So bright and early in the hazy Kyoto morning, we joined the commuters on the subway line out to the general area of the Imperial Palace.
Being us, we did not go to the Imperial Palace at all, but instead headed out into a residential area where the shrine to Abe no Seimei. It was a great shrine, very neat, tidy, and not all that surprisingly new, since I imagine that they’ve had a new well-spring of interest since the Onmyouji movies came out. While we were there, there was a steady trickle of people. Which brings me to something critical – everyone prays differently. The guidebooks say that there is a specific order to how you approach the shrine, pay, bow, ring the bell, clap, bow. But I spent about 30 minutes watching people and you know what? They all do it differently. HAH.
We loaded up on nifty Seimei goods (perfect for pagan friends. The pentagram of Onmyou isn’t the pentacle of western paganism, but the goods look cool.) I got an eco-bag with cute mascots of the Five Elements. Bruce says the five elements on the bag are: Fire, Tofu, Eggplant, Diamond and Vegetation of some kind. lol
Then it was time for the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. While waiting for the train, we stopped at a kiosk that had had a line *every* time we passed it. They sold gyoza, shumai and nikuman. A few times, the lines at this place were really long. So, we decided to try these really popular items for lunch. The kiosk is called 551 Horai. The nikuman were good, the shumai were excellent, but goodness, were the gyoza amazing. Totally worth waiting on line for.
When we got into town, we hopped the Yamanote and headed out to Ikebukuro. The hotel we stay at has a great location, although it’s a little worse for wear these days. A little walk over to the Lawson, (so Bruce could get a bag from the store…if you get why, then you get why.) I took a few pictures of junk food we didn’t try, but was photo worthy.
Today’s random junk food: Calbee Consomme flavor potato chips, which is a total cheat, because I knew I liked those, so there was no challege there. :-)
Oh and in keeping with tradition, there is a band at the hotel with us. The Kimiku middle school band is here. A little less famous than the St. Petersburg symphony orchestra, but still, it’s a tradition.