Saturday, April 5

Kyoto, Sunday afternoon

We were up and out early today. Yesterday F & Z wanted to visit a garden at one of the big shrines, but the line was too long. Z went up to the guard and asked (in Japanese!) what time they opened in the morning, got a reply which he understood so the three of them were planning to get there at 8:30 this morning. I went instead to the coinlaundry (my choice). It's just a hole in the wall, but it has a raised wooden floor with a no shoes sign and convenient and clean slippers to wear. That way when you drop your clean clothes or your skein of yarn on the floor they don't get dirty.

Then I went to Nijo Castle, the nightingale floor castle (or maybe all of them have such floors?) For touring the inside, I think I was supposed to get with a group and stay with them, but it was really just a solid line of people and I was unobtrusively going a little slower and on my own. Towards the end though I got shunted into a group of English speakers. We were in the Shogun's private quarters and the scene showed the shogun and several lady attendants. One is offering the shogun a cup of tea. The guide said that she was an apprentice and if the shogun accepted the tea then she would become a lady attendant, but if not, then she "wasn't his cup of tea." Everyone laughed and started murmuring - so that's where the expression comes from --- but then the guide shouted out "Joke!" So I don't know but am curious if the etymology of the phrase is known. Perhaps one of my faithful readers who aren't paying 10 yen per minute for internet could look it up and leave a comment?

Because internet is not free, I am reading email and blogging, but haven't emailed anyone yet. So hello and thank you for the comments and I am thinking of you all and will talk to you later.

Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen. The first two are pretty useless and cannot be used in vending machines. Fortunately you don't get them often because almost everything with the included tax is a multiple of 10 yen. However there are some exceptions, like Family Mart coffee, so I did start collecting some 1 and 5 yen coins. Then today I was at a food stall and my bill was 1046 yen. And there was no one waiting so I counted out 46 yen in 1 and 5 yen pieces and handed her them and a 5000 yen bill. Then she said that she made a mistake and my bill was really 886 yen (at least that's what I think she said, since she spoke no English) so she handed me 4 1000 yen bills, my 46 yen and an additional 114 in coins. Sigh, so much for trying.

Next I went to the Kyoto International Manga Museum. I had thought that Zach would be interested but he said absolutely not. Well, I was on my own and it was nearby so I did. When I turned the corner and saw the courtyard I understood Zach's reason. CosPlay. What a cultural experience. I can see why he who scorns such would not want to be there and appear to accept it. But it was quite an interesting people watching experience for me.

The manga was not that interesting, there really wasn't much but a lot of books to read, but the building is a converted primary school built in 1869. It was lovely architecture. In the 1990s when enrollment had declined tremendously due to families with kids leaving the central downtown area, they made the painful decision to close and consolidate the elementary schools. One room in the museum was devoted to the history of the school and that's where I spent most of my short visit.

well, my time is about up, so I am off for now.


Maggie said...

Hi Sis,

I've been enjoying reading of your vacation. We only spent 1 day in Kyoto and we went to the Nijo castle. We rode the Shinkensen in and out the same day. It was not crowded at all because we went in August and it was very hot.
I enjoyed the rain chain hanging from the gutter, the men trimming the trees on three-legged ladders and how incredibly thick the gate in the wall was.

Thanks for sharing your trip. I can't wait to see photos.

Erika said...

"This is a 19th century British phrase. In Britain, tea has been an extremely popular drink since the mid-1700s. Even now many English people have a cup of tea every mid-afternoon, and there are many different flavors to choose from. In the late 1800s, people in England started saying that something they liked was their "cup of tea." Later, probably in the 1920s, the expression took on its present meaning."

KarenJoSeattle said...

Wow, I miss reading for a couple of weeks and you head off for exotic adventures. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I hope you got your 10 yen's worth. Looking forward to photos.