From Hiroshima we headed to Kyoto. I was really excited about seeing Kyoto because I had heard so many amazing things about it.
First temple on the list... Kiyomizu-Dera.
Now, maybe I set my expectations too high, or perhaps it was the throngs of people, after all it was cherry blossom season, or it might have been the "gimmicky" feel I got from the place, but some of the temples in Kyoto started to feel more like Disneyland attractions rather than holy Buddhist temples.
Me: Lee! Look! All we have to do is pay 1000 yen for a good marriage! ... Do you think it's worth it?
Lee: But we already have a good marriage.
Me: Oooo... points for you. But no seriously, should we?
(Apparently, a deeper relationship is available too. All you have to do it pay Buddha 1000 yen... who knew?!)
The best part about the Kiyomizu-Dera temple was the Tainai-meguri. The Tainai-meguri is a symbolic walk through the womb of a bodhisattva. We had to follow a giant buddhist bead railing through the dark. We wound back and forth for quite a ways through darkest place I have ever been. Total blackness.
Me: Lee. Are you still back there?
Me: Ok. Good.
Me: What about now?
Me: It's so dark in here... I can't see anything....
Me: Ok. Good.
When we reached the shining rock, I was too freaked out to make a wish. Plus, I was afraid that maybe I wasn't supposed to touch it after all, and I didn't want to piss off a bodhisattva while inside her womb.
After a day of temple roaming we headed to Gion, where I transformed into a geisha. Well, technically not a geisha, but a maica. Maicas are apprentices to geishas, and geishas are too sacred to be mocked by tourists such as myself, so a Maica I am.
It took ten minutes to apply the make-up and wig, and about thirty minutes to wrap me in robes, ribbons, shields, clips, more ribbons, wraps, etc...
While the lady was wrapping me in a million different layers she said something to make me laugh and I caught a glimpse of my teeth in the mirror. Now, I don't know if it was the grape juice I had earlier, or the white face makeup... but my teeth were a shade of yellow that should never exist in a human mouth.
After I was in full maica attire Lee came back to see me.
Me: psst... Lee. Look at my teeth. (Big Smile)
Lee: Ugh! What did they do to them?!
Lee: Oh. (Gross Face)
Needless to say, I did not smile in any of my maica pictures. I played it off as, "trying to stay in character," rather than... "I'm keeping my mouth shut until I can get a toothbrush and some Crest white strips."
After playing dress up we went off to find food, and I wanted something good. The night before we had been to a restaurant where things didn't really turn out as expected.
Lee: Where do you want to eat?
Me: Umm... I don't know. I want something familiar, I don't feel well... I need comfort food.
Half an hour later... what I thought would be shrimp pasta turned out to be a plate of noodles with a giant red fish on top... with the biggest eyeball I've ever seen.
(I found the same fish later at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Huge eye right?!)
I prefer my food no longer have a face. But that's just me.
So after not eating much the night before, I was looking for something better.
Me: Wow Lee, this restaurant must have known you were coming. Look at their sign, "Cheap and Delicious!"
We sat at the bar and had a few drinks while we waited for our, "cheap and delicious," food to be served.
The waitress set a plate of food down in front of the guy next to me and I heard Lee yell.
Lee: It's moving! It's moving! Dude!! Don't eat that, it's moving!
Me: (through gritted teeth) Shut up... Shut up... are you serious right now?
Lee: It's moving! I'm just warning the guy. Maybe you didn't see it... but... His. Food. Is. Moving!
At this point, I just had to turn my back to the guy I couldn't look at him because I was laughing too hard, and I kept trying to sneak a look at his plate without him noticing.
Luckily, this guy didn't speak english, or he did an excellent job of pretending to ignore me and my overly dramatic and slightly drunk husband.
Turns out... our food moved too. The waitress explained it's a type of fish, that they sprinkle on top of the dishes. Excellent.
Cheap and Delicious? Eh.
It should have read, "Cheap and Decent... but be careful... it moves."