Category Archives: Temples

kelseydo nagashi somen & thrift shopping

Days like today I stop and think…wow, I am living in Kyoto! I am so lucky! Sometimes I forget. Actually often I forget. Trying to adapt to everyday life in a different country makes you forget how truly wild it is that you are there! But of course there are those moments of clarity. Today was one of those moments!

I started the day with a fun event organized by a tutor association (TISA) at Ritsumeikan. There were about 30 International students and 20 Japanese students participating in the event so I got to speak in English and Japanese which was great. We played a lot of ice-breaking/group-making games and then we enjoyed the main event: eating Nagashi Somen!

Nagashi Somen is an eating style where people catch and eat somen noodles with chopsticks as they run down a bamboo pipe in a stream of water.

Nagashi Somen Line Up!

Nagashi Somen Line Up!

Hard at work, pouring water and adding somen

Hard at work: pouring water and adding Somen

Catching noodles!

Catching noodles!

Good times

After the event, my friend Alex and I went on a mission for coffee. We had a particular cafe in mind: Cafe Kamogawa.

On the road

Alex on the road

Alex found this little gem on a website called Eat Drink Kyoto, that listed Cafe Kamogawa as THE BEST COFFEE in Kyoto so naturally we had to go all the way across town to try it.

Alex enjoying her coffee at Cafe Kamogawa

Alex enjoying her coffee at Cafe Kamogawa

My Iced Cafe Mocha came with a scoop of ice cream: DELIGHT

My Iced Cafe Mocha came with a scoop of ice cream: DELIGHT

Alex hamming it up

Alex hamming it up

Needless to say, the coffee was divine and the dessert was even better. Alex had a slice of lemon cheesecake and I had a piece of soufflé roll cake. I didn’t really need the dessert after I saw that my Iced Cafe Mocha came with a scoop of ice cream- amazing!

Outside of Cafe Kamogawa

Outside of Cafe Kamogawa

There are so many little unique cafes in Kyoto and this experience made me want to try them all! It was a fantastic way to spend the afternoon. Alex is a riot, she is always cracking me up with her funny sayings and ridiculous faces. I might have to pack her up and bring her back to Canada with me in my suitcase!

We stopped at a small recycle shop (thrift store/second hand store) that was loaded with incredibly quirky and unique items.

A highly stylized miniature bow & arrow set

A highly stylized miniature bow & arrow set

I managed to spy a few goodies and took home some loot:

A cool top $4.80

A cool top $4.80

Back side

Back side

A red coin purse with a small pocket inside for loose change $5

A red coin purse with a small pocket inside for loose change $5

Afterwards we rode our bikes home through Myoshinji, a beautiful zen buddhist temple complex near our dorm. It was “magic hour” (as Nick likes to call it) when the sun is setting and the lighting is nice and warm but not too bright.

Shameless bike riding selfie

Shameless bike riding selfie

Alex leading the way

Alex leading the way

I always wish my weekends were just one day longer! Especially the last few weekends because I have had class/work on Saturdays.

I only have 49 days left in Kyoto, guess I had better make the most of it!

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kelseydo Nanzenji

Yoshino at Nanzenji

Yoshino at Nanzenji

Megumi & Yoshino

Megumi & Yoshino

SHOES

SHOES

Megumi wa sakana desu.

Megumi wa sakana desu.

An old dam

An old dam

Peek a boo at Nanzenji

Peek a boo at Nanzenji

Four leaf clover on a clover cab: a very rare sight!

Four leaf clover on a clover cab: a very rare sight!

Fall colours

Fall colours

The leaves they are a changin

The leaves they are a changin

Yoshino digging into the Takiyaki (dessert filled with red bean)

Yoshino digging into the Takiyaki (dessert filled with red bean)

I love these! Import to Canada!

I love these! Import to Canada!

I forgot to post these photos a few weeks ago from my outing to Ginkakuji, the philosopher’s path and Nanzenji. I didn’t go into Ginkakuji but there are some amazing shops and food stops around the temple. I’d like to go there when it snows (it did on Monday!) because it looks beautiful in winter. The philosopher’s path is a gorgeous stroll along a small creek between the two temples, Ginkakuji and Nanzenji. It was a great lazy day outing and I feel like going out to “see the leaves” is really an excuse to do a little exercise before chowing down on some serious sweets! I’m a fan!

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kelseydo long distance relationship

It is very difficult to be away from the people you love. In my case it has been no different. I really miss my friends and family. I especially miss my boyfriend, Nick! It’s really weird to go from living with someone and sharing (pretty much) every moment with them to depending on the internet to see and speak with each other.

I never thought I could pull off a long-distance relationship. I thought that when I got to Kyoto I would be an absolute mess and last maybe two weeks before returning home to Vancouver. No doubt, it has been an emotional rollercoaster but for the most part I have been able to keep my shit together. Luckily the internet also really came through for me. With the help of Skype, Instagram, Facetime and iMessage, Nick and I can continue to share our lives together (pretending there isn’t about 5000km between us). It’s not the same (I would kill for a hug), but it does the trick!

I think that keeping each other updated, talking about the crazy stages of feelings we are going through (and then laughing about it!) and having things to look forward to (seeing each other in 24 days!) have been our saving grace. Last weekend, Nick and I shared our lives together through photos (Me in Kyoto- checking out temples, and Nick in Comox- visiting my family!). It’s been a fine balance between enjoying the present moment, getting involved in life in Kyoto and missing home, while keeping in touch…but success: It’s working!

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kelseydo Epic Birthday Weekend

I love my birthday. Yes: I love it because I get to party, open presents and eat cake. BUT Most of all I love it because my family and friends are amazing, and they always remind me of this fact when they knock my socks off by making my birthday special.

It was pretty amazing to celebrate my birthday in Kyoto, Japan this year. If you know me, you know how much I love to create maximum birthday time and this year I got to milk it for all it was worth because A) my birthday was on a weekend and B) I am torn between two time zones.

Needless to say I managed to celebrate for three days which is quite a feat! (Although if you attended my 19th birthday you know that three days is child’s play). My friends and family made it really special this year: THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYBODY FOR BEING THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE NATION! I am so lucky to have you in my life.

Anyways, this whole post is about me and my birthday so if you need to go vomit from all the happiness please take a moment and relieve yourself!

A birthday card made by my friend Yoshino- each colored tab has a special message from my friends here in Kyoto!

My birthday is on 11/11 and so is International Pocky Day in Japan! Yoshino hooked me up with all the goods!

On Saturday night I met up with some friends after the Ritsumeikan school festival and we went to a famous ramen shop called Menbaka Ichidai (which I think literally means Ramen for Idiots…or something along those lines). This ramen shop had a particular type of ramen I was interested in, Negi Ramen…..which they set on FIRE! The host of the shop was super hilarious and the set up before the big show was a little intimidating. All of the surrounding counters, cash register and dishes are covered with wet cloths, and you are protected by a dry paper bib. I had pretty much decided it was worth it even if I did lose my eyebrows!

We all prepare to be eyebrow-less!

Amanda and I…fellow Canadians!

It was worth the wait!

Please watch this video of our FLAMING NEGI RAMEN! It’s amazing! It was hot on the other side of that counter let me tell you!

The host insisted we all take these ridiculous photos, which he takes of all his customers. I think he has found the perfect pose to make everyone look like an idiot! Genius!

Sangho

Gray

Amanda

Birthday Girl

Marcus

The ramen was DELICIOUS! We had an amazing dining experience and I will never stop laughing at these photos! Afterwards we biked to Kiyomizu-dera, a famous temple in Kyoto, to check out the first night of this Fall’s night illumination. It was gorgeous! The pictures don’t do it justice (I keep saying this in my posts and it’s true, you just have to come here and see it for yourself!).

The crew at Kiyomizu

Kiyomizu-dera

On the steps

Creepy forest

Kiyomizu-dera is the most beautiful temple I have ever been to. Kiyomizu means ‘clear waters’. The temple is built around a natural spring which is said to bring you longevity, good looks and wisdom, so naturally I drank from the clear spring waters with all of the other believers.

Afterwards we biked back to our dorm and shared some cheesecake that I made the night before! I also got into the Sake.

Sake

Kanpai!

Blueberry Cheesecake

Nick made me an incredible Birthday video with my friends and family in Canada. You can watch the video here. It is very special and heartwarming, I got all choked up! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate my 26th- Thank you to everyone for an amazing birthday!

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kelseydo Kyoto Imperial Palace & 三十三間堂

Today I went on a solo adventure to visit the Imperial Palace. Twice a year, for about 5 days, it is open to the public. It was pretty busy for this reason, but still a must-see. Bonus: it’s free to enter.

Floral Arrangement at the Entrance

A sports demonstration…seemed like glorified hacky sack to me

ししんでん

おつねごてん

Imperial Gardens

After finding a nice shaded bench at the Imperial Gardens and polishing off a Bento I had made earlier, I biked to Sanjūsangen-dō to see the 1001 statues of the Buddist deity, Kannon. I was blown away by the beauty of these statues and of the 28 guardian dieties, and my jaw completely dropped when I saw one gigantic seated statue (aka the National Treasure). It was epic! I couldn’t take photos inside the building but I managed to take some photos of the beautiful surroundings.

三十三間堂 literally means the thirty-three ken (Japanese architecture measurement) length hall

The temple was a really peaceful and it smelled amazing. I b-lined for the gift shop to get some incense and I also scored some postcards to show you what the Kannon statues look like.

Gigantic seated Kannon

1000 Kannons and their guardians

I think it probably goes without saying that these photos of postcards don’t do it justice! You have to see it in real life to understand the full beauty and sheer magnitude of the building filled with statues.

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