Can I just say, Japan is amazingly spectacular. Every day I thought, "nothing can top this," yet the next day, it was even better.
Mad Dash Morning:
B and I had to make a 7:35 train. We were feeling pretty good, weaving in and out of a million Asians at the Tokyo station. It didn't last long. We were at the wrong station. With 15 minutes till take off. In a crazed frenzy, we: jumped on a train, jumped off a train, ran up and down a million escalators, ran to the wrong train, ran the right way, ran up 5 dozen stairs at least, jumped onto the train. Success. We made it.
10:30, we arrived at Kyoto, met our guide Kaori, and off we went. Thank goodness Kaori helped us find our hotel. About a block from the train station, she says, "there it is." She points to a building with a huge green sign in Japanese. Apparently it says, Kyoto Hotel Annex. Alright then.
Off we go to see the sites. The weather is heavenly, the sun is shining. But wait, are those clouds I see in the distance? No, they can't be. Not when we've left both sets of ponchos at the Annex along with our umbrellas. Kaori: "Don't worry, my phone says it's sunny all day." One minute later:
Yes, that's about right. Little umbrella- Big rain. Even littler umbrella as there were two people under it (Me and B). It's safe for you to guess that, it started pouring. Just like in Nikko. We were too cheap to buy more ponchos and instead got an umbrella. It was broken after 10 minutes. I suppose we got what we paid for.
We waited out the rain in a mini shop, dashed to a strange lunch shop that used to be a public bath (creepo if you ask me), and finally were on our way.
What we saw:
The Golden Pavilion
Rock Gardens Galore. I think I may start one of these. I hear smoothing out patterns in gravel is soothing to the soul.
Legend has it: if a carp can swim up the waterfall and drink from the top, it'll turn into a prince. To Do List: Get a dozen carp for the backyard waterfall. 12 Swimming Princes, I think yes.
Finally: Nap at the hotel from 5:00-8:40 (jet lag really did us in), woke up (luckily) just in time to dash to the train station and search for M (collapsed on the group and everyone peered at us improper Americans), found M wandering the station, back to the Annex (I'm still puzzling over why the hotel was called the Annex. As far as I know, it was simply a creepy, mini, taupe/brown/burnt orange room with scary 70's, floral bed covers. We were lucky to even wake up the next morning.)