Yesterday we went with Maki and the girls, first to the most interesting pet store I have ever been to… which I will save for a seperate blog, as it was completely mindblowing… and then to a local udon restaurant for lunch. Apparently the udon were very good, Shikoku style, a little firmer and chewier than Kyoto style. (I don’t know, as I can’t eat them). I had inari and onigiri, which were yummy. We then went to a place called Round 1, a giant indoor/outdoor amusement/gaming/entertainmant complex. It was bonkers.
The first level had paid amusements and some kind of gambling, as well as a million “claw” machines, where you try to pick up the prizes, but I never see anyone winning. The next level had karaoke. The next two levels were paid by time. You get a wristband and everything is included. The first level had roller-blading, Segway, shooting, darts, billiards, video games and a relaxation station, although how you could relax with that level of electronic noise is beyond me…..
Level two was the roof top level and had mini-golf, baseball batting, badminton, volleyball, tennis, basketball and archery (which, sadly was not operating the day we were there…. probably a good thing, I am yet to acquire my hakama, traditional Japanese archery and martial arts wear, and would be loathe to have to do it in jeans). The baseball was pretty cool. A batting cage, where a digital pitcher (or actually a pitching machine that looks like a pitcher) pitches and you hit the ball. Each cage had a different speed of pitch, but Super Sake Boy bats left handed, and so he used the ambidextrous cage. Being Canadian, he has had quite a lot of baseball experience, and was very impressive with the bat. Many home runs were hit, one after the other, with a satisfying clunk as the bat hit the ball each time he swang. The kids were a little shocked and surprised at his prowess.
We played mini-golf, the kids did basketball, Maki and I played Senki and Lancy in badminton. The girls are very good. I am very bad, but had a lot of fun and there was lots of laughing. I spent a reasonable amount of time playing Time Crisis, a shooting game I used to play when I was cooking for a living…. and then trying a video game where you are flying a pedal glider and you have to pedal, and steer, and move the handlebars up and down… I was laughing and crashing and really puffed out when I was done. Dancing games, DJ games, skiing, motorbikes, racing, taiko drumming, there was everything.
After three hours of fun, Maki bought the kids home, and, as we couldn’t all fit in the car, SSB, Ewan and I made our way back on the train. We perused a supermarket, making us feel that Australian supermarkets just don’t cut it, walked past a couple of sake breweries that are hundreds of years old, and along a ridiculously picturesque canal back to the train.
The kids had been angling for a Lawson (kombini-convenience store) dinner. This is something I have regularly done in the past. The selection and quality of the food in kombinis is great. So, they went to organise that, and we headed into Kyoto to organise our JR passes. Thinking that the line and wait might be extensive, going without the kids seemed a good idea. It also meant we could have a date night dinner…. For 10 years I didn’t eat red meat and there were many kinds of foods my son wouldn’t eat, so on our last trips to Japan, there were many kinds of restaurants I didn’t get to experience. We wandered around Kyoto Station for a bit, and found a little yakitori restaurant. The yakitori were good. The sake was good. The restaurant overlooked the Kyoto Tower and it was a clear night. We enjoyed our little renezvous and then caught the bus home.