Zen and games.

Zen and games.

I was happy to see a communal breakfast table as I had just spent 6 days solo in Tokyo and I was looking for some socializing in Kyoto. While a few people sitting there invited me to join them at Nora National Park, I was itching to go to Arashiyama today so I stuck with my plan. I took the train there in the AM, it was just a short 15 minute ride. The town was very cute and I enjoyed walking through it on the way to the first temple, Tenryu-ji. What I liked about this one was the garden area. It was very zen and beautiful even though it was just starting to turn green again. I walked the garden path and it did feel like a moment of meditation. From there I stopped at a cafe to have a little cup cake and matcha green tea.

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Amezakui, Robots and Karaoke.

Amezakui, Robots and Karaoke.

As a kid I was always obsessed with the art of glass blowing. I wanted to be a glass blower as a profession, but clearly that didn’t take off. When I saw a picture of Amezakui, which is like glass blowing for sugar candy, I knew I had to try it. I found the place that sells them, and then found their head office. Luckily, the office does offer workshops, albeit all in Japanese. They have an instruction sheet in English, so that was good enough for me, I signed up.

I walked there on a quiet, sleepy Sunday morning in the neighborhood. Streets were empty besides a few joggers, elders playing croquet and occasionally some folks off to work on a bicycle. I arrived far too early so I decided to look for a place to eat and warm up. I definitely could have used a warmer coat. There weren’t many places open but eventually I came across one. It was the most charming cafe! They were playing quiet music, had warm blankets and gave me an English menu that included a map and history of the town. After finishing my breakfast, the barista gave me a complimentary piece of tiramisu. Then, upon leaving, they gave me a cookie that said thank you on it! It was such a sweet hospitable experience. I also stopped at another Shrine on my way there. I love how these Shrines are placed in very populated areas of the city (or perhaps vice versa, the cities were built around them).

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