Monday, August 15, 2011

Japan, May 2011: Kyoto

In my third day in Kyoto now. Everyone else went to Osaka for a lunch and to hang out, but I really didn't want to take the train all the way back to Osaka. I had some things that I needed to get done here in Kyoto before I missed my chance.

So...To Gion I was off. I had some places marked to search for the following items:

*Shiro Nuri (maiko/kabuki oshiori for Nihon buyou)
*Katsura wig cap (still have yet to find. :()
*Kimono/Yukata and accessories

The places I had marked to get to were:
*Gionya (shop in Gion which sells maiko makeup)
*Nishiki Food Market
*Pontocho, Hanamikoji-dori, Gion kobu
*Chicago (a kimono shop nearby the Nishiki Food Market)
*Takashimiya Department Store (to hunt for Kimono items)
*Teramachi-dori (the electrical street that features a bunch of stuff for anime/manga/games)
*Shijo-dori (shopping district)
*Aeon Mall (for yukata)
*Higashiyama (traditional markets are here)

I left at about 12:30 this afternoon, and I first headed towards the first kimono shop that was advised to me. However, I couldn't find it. >.< It was only about a 15-20minute walk, but I couldn't exactly find the actual shop. It was supposed to be on the 2nd floor, but of which shop?

As I was looking, these thee Australian men stopped me, and asked for directions. It was a bit nerve wracking, since they kept taking pictures of me while I was trying to help them. O.o one of them complimented on my braids. I was a bit uncomfortable, but I was happy to be able to help. They didn't know any Japanese, but I told them that there were quite a few in Kyoto who knew a bit of English, so they could always drop in and ask.

O.o I stopped into this omiyage shop and was confronted by this nice old man.

This nice old man had me sit with him and make origami. lol He taught me how to make origami cranes, and we did it a few times.  He told me that the kimono shop is now a hat shop, and that the kimono shop closed down. This made me sad, but I still had several others listed on my list. ^_^ He gave me a handful of origami paper as a gift, as well as the cranes we both made. He was so kind! I ended up buying a little okobo phone strap from him in the end. ^_^

Since the shop was closed down, I decided to head towards the Aeon Mall, but decided to turn back the other way at Kyoto Station and get over to Gion instead.

The train fare was only 150 yen, and about a 5 minute ride from Shichijo Station to Gion-shijo Station. Only two stops.

After arriving, i went straight to find the Gionya, where I could get my makeup.

I only really wanted to purchase the shiro nuri, and not the rest of the makeup, but somehow I ended up getting half of a full set. O.O I got the base wax, the shiro nuri, red paint for lips and eyes, sponge, brush, and brush for the red. OMG I spent about $80 there. MUCH more than I intended, and it put me back further in funds than I planned. This was no good, but the makeup was needed. It is nice to have my own set, instead of having to rely on sensei's makeup.

Now. Off to find kimono.

I learned that it is best to NOT try and purchase a kimono from a department store or mall. O.O Tabi alone were $30 or $50. I looked around, but didn't actually buy anything.

I was starting to feel a bit sick, so I stopped and ate at McDonald's. 2 Shaka Shaka Chicken, a vanilla shake (which I didn't drink) and a large coke. The soda here is not nearly as carbonated as the soda in the States, which is wonderful! <3

Then I headed back towards Gion, skipping Shijo, Higashiyama, Teramachi and the Nishiki Food Market. I can go there tomorrow with Kris.

When I went back to Gion, I decided to go and visit the Hanamachi areas. I skipped Pontocho today. I am extremely tired and exhausted. I feel a little sick right now, so I decided to go when I felt better. But, I did get to see two maiko. I didn't take pictures, because A, my camera was in my purse. And B: she went straight from the door of the ochaya to the taxi. There wasn't time to take a picture and I thought it would be best to just see her with my own eyes.

She was wearing a lovely pink hikizuri. <3

I didn't wander much, so I didn't get to experience all of the hanamachi or gion. I am desperately wanting to visit some of the temples in Gion. <3 I think I will go either tomorrow, or when we get back for Kansai Daigaku.

On my way back to Gion-shijo Station, I stopped into this little shop that sold Kanzashi and other accessories for maiko/geiko, kabuki actors and kimono wearers. I wanted so bad to purchase kanzashi, but I instead bought tabi I so desperately needed. I prefer the stretch tabi over the standard tabi. They look nicer, and they are much better for dancing than the stiff, cotton ones.

This pretty much marks the end of my Gion trip for today. I am back at the hotel, and had some chocolate ice cream and a soda. So thirsty. I can't get enough to drink.

Yesterday, us four girls on the team went to an onsen in the old Geisha district. It was a wonderful experience. I was VERY nervous at first...Im not really good at being naked in front of people I don't know.  But it was a great bonding experience with my team mates. ^__^ I am glad I decided to go! (I almost didn't....)

At the onsen, I decided to step onto the scale for the first time in a while. The doctor's office weighed me at a horrid 190lbs. I have been struggling so hard with my hypothyroidism, and losing even FIVE pounds is a nightmare. I had struggled to lose just 5 pounds for the past year. And yesterday, I discovered that in the course of three weeks, I have dropped down to 184lbs! That's almost TEN lbs! It really helps me keep going and motivated to get back down to what I was at the beginning of last year. I miss being 130lbs, and I miss being 115lbs. My thyroid problems have caused me to gain so much in such a short time, that it is so hard to want to do the things I love. I can't wear kimono in the shape that I was (hopefully I can a little better now!). None of my kimono fit me correctly, especially around the hip. This makes it hard for me to dance.

All of the exercise and portion eating is forced on me here. And sometimes I hate it, and sometimes it is really painful (especially when you are on traveling half of Japan on foot). But all of this is really good and healthy for me, and it is getting easier to watch what I eat. Here in Japan, even their fast food is not as greasy as American fast food, or as large in portion size, or as pumped with chemicals and hormones as our food is. The food is so much healthier, and much more tasty! I am NEVER eating Japanese food in the States again! haha

I am so much more motivated now than I was before!

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive of me these past couple years! Through my health problems, my relationships, my dancing, my life and especially, my cosplay. Without all of you, I could not still be here today doing what I love! Every one of you keeps me motivated and happy, and I hope that we can continue with the motivation and happiness!

I love you all so much!

Thank you everyone!

I need to figure out how to get my stuff home. O.O Our advisor said NO LUGGAGE, so we had to somehow fit all of our stuff in a carryon. Bad thing is, this doesn't make room for newly bought items. O.O What to do!? D:

I love you all!!


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