First night in Shimogyoku

After feeling sorry for myself and having a short unintended nap in my tiny yet somehow satisfactory room, I realised I had to charge my iPhone. To my horror I discovered that it rejected the only charger I had brought along. It being my most convenient form of communication, I was pretty worried about not being able to use it. Fortunately this gave me the impetus to stop moping around like a lonely lemur and to leap into action. I packed my little bag with a map&money and after asking at reception, marched towards the train station area. About 5-10 minutes’ walk away, the area around Kyoto station (an iconic modern travel hub) is also the site of Kyoto tower (see pictures below), and along with a large department store and other small shops, a large, newly built electronics shop called Bic Camera. This was amazing; I love drooling over shiny gadgets and this vast store was rammed with just that kind of treasure. I stared at hundreds of cutting edge touch screen colourful mobile phones, cases, mini LCD tvs, minute cameras in myriad girl-friendly forms, massive Sony Bravia tvs, digital picture frames (including egg shape) emotional penguin screen cleaners, jewelled (plastic) earphones, tiny camcorders and digital instant cameras. Shop assistants shouted what I assume were appealing offers of bargains or help as people walked past and I tried not to trip over as I stared. Eventually I managed to grab a charger and drag myself out of there!

I then strolled happily around in front of the station gazing at the now illuminated tower before finding myself drawn towards the seemingly familiar- Starbucks. Before you start scoffing, it was a very different starbucks.. The menu was different, I promise. And I was one of only about 3 foreigners in there. I got some food and a typically oversweetened drink before sitting down and checking out the Kyoto Lonely Planet guide in a bit more detail. Enthusiastically circling and scribbling next to intriguing destinations in a semi-familiar environment helped me to forget the feelings of sudden lonliness and being overwhelmed that I had felt earlier, at least temporarily.

I now write to you from my hostel bed after the warm and atmospheric walk back, ready to sleep off more of that jetlag.


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