I had two hours to kill until Perrin got off work so I decided that I needed two things, chicken karaage and a Qoo both of which I would, now that I am back in Canada, kill a man in broad daylight for.
As my backpack did its best to destroy my spine I walked a kilometer or so to the station Perrin had told me to meet him at Shijo Kawaramachi. Neither of us realized this was the name of four different stops around a large building also bearing that name. When we finally found one another and set off to the historic geisha district and he pointed out quite a few historical sites and rambled like a history professor who has just that moment lost his mind.
The combination of enthusiastic rambling and architecture really added to the overall beauty of the area, in short it was spectacular. This somewhat mitigated the pain of what I assume will be a lifelong back injury from the grossly overweight and poorly designed backpack.
At one point we spotted a geisha scuttling from one building to the next trying to avoid attracting a crowd of white folks with cameras, so I let her pass without taking a photo.
As we walked onward the discussion turned to food and it seemed as though Perrin was determined to find something I would not eat. We walked from tiny door to tiny door each more cleverly disguised than the last, something about it reminded me of hobbits. Finally we settled on a thin poorly lit passageway heading up a hybrid between stairs and a ladder. Atop this rather imposing climb was an absolutely stunning restaurant, dark hardwood floors and black tables with a row of shoes along the wall.
After we had consumed manta ray fins, fish heads, all kinds of seaweed and roe we decided it was time to lose consciousness and hallucinate for a while.
The following day we had a tea ceremony to attend at the imperial palace, one of the perks I suppose.
The tea ceremony consists largely of sitting uncomfortably and bowing as low as possible before rotating a cup 180 degrees and sipping a frothy green tea. This might seem like a fairly unpleasant way to spend an afternoon, but when the feeling returns to your legs a few hours later it is exhilarating.
Fushimi Inari-taisha is one of those famous pilgrimage sites that frequently appear on must see lists, I had never heard of it. This large shiny red building is surrounded by all manner of food vendors and eerie gate things I later learned are both absurdly pricy and donated by locale families and businesses. As we looked upward to the peaks above it seemed only logical to walk to the top of the mountain and see what kind of madness could be found therein.
A weary march later we passed several graveyards with statues of some kind of coyote. I was informed of two things, first the gravestones are not for tourists who simply didn’t make it and second that the statue is Kitsune who is in fact a fox. This disturbed me mostly because I knew Kitsune was a fox from the Super Nintendo game Shadow Run.