utah: 5:56 a.m., wednesday, may 24
can i share something with you? today became a little too much for me. all that is inside of me filled to the brim and spilled over a bit. sitting on the bullet trainspeeding toward kyoto, it occurred to me that i am feeling rather overwhelmed on thistrip, due in part to the fact that i, in many ways, am taking care of four toddlers. without me, they cannot read, speak, or do almost anything. i have to not only find a place to eat that all four of them can agree on, but teach them how to eat the food, how to buy a ticket and get on the train, how to behave in public. on top of this comes the responsibility of making sure that all of the hotel accomodations are inorder, a mid-sized responsibility in one's own tongue; further complicated by the unknown tongue, the weight increases. [checking in to our new hotel today, i was understanding most of what the kind receptionist was saying until the end, when she went off rather quickly and all i could do was pray that she did not end with 'ka', indicating that what she had said was a question. she didn't, making well all that ended well.]i thought i would be absolutely overjoyed to the point of tears at returning to mybeloved kyoto. instead, my insides are so wrapped over making sure that every is getting along, that they are all having the time of their lives and seeing all that they want to see and will want to see, and that all plans run accordingly. obviously, not a wise attitude to adopt, and i am working on getting out of it.
it's also like being the assistant director on a movie; everyone else seems to think everything just sort of happens while the a.d. is doing all that they can to put out fires and triple checking every bus connection, open date, and see that all information is translated correctly. and at the end of the day, when everyone else goes to rest,the a.d. is up planning the next day's activities. [it is worth noting, however, that the a.d. is also enjoying a very comfortable summer kimono, provided by the hotel, as he types this.]
this morning began at a lovely 6 a.m.-ish as me and becky and dad left to see the very famous and supposedly very cool tsukiji fish market. the family went to see it on monday morning, but we got there four hours after its prime, and it was lame. today we got there in great time, only to find it deserted, but for another confused couple of white people. asking a nice old man passing by, he said today there was no market. turns out, the thing takes off 'sundays, holidays, and some wednesdays.' well, next time i'm in tokyo...
riding the bullet train to kyoto would have been a rad little journey, were it not for the above unnecessary but nevertheless real stresses described above. that, and carrying our luggage around is rather cumbersome. looking at the listings in the subway, trying to find where i should go next, a nice old lady came up to me and offered me her day's subway pass. she couldn't tell mewhere to go for our hotel, but she said she was done using the day pass that she had purchased and offered it to me, and suggested that man over there would know wheremy hotel was. what a neat country. that pass ended up saving us about $10.
getting to the takaragaike prince hotel wasn't as much of a maze as the tokyo conrad [which, i come to find out, isn't on any maps or any books [or in anybody's knowledge of giving directions] because it's that dang new], but it's not the same. the conrad probably costs 3 times what this place does, but it kind of felt like they were our friends there. the prince hotel, located on the peaceful outskirts of northern kyoto amidst lovely trees, is the best hotel for the price and all that comes with it. this includes the diligent and seemingly all-female belhop staff, who happily transport all of ourbags to our rooms and rejected any assistance offered. kyoto isn't much for hotels,and the few good ones that is does have have been booked for months [and months]. rooms here are simple but nice, looking slightly old but entirely acceptable, reached by walkingdown a continually continually curving soft pink hallway [the hotel is a six-storydonut], causing the place look like a cross between a holiday inn [considered by me and my sisterto be the epitome of hotels in our younger years] and the provo temple.
the kyoto station is one of my favorite spots in japan, and here we ate dinner at a food court that was much different five years ago--where mccdonald's and the very rare subway sandwiches broke up japanese quick meal stands [and one really good korean place] is now a more refined section of strongly japanese establishments. we eventually agreedon a ramen place: for better or for worse, nearly all stores have exact plastic replicas of their foods displayed outside, so that passers-by can look and see what all members of the family can agree on. what's cool is that once you know what you want, you insert your money in a sort of vending machine next to the plastic food case, make your choice, and give the ticket to the smiling girl welcoming people by the shop curtain. my sister pointed out that its nice to have your meal already payed for. she also noted that her ramen smelled and tasted like hay.she was right on both accounts and orded [and enjoyed] curry instead.
tomorrow we head for hiroshima. will we see everything? i'm getting out the book to start planning.
thousand year hist'ry
i'm part of 8 months of that
and it feels like home