Flew to Japan. Osaka airport is very cool and super modern. Built on an island in the bay it solves a space issue that Japan always has. 4 Floors and a massive terminal. It has trees, not the concrete jungle that most are. Clean, high tech, convenient. A common theme I’m seeing here in Japan. Picked up my pocket wifi(2wks $78), redeemed my rail pass and jumped on a train. The train took about 90 minutes to zip to Kyoto and after getting lost briefly in the MASSIVE Kyoto train terminal(33 train tracks) I found my way to the cheese like a good mouse and ate some of the most delicious ramen in my life. I had to order to from a vending machine and the small restaurant had about 25 seats and it was an assembly line moving people in and out and making their food super fast. Left the train station and found my capsule ryokan at 9:00. It closed at 10!!!
The staff were super helpful. $35 a night, free wifi, toothbrushes, towels, soap, toothpaste shampoo. 2 communal showers and 3 communal bathrooms split among 16 people or so. I never had to wait to use anything. A small common area and kitchen. 3 free computers and 2 coin operated telephones to call home. Staff speaks amazing English.
When I woke up the next day without a clue of where to go the front desk handed me a paper with nearby bus stops, cheap breakfast, convenience stores, and bike rental. Unfortunately as much as I wanted to rent a bike, the weather won’t allow it. Kyoto is a super bike friendly city and there are bike parking lots. Mothers with baby seats on the back of the bike shuttling around with children in tow. Young women riding scooters. Some men on mopeds or dirt bike looking things. The streets are nearly empty. It was a rainy weekday so that has some effect but still…
Many small houses lined the street but, unlike Korea there are no piles of trash out front, the open sewer system isn’t rife in the air, the roads are flat and well maintained, the sidewalks are big, people wait for you to exit the subway car before they pile in on top of you. More politeness and cleanliness is how I would describe it. It’s better than Korea in every way possible except for the fact that is costs 2x as much. Every house has some trees or a pot of flowers out front. It’s really welcoming and makes me feel similar to when I traveled to Colorado.
On with the day, so the front desk gave me a tour map. I took a bus, I took a tram, I walked many km, I took a train. I did the grand slam of public transit. It was all super fast, clean, friendly, and easy. I saw a lot of shrines too today. The Japanese garden/temple thing is getting old and it’s only day 1. Which is good, once I burn myself out on those I can focus on the good stuff, the culture, markets, and food.
Budget: ~$90 USD. Food – 2 snacks, 3 meals $36. Transit – $4. Temple/Shrine/Garden Fees – $25!!!. Room – $35
So far pretty good. I’d like to stay under $100 a day, and I thought I could pull off $80, but I don’t want to eat convenience mart food when I’m in Japan! (Well maybe a few times, it does look tasty) EDIT: Just went to mart, sweet baby jesus that food is amazing and cheap. So many things to choose from it’s nuts! Even a few kinds of pasta among lots of Japanese food.
I think Japan is more westernized maybe because I’m staying in a touristy area. People aren’t copy pasted like they are in Korea. You don’t see couple outfits, or people wearing the except as clothes nearly as much. The Japanese have a little more individualism in them at first glance. The women aren’t afraid to show off their shoulders or wear a V neck unlike in highly conservative Korea. I saw a 20-30 year old women smoking right outside the front door of a conveience stores, inside I saw a different women buying smokes. Korean women are terrified to be caught smoking. It took me at least 3 months of living in Korea to see one. Recently in Korea I saw a women ducking behind a parked car to smoke in a squat position so nobody would see her. I don’t intend to Korea bash, every country has pro’s and con’s and I think Japan’s cons are the same as Korea, mostly Confucianism, respect toward elders and group think. I just think Japan has better pro’s if your wallet can afford it.
The bamboo forest was a neat place too. Immersion killer when a train went blaring by, I feel for those people that have to sleep near the train tracks. Arashiyama was a really cool area. Neat wooden bridge, the bamboo, good food, lots of shops selling souvenirs and stuff, a few girls walking around all dressed up in the yukata. They are really cute, maybe I should buy one for Hyeon mi? Haha.
I’m planning for one more day here, (3 nights same place, it kicks ass for the price) Then off to Tokyo because the weather is not good enough for Fuji climbing. The weather better clear up or I’m going to hobble up that thing in the rain.