Rainy Night in Kyoto

We’d had a long, damp, day in Kyoto. Were resting after walking miles around the City, and having spent the afternoon on the grounds of, and in, Nijo Palace. We almost stayed in and went to sleep, but roused ourselves to motion…maybe we’d find a place to eat, maybe we’d stop at a “conbeni” (convenience store) for a snack and call it a night.

Some of the streets in Kyoto are as wide as an acre is square, others are not even as wide as a “regular” sidewalk. It was on one of those roadlets we found ourselves.

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Restaurants of all kinds lined the street.

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Displays and menus vie for customers.

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Here’s a wee vitrine, beautifully arranged, with a simple and clever bamboo vase.

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Kitchens were busy.

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After failing to agree on a half dozen possibilities, we decided to try a place. There was a nice-looking “hot pot” on offer. We went in…were cautioned in rudimentary English that there were no chairs. (No problem.) We passed through a narrow hall which ended in stairs, to the left of which was this.

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The stair rail was a piece of straight driftwood, burnished to shiny, silky smoothness by who knows how many years of ascending hands. We went into a room that over looked the Kamo River, and sat at table, on small pillows that lay atop the tatami matting.

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Our hostess brought us small appetizers — some exquisitely flavored greens and a slice of multilayered egg. We ordered, relaxed, and started drinking our Kirin beer. A group of four young women were finishing a meal at the table next to us. As they left, I snuck a photo of the last of them leaving, and got an “I see what you’re doing.” smile.

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We had a chicken hot pot and an oyster hot pot.

Very good they were, too.

Three young men came in and settled in on the other side of the room.

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Meal over, we stepped out on the balcony to admire the night, and the sight of the river.

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Then we slid the shoji open and went down stairs to pay for our meal.

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We ambled back to the hotel, full and satisfied.

In the rain.

 

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