Japan 2009: Tuesday, April 21st
As predicted, it was rainy today- it rained so hard last night that we thought we were going to blow away! (There’s an upstairs porch right outside our bedroom, so outside is practically inside...) We decided to take the train into Kyoto Station & do some shopping, since walking around outside was not an option. The station is fairly new & has various malls & stores scattered around inside (like some of the larger airports in the US), including the department store Isetan, which we were told had a toy department. Brendan has had his heart set on buying the Kamen Rider Decade belt since we began watching this year’s installment of Kamen Rider (fansubbed on the internet). Last time we were here he bought that year’s Rider belt (Kamen Rider Den-O, one of the most popular Kamen Rider shows in years) & that was one of the high points of the trip for him :) These belts just don’t sit there & look pretty... they are full of bells & whistles, too. This year’s model allows you to install one of 12 cards, each of which causes a different set of sound effects (corresponding to each of the Kamen Rider series of the past 10 years, plus a couple of others). It’s pretty mind-boggling, but very “kakko-ii” (cool).
After finding the belt (& a few other very cute things- like onigiri cases with Snoopy on them :) we perused the many restaurants (in the “eat paradise” section of the store) & settled on an italian place for lunch. Italian food Japanese-style was very interesting- Brendan’s pizza’s crust was almost like matzoh, Charlie’s lasagna was chock full of Japanese eggplant (which is smaller & more tender than the one’s we ususally find at home) & my pasta was more al dente than I’m used to, but it all tasted very good. Our cokes were served with a slice of lemon in the glass, which tasted really good, too. After conversing with Brendan for a bit (in Japanese), our waitress asked me if we lived in Japan, & when I told her we were just visiting she was amazed (go Brendan! :).
After lunch we found the stationery department & I had a great time looking at the “shi-ru”... what stickers are known as in Japanese. I am a great fan of Japanese stickers. They are much more substantial than what we have in the US & stick to practically anything, which means you can even decorate your cellphone & other 3-D items with them. (I put some really cute shi-ru in our new Prius, around the video panel, because they cheer me up :) I bought some to bring home as gifts, along with some really beautiful origami paper. Our last stop at Isetan was the fresh grocery in the basement, where we found obentou ready-made to take home for dinner. We also found some corrokke (potato croquets), which is Brendan’s favourite Japanese food that I make at home. Then we wended our way back to our train platform, by way of “Mr. Donut” (Charlie has been wanting to try a “Meestah Dohnatsu” so he finally got the chance :), & found the train waiting. Brendan & I were exhausted, so we walked home together (in the drizzling rain) while Charlie stopped by the store for some breakfast food (taking our umbrella with him- sigh). Our afternoon was spent resting- after Brendan assembled his belt & installed the batteries, of course. We refilled the ofuro & took turns showering & soaking, then had yummy obentou & corrokke for dinner. Tomorrow is our last day in Kyoto :( We’ve decided to head back in the direction of our first day’s adventure, the Kiyomizodera, to look around some more & maybe find another yummy sweets shop.