series : my spring in Japan 3

I arrive in Kyoto on 11.30 AM. The last-minute accommodation i booked has check in time before 12.00 or above 16.00. I don’t think i will arrive there on time. So, instead, i decide to rent a locker in Kyoto station. I found it straight away. The cost is 500 yen. The problem is i need to pay with 100 yen coin, which i don’t have. Usually if you exchange your currency, the money exchanger will give you 10,000 yen. So, i try to make it smaller by buying common stuff that i will need, such as mineral water or food. I choose the medium locker that suitable for my back pack. It give me a key to unlocked the locker later on.

Then, i realise that i rent a locker inside the Kyoto Station terminal, not the outside. I am trying to think on how i can get in again without buying any ticket, but i stop. I am too hungry to think. What food i should eat? After battling with myself for 10 minutes, i decide to go to Ippudo in downtown Kyoto.

In Kyoto, they have one day bus pass for 500 yen. One trip bus usually cost 180 yen. If you use bus more than 3 times, this pass is cheaper than paying single trip. I end up using this pass everyday when i am in Kyoto. It is because i like to explore many places in one day.

How to find Ippudo? Easy. I mentioned that i rent mobile wifi for 10 days. So, what i do is i open Google map App and find Ippudo. I has direction not only how to reach there by car or walk but also using public transportation.

Voila! I arrive in front of Ippudo safe and sound, and hungry! It is a small shop if we compare with the Indonesia’s one. In front of me, there is two Americans are waiting. I notice that they are American from their discussion. One of them mentions that Ippudo actually has a branch in New York. It’s pretty popular amongst the local and the tourist. Not long after i arrived, people starts to queue after me. Don’t worry, every one is in order. They also give menu while waiting, so you can start to think what will you have. Next thing i know is the waiter greets me very warmly and sends me to my chair.

Compare to Ippudo Jakarta, Ippudo in Kyoto is smaller. The size is a standard Japan restaurant. However, the interior design is the same, including the chair, table, decoration, and the menu. They are also very considerate. I will fast forward a little bit into a few days later. I will visit Ippudo in Tokyo. I will wear casual attire, such as T-shirt, jeans, and a scarf. They give me a kind of “baby” napkin that i can hang on the neck, on top my of scarf. So, when i slurp the noodle, the soup will not “fly” away to my scarf. I will also confused at first, but the waiter kindly help me to wear the napkin. So kind of you!

Now, lets back to Ippudo in Kyoto. I order a Shiromaru Tamago. Compare to Jakarta, the broth is thicker (and yummier!) and the boiled egg is amazing. Inside the egg, the yolk is half cooked, but the white part is hard enough. Usually the white part is soft. I don’t know whether this is because of the egg, or it is because of the way they cook. Or, maybe both, it is amazing!

After my stomach (and of course, myself) is happy, i stop for a while, thinking on what i want to do next. Since i bought a couple of one day bus passes, i think its the time to use it. I don’t have any ambitious plan to visit plenty of places today. I just want to see how Kyoto looks like and also feel the atmosphere. Then, i just wondering around, go to any bus route i feel like and stop where i feel like.

The first thing i notice about the bus is it is very clean. The bus stop button also everywhere, more than Melbourne’s public buses. People also very polite and considerate. It shouldn’t be a surprise at this stage, considering i have met the beautiful elegant lady on the train just hours back.

The weather is nicely warm. I packed some jacket and sweater just in case if it is cold for me. As Indonesian, i used to warm weather more than cold weather. When i was back in Melbourne, even some days in summer were too cold for me. In here, the warm is also accompanying by cool breeze wind. It is a perfect weather for me.

I stop on the bus stop near the Imperial Palace and walk inside the complex. It is a refreshing greenery scenery. A little break i need from polluted and crowded Jakarta city. I always love to walk. Its good for health and its good for mind. For me, walking is like meditating. Through the movement of our body, we are guided to speak to our mind. Step by step, one after another. I walk and walk until 5 pm in the afternoon. The time certainly passes.

I check my pedometer in my handphone, it records my distance and number of steps. And, it shows *ehm* 10 km and 12,000 steps. No wonder my feet get tired. I decide to take a break and sit in Starbucks. If i don’t take a rest, i am afraid that i may bump into people or stumble and fall on the road or even get hit by a car. I feel like a zombie right now. The consequence of lack of one night sleep.

This is when i start to write this journey, to rest my body and fight my sleepiness. This is why i have all the details written in this journal. It is still one day and i wrote a lot already. If i keep up this rate, this might become a book!

Do i feel lost or strange? Surprisingly, no. I feel a bit at home instead. I don’t know why. Is it because i travel a lot? Is it because i learn the culture of some way? I don’t know and i don’t want to rationalise it. But, i know what i feel. I feel this is part of my home.

Once i feel my feet are okay, i go to back to Kyoto Station to take my bag. I am a bit confused since the locker is inside the terminal. Should i buy ticket to go inside? Hm, let’s try to talk to Information Center first. Inside, there is a lady wearing “English” pin, meaning she can speak English, obviously. She explains that i need to greet the gate officer and they will certainly let me in. That is true, they give me a paper serving as a pass that i need to give back to them afterwards.

Because of the weight of my backpack, i prefer to use taxi to get to the guest house. It costs me around 1,250 yen. Even though there is language limitation, the taxi driver always makes sure you arrive on your destination. They even will ask around whether it is the right place. In my case, he misses a couple of meters and he apologise because of that. Simply because of that i need to pay a bit more. A work attitude and quality that i respect the most from Japanese people.

I stand in front of the house for a while because i think it is locked. That is the silly me. Sometimes i am too shy in new place. Afraid that if i push or drag the door too hard, i will break it. Someone comes and says, it is unlock! Thanks man! Silly me.

As i open the door, i see a man standing in front of the door or his reception desk. In most of Asia countries, we need to remove my shoes and wear a slipper. This is to keep the house clean. As in many Asian culture, we sit on the floor using a cushion. Oh, did i mentioned his name?

His name is Takeshi. If you remember in first edition, i was joking with my friend when he mentioned that i need to meet male star and i mentioned Takeshi Kaneshiro. And now, i meet a “Takeshi”.

I think we need to stop for now. It is the first day and also the longest day. Please bear with me because this is the one of the most interesting day in my travel’s life. We met Takeshi already, the next to come is also quite interesting. Stay tune!

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