Japan Trip Day 10

Second last day before I have to go back to reality. And though I didn’t want to, really didn’t want to think about the things waiting for me back home; a lot of reminders reminded me of it – especially since colleagues who were on vacation were brought back to reality already, and I was reminded by their posts that although vacation and holidays are good for the mind and soul, we still need to do what we need to do.

Tea ceremony in a kimono

The day started with me immersing once more in the cultural experience of Japan with a tea ceremony while dressed in a kimono at Maikoya. Rather than in a yukata like before during the photoshoot, this time it was a kimono and luckily for air-conditioning, it was definitely hot under those layers. I do enjoy the tea ceremony learning so much about the whole process. It was actually very therapeutic and meditative, and there was silence as we watched the lady performed the ceremony before she walked us through the steps. Every single step she took was deliberative, slow and very mindful. We learnt that it takes about 10 years to become a tea master, though one need not be a tea mater to perform the tea ceremony. We also learnt that the tea ceremony can lasts as long as possible, and guests usually don’t make their own tea; and they can request for more than 1 cup of tea from the host though usually it’s just once. We also learnt that it need not be done only on special occasions but they most definitely do it during special occasions like cherry blossoms viewing, new year or if the host gets a new set and wants to brew tea for the first time. πŸ™‚ It was a nice way to start the day, and I finally get to wear the kimono, so it was kind of fun that I wore a yukata earlier on and now a kimono… so I’ve tried on both and I do enjoy that bit of the culture. πŸ™‚

A very long wait just to take these 2 clear shots (among other clear shots) at Fushimi Inari because of the crowd. But well worth it when it’s just the orange gates and nothing and nobody else in the picture~

It was one of those days when I knew where I wanted to go, so right after the tea ceremony I took a train straight to Fushimi Inari, but not before I grabbed an early lunch at a nearby kaiten sushi (rotating sushi place). It was both fresh and cheap; although it was rotating sushi, the chefs were actually behind the belt preparing the sushi in front of our eyes. It was my first time trying the rotating sushi in Japan and I have to say it was pretty fresh. I used to have the mentality that the rotating sushi won’t be as fresh as the sushi bar; it might be so in SG since the sushi are prepared in the kitchen and takes awhile to get to the customers (while on the conveyor belt), but apparently that’s not the case in Japan since the chef just replenished the sushi or prepared new ones. πŸ™‚

The trip to Fushimi Inari was rather quick but the place was crowded in the afternoon. The exploring was done rather quickly though I spent quite a bit of time trying to get the right angle and the right shot with no people in the background or the foreground, so that I could take a nice shot of the orange gates. Hahahha… I think after the 10 minute of me dressed in Yukata holding an umbrella standing in the middle of Arashiyama waiting for the crowd to pass (the photoshoot); it built up my patience to wait for the right moment to take photos of scenery, and of course built up a bit of my resilience to stop caring about other people shooting looks and daggers my way while I waited for them to pass, hehehehehe~ πŸ˜€

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The day continued on with the next destination at Kiyomizu Temple. Along the route I managed to do a quick stop at a historical landmark; I have no idea what it was called but since I saw that there wasn’t any crowd and the sign (above) caught my attention, I figured, ‘why not?’.Β It was definitely quiet around and I do enjoy the scenery of the place under the hot sun; and I think I attracted the crowd because shortly after while I was leaving the place more people showed up, hahaha! Well, it was about 20-25 minute walk up the hilltop to reach Kiyomizu Temple, but well worth every step because the view up there was amazing. In the end when I reached the top, I went the other route rather than following the crowd through the usual route to reach the temple. The other route was quieter and less people, it still got me to the temple entrance with lesser crowd. It was a nice view from the top and I managed to get some lovely shots, I was short of paying for admission to enter the temple because the crowd started building up and people were entering the place in groups. I shall leave that till my next visit to Kyoto, perhaps during a different timing, hehehe~

Kiyomizu Temple at its finest, with the clear skies, white clouds and occasional breeze

At Kiyomizu: Selfie shot of the view (left), and while taking a short breather after a 25minute trek up the hill (right)

It did give me some time off to head back to the hotel for a short break before heading out to dinner. It was nice, catching some R&R when the sun was blazing down and I got to hide indoors with the cool blast of air-conditioning while lounging around on the tatami mats. The last night out was simple since there was no plans at all; though I managed to get a really nice dinner of tempura set. It was delicious because the tempura was cooked per order, and rather than having the whole entire dish served together, I was first served the side dish, then the miso soup and rice. And for the tempura the chef actually walked to my table to place the tempura pieces on my plate, first the ebi and the kisu fish, then the vegetables once they were out from the fryer. What I liked about the place was that we actually pour our own tempura sauce rather than being served it, so we could adjust how much dipping sauce we want to eat. I like the sauce but some places they serve too little of it, so I enjoy pouring my own dipping sauce into the saucer. πŸ™‚

20190617_181850.jpgLovely dinner of tempura, it’s called the gourmet set because of the amount of food it has, and so tasty too

A nice walk after dinner out in the chilly evening was a nice way to spend the last night out, not to mention meeting up with a ex-student for a short while. It was one of those meetings that we never knew whether or not it would happen because of different schedules. But I was glad that we made it work. It’s always lovely meeting up back home but there’s always that extra sense of ‘zing’ to meet familiar faces overseas or even meet up overseas. ❀

Tomorrow marks the last day in Japan before going back to reality, since there is a deadline we have to meet in terms of work and assignment marking (next Friday). But it has been a really relaxing time with me not thinking about work most of the time, which was a great improvement. Not too shabby for the first trip to Japan, and I love that place. And as Love puts it, he can see the effects of Japan on my face since it has a lovely glow. I supposed all the delicious food, fresh fish, good sleep and no stress made it happened, even though my white hair stayed on my head, hehehhehe. I would have thought them to disappear, hehehehe, but at least there aren’t new ones popping up? One more day in Japan with no set plans tomorrow. I shall walk around the area and see where can I slot in before I need to fly out. Not looking forward to going back, but a small part of me knew that this visit to Japan is just the beginning. Next up, September vacation with colleagues-friends! πŸ˜€

 

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