Friday, June 29, 2012

Japan - Day 9 - Kyoto

     Today we are off to Geek Mecca - the Manga Museum in Kyoto.  After a hearty breakfast  by Ian of (those orange) eggs and various breads, we head out to catch Bus 17 downtown.  This bus stop is really close -  just around the corner and down a few stairs.  James has worked out where to get off and takes us unerringly to the museum, where he is immediately lost to all human contact.  Shelves of manga from countries all over the world line the walls and people are spread out reading in chairs and outside in a fake grass area and against walls everywhere.
     There is original artwork all over - some things you are allowed to photograph, others not.  I go and watch the precursor to Manga, a children's picture book type show done by a professional storyteller with many games and voices expressive enough to make up for my lack of Japanese.  (I win a cheap child's ring for my answer: "Tamago"- eggs- one of the few Japanese words I know - to one of the questions.  I put it on my little finger, forget it's there, and cut my lip rubbing it a half hour later and have to staunch the flow of blood in the restroom.  Am I living or what?)
     By around 3 pm I am starving and have to drag James bodily away from the books.  Once out, he decides he's hungry too and we end up with another of those ubiquitous and inexpensive rice bowls with a little meat on top.
     There is a famous Japanese castle down the road a bit, so we go there, pay our admission, and realize that it is 4:00 and they are starting to close down.  We have a hurried self tour - more lovely gardens, a large building with a "Nightingale Floor" which squeaks musically with each step to give warning, lots of other buildings, and a nice big moat - no crocodiles though.  We are not allowed to take any photographs inside.  The cafe sells the elusive Ramune but, again, bottles must be finished and returned immediately.  It's like these things are a National Treasure, or something.
     Afterward, James realizes the Manga museum is open until 6, so he rushes us back (it's actually a warm, sunny day today) and I arrive red-faced and gasping.  I rest on the fake grass lawn, while he attempts to read the entire museum contents in the 90 minutes he has left.
     On our way back to the bus, we detour into a covered shopping area and spend a pleasant few hours shopping.  While looking for James in a geeky looking shop, I find the Holy Grail, 4 different flavors of Ramune in small plastic bottles.  He buys 3 in red, white, and blue, and indulges in the  white one- which tastes just like Juicyfruit gum. He is getting a bit more comfortable with his Japanese now, and tries to talk me into taking the bus back  while he goes on to another anime store he has been told of.  I'm no dummy though.  We have no way of contacting each other and I know, given my directional sense, I'd soon end up wandering the streets of Kyoto at night or accidentally take the bus to Okinawa.  (The bus stop where we get off is different and utterly unfamiliar, so even he admits I was right.)  He drops me off at the door - exhausted and ready for a shower (no baths here, alas) while he expends his 18 year old night owl energy wandering around town at night.
     Tomorrow we're off to Osaka.
The outside of B and B Juno in Kyoto

James is always bumping his head coming out of the Japanese rooms, and you can see why!

Figuring out how to take Bus 17 to the Manga Museum.  James is an awesome navigator!

The Center of all Geekdom.

Manga from all countries- plenty in English to enthrall James.

The pre-manga picture show- very fun

James and I by the museum Phoenix

Umm- James- can we get lunch now- please?

More of those orange-yolked eggs at a convenience store.

At Nijo Castle in Kyoto

No photography was allowed inside, but here we see some Samurai figures from the outside.

More photos of the castle and grounds

It even has a moat!
All week long I've been standing in long lines to avoid these traditional Japanese squat toilets.  You're supposed to squat or kneel facing forward.  At the restaurant, this is the only game in town and, besides, I've seen old women in full skirts use them- how hard can it be?  (Guess who gets to spend the rest of the day with a sweater tied around her waist...)

Back to the Manga museum.

Link to: B&B Juno

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