A weekend in Kansai

| japan

I had a relaxing weekend in Kansai, hopping from Kobe to Kyoto and
then to Osaka. Tita Cora is also fond of creature comforts, so instead
of a set tour, I took her to a 100 yen shop to buy 32 (!) miso soup
bowls and then to a hot spring some 15 minutes away from the train
station. There, on the 7th floor of a building nestled among
apartments, hotels, and curio shops, we indulged in a bewildering
array of baths, including another wine bath.

She left early the next day, so I decided to make the most of my
Sunday by going to Kyoto. I went to the Kyomizudera temple, a
beautiful set of cedar structures set over a cliff. I rented a PDA
audio guide (how could I not patronize such excellent use of
technology?) and made my way around the temple complex listening to
interesting audio snippets and looking at pictures of things not on
public display. Although there were many tourists, the place felt
serene, sublime.

On the way to Kyomizudera and back, I ducked into lots of little curio
shops. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I found all
the different shapes and colors fascinating. There were shops with
folding fans in a multitude of designs, parasols sold side-by-side
with fancy yukata and slippers, pottery in every shape and style. I
wandered until I felt myself no longer distinguishing new and
interesting things, then I headed back to Kyoto station.

I had friends in Osaka, so I decided to go there instead of heading
all the way back to Kobe. I called the night bus service to move my
departure to Osaka instead, and asked them to e-mail me a map of the
bus stop. I tried to get in touch with my friends, but none of them
replied (that’s the problem when you’re such an impulsive person that
you do everything on short notice), so I just wandered around looking
for an Internet cafe. Yahoo! BB (broadband) had a free Internet cafe
in Yodobashi Camera, and I checked my mail for the map before heading
to the 8th floor of the same building for a wonderful tonkatsu dinner.
Then I wandered through the shops some more. Nearly went for a facial
(only 1000 yen!) but it was already too late by the time I found out
about the offer. Got sucked into a toy shop and couldn’t resist buying
a Rubik’s cube-like thing in the shape of a pyramid.

Then I headed back down to the cybercafe for a quick check. So now
it’s back to Tokyo, and work, and and the rest of life. Just one more

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