Hello again, it’s still day fourteen, and this is my second post for the day. I’m listening to ONE OK ROCK‘s new single – Taking Off – as I’m writing this, and it’s so good, I can’t even. Can’t wait for the next time I get to see them live. But anyway, this post is not about my unhealthy ONE OK ROCK obsession, it’s about what I did yesterday, which was quite spontaneous, a bit random, and a lot of fun.
HAH, just kidding, the above paragraph was the only thing I wrote on day fourteen, and then I went and procrastinated, or ate, or fell asleep, I don’t remember. *Worst blogger ever* It’s actually day sixteen already, and even more has happened in the meantime since then, but I’ll finish writing this post about day thirteen first before going on to talking about Doshisha’s placement test in general, my own placement test results, and the kind of complicated course registration process. And stuff like that.
On day thirteen, the weather wasn’t as horrendous as it had been the day before – it was still looking pretty grey and cloudy and dark outside, but at least it wasn’t pouring rain anymore. Determined to make use of every single somewhat rain-free moment, two friends and I decided to go to Chion-in, a temple located in the Higashiyama ward in Kyoto, close to Maruyama Park and Gion. I had never been to this particular temple before, so I was extremely excited.
But yes, I’m always excited, anyway. About everything. But I was especially extremely excited, okay?!
Walking to the temple!
The temple grounds were huge, and there was so much to see. There also weren’t too many tourists, probably because of the bad weather. As a result, it was a much quieter and more spiritual experience compared to, for example, my visit to Kiyomizu-dera a little less than a week ago, or to Fushimi-Inari last year.
After first exploring the main hall and most of the main temple grounds, we stumbled upon a more hidden path called the path of philosophers. Curious, we followed it, and ended in a whole different, even more quiet area – apart from the three of us, there were only a handful of people around. There was a flight of stone stairs that led up to a small hall, from where we had a nice view over the city.
Behind that more quiet part of the temple grounds, we also discovered a big graveyard. The graveyard continued into a hilly, forest-y area, and we actually walked into that forest up until the highest point of the graveyard, from where we got another good look at Kyoto.
The secret bug-land of Kyoto. SO. MANY. MOSQUITOS.
By the time we reached the top of the graveyard, we had gotten a little tired of all the blood hungry mosquitos attacking us; so, because of that, and because the sky was gradually getting darker and more grey anyway,
and because we were hungry again, we decided to leave Chion-in. We walked around on the street on which the temple is located, and somehow eventually ended up in Maruyama Park.
Maruyama Park is a huge park in the centre of Kyoto, connected to Yasaka Shrine and Gion. Apparently it is very famous for its cherry blossoms in spring, which I unfortunately won’t get to see this time since I will be leaving Japan in mid-February – but I think it will be just as beautiful in a few weeks in fall when the 紅葉, the fall foliage, will start coming out and everything will be red and orange and pretty.
We only saw a very small part of the park, but what we saw was very beautiful – I really, really hope that I will be able to come back soon to explore more of it.
We eventually ended up in Gion again, and decided that we were done with sightseeing for the day and that it was finally time for foooooood.
Since the three of us are poor, desperate students, we ended up in Yoshinoya, a popular fast food chain in Japan. I was really happy at first because I saw something called ベジ丼 – veggie don, basically vegetables on rice – on the menu. When I asked the store employees about whether that particular dish contained any dairy, eggs or meat, they reassured me that it didn’t. So I had that, and it was pretty delicious. However, when I got home later that evening, my stomach started to hurt so badly that I started thinking that maybe there had possibly been something inside that veggie don and hence decided to check the specific ingredients on the Yoshinoya website.
I found out that it really didn’t contain any meat, egg or dairy – but the sauce did apparently contain gelatin, which was probably the reason for my stomach pain. Well, after finding that out, I was kind of upset, and felt really bad for having eaten an animal product by mistake. But I guess that a mistake like that one was bound to happen at some point, since Japan is generally not very vegan-friendly, which is why there are a lot of hidden animal ingredients in places where you would never expect them. So I’m just telling myself that it’s okay and not the end of the world, since I’m still learning and trying my hardest to live
la vida loca vegana (WHAT EVEN) (WHY, SIMONE) (oh god, that was horrible but necessary) (*I need sleep*) in this country.
But yeah, that was essentially it for day thirteen. All in all, Chion-in was probably one of my favourite temple experiences so far, and I hope I managed to convey my excitement and happiness over that awesome temple and that awesome day in general through my pictures somehow. But anyway, arigatou as always, and see you soon in the next post, hopefully!