I can now die.
I saw geisha today. Well, one geisha and two meiko (apprentice geisha) I spotted them from afar at the Nanzenji Temple. I knew they were real, and not some tourists dressed in kimono, when I saw their white faces and quaffed hair: the meiko have lots of hair ornaments, the geisha had a different crazy-three-part-do. They were on an outing with a politician or an actor, our ryokan host believes he is an actor, or some important public figure because he was followed by an entourage. The geisha seemed very uninterested; they did not smile for the pictures,
but once they began walking the geisha did their jobs, laughing and giving attention.
"Good morning!" K sang in a sing-song-y voice at our door. She surprised us with a breakfast tray with hard boiled eggs, banana pieces, cherry, and lychee juice (we are not positive what the fruit, but it is our best guess). After first breakfast we proceeded to walk to a café for second breakfast of iced coffee and I ordered that thick buttered delicious Japanese toast. Matthew was the brave man and ordered a hot dog for breakfast.
A useful fact about Kyoto buses: You pay when you get off. You enter through the middle door and exit out the front, after paying the driver: 230 yen per ride. We rode the 100 bus to Ginkakuji Temple, nicknamed the Silver Temple. The Silver Temple was not so silver. The gardens were beautiful.
We strolled the Philosophers Walk, a 2-km pedestrian walk along a canal.
It is lined with cherry-blossom trees, but obviously they are not in bloom now, but there were pops of color and funky trees. There were many temples along the way. Honen-in Temple had the absolute coolest scenery we were by ourselves in a Buddhist cemetery, left with the eerie light coming down from the tree canopy. It was very cool.
It was so hot even the koi fish lazed-about in the shade of the bridges. Our legs were giving out so we stopped for a beer and a bathroom break. The Japanese sure love their rules, and this cafe was no exception. No going to the bathroom unless you buy one dish each.
Our dinner was something special. It was at Tseuneo, an eight-seat counter around a grill and stove, and next to an extensive wine fridge, just three doors down from our ryokan. It was one of this memorable experiences: we watched him cook and had no idea what was coming next, so we tried some things we wouldn't have otherwise tried. Our chef wore a fedora, and did not speak much English, and his menu was in Japanese so he suggested omikase.
"Like raw fish?"
Yes, yes we do. Each dish was a work of art:
Sardines w flowers
Caviar on toast (a first for us both and we both loved it!)
Sashimi: tuna, pike conger, uni I didn't hate
Corn, honey, fois gras, and an obscene amount of shaved truffles on toast (sounds odd but was phenom!)
Abalone tempura w a liver mousse. Me no likey. Chewed it for like, 8 mins.
Most refined fish n chips w mackerel and Cole slaw-esque, anti-Russian dressing condiment
Pigeon rare, like the whole bird, m ate 1/3 of my pigeon.
And three sakes, all in wine glasses. I hiccuped my way home, afraid we may awake with a case of the Gout.