Tag Archives: bicycle

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 Bike Trip to Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan and is located about 20km east of Kyoto. I have been missing the ocean like crazy, so I figured a 670 km² lake would do the trick to fulfill my sea needs.

One of the international students, Andi, who has also been a bike tour guide before, organized the day trip to go to Lake Biwa. What we thought would take 6 hours, ended up taking 12 hours, but it was a beautiful trip and an amazing experience. The two other girls that came with us, Seika and Natalie, had only ever been on bikes a handful of times, but they made it through the trip and complained less than I did! Our one-speed city bikes did pretty well going such a long distance and over all those hills!

We tried to take a mountain route on the way back to Kyoto, which ended up being closed for the weekend, so we had to detour back to the way we came, adding another hour onto our route. Then we got some poor directions and ended up on an expressway (no bikes allowed), missed our turn off and had to back track a little bit. Needless to say we were happy to be home and in one piece when all was said and done.

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kelseydo Dorm Room at Ritsumeikan I-House 1

It’s been a while since I lived in a dorm room (8 years). The Ritsumeikan University dorm I live in now, called I-House 1, has 3 floors with washrooms, laundry and kitchens on every floor with a common area and communal showers+bath on the bottom floor. The dorms are singles, which has definite positives, although I have always loved having roommates. The dorm rooms are much bigger than I expected with nice large windows and a teeny tiny single bed. I can’t wait to see how comfortable it is with Nick and I in it together! My room is still in need of some serious decoration, but I’ve only been here four days, so I’m doing alright.

I got a beautiful used bicycle from I-House for about $50 which has been super fun to ride around Kyoto. No one wears helmets here so they aren’t easy to find. I have to go to a sporting goods store downtown to see if I can find one.

I got caught in the rain on my bike yesterday and these women came running out of their shop with large plastic bags to put our purses/purchases in so they wouldn’t get wet. I have experienced so many random acts of kindness in the past four days I am starting to realize it’s not random to be spontaneously kind to strangers here… or maybe I am just lucky to meet kind people! Either way I am loving it!

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