I was woken up this morning by a group of girls just coming in around 5:30. This, my friends, is the downside of hostel travel. Gina and I went to the toast breakfast place a few buildings down. I got the toast breakfast set A, which came with a soft cooked egg (ew but I did try it) and a drink that was 280 yen or less. I ordered an additional slice of toast after my first one since I was still hungry. [note: I was to go to this restaurant for breakfast all the other days I was there in Kyoto].
I then went to Kinkaku-ji, or “Golden Pavillion.” Formerly belonging to a Shogun, it was willed to be a temple after his death. It was gilded so it wasn’t literal gold, but rather gold paper (still I’m impressed it was never stripped by thieves). It took longer to get to than the other sites I have gone to, and it was quite hot. Still, it was worth it. I was sure to take plenty of pictures. There was an option to drink tea on site, and I took it (despite it being 500 yen, not exactly cheap since I can get a meal at Mc D’s in Japan for a little more…but I went for it). A little dessert was included, which I can only describe as being like a gourmet Peep filled with sweetened red bean paste. It was amazingly delicious. It even had gold “shavings” on it.
Next, I went to two museums, having been templed out. The first one had a very dignified exterior, and housed temporary rather than permanent exhibitions as far as I could tell. It was too expensive…still can’t believe I paid 1,000 yen for one collection! That’s somewhere around 12 US dollars for what wasn’t even a full museum. Anywho. Don’t judge a museum by it’s exterior! The second museum across the street had a less impressive outside but a more reasonable cost (400 yen), as well as a permanent collection. It also allowed picture taking. It was only one floor but had several halls and there were works from a lot of different artists. There were even Kimonos designed by a Japanese man who’d died in the 60s.
After this I went back to the hostel. Gina came back not long after. I had decided to take advantage of the hostel’s collection of DVDs and borrowed Ghost, a movie I had only seen parts of. It is a sweet and sentimental movie. When it was over, I took the DVD down, and this Japanese woman (appearing to be in her mid 60s) who I truly believe NEVER left the hostel reclaims her place in front of the TV and then turns it to Japanese news. Since people use the hanging-out room mainly as a place to recuperate before heading out again, I don’t think she bothered anyone. Gina told me that we were apparently sitting in “her” cushion too, as she’d seen her there every other time she had come into the common room. Unsurprisingly, when I got up to leave the common room for good she headed straight for the beanbag. Oh passive aggressiveness… I wonder if they lady ever did anything but stay in the hostel. Was she even on vacation? So many questions and so few answers.
Gina and I went to dinner and the guys joined us. There was plenty of Tennessee vs. California banter, and I got an entertaining video on Gina trying to teach the guys how to say the German non-shortened version of BMW. We were able to see the lighted pathway and get slightly better pictures this time, and we saw a fire-breathing man by the river. I was again wiped out by the end of this day!