Arriving to Kyoto and Sakura by night

Our typical dinner in Japan, open buffet

Our typical dinner in Japan, open buffet

Remember here our day in Hiroshima. In the evening, with the help of Japan bullet trains, Shinkansen, we arrived from Hiroshima to Kyoto in 1 hour 40 minutes. The only handicap is, you can not take your luggage with you, that’s why you need it to be sent to your next hotel by courier, which arrives a day after. Needs a good planning.

As soon as we arrived to Kyoto, we settled in a restaurant with our group, once more an open buffet, with many food we did not know. Thankfully, this time, there were a few sushi, our son enjoyed, and that’s why, we did not try to find a sushi restaurant around.

From open buffet

From open buffet

From open buffet

From open buffet

From open buffet

From open buffet

After dinner, we went to our hotel, Ana Crown Plaza, which was the best hotel we stayed in Japan. Just across the Nijo Palace, and very convenient to go around in Kyoto. Since we did not have our luggage with us, it wasn’t hard to settle down. So we went out to see Sakura by night to “Dotonbori” of Kyoto, which is the old town center with red, white and black lanterns, tiny wooden restaurants and cafes, narrow streets, “pink hotels” where you get in with credit card and there is no staff at all to meet you.

Dotonbori streets

Dotonbori streets

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Sakura by night

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Cherry blossom trees with tiny shops

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Cherry blossom trees on the calm water

We finalized the night, relaxing at a local bar with our sake.

Next morning: Nijo palace

 

A sushi experience in Japan

Sushi monster is happy

Sushi monster is happy

On our second evening in Japan, it was more than enough to be eating in not-worth-to tell restaurants and our son -as a sushi monster- was getting angry with the food. So we were lucky to come across a sushi bar/restaurant, before checking in to our hotel in Hiroshima.

Not so easy. In many (almost all) restaurants in Japan, there is always a waiting time to be seated. The good thing is you spend this time, comfortably sitting on the chairs provided by the restaurant. The bad thing is this waiting time can be frustratedly long, sometimes. But before to be able to be seated to these nice chairs, there is always a little exam to pass. By the end of our trip, we were experienced in answering these questions, but in the first experience of sushi restaurant;

First exam

First exam

So, we went in (as normal), asked to be seated for three (as normal) and the waiter asked us something that we did not understand one single word. So we asked “Do you speak English?” (as normal), and she said “Yes” (as normal), but we understood that the only English she speaks is the word “yes”. She showed us the exam questionnaire similar to the one above and expected to understand it. With the struggle of about 10 minutes with still waiting to be seated, an English speaking gentleman among the customers helped us at last. In short, actually the questions were very simple: Name, how many people and where do you want to be seated (Can be inside/outside or smoking/non smoking, or bar/table or a combination)

Waiting our place to be ready

Waiting our place to be ready

And so we were accepted to sit inside at comfortable chairs, in order to wait for our table and after about a 10 minutes waiting time, there we were, sitting on bar stools and started to choose and eat from the sushi plates on trails passing in front of us.

Just grab and eat

Just grab and eat

However, when we tried to grab a fake sushi from the bar to eat, all staff made fun of us, as some of the plates did have a fake sushi on them and they were made to order, which we did not know as you may guess. We understood that, higher priced sushi, were not done in advance and either a picture or a plastic (believe me looks like real) of it was moving on the trail, for customers to order.

The pricing is another exam of these restaurants, which we did not consider much because, all were very cheap compared to the sushi we eat in our hometown. But if you need to calculate what you eat in advance, there is usually such a wall:

Menu on wall

Menu on wall

On this wall you try to understand the colors of the plates that are 130 yen. The plates other than these are more expensive.

Some interesting plates on the trail

Some interesting plates on the trail

Next: Hiroshima and around

Great Cruise tour-day-2

The main activity of our summer has been the Cruise trip with MSC Poesia to Norwegian Fyords. We were a group of 8: Me, the organiser-as always, my husband and our son-as expected, my mom and her husband, my uncle and aunt and my grandfather. So group aged from 9 to 90. Tough isn’t it?

Day 2 was what they call in Cruise language “Day at sea”. A good day to get to know the cruise life, learn what is where and enjoy the only morning to be able to wake up late. Since we all did not like the 13th floor restaurant, we started the day at the a la cart breakfast restaurant at level 5, which was much more better than 13th floor self service hectic restaurant. Afterwards the group seperated to enjoy the relax day. I used this opportunitiy to take the Salsa lessons, which I already forgot the steps by now. However the numbers are still in my mind: one-to-three…five-six-seven, uno-duo-tre…cinque-sei-sette, ein-zwei-drei…funf-sechs-sieben, bir-ki-uc…bes-alti-yedi, one-two-three…five-six-seven…

The elevator door

The elevator door

Having a sushi-lover-son, for our lunch we all met at the Kaito Sushi Bar, which was an oasis, free of crowd, as it was an extra paid restaurant. We took a long table in the middle and enjoyed the fine Japanese cuisine for a couple of hours.

Our son learning to do the sushi

Our son learning to do the sushi

Kaito Sushi Bar

Kaito Sushi Bar

Our “Day at sea” went on with an afternoon nap, and getting ready for the Captain’s cocktail party, with the dress code of “formal”. Going down to the Zebra Bar at deck 6, we felt that the purpose of this getting dressed is to take picture with the captain which required a long long queue to be waited. Not my kind really. So after drinking a couple of colored liquids so-called cocktails with some chips -very unfriendly to my diet, we headed to our restaurant and our tiny far end corner table. Today it was also the birthday of my uncle. With the nice surprise cake of my aunt, and the Indonesian version of the “Birthday song” of the staff, we celebrated his birthday.

After dinner, we headed to the theater for the evening’s animation. I do not want to criticize the animation in the evenings as it s a matter of “likes and dislikes” Some days it was average, some days above average in my opinion.

Decks

Decks

"Sun" decks, if you find the sun.

“Sun” decks, if you find the sun.