Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Kyoto Trip Day 1

So as you may know, I went to Kyoto over the weekend! It was super hectic, but fun all the same. It was actually not the best time to go, since my essays and all are due, but hey, I signed up for this last year. So looking at posters in train stations actually help.

Day 1 - Kiyomizudera, Dinner with Maiko and Geiko

I reached Kyoto at about noon, having boarded the 9am shinkansen. It was too early for check-in, so I left my luggage at the hotel and made my way to Toji, where I got to put on a kimono!

I'm loving the obi!
Since I'm there for the Kimono fashion show, I had a rehearsal going on in the evening. But, there were a few free hours, so I decided to get back to the hotel and see if I could go anywhere.

Luckily, while I was at the train station, I met someone also at the show and we decided to go to Kiyomizudera together! We were at the same hotel and from Fukuoka, so we got along well. There was a bus from Kyoto station, and we managed to get on it before it left. Running in a kimono is no joke :p

By the way, the buses are 230 yen, no matter what the distance is.


Kiyomizudera is what I call 人山人海 (people as many as the mountains and seas). And this is the off season. We made our way up the slope and around the place. But you know, once we reached the top (but not at the place yet), we decided to stop for tea. It's supposed to be getting colder, but it was pretty hot, so I got some cold matcha, with the sweet of the day.

Refreshed by the quick break, we started walking around the place. It's a pity that the momiji trees are still green, but Kiyomizudera is still a beautiful place. I didn't have enough time to edit my photos yet, so enjoy them in their unedited glory! 

The entrance

They actually have a set path, which is very long. But just after you pass the main hall, you get to the place where those famous photos are taken. This is where the panorama function of my phone comes in handy (ok, so there is one edited photo)

Can you imagine what it'd look like if it's all red? Or during sakura season? I totally want to come back to Kyoto and brave the crowds.

And since I wasn't alone, I had my new friend help me take a photo :D

I actually had to be at Toji by 4 (the paper said 5, but they told me 4), but uh, we were running a little late. And it didn't help that I was too busy stopping to take photos like this:

Oh, at the end of the walk, they had this three waterfall thing. People were lining up to drink (?) Gargle (?) from the water on it. I'm not sure why though... Anyone knows?

Since this is a major tourist area, I took a cab back to Toji and was only 15 minutes late. Or 45 minutes early, if you count from when the rehearsal actually started. It's a good thing the cab wasn't too late.


I found out my song at the rehearsal. It's...

Yup! I was so shocked that I know the song haha. And it turns out that as number 2, I have to stand in the centre of the stage. And be the first to walk down, along with number 1. O.O

Nervous much.

Actually, not than. At that point in time, my main concern was getting to the dinner on time, because we were running late. So I was a bit rude and asked if we could go early. The answer was no, cause there were too many of us, but they did delay the starting time of dinner, and helped us all get cabs to share.

Dinner (前夜祭)

The dinner was basically what I was looking forward to the most! I was told that I would be going see maiko and geiko so I was super enthusiastic.

My seat - there's a letter from the president
My table had three other people, and I found out that one of them was my roommate! I was pretty worried about whether I could get along with a roommate, even for a night, so it was good to be able to get to talk to her in a more relaxed setting.

We ate something called 京料理 (Kyoto cuisine), and it was good! From what I know, this style emphasises the seasonal aspect of the food. At any rate, it was beautiful and tasty.

The first course - I couldn't eat the ginko, but thankfully, it wasn't cooked with the others
I took lots of pictures, but I decided not to spam. Just one more, of the fish. The fish was good, but hard to eat.

Oh, I found out something interesting. There was something written on the chopstick holder thing (the paper holds the chopsticks together). My roommate was very curious what it meant, so she asked a server, and it led to the owner coming to explain it to us. Apparently, it's a word written to represent the month. 

Halfway through the dinner, the two maiko and one geiko came!!!!!

It was fun. We were actually at the back of the room, so it was hard to get a photo. I had to go to the front to get some nicer shots. Hehe. I hope I didn't get bother the people in front too much, nearly everyone was trying to get a shot.

The maiko performed two dances!

If I remember correctly, the geiko was on the shamisen. It was an interesting experience.

After the whole thing, there was a group photo, then the maiko and geiko went around the room. We managed to get to talk to the two maiko, and even received a name card! According to the roommate, you're supposed to put it in your wallet, and it'll attract money because まいこみ or something like that.

She looks like a painting! 
 When the maiko came, I got a picture with them! Well, I got a picture with both, but in the other picture, the roommate is inside, and she does not want her face on any social media sites. So, just this one:

We actually got to talk to the maiko for quite a long time. She explained things like why she only paints her bottom lip (she's in the first year, so she can't paint the top lip) and her hair ornament, which changes according to the month, so you can tell when you took a photo with a maiko. The month, anyway. And also more, like about her obi, which is 6m long and hangs down the back, and even the obijime (not sure if there's a different name for this one)

Her obijime. Apparently, it differs on your Ookiya (house) or something like that.
Totally an informative conversation. She was actually telling us that it was very girly, because most guys normally just ask her age and stuff like that. But I guess because we were all in kimono, we were more interested in that aspect.

After that, it was time to go back! I shared a cab with the room mate, my new friend, and another new friend, a girl in my scene (For the show). The cab driver was totally nice and showed us this awesome place, which was lit up really prettily!

After I got back, I finally checked in, took out my contacts and began the slow process of getting off the kimono and getting it ready. Then, off to bed, because I had to wake up insanely early for Sunday.

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