Originally published on 27th December 2015 on Blogger
So, Mya went to see Chelsea’s art exhibition and then on to a famous udon restaurant, where she lined up for one and a half hours, to eat the famous udon. Apparently it was very nice.
Finn, once again, stuck being my cultural attaché, accompanied me on my fourth quest to reach Ginkaku-Ji. We started out to the bus stop, realised we had forgotten our tickets, turned around and came back again. An omen? No, just a false start. Heading down the hill, I told Finn I wanted to stop in at the very nice looking cafe down the road. Out the front of the cafe was a sandwich board with photos of very nice looking coffee and, as I got close enough to read it, Anzac biscuits?? We went in. A boy from Melbourne, serving T2 tea and good coffee, Anzac biscuits and friands…..living in Japan for 5 years, and originally from……..Kew. Next door to where I grew up. We enjoyed a very nice latte (me) and hot chocolate (Finn) and had a chat about manga, learning Japanese, living in Japan and hospitality, in general. Very interesting. Think I’ll have to go back and have another coffee……
After our coffee we made it to the bus stop. On the bus, off at Shijo and on another bus to Ginkaku-Ji. We got there. This was my fourth attempt to see this Shrine.
Arriving near the Shrine, we found a lovely little cafe to have lunch. Finn was rejoicing. They had unagi (eel), his very, very favourite thing to eat in Japan. Unagi is expensive and is usually only served in unagi specialist restaurants. As Mya does not eat unagi, we are usually not able to indulge very often. It vanished before my eyes. The food was very delicious, and the owner was lovely, spoke a lot of English, wanted to know all about Australian beaches and climate, and was happy for me to stumble over a bit of Japanese practice. She was very sweet, and very encouraging. The menu stated, in a very understated way, that this cafe had been in operation since 1927. I guess this is a drop in the ocean, when you consider the nearby art gallery was built to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of Kyoto becoming the capital.
After lunch we strolled the tetsugaku no michi, the path of philosophy, a very beautiful walk along a canal. So pretty, lined with bare cherry trees. I would like to see it in March or April….. Next time?
Then on to the Temple. Up a hill lined with little shops selling Kyoto handcrafts. The handcrafts here are very beautiful. Very “wabi-sabi”. Wabi-sabi is the concept of the Japanese aesthetic of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete”. It includes asymmetry, austerity and simplicity.
Ginkaku-Ji is a perfect example of wabi-sabi. Built in 1490 by a retired shogun, turned monk, this temple is very understated. It is set in the most spectacular gardens, which include Zen sand gardens, and beautiful walking paths. Finn indulged me for sometime, and then decided I had taken enough photos and it was time for soft cream (ice cream). How kids continue to eat ice cream when it is below 10 degrees Celsius, is beyond me.
Anyway, we re-boarded the bus, went back into Gion, and went to find Bookoff. This is a famous chain of book shops in Japan, that sell second hand books, games, CDs and DVDs. We didn’t think they had an English section, but they do!! We found a complete manga the kids have been looking for, and it only cost ¥1000, about $10. It sells for more than $50 at home.
Back home to meet with Mya, and a quiet night. Some games, some iPad, some reading, and kombini dinner -kombini is convenience store. In our case, Lawson. Spaghetti bolognaise for Finn, onigiri and tuna and egg sandwich for Mya and tuna and egg salad for me with gomae dressing. Yum.