Friday, July 20, 2007
Giuli in Giappone
Another whirlwind visitor... Giuli and I met in Kyoto on Friday the 13th, as Typhoon Man-Yi was bearing down on Japan and the festivities for the huge Gion Festival were underway. It is one of Japan's 3 biggest festivals and the city was packed! The best part was seeing everyone wearing their colorful yuaktas!
Turns out our hotel, the Toyoko lnn, was right at the crossroads of one of the biggest floats in the parade, so there were constantly huge crowds of shoppers bustling about taking photos, and buying good luck charms, snacks and souvenirs outside of our front door.
The nonstop pouring rain didn't stop people from being out, but the real beauty was when Giuli and I wandered out to Gion later on that night after a very delicious "yakiniku" dinner. The streets were slick and shiny with the rain and warm yellow lanterns glowed everywhere. We saw 2 geiko/maiko in their elaborate kimono and painted white faces, rushing about under their parasols, but most tourists had turned in for the night. When we finally arrived at Yasaka Shrine, we stood in awe at the hundreds of beautiful lit lanterns which illuminated the peaceful grounds.
On Saturday, we braved the oncoming typhoon weather, and spent the entire day shopping. Just like the visit with Anne Marie, it was difficult to go more than 10 feet without having to stop in some beautiful or cute store! We were so glad that we had gone to Yasaka Shrine the night before, because when we got there that afternoon, it was so depressing! Without the romantically lit lanterns, the dreary sky and the vacant idle vendors made the place a sad, gloomy sight. We were so tired and depressed from the chaos of umbrellas and the aggravating high pitched flute music that was played everywere in honor of the festival that we ended up taking the train back to Miyazu that evening.
It was great to sleep in (for the first time in almost a month!) and hang out in my apartment! We didn't get to rest for long though, because we were meeting up with a bunch of people at the beer garden in Amanohashidate that night.
It was an all-you-can-drink-and-eat thing for 3 hours which ended up being really fun. The weather cleared up for a bit and we were able to see the beautiful view of Amanohashidate from the terrace.
The night took a turn though as we all trooped back into Miyazu to a small snack/ karaoke bar. As usual, we gaijins drank way too much and since it was one of the last times that many of us AETs would see eachother, several of us got pretty emotional... The night ended with many tears and a big fist fight. Injuries sustained included a broken hand, broken friendships, hurt feelings, and upset stomachs.
Jeez. the drama!!!!