Friday, July 06, 2007

Kyoto's Surreal Nightscape

Kyoto at night feels straight out of Miyazaki's Spirited Away where you could swear there are gods coming out to frolick and get some teppenyaki or a sento bath.

There's a skinny, long alley-way called Pochonko where the short buildings gang up on you from the sides and the signs appear to float, inviting you in to miniature pubs, restaurants, and "massage parlors." Like in Tokyo, establishments are perfectly happy to be up on the 4th floor or higher, enticing litttle nooks reachable only by stairs. Enticing, certainly, but with few English characters to guide me, I just plowed forward through the glowing squares.

Occasionally I would see signs with English characters (How can you resist a pretty place with alchohol with mushrooms for company?):

One extremely rainy night, me and my new umbrella (probably made in China, but I'm assuming it speaks Japanese) ventured out in search of a small late-night Gyoza dumplings place. Naturally I took a wrong turn somewhere and it took far longer than it was supposed to but eventually found it:

Once inside, all I had to do was utter one word to the Japanese-only folks there. "Gyoza!" "Hai!" they said. The menu had only a list of things to drink (beer). At this place, they come in lots of 10 (although I'd say they're about half-size). I ordered 30. Mmmm.

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