series : my spring in Japan 4

Still in 15th May 2015..

Takeshi’s guesthouse is awesome. It is so homy. It is a traditional modern Japanese house with a living room and  garden in the middle. The floor either use tatami or wood. All interior is using wood, including the bunk bed. There are three basins, three toilets, and three shower rooms. The living room is the life of the house where people usually gather and share stories. The guesthouse also have several private rooms but with different price.

I rent a bed in 8 bed female dorm. The bed is comfortable and the blanket is thick. I can not be too cold inside that. It is very clean and tidy. And, Takeshi is a great host. He can speak excellent Chinese and basic English, enough to communicate. He is one of the element that make the guest house like a home. The last minute booking turns out the most comfortable guest house i ever stay.

I met a lot of people when i enter the room. I will share the full story later on. In short, i meet Jin Suk from Korea and Melissa and Olivia from New Zealand. Not long after our first interaction (i really want to say conversation, but i am not sure that English dictionary will allow me to use conversation as the right word definition), Jin Suk ask me if i want to have dinner together. She only say, “Dinner?” And i say yes by nodding my head. We went to traditional Japanese restaurant in Gion. We ordered a kind of Ryori’s meal where there is a set menu consists of rice, tempuras, tofu, and side dishes – it costs me around 1,500 yen. It is a lot for me and honestly i can not finish it. We dine at 8.20 pm and apparently it is a last order. So i conclude that Gion’s area for dining (not for drink) is closed around 9 pm. Thanks God we arrive at the right time.

Stomach is full and our heart is a happy. We decide to go back to the guesthouse. I also feel very tired – haven’t sleep, remember? However, once we arrive in the guesthouse, our New Zealand friends (fiction name: Melissa and Olivia) ask if we want to join them to have dinner and a drink. Then, we join them for a drink.

Since Gion area is closed already, we walk towards Pontocho Street. After walk for a while, we end up in Ramen shop just before the Pontocho areas, near the famous okonomiyaki place. This is when things get interesting.

After the supper, all of us are standing on the street. Then, suddenly a young Canadian male shout at us to startle us. Some of us yell due to element of surprise. Then the conversation flows that he has a recommendation on where to drink. We mention a place that Takeshi recommends us. He says he know the place and he will show the way to us. Minutes later, we walk with him to Pontocho area.

Well, if you think this is scary, it is actually not – more to funny perhaps. He seems a bit drunk with a bottle of beer on his right hand. But, he looks harmless. He chat with us – especially with Melissa – along the way. Afraid? no, but concern? yes. If unknown people approach you with drunk attitude, you have every right to be careful. Even though Melissa seems patiently talk to him, she glances at us several times, indicating that we gonna lost him in our way.

He gives us direction with google maps where i do the same thing – carefully following him. After around 20 minutes, we arrive in designated place. Surprisingly, he says “Now you are arrived safely, i can go now.” Okay… We do not prolong his goodbye and say thank you happily. We find the place, but it seems that the place its actually a club that only open after midnight. It is only 09.00 pm. So, we decide to find another bar.

We find a strange small hallway and curiously want to know what is inside. We go a bit deep and find another hallway that has many doors. Each door is actually a small bar. This is the real Pontocho. We open almost every door and find a nice small bar with a nice music ambience. The fun thing is every time we peek inside the door, there are two reactions. They are waving at us or they are surprised. It was fun! In the bar, we get a set of chair in the corner of the bar, next to Japanese couple. The man is working in Tokyo while the woman is staying in Kyoto. The man travelled from Tokyo to Kyoto just to spend weekend with his woman. So sweet.

What make us choose this bar is because its interior design and cool ambience. It feels like in other world. We share stories where we are coming from. We also learn a bit of Japanese from Jin-Suk. Oh! if you are in Japan, you need to try Japan sake, like Umeshi. I don’t encourage you to get drunk, but a glass of this won’t get you drunk. Its the same alcohol level like beer.

After satisfied with this bar, we decide to find another bar to get another glass of drink. Four of us walk again around Pontocho area near the river and decide to try one bar there. When we get in, the owner says they are closing. Then, a middle age Japanese guy see as and give us recommendation to go to his favourite bar. Hm, but, actually he walk us back to the first bar that we had before. Knowing that, we are laugh and laugh and maybe burst to tears a bit. Whats wrong with this night? Haha..

We are about to decline his offer politely, so he can go home. But, i don’t think that he want to. Instead, he bring us to a jazz bar owned by a very kind lady. The next thing is we have a drink in bar table, having a casual conversation with the guy and the lady.

This time, i am sitting next to Olivia. From our conversation i found out that she is older than me. We talk about life, our past, and what we want to achieve in life. Its not a casual conversation like what car we want to buy. But, more on what is matter in each of our life. We also talk about our plan in the future and encouraging each other.

For any of you who read this, it is okay to have doubt on your life once a while. Each of us need a reflection in our journey, its like check our side mirror while driving or checking our GPS or even checking up our destination. People change, world also change, and so are you. What matter the most back then might not be the one now. Think about it and if you find your whats matter the most now, believe in it, give your best in it, and surrender the rest to the universe.

I am not sure its me talking or the lack-of-sleep state of mind talking now. But, i sound surprisingly poetic. This is the first day i land in Japan and it has given me plenty of interesting stories. Oh ya! After the drink, we walk back to the guesthouse and arrive safe and sound. I am looking forward to the next days, hopefully, so are you. See ya! :’)

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