Kyoto was kind of cute. I mean, obviously a tourist destination both for foreigners and natives, but still a nice place to visit. Plus they have a fantastic International Manga Museum 😁. We spent Christmas there as did lots of Japanese as well, apparently one of the Christmas traditions is to take your partner out on a romantic date. A nice tradition methinks without all the garbage from the West. I tried very hard to get the Reisebegleitung to wear a Kimono for me but she steadfastly refused. Women. ☺ We still had a great time, some very old temples with wonderful gardens and of course the old imperial palace including the palace grounds. The sunny weather held, there were approximately 500 gazillion kinds of moss and a couple of red and ochre maple trees providing a nice backdrop for all the old stuff. One of the most endearing things about Kyoto is the fact that it’s a lot easier to find good vegetarian food. We ate a lot of stuff that we didn’t recognize but which tasted really really great. And we found the aptly named Zen Café, where we tried their specials. Again, I still don’t know what it was but it was worth every penny, lovely Japanese desserts to die for. In general, the quality of food is outstanding across the board, as is the service. What a contrast to Berlin. We even found a place serving vegetarian Ramen and had a happy slurpy lunch break. And even if you don’t want to sit down in a restaurant there’s millions of food courts usually in the basements of department stores, and this is where it’s at. Great stuff, from sweet to savoury, could spend a whole week in there and still not run out of things to discover. And everybody is super friendly and helpful all the time, how nice. I love you.
I have raved about the trains and public transport in general here already, but there’s one other thing that deserves special praise: the toilets. I have never seen anything better, Japanese toilets are the future and I definitely need to get one for our apartment back home. Un-fucking-believable, there’s no better way to shit. 😊
Took the Shinkansen back to Tokyo in the late afternoon of the 25th, because we had a flight to catch at night – off to Tasmania for four weeks of exactly the opposite – no civilization, just wilderness. The international terminal at Haneda is relatively new and it shows: nice architecture, lots of glass to provide natural light, super friendly, super efficient, super helpful staff and a superb first class lounge. With great food, free massage, table soccer and best of all, very comfortable seating and Zen-like quiet and relaxation. Superb, thank you very much, JAL.