Tag Archives: SKP

kelseydo Gion Matsuri

Last week I got a chance to visit Kyoto’s biggest and oldest festival, Gion Matsuri! It is a month long event but the most popular evenings are the nights of the 15th, 16th and the day of the 17th for the parade.

This is the only event where I felt like as a foreigner I was encouraged to wear the Yukata, the light-knit cotton/linen robe that is more casual than the Kimono. It was really fun to wear out on the town. I felt like I was wearing my bathrobe outside. My friend Chika told me that a long time ago the Yukata was only for use in the home for bathing so I was right to feel this way!

Beautiful Bow

Beautiful Bow

Getting dolled up

Getting dolled up

Yukata on!

Yukata on!

Luckily we had Yuko-san to help us get our Yukatas on properly and to tie the Obi into a perfect bow!

Alex wearing my 'drinking jacket'

Alex wearing my ‘drinking jacket’

Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi

Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi

Alex, Haruna & I

Alex, Haruna & I

Daniel and Haruna

Daniel and Haruna

Waiting for the Randen

Waiting for the Randen

Escalator shot

Escalator shot

Faces on the subway

Faces on the subway

It was really busy once we got downtown! There were people everywhere. Apparently tens-of-thousands of people go each night. All the main streets were closed down and there were a lot of food stalls, souvenir shops and the parade floats were all lit up with music playing.

Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma

Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma

Food stalls

Food stalls

Dessert!

Dessert!

Marcus enjoying some snacks

Marcus enjoying some snacks

Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it's an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker

Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it’s an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker

As usual, the food was one of the main events for us- we had to try everything!

Streetside bar

Streetside bar

A lot of people were enjoying their beer in the street, there were even little cocktail shops set up on the side of the street like this.

We were lucky enough to get up close and personal to a few of the parade floats.

Lanterns

Lanterns

More Lanterns

More Lanterns

Giant float including full size tree

Giant float including full size tree

photo 1

Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren't allowed on this one

Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren’t allowed on this one

photo 4We got to take a tour of this one while they were playing drums and singing inside of it but of course- no photos!

And then more food…we were on a mission for frozen bananas! It was a very hot and humid night.

Candy apple

Candy apple

Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom's favorite!)

Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom’s favorite!)

Lanterns everywhere!

Lanterns everywhere!

We found the mysterious frozen banana!

We found the mysterious frozen banana!

Banana Kanpai!

Banana Kanpai!

Beth loves waffles...on a stick!

Beth loves waffles…on a stick!

This guy...

This guy…

The gang!

The gang!

All in all it was an amazing night! I wish I could have gone again but unfortunately it was right in the middle of all my final exams for school.

Gion Matsuri can’t be missed!

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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 Fushimi Inari Round II: To the Top of the Mountain

Back at Fushimi Inari

I’m Baaaaaack! at Fushimi Inari

Foxes with faces + messages, foxes are the messenger of Inari

Foxes with faces + messages, foxes are the messenger of Inari (Shinto God)

When it's sunny and raining at the same time, the saying here goes "it must be a fox's wedding"

When it’s sunny and raining at the same time, the saying here goes “it must be a fox’s wedding”

Tori Gates

Tori Gates

A view of Kyoto from the top of Fushimi Inari

A view of Kyoto from the top of Fushimi Inari

Crystal and Sierra climbing the stairs...for two hours!

Crystal and Sierra climbing the stairs…for two hours! Crystal ran up most of the way!

We are pretty sure this is some kind of graveyard

I am pretty sure this is some kind of graveyard, but I have been wrong many times before

Crystal and Sierra at the Top of the Mountain! We made it!

Crystal and Sierra at the Top of the Mountain! We made 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 A Day In The Life

11:30am I wake up to the sound of rain and motorbikes whizzing by. Last night I went out with friends to Karaoke until 3am and then made a few Skype calls, so I had a little sleep in. On Sunday I get pretty domestic: finish my laundry, vacuum and clean my room. My hair stinks like cigarette smoke from the Karaoke bar so it’s time to hit the showers. The showers in my dorm are communal but since I slept in so late no one’s in there, so I get the whole place to myself.

1:00pm Brunch time! I fry up two eggs and a couple leaves of sautéed Bok Choi. I put some rice on and mix in some seasonings to get started on my Onigiri for the coming week. Onigiri is a cheap and easy snack to help get me through classes!

Onigiri…I can only hope mine turn out this good!

The rain lets up for a minute so I hop on my bike (which I lovingly named ‘The Enterprise’ because of it’s willingness to boldly go where no man has gone before) and head to the 7-11 to get my weekly budget. It’s difficult for me to go into a 7-11 and not pick up a snack- there are so many cheap and delicious and unknown foods to try! I grab a grapefruit juice & a green tea mochi with red bean filling. Mochi is a small dessert made with rice flour on the outside and a sweet jam on the inside. Today was the first day I tried it and I love it! The texture and flavour are really unique and amazing.

Looks a little weird but tastes great!

I bike to Hanazono station where I grab a comfy seat on the train by the window and watch the grey day go by.

1:45pm Arrive at Kyoto Station. I love the ceiling in this place! Photos can’t do it justice.

Kyoto Station

I head to Yodobashi Camera to meet up with some friends who are shopping for Halloween costumes, among other things. Yodobashi Camera sells mainly electronics, but also has clothing, food, toys, home appliances, beauty products and basically anything you can think of. There is also a Uniqlo inside which reminds me a lot of Joe Fresh in Canada.

Yodobashi- Why are these headphones still popular?

Head Refresher? Weird stuff at Yodobashi

Sleeping Beauty Hip Pants? More weird stuff at Yodobashi

Book of photos with girls licking door handles? Weirdest stuff at Yodobashi

Some cute stuff at Yodobashi so you forget all that weird stuff

After finding some very interesting things at Yodobashi (one store in particular) we went to Teramachi Dori which is a really busy shopping street with lots of cool stores. Teramachi is a weird place. There are a lot of temples and a Pachinko parlour (slot machine/pinball casino) right in the shopping area.

A shrine on the way to Teramachi Dori

An Art Installation (made of water bottles) in the middle of Teramachi

A busy day at Teramachi

I managed to score a few items: a camera strap ($15) from Yodobashi and a pair of sparkly black flats ($24) from Pango Pango on Teramachi.

My finds for the day

7:00pm Walk back to the train and head home. In the rain.

Kyoto Tower at night

On the way I grab some groceries from Gyomu Supa because tonight I’ll attempt to make Nabe, a hot pot with soup broth, veggies, meat, tofu and noodles (no fish cakes for me thanks!). It’s the perfect meal after a day in the rain.

The final product: Nabe with ponzu sauce and kimchi

9:00pm I have some listening comprehension homework and a short writing assignment to complete! Then I’ll watch some of my new show: Hanazakari no Kimitachi e which is a hilarious Japanese TV series about a girl that pretends to be a boy so she can go to an all-boys school where her idol goes. It’s ridiculous but I can’t stop watching it!

11:30pm Bed time!

Time to hit the pillow!

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