Kyoto, Japan

My stay in Kyoto was short but much-needed. I was excited to spend some time with friends in Tokyo, but after spending 7 straight weeks with the same 30 people, I REALLY needed a day or two to myself. After saying farewell to my host mom and sister, I boarded my train to Kyoto; it was about a 2.5 hour ride and it was really smooth, clean, and uneventful. I arrived a little after 4:00 pm and set out to find my hostel. I had written down walking directions via the hostel website, and I was doing really well until the last direction, where I found myself completely lost and walking in circles down the same street for and hour and a half with 60 pounds of luggage on my back. I was so frustrated because I knew the hostel was on the same street I was on, but I just couldn’t find it. I asked a few locals, one of whom tried to help but had no such luck, and showed the address to FIVE, yes FIVE, taxi drivers. DO NOT rely on taxi drivers in Japan; though they each have their own equipped GPS system it is your job to know the directions and the exact location of your destination, or to have a map on hand… needless to say not one could help me; so I was on my own once more. At one point I just wanted to check into the nearest hotel and say, “Screw everything,” because I was so frustrated and couldn’t find it, but I finally decided to ask one final local; being in Japan I have learned how to pronounce English written words with Japanese sounds, so I sounded it out for him and he was able to point me in the right direction. Luckily, I decided to look up at the sky at that exact moment only to find my hostel. I was so angry/relieved/annoyed/happy. I was about ready to bitch out whoever was up at the front desk because they did not add in the directions that you have to turn down a sketch alleyway in order to find the building, but when I walked into the hostel I was immediately so impressed that I sort of forgot my emotions. The front desk staff was so helpful and they spoke great English; I checked into my (very nice) room and then grabbed my computer and went to the bar/lounge downstairs, where I sat on my computer for a good 4 hours just catching up on the 7 days without WiFi. I also ordered some food and just chilled out, and enjoyed being by myself.

I wanted to go to bed early that night in order to wake up early and do some site seeing, but instead I had a drink at the bar and befriended two Australians, an American from Boston, a French man, and an Irish man. Needless to say we were there all night and up for hours. I had a blast, and I even got to practice my French. I love hostels because you always meet so many interesting people from around the world.
The next morning I was talking to one of my roommates from Spain about why she was in Japan, and she invited me to breakfast with her other French friend and an Australian friend, so I met even more new people! It was so awesome! I got to practice MORE French!! J
One of my new Australian friends Hannah and I decided to spend the morning walking the famous Philosopher’s Trail in Kyoto. Together we were able to figure out the bus system, and we had an enjoyable morning and lunch together. It was fun to browse in the little shops and boutiques, as well as admire all of the surrounding nature.
The most exciting thing that happened on this day was ordering a popsicle from the SAME ice cream shop that Leonardo DiCaprio ordered from exactly one year ago when he was filming Inception! (Who cares that we were in the most historic city in Japan!)
After a nice lunch with Hannah we made our way back to the hostel so I could board my train to Tokyo. I was proud of myself for being able to travel by train, bus, foot, and stay in a hostel all alone without any help from anyone, in a country where I do not speak the language.


Philosopher’s Walk



I mean obviously




Off to Tokyo!

Sayonara,

Dana

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