures yet I’m majoring in European studies. (Bit of an identity crisis if you ask me.)
  2. I only work out so I can eat some more.
  3. I’m a crazy cat-lady. (Their names are Casper, Nana, and Zorro.)
  4. Nintendo is superior to Sony in my heart.
  5. I used to take ballet before entering university.
  6. I operate strictly on a “jump-first, ask later” system.
  7. Confusingly, I’m also an established over-thinker.

(Make what you will of those last two statements. I don’t quite understand them myself.)

My nominees for this award will be Katie Kuo, and Love Travelling. Do check out these blogs. Katie’s musings are quite relatable, I think, and she presents her ideas very well. The latter blog is an interesting collection of travel anecdotes that really give you an idea of what to expect on your travels to certain places.

Next, I want to thank Hannah Garner for saying the sweetest things about my blog and nominating me for the ENTERTAINER BLOGGER AWARD. If my posts are able to inspire the lust for travel in even just one more person, I’d ask for nothing more. In the same vein, I invite you to check out Anisa Kazemi’s blog. She takes the most beautiful travel photos with a very personal touch (not the kind you’d normally come across in magazines). Finally, I’d also like to nominate Story Telling Cook for her entertaining style of narrating her experiences in cooking.

These are the questions I’ll be answering for the latter award!

  1. Why did you start to blog in the first place?Well, I happen to have very poor memory. After some thought, I decided to try blogging as a creative outlet that conveniently provides me vibrant stills of the best experiences I’ve had that could be captured on camera. At the same time, I hope to inspire other people to see the places I’ve seen that I think are worth a spot on people’s bucket lists.
  2. What is your favorite book?I don’t have a favorite book in particular. I will say that Arthurian legends, medieval romances, and just about any story with dragons have a special place in my heart. (And that Eragon is a fantastic book with a terrible movie adaptation.) At present, I’ve started to get into Lang Leav. (Though I’m normally not one for poetry.)
  3. What do you hate the most?I wouldn’t say ‘hate’. But inconsiderate people are a particular pet peeve of mine.
  4. What is your favorite food item from the mall?A good Krispy Kreme donut is always a welcome addition to my stomach. Green smoothies will also often show up in my hands. Err, Korean bingsu, anything matcha, macarons, Mascarpone ice cream, milk tea (despite my lactose intolerance), lemon juice- Wait, CITRUS ANYTHING!

    Yeah I’m sorry I can’t do this question.

  5. What is your favorite past time activity?I like to overthink. And sleep. Usually in that order. Sometimes I sing Disney or Broadway songs in the shower (apologies to my ever-patient roommate). On rare occasions I paint.

Kyoto: Gion District, Kyoto Tower

Leaving the charming geisha district of Kyoto was not easy. All the little streets and traditional Japanese architecture beckoned us to stay. I could feel the culture slipping away as the quiet town of yukata and kimono clad-citizens began melting into a more modern setting. We took a bus to Kyoto Station that afternoon and booked a night at Kyoto Tower Hotel in preparation for our train ride the next day.

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For dinner, we experienced a new style of dining wherein the customers go up to a machine and input their orders themselves. Payment is also accomplished by feeding yen directly into the order machine. Naturally, as everything was in kanji, we couldn’t understand a thing. A waiter quickly rushed over to assist us in our despondent attempts to order food. In the end, we made off with two delicious meals of sea bream sashimi and seafood tempura served over rice. They both came with sides of poached eggs and pickles. The clincher was the amazing seafood broth or “dashi” that we were instructed to pour over the rice in whatever quantities we so desired.

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We encountered a street food vendor sitting in the back of his van with an ingenious setup for serving fried octopus balls or “takoyaki”.

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From Spain printed coords and shoulder bag | Stradivarius heels | Samsonite trolley

Arashiyama: Bamboo Grove, Kimono Forest

I really had hoped to arrive at Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by 8 am and evade the demon hordes of tourists. Due to a combination of factors, that plan failed miserably. And so we were greeted by a cacophony by all manner of people come from all over the globe. The worst part was when a woman dressed as a geisha began walking through to take pictures with people. She would stop after about 3 paces to pose for photos and the people just coming. The congestion was ridiculous. Despite all, the majesty of the infinite bamboo stalks disappearing into the clear sky could not be discounted.

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Just to add to the magic, I spotted a little hat perched atop the walkway fencing. I would have put it on and walked away with the abandoned souvenir but for its petite size. I wonder if anyone else happened upon it. Where could it be now?

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In spite of my best efforts, I could only reduce the number of tourists to two at least.

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I would have liked the chance to ride this stunning wagon. A shame we didn’t have the time.

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Train to Busan, anyone?

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My favorite prayer block read: “KAMISAMA BLESS MY GPA.”

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It’s been years in the making, but finally, finally I made my very first prayer to the Shinto gods. “Kamisama, accept my humble offering and grant me a heavenly GPA.”

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I think this is a cemetery. Er… So I’m just going to assume there are no bodies under the forest of memorial stones.

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But wait-
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It’s easy to get lost in the details.
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“Komorebi” light filtering through the leaves.
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Itadakimasu! An excellent (and inexpensive) bowl of nishin (herring) soba.
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Clearly, I didn’t care to stop eating for the photograph.

There really is nothing like a well-anticipated meal after getting lost in the bamboo. Sanchu is a small food stall just directly outside the Grove. The service, pricing and convenient location can’t be beat. Return to it, I implore you.

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Who defaced the last two buddhas? Ah well. Beauty in the imperfection, as they say.

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See, the attire of the wagon drivers baffled me, to say the least. I don’t see how booty shorts and socks in place of footwear are meant to make their lives any easier.

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Don’t mind me, I’m just one more breathtaking vista Japan has in abundance.
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I love that they paired the purple, retro-looking tram with lavender flowers.

Hearing the words “Kimono Forest” had me racing over to Randem tram station in a flash. It was a bit underwhelming, however. I quickly realized that the rows of lit-up kimono on display don’t have nearly as much impact when there is yet light in the sky. Were it pitch black, the vibrancy and the chroma would have been much better highlighted and appreciated.

dsc_0182dsc_0186H&M skirt | Stradivarius sneakers | From Spain shoulder bag