JaDa – Day 14

The trip postponed from yesterday was realised today, and it was a complete success. One of the main agendas of the day was to figure out where to get some worthy souvenirs to take home. In that respect, it was a success; also in terms of food, for Divya and Saikat. Reaching Kyoto city, our morning blues were wiped off by the crowd. After all the lamenting of not seeing enough people around, a Sunday morning in Kyoto station was more than what we anticipated. People filling up every nook and cranny of the station, we lost each other for a brief moment in the rush. The meticulous queues and discipline hold true only as long as you are not running late; even in Japan. The well-mannered crowd suddenly shed skin and ran around in frenzy. But as you move out of the station, the order and discipline falls back in place. We stood in a 30+ people long queue, to get into a bus to Shijo Kawaramachi; meticulously. A queue for a bus, really! Reaching the shopping street at Shijo-dori, we needed no map. We walked as the mind desired. Picking up random stuff, we immersed ourselves in the street shopping ‘exercise’. It was tiring and I didn’t want to shop anymore. But each store had something new to gain our attention, I gave in to my curiosity; shop after shop. Somewhere then, we entered Nishiki market. And it was a relief to me, as I had nothing to buy there. The famous food street of Kyoto wasn’t famous for their vegetarian delicacies, obviously.

As the two of them treated themselves almost at every shop to all the ‘crazy food’ possible, I remained awestruck. All that said, I found an amazing burnt caramel ice cream in a cone, delicious honey lime and a filling potato cheese ball for myself. That, and some dry fruits are pretty much the entire vegetarian option in the entire street! Strawberries and cotton candy are add-ons.

The most ‘adventurous’ we got in this otherwise normal trip was when Divya wanted to go to a particular shop for a particular thing! Trust me, it was shopping and it was boring. The only thing that kept me driving through the entire day was the curiosity to find something ‘Japanese cool’. Connecting to the ‘Kyoto free Wifi’ was also cool; the whole city had Internet! Navigating was not a problem, and we found the shop, bought the stuff and started back to the station. What else did I see? A ‘cat cafe’! A place where you sit and drink your coffee as cats ‘purrrr’ around! And people find it cool?!

It was a long day, and we had completely drained ourselves out already, by hardly 6 in the evening. We headed to the nearest bus stop. I have heard of ‘pushers’ in Japan, who stuff people into busy trains. Almost saw one at a bus back to Kyoto station from the busy streets of Shijo. He wasn’t pushing anyone, but was pretty much yelling at people to make some space for people boarding the bus. That’s the loudest I have heard a Japanese speak here. He reminded me of a typical bus conductor back in Kerala, yelling “Angottu keri nikkanam chetta. Football kalikkanulla sthalamundallo akathu!” (roughly translates to the same what I think the Japanese ‘pusher’ was trying to say). In no time, we boarded a train and reached Minami Kusatsu, and soon, i-house. With a long list of people for whom I wanted to buy something special, it was not even half the list and I was already bored of shopping! Is Amazon Japan a smart alternative? *deeply in thought*

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