Prior to leaving Hiroshima, we toured the Calbee (snacks) plant. What’s unique about these snacks is that many of them have shrimp! Also, at this particular plant, none of them are fried. I loved the snap peas snack the best. I hope their snacks will one day be in America soon.
Like at most places we visited, we wore slippers (gray ones). Then, when you go to the bathroom, you switch into bathroom slippers (pink ones). I also switched to bathroom slippers at my host family’s home.
Their public telephone doesn’t look like ours, but what’s similar is that people only use it for emergencies since everyone has cell phones. It came in handy, according to a Japanese friend, during the tsunami and earthquake last year.
We took the Shinkensan to Kyoto and immediately, we saw temples! You bump into them everywhere you go!
This is an octopus stand! Um…no thanks!
Food at restaurants, even fancy ones, is on display.
I met with my brother-in-law, who lives in Kyoto. He took me to a nice restaurant, Moritaya, and we had Korean pork. At this restaurant, you cook your own food right at the table.
Isn’t our waitress lovely?
Later I ventured on the bus, by myself! My group was on a tour while I’d been with my brother-in-law. It was a little scary because NOTHING was in English. I was happy when I saw my stop!
That night, we had a drink in the Kyoto Tower. The view was pretty nice.
Kyoto was an interesting mixture of old and new. There were temples around almost every corner. I felt adventurous and took the subway too. It was much easier to figure out the train schedule here than the one in Tokyo.
We ventured into Gion,which was great for people watching and shopping. We saw many women and men wearing yukatas (summer kimonos). How beautiful!
We spotted several Geishas too! Actually, they are not Geishas. They are apprentices so they are called “Maiko”. It was surreal to see them!
Isn’t she lovely? I couldn’t believe she let us take a picture! Most of them avoided cameras and the pictures I took were of them running away. (Paparazzi, anyone?)
Our last night for the entire trip was in Kyoto and were treated to an amazing dinner at a beautiful Japanese restaurant. I will miss all the new friends I made from our group. We had educators from California, Texas, Colorado, Oregon, Georgia, Belgium, Canada and Michigan. This was a fun, energetic and passionate group and I’m proud to have met you all!
I will also miss my Japanese family, who truly made me feel like family, and all the gracious Japanese people I met along the way. This experience will stay with me forever and I know that I’ve made lifetime friends from all over the world.