Having a great time here. We arrived late last night and were met at the airport by Miyao and Andrea. It was gusty and cold - quite a change from the warm day we left in Sydney! The flight itself was pretty uneventful. We did meet up with our Adelaide friends who are also heading to the US for Christmas in Sydney which was fun but otherwise, nothing much to report! Ryan will tell you there was lots of wind and turbulence but I didn't notice a thing so it can't have been that bad!!
After arriving in Japan and getting through customs/quarantine with our boatload of chocolate :) we went with Miyao and Andrea to what I guess is the Japanese equivalent of a tapas bar. Very yummy though we had no idea what we were looking at until Miyao would explain what it was. Lots of seaweed!! Which was just wonderful for us. We came back to their home late and found Miyao's parents had waited up to meet up so we shared tea and remarkably understood details about our trip. We have decided that Miyao's father is very much like my Dutch father and Ryan's American father - interested in everything and loving to get the atlas out!! They are spoiling us rotten. For example, we had an absolute smorgasbord of a Japanese breakfast this morning (complete with scary little bug~eyed fish!!)
Today, we have been sightseeing in Kyoto. We started off at the Bamboo Gardens in Kyoto and then found a Japanese garden and temple. Most of the autumn colours are gone but there were still a few trees with beautitful red foilage. We then walked down past a few shops to the riverside where we found a restaurant and had more delectable Japanese food. I will have to add pictures to this post when I can because once again, I couldn't tell you what we ate was called!
After our lunch, we drove to one of the large temples in Kyoto and walked around there. This temple is one of the choices for the New 7 Wonders project (which is worth googling if you haven't voted!) It was truly inspiring. As we walked around, the sun set and we soon were walking in half-darkness which made for an amazing atmosphere and we took some incredible photos. Which I will post later too ;)
The way to the temple was a small cobbled street with lots of shops selling traditional Japanese items and gifts. Everything is so beautiful - we could spend hundreds of dollars! On the walk up, we tried the green tea soft serve icecream. Very `interesting` but it grows on you!! Ryan also managed to find a Japanese donut stall...
After the sightseeing, we went into Kyoto city to the arcades. I know now why the international students I teach are so disappointed with Adelaide shopping! Wow, the choices!! Very bustling and also plenty of amusing Engrish examples. We did a little gift buying and then it was time to drive back towards Osaka.
We had dinner at a sushi restaurant in Osaka which is similar in concept to the Sushi train restaurants in Australia. The sushi options come around on little plates on a conveyer belt and you take the options you like and let the others pass you by. Because Andrea has tried most of the options and has similar taste to mine (ie she doesn't like `fishy fish` either), I tried a whole set of new favourites including raw tuna!
We're now back at the Miyao home and since Ryan is probably anxious to check his email, I will sign off now. I really wish I could add some pictures to show you how gorgeous everything is here but that will have to wait until next time! We're off to Tokyo tomorrow - on our own this time - and will probably next check in from New York.
Love to all who bother to read this,