Apr 27, 2011

Leeeet's see

Been a couple days since i've done an in-depth update with pictures and everything, but we're here now in Tokyo!  No plans for today.. just going to chill in our room, do some laundry, etc..

But we've done lots over the past couple of days!

 We went to Kinkakuji with some friends!

The cool tickets to get in to Kinkakuji

Pretty view from the top of the hill by Kinkakuji

Then we went for ramen!
The next day, Tuesday (my birthday omg!) we spent the first half of trying to figure out money business.. since i'm apparently clueless about money orders and whatnot, i got international money orders to take with me, instead of international postal money orders.  So, there wasn't anyplace that could exchange my money orders into yen, and hardly any place that where i could use my card.. i hadn't even called my bank anyway to let them know i was going out of the country so using my card probably would've ended up with them putting a hold on my account for suspicious activity.  Anyway, spent some time in the morning on the payphone with my bank (they have a collect-number to call for those of us stranded money-less overseas! lol) to let them know i am in fact in Japan and will probably be making large withdrawals/purchases.  Then in a last-ditch effort we headed over to Kawaramachi, the big downtown/shopping district, to try and find a "large bank" (quote the lady at the post office- "ookii banku") that would give me money.  Came close, i thought Mitsui Bank was going to be able to.. well, the lady did say they could but only if i was a member/had an account (at least, that's what i gathered.. she was speaking a bit fast but that's the gist of it i think).
So back to the payphone, going through the whole automated bit in order to talk to someone from my bank again to try and see if there was some address i could send the money orders to to be deposited back into my account.. No, sir, i don't want/need money wire-transfered to me.  I have money, just in money order form, and i want it back in my account!  Finally got that address, then off to the post office to buy an envelope and send my useless money orders to my bank.  Somehow i have a feeling there will be some sort of issue getting them deposited still, but we'll see..
Oh, on the way home from the banks we stopped by a park we found along the way:

THEN!  After all that business was taken care of, we went to enjoy the day.  Took a trip up to Ginkakuji.  The temple itself isn't as impressive as Kinkakuji, but the grounds around Ginkakuji were a lot prettier and it was a more enjoyable visit.
 Map of the Ginkakuji grounds

 Pretty Zen sand gardens

 And theeeeeere's Ginkakuji temple!
 The sand cone in front of Ginkakuji.  It had a name, but i don't remember..

 More sand garden

 Lots of really pretty scenery all around

お茶の井(ocha no i), Tea Well.. i'm assuming this is the water they gather for tea ceremonies

After walking around and taking tons of pictures of all the gorgeous scenery (they're all on my Facebook if you're interested), we stopped for some tasty treats before meeting up with some friends to go drinking~

S's delicious dango, and my mostly-eaten matcha-cream-filled pastry

We found this sign at the end of our street.  Just a bit of history..

Met up with R again, and our friend M for tabe- and nomihoudai (all-you-can-eat-and-drink) birthday dinner!


Just some of the deliciousness

Mmm, potato-mayo pizza

Ended up leaving my camera at that place.  I didn't realize until the next day when we were getting some takoyaki from our cool, super-nice takoyaki guy.  I wanted to get a picture of him with his stand but then realized my camera wasn't in my bag.  I went back to the guesthouse and tore apart all of my other luggage trying to find it, then figured i must have just left it at the restaurant.  If that was the case i wasn't too worried, things that get lost here are almost always turned in.  We let R know that i'd lost my camera and he said he'd check the restaurant, which he did, the good boy, and got my camera back!

We were going to meet with R and some other friends, then stop by the restaurant and see if they had my camera, but R went by himself before meeting up with us.  We were waiting for him when he approached us and was all, "Hey, lemme take a picture first!" then pulled out my camera to take a picture with it, lol.  I was super excited it was found!  I woulda lost all of my awesome Kinkakuji/Ginkakuji/birthday pictures.

We went and sang karaoke for hours~ 

Then we went and had dinner.  The Super Jankara is the karaoke place we were at, seen from the restaurant next door where we ate!

After dinner, we said our goodbyes, then went to gather our luggage from the guesthouse and finally got a cab to the station and boarded the overnight bus to Tokyo.

Like i said, i quite enjoy Tokyo.  It's a fun, exciting city, but i am definitely more a Kansai-person.  I miss our little area in Kyoto, and all the friendly people!  Our awesome takoyaki-guy who we'd say hi to every time we passed.  He chatted with us a bit the second time we got some takoyaki from him, and even offered us an umbrella both times that day too, since it was raining and we were without one.  And also the random construction guy who waved and gave us the peace sign, and the guys in the van who honked and waved at us as we dragged our luggage around trying to get a cab, etc...
Well, we'll be back soon enough (in Osaka at least) for a whole 2 months!

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