In February, my good friend Jo-Anna booked a flight to come visit me. I was sort of disappointed, because she wasn't comin until August, and that didn't help my lonliness at the time. But time flew, and lo and behold, yesterday, she arrived.
Since I had to finish working, I gave her explicit and detailed directions with colors, maps, and pictures - and we met up at Tsuruhashi. I was super excited to see her and looking forward to spending the week together; she was super happy to be in Japan and see again too. We dropped off her stuff at the dorm, and went for supper to a little place by my house - Akoya. I haven't been yet, so it was to be an adventure. It turned out to be a great one! It's quite small; there was the chef and one patron. The patron spoke some English, and the four of us had the grandest time.
They thought we were pretty awesome (cuz we're foreigners) and kept saying how pretty and good looking we were...but not in a creepy way, more in an amazed way. We laughed and talked and ordered some food. I asked for their recommendation, which was fish and octopus. It came sashimi-style...I didn't realize Jo-Anna doesn't like sushi and has never tried sashimi. But she tried it (kudos for being brave) and liked it! We took some pictures, and then pulled out our money to pay. We misread the bill, and as we were pulling out more money, they both gave all the money back and said it was on the house. I tried to pay them and shove some money in their hands, but they wouldn't take it (bill amounted to just over $30). They just said to come back sometime soon, so we're going to stop by again this week. They also said they had noticed me before (I walk by twice a day).
Today, we visited Kyoto. We wandered a bit and bought some beautiful pottery from a nice couple - took some pictures with them and chatted for a few minutes.
The man who made our beautiful pottery
This week is the Gion festival, so stands are starting to appear in Kyoto - we spent quite a while looking at the infinite and intricite pottery. When we realized we couldn't look at pottery forever, we headed up to Kiyomizu Temple.
Just before going inside, we met Gaku. He is a computer programmer who has been working in Japan for 10 years. He asked if he could join us, which was fine with us. We went into the temple area and looked at all the buildings and the three story pagoda. We also got inside one of the buildings that is normally closed - it is open today for Sen Nichi day; if you make a wish on this day inside the temple, it is as if you came for sen (1000) days! Gaku also showed us the Kiyo Mizu of the temple (kiyo = pure, mizu = water) - which I hadn't known about!
The water was really good, especially since it was so warm out, and we were quite thirsty! Then we visited some of the smaller shrines...there was one shrine especially for love. It is said that if you successfully walk from one Love Rock to the other, with your eyes closed, you will find love soon. I had to try, and I made it! So I shall find love one day soon...
After we left Kiyomizudera, we were getting pretty tired and I was pretty hungry. We walked back down to Shijo Street, and searched for food.... which took a while to find. Jo-Anna was tired and her back was sore. I was hungry. Really hungry. We were at each other's throats a bit.... and we were both a bit annoyed by Gaku. He was really nice, but we wanted to talk to each other, and didn't want to be rude to him. So we had to try and include him, which was awkward sometimes...and he was a pretty clingy walker (you know those people...whenever you turn around they are right. there.). But we did finally find food, yummy food. We relaxed in the AC and ate, and felt much better and less grumpy after.
Finally - dinner! Jo-Anna & Gaku
We did a bit more shopping and exploring, then decided to head home. We were both a bit annoyed by Gaku, but felt bad because he was really nice, and really helpful. He was asking about our plans for the week, and I sort of vaguely told him, but as soon as I sensed he might ask to join in, I changed the subject. I figured that was nicer than having to tell him "No".... On the train ride, we sort of talked to each other a bit more and (unintentionally) ignored him a bit. But he seemed really happy to have met us and gave us his email address, and got promises that we would email (and we will).
On the way home, we stopped at the supermarket and picked up some snacks, and had a party and girl talk in my room. It's been great to catch up with Jo, and we've had lots of giggles and good talks already - and it's only Day 1 of the week!