Kyoto | 1

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“Who never heard Rather Be? A song that won Grammy 2015 for Best Dance Recording? You? :)”


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Honestly speaking, first time I heard that catchy song when my silly best friend, Yuriko, sent me a hilarious lip sync video with Rather Be as a back sound. My ears were quickly catched the rhythm and I JUST LOVED IT. When I asked him who sang the song?, I knew he would abuse me (and he did) cause both of us are always compete “who is the hottest music sensation right now?”. I didn’t know who sang the song till he gave me the band’s name, Clean Bandit feat Jess Glynne. Since then, if I need mood-booster in the morning, I’ll let Rather Be resonant in the air. Oh, the scene in the clip is in Tokyo, one reason I loved too.

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I made a reservation for Shinkansen at JR office a day before I off to Kyoto. I chose 10am in the morning since I knew I would be so tired after I went to many places. At least I could wake after 8 and I would still have time in the afternoon to explore Kyoto on my third day in Japan.

Since I had to take a train from Asakusabashi to Tokyo Station I gave myself enough time in the station. I didn’t want to gamble then, cause I knew Tokyo Station is super-duper busy with all those people that spread all over the place. Confusing yet fluttering. If you are there for the first time, it is safer to give an extra time before you enter the train esp for Shinkansen. It is not funny if you have reserved a seat to Kyoto or Osaka or other destinations and you are late. Learning to be discipline as Japanese is a good thing, at least if you are in Japan as a tourist. 

Experiencing Japanese bullet train was memorable. Traveling with Shinkansen for the first time might be a bit challenging since you have to make sure all details for your journey is understood. You just need to ensure which platform your train will off from, what is your car number and your seat, and when will you off to your destination. If you are still new with Japanese train, don’t be hesitate to ask the officer you can find in the station in case you’re confuse with your platform cause in Tokyo Station people is walking and running just like marbles.

I was off from Tokyo via Shinkansen Hikari by 10:03 sharp and it took only 2,5 hours to Kyoto. For me it is a mandatory seating by the window. Enjoying the view while having breakfast with fresh-packed sushi, almond crush Pocky, green tea roll cake, and a cup of caffè latte inside Shinkansen? I couldn’t ask for more. Maybe it was a proper ‘proper’ camera I missed since capturing the scenery with an iPhone was a waste (you ask a clear picture inside a bullet train that running at speeds of up to 320 km/h?).

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“Sometimes, we just fall in love on something with no reason needed”


Just like Rather Be, I didn’t need a reason why my heart fell in love with Kyoto. From my first step, I felt I had an affair with the city thenceforth.

On a quite afternoon where I took train from Kyoto Station to Kujo Station, I finally arrived at Minami-ku Higashikujo where Lower East Nine Hostel is located. I dropped a nylon bag which was filled with my clothes for the next two days and went straight to explore Nishiki Market. Some ‘Kyoto-scenes’ around my hostel via iPhone.

 

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Arrived at the one of Japan’s most iconic market made me thought ‘why I didn’t leave my wallet in the hostel’. At Nishiki, your sense will compete seriously (not to mention that you better keep your wallet save from ‘visual-temptation’). Especially those mini-and-super mini cuties which spread all over the souvenir shops. Not only those, you’ll find beautiful handmade cookware, ceramic plates (I could be so crazy if I were a real food stylist!), yummy street food, delicious teas, fresh fishes and friends, oh look at those mini octopuses that you’ll always find on my table every time I have a treat at Sushi-Te in Indonesia, Japanese kimonos, and even pairs of limited Adidas shoes (I was saved from the last one!). You shouldn’t worry if you feel hungry after exploring this market cause you’ll find a few of sit-down restaurants along.


 

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My next destination after Nishiki Market was Gion, the most exclusive and well-known district where you could find geisha, if you are lucky. What I had in mind was a perfect evening scene where I could find old-styled Japanese houses and dreary light from Japanese lantern on the street. But I was quite exhausted after chasing some souvenirs on my first day in Kyoto. So I changed my mind to skip Gion at night and thought it wasn’t a bad idea to come back to hostel by 4pm.

There was no single regret though I couldn’t spend an evening at Gion. I remember vividly how it felt when I was staring at the window in the hostel after I bathed. It was around 6pm, heavy rain just stopped, the road was quite, I found dreary light from those street lamps, and I felt that ‘feeling’ when I was so grateful for an opportunity to visit somewhere new, an opportunity to experience something new, and an opportunity for being alive.


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After I enjoyed my dinner, I continued my evening-ritual before I went to sleep ; checking my next destination for the next day, complete with the map and subway lines. As I mentioned on this post, what I loved from my hostel in Kyoto is the loungish sitting room upstairs. I spent the rest of my evening there with a casual conversation with two Indian young ladies from The UK. How did I know where they came from? from their British accent which is very familiar with the English I use here. Poor me I couldn’t remember their names but we had an interesting conversation till I had to say goodnight to recharge myself for the next adventure.

When I entered my room before 10pm, I realised it was a mix room for boys and girls cause I didn’t see any travelers when I arrived in the afternoon. Spending my first night in Kyoto, I met with my roommates, Joe and Svewn who first met in the hostel, too. Joe is a Chinese young man who currently lives in Canada studying logistic while Svewn is a young lady from New Zealand. I didn’t really have much time to share stories with Svewn cause she was sleeping when I was having a conversation with Joe.

It was past 11pm and both of us were still sharing about our life experiences, places we had explored while we were in Japan, and some future-plans. I tucked myself with a thick brown blanket damn that too cold AC while listening to his stories why he decided to study logistic. He traveled to Japan three weeks for his summer break before he went back to China to see his family. It was a pleasure meeting with different personalities from different parts of this world indeed. When I met with Joe even just for one night, he inspired me a lot to explore and travel more often. We ended our conversation after midnight when both of us were really exhausted and our beds were waffing at us.

 

 

P.S. The only thing I regret the most from my trip to Kyoto was I didn’t even ask Joe and Svewn their contacts. I totally forgot  I shouldn’t be that fool to exchange our contacts before we were separated. Joe and Svewn were moved to another district while I was still had two more days in Kyoto. It was such a qualm I knew cause by then, we could keep in touch wherever we were. Just to let you know Joe, Svewn, it was a pleasure we could meet in Japan guys, wherever you are, be happy and don’t stop exploring this earth while we are young. Cheers, Azis.

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