Beauty! Shiny things! Old friends/Smithies and plain old awesome-ness! So many other words to describe my day, but I’m tired and uncreative right now so we’re sticking with those. Basically I had a really fun and busy Friday!
Today An-san, a fellow Smithie studying in Nagoya-ken, came to Kyoto!! Well, she met up with me today at the very least. Her, Hubbard-sensei (also from Smith) and I all went out to lunch at this great Thai buffet, where we were treated and had a blast catching up. Her program sounds pretty different from mine at AKP and also interesting, and she’s having an awesome time. So glad she likes it!! Aside from the convo, the restaurant was bombin’ and I had mango juice, avocado juice (yogurt-y yum? can’t really explain it), banana-topped rice cakes, fried bananas and a bunch of other delicious stuff I’m not mentioning. Ohhh it was good. Hubbard-sensei had to leave a bit early because, ya know, she has a job and everything, but we stayed later and caught up some more. Super fun and relaxed.
After that I intended to escort An-san back to school to meet up with Chu-san (they’re both from Vietnam and randomly went to middle school together – who would guess?), where I would make my way home. Guess what didn’t happen. Hilton and Daphne were also there, and they had plans to go to Kinkaku-ji, a beautiful golden temple and major sightseeing spot in Kyoto. They talked me into going, so away we went! Definitely packed, less involved than a lot of other temples and not something I super connected with energy-wise, but a very lovely spot indeed. We took a lot of group pics which was really ridiculous and fun. Oh, and fun story: we all took a picture together in front of this rock outside of the temple. Of course, no one is extremely long-armed or an octopus, so we had to ask someone to take it for us. Hilton made me do it because he didn’t want to speak Japanese to strangers, and ya know what, the woman I asked (in Japanese, of course) was a Chinese tourist who spoke Mandarin. Go figure. So Hilton (who speaks Mandarin) ended up talking to them instead anyways. Madness! Anyways, the temple was lovely and we made it out of there mostly okay (everyone but me ended up buying something, dang do they know how to sucker you in here!).
Voila, check another famous spot off my list! We all went to get ice cream goodies at the shop right outside the temple and fact: never go to the place right next to the attraction. Not even subpar, in my opinion. It’s not a huge regret, but we were a little disappointed with our decision. It’s okay though, we survived. A little grieving time and we hopped on the bus to head our separate ways, with me finally leaving An-san at Demachiyanagi. Sad to see her go but I’m sure she’ll have a great rest of her break and semester; so lovely meeting up!!
I got home and did some homework, then dinner came. Tonight we celebrated my birthday, which isn’t for a few days but I’ll be on break then. We had not only karaage but also sashimi, which make my heart oh so happy. Such delicious food, all the time, and tonight was up to standards. Then we had a birthday cake, which okaa-san bought for me because she’s wonderful. It was chocolate with blueberries and strawberries on top, plus a cute little cookie that said ‘happy birthday liz’ with a cat face on it!!! Ahhhh, the cuteness!!! We even had candles and everything (which were really hard to blow out – I call magic), and they sang to me! I could barely handle it, honestly so sweet and unexpected. So we had the cake plus a matcha cafe latte mix we’d gotten in Uji, and everything was so good. Okaa-san even bought me a present, a gorgeous scarf and fisherman pants from her store, which I’m absolutely in love with. I wish I could express my gratitude enough, it was such a good night.
To top that off, there was some music special which had Pico Taro, the PPAP genius, and he performed the long version on tv for what I believe was the first time. Either way it was beauty and is currently decorating my snapchat story 😉 After a while Tonari no Totoro, or My Neighbor Totoro, came on as a super bonus. Which meant that okaa-san broke out gifted homemade cookies and milk tea for us to enjoy. The crackers came in kinako, kusamochi (mugwort), kuro goma, miso shiro and something else. All tasty. We proceeded to watch together, and it was nice to actually understand most of it, partially because I’d seen it before but mostly because I could understand most of the Japanese. Gosh, today was just absolutely fantastic, and in the morning I’m headed off to new adventures in Kamakura. So hyped but also exhausted; ’til next time!
*note, I may not have wifi where I’m staying so don’t be surprised if there are no updates for a week. no promises.