Nijo Castle and Walking

I headed out to Toji this morning for their monthly market. I was out of yen, but I expected a money exchange machine or store near the temple. However, I was not able to find any near it, so I just headed in without much money. There were a lot of cool things, but I did not have much money. I just grabbed some street food and left. It was still fun walking around the market.

I did not like the feel of the kujo area, so I decided to head back near the sanjo area. I really like walking around cities, so I walked back to my destination. Walking around without a definite destination is almost like active meditation. After while, I decided to drop into a konbini (convenience store) and search up “best things to do in Kyoto”. I realized I still haven’t gone to Nijo castle, so I picked it as my main activity of the day. I also happened to be a reasonable distance away, so it was an obvious choice. I was a bit worried, as a classmate had said Nijo castle was very crowded when she went: “I could not stop to look at anything closely at all. I felt like I was herded through the castle.” That was roughly what she said. Luckily for me, it was still early, so I was able to enjoy Nijo castle at my own pace. It definitely did not disappoint me. The wall paintings were stunning, especially with the dim lighting of the castle. Most, if not all, the wall paintings were plated with gold. It would have looked gaudy under bright lighting, but under dim lighting, it made the paintings elegant and mysterious. The paintings that were done on cedar wood were also really nice. The layers of paint made the paintings look like they were popping out of the wooden board.

The gardens were also really nice. I especially liked Ninomaru garden. The greenery really blended well with the pond. Though I must admit, seiryuu garden’s pond was better. Something about the arrangement of the rocks amazed me.

After visiting Nijo castle, I was very tired from walking all morning, so I decided to chill at a manga cafe. It was relaxing, yet also educational. It was essentially enjoyable Japanese reading practice. I read a few volumes of Yotsuba to. Reading it made me realize that some details are lost in translation. For example, the dialogue for Yotsuba (the main character who is a child) in the English translation is not written much different from the adults. However, in the original Japanese version, her text is only in hiragana/katakana, while the adult dialogue bubbles include Kanji.

After resting up, I decided to walk more! I heard Ramen Sen no Kaze is really good, so I decided to eat there. The atmosphere felt much more intimate than other ramen places. I ordered the local’s favorite, shio ramen. The special point of their ramen is that the chashu is fried. That gave some freshness to the ramen. The broth was also refreshing. However, the noodles were rather mediocre (too soft).

After the meal, I walked around teramachi and nishiki market to buy some souveniers. I also bought a few Japanese books and manga to practice reading

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