On Sunday the third, I ran a short seminar with another teacher. Because we were working on Sunday, we were allowed to take an alternate day off. Last week on Tuesday we ran off to go shopping (買物) in Kyoto (京都).
In a fit of SiLLiNeSS, I neglected to withdraw cash (現金) from the bank or bring a credit card or ATM card with me. This helped me keep from spending money and helped focus on the goal of the trip (旅行の目標). My travel partner is returning to America for a event and needed to buy several special gifts. I was invited to help out with guidance (指導) and planning (計画), so any shopping for me was just a side thing.
We got a lot of shopping done around the Shijo (四条) area in the morning. We even stopped into a diner for cheeseburgers and banana milk shakes. I love Japanese food, but a sign beckoning me with those temptations could not be resisted; mostly on the basis of not having seen such a sight in months.
After wandering all the way to Teramachi (寺町) and poking into my favorite 400 year old store, Kyukyodo (鳩居堂), we took a decision to head for the Handicraft Center – a store I rarely visit, but which was recommended to fulfill some of our objectives. On the way there, rain commenced. As we exited the bus, the skies opened. We found ourselves under a narrow shelter, carrying paper shopping bags, with the wind whipping the rain across us. Being between a zoo and a baseball field, there was no sign of true protection from the rain within a hundred meters. We felt put upon. Standing where we were, meant our pants were getting drenched and our bags, regardless of hugging them to our chests, were slowly crumbling away. Had we made a run in search of cover, the torrent would have drenched us completely in three or four strides. One bus stopped and we were tempted to hop on without a care for the destination, merely to escape the weather.
Eventually the rain let up, we sucked up our hurt feelings, and went for a walk – ever watchful of potential cover in the event of another outburst – through the Heian Jingu (平安神宮) grounds and on to our destination. As expected there was a fair amount of kitsch at the Handicraft Center, but we saw much of interest and discovered a little information about an upcoming Sumo (相撲) exhibition through a conversation with a clerk. We also discovered a better bus for that destination on the way back which took us right past Yatsuhashi (八ツ橋), a tasty confectionary, where we made some souvenir purchases.
A success all around (excepting the drenching, which is all but forgotten.)