Not much was accomplished today. I had katsudon, inspired partly by my love of tonkatsu and partly by it being a beautiful part of Yuri On Ice. It was banging and so was the shu cream (a popover-puff filled with custard) we had for dessert. I love the food here so much.
Now for the thoughts part, which I realize I haven’t done for a month – whoops! Sorry guys, seems life has been exciting enough that I didn’t need to turn to the series as a filler. Alas the day of utter laziness and nothing-ness has come, so here we go with part 6!
- Apple cider seems to be a foreign concept. Okaa-san and otou-san were surprised at the lack of fizz and kept correcting my サイダー to ソーダ. Nope, I definitely meant cider.
- Even in the winter I can still find a lone kaki-goori sign peering out at me from a random shop window. Bless.
- Street ice cream as a whole is still in full swing. I deeply appreciate it.
- Not having to tip in restaurants is something I’ll miss. They have an actual hourly wage here vs America’s crap treatment of service staff, so it’s unneccessary and pretty rude to tip.
- Everyone here has pretty good hygiene, at least regarding their hands. All the people I’ve noticed have nicely trimmed nails and not-cracked, gross dry skin. I’m impressed.
- Christmas is not a big deal. I knew going in that New Year’s was where it’s all at, but I was surprised to be out and about shopping myself on the 25th and be surrounded by hoards of other people, specifically at lunch time. Unexpected, to say the least.
- The Hyaku-en shop near me has changed it’s irksome 1-minute jingle into a more pleasant, 3-minute tune that favors talking over singing. Less noticeable, more preferable.
- The weather is a joke. I’m from New England, so yes it gets balls-cold there and in the winter below freezing (32 F/0 C) is normal, but here everyone’s bundled up at like, 40 F/4 C (which is the lowest its been while I’ve walked around) and I just don’t understand. These people, or at the very least my host fam, are not cold weather-tolerant at all.
- Apparently the area below Kyoto Station is pretty shady for living. I don’t know how bad, and I’m assuming it’s nowhere near say, the Bronx level of check-yaself, but Kathy (the English sensei from Cali) said she steers clear of there at night at all costs. Note to self if I end up living in Kyoto in the future.
- Bikes are still in full-force despite the ‘cold’. Which I’m sure isn’t a choice for many people because otherwise its a commuter pass that costs a fair bit, but I think in America most bike commuters turn elsewhere come winter.
- When I went to karaoke with okaa-san and her big bro, they picked out some American songs that were classics of anywhere from the 70s-90s and assumed I would know them. As in, the song would come on and when I asked ‘who’s singing?’ they said ‘you’ and I went ah hell no. Despite being from the country, I do not, in fact, know all the words to every Michael Jackson song, obscure hits from your childhood or “Video Killed the Radio Star“. Even if I managed to pull most of them off because the tune and lyrics matched easy enough, I still did not know them. Please be kind if you go to karaoke with foreign friends.
- The tv shows really love using American pop songs, specifically Katy Perry hits and Rolling Stones oldies, as 20-second themes in quiz shows. I can’t recall any of the songs specifically right now, but they come up and they’re just the weirdest assortment of American hits.
- Most oranges here are from California, according to okaa-san. Aw yeah.
- Stollen, or german fruit cake with raisins (may they burn in hell) is the big thing for this holiday season. I’m so sad this trend extends to Japan.
This may keep updating for the next few hours, but for now that’s it. Hope everyone had/is having a happy holiday season!
Check out my other Thoughts On Kyoto posts below, and take a look at all the posts in my Thoughts On . . . series here.