FOR us to go to Kyoto, we had to pack our bags and take a train ride to the ancient capital of Japan. Bringing luggage is never easy and it becomes more challenging when you have to fight your way through the crowd. But we would not have it any other way. We could have easily taken the easier way but not this family of ours. Our way is to face up to the challenges of the city and that included navigating our way through subways and train stations. Besides it is fun, besides it is a unique way of bonding. And besides you get to see more places and see interesting things. Like this Japanese bakery called Beard Papa, only the Japanese can think of that. Or maybe as Raphael said, "Bakadapat Bread Papa, nagkamali lang." See what I mean?
Anyway, the only person who was lucky on the train to Kyoto was Chona because she got a seat while the four of us were standing, luggage and all for the one hour trip. But we were talking and we were having fun. Upon arrival we pushed our luggage once more. This time we were not staying in an apartment but a four star hotel situated as their ad would say, "a seven minute walk." (More on that next article) Our hotel was pleasant, very comfortable and conveniently located. We were near the bus stations, convenience stores and dining places.
We were going to spend three days in Kyoto so we did not waste time. After checking in we started checking out the places and the first place we went to was Gion to look for geishas. We found one walking. The rest of the time was spent just wandering endlessly. That night Chona met a good friend of one of her brothers. They were also a family from Davao. In fact, two of them were students of mine. We never saw each other in Davao but we met in a train station in Kyoto.
The next day we went to Arashiyama where we saw temples galore and the famous Arashiyama bamboo forest. It was a quiet place and it was cool. While we were walking along the forest we heard loud voices that turned out to be Filipinos making fools of themselves by attracting attention to themselves by shouting and laughing aloud. But aside from them, the place was really really nice and I swore I would go back to that place. I like the river where our children who thought they were sailors decided to rent a boat and paddle around the river. Well they paddled all right but only in circles. But it was money well spent because it is very rare that Chona and I can laugh at our children in a boat, paddling in circles in a river in Japan.
The next day we went around shopping. I have to say this. Things are not expensive in Japan. In fact, much of the stuff we bought were cheaper there than here. That day also, we met up with a Davao couple. I was rummaging through some clothes when someone suddenly said, "Rene?" O hala! It was fun talking to them and they suggested a ramen house. I was taking her word for it because she is known in Davao to be a foodie. So we searched for the ramen house and we found it but unfortunately it was closed.
The owner apologized and said that they would be open the next day. We went back. It turned out that the ramen house was owned by a husband wife team and their daughter. When our orders came, the daughter surprised us with a gift. She said that she remembered us and they just wanted to thank us for coming back. That was touching. And you know what? That was the best ramen I have ever tasted in my life. That was out of this world really. If you go to Kyoto, ask for the ramen house called 1000 Winds Or in Japanese: Ramen sen no Kaze. You will not regret it. But look for it because it is a nook.
The following day, we went to the Kyoto Studio Park. It was rather far but it was fun. We met ninjas and samurais. We had lunch at a bakery which served really good old fashioned doughnuts; you know the ones sprinkled with sugar only. We all laughed when we found out the name of the bakery.
Kyoto was enriching and fulfilling. But now it was time to go back to Osaka.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 20, 2015.
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