The reason why I didn’t post anything on the blog recently? It’s not that I didn’t have enough time to write a post, it’s just that I didn’t really do anything that I thought might be interesting for you. Nevertheless, I would like to share what happened over the past few weeks.
When I have a day off, I am having most of the time a relaxed morning and go out for a walk in the afternoon. One of my favourite areas in Kyoto is Gion. It is the most traditional and original place here. When I don’t have anything planned, I love walking through the streets, looking for geishas and going into little shops. This time I was lucky that I spotted a real Geisha. You don’t get them to see all the time.
Furthermore, you can find many very good Japanese restaurants, as well as dessert shops in the Gion area. But not only Gion is a nice place to have walk. Especially on a rainy day it is perfect to wander around the Teramachi shopping area. Every time I am walking through the hall I discover something I haven’t seen before. There are so many different shops and restaurants, as well as the famous Nishiki street food market.
In the evening I tried one vegan café/ restaurant in Teramachi. It offers Japanese, but also quite international food. The taco rice bowl was very delicious!
What else did I do? I payed my apartment rent for the next month, got finally my first salary, received a parcel from home for eastern and wrote a post card for my family. I was so proud when I asked in Japanese at the post office for stamps.
Furthermore, I got a “first class ticket” for my wow story. Apparently, all the managers agreed that my wow story was the best one of the week. Therefore, they all came to congratulate and appreciate my work. I didn’t expect anything and was therefore very surprised and happy. It is nice to get a positive feedback, so you know that they appreciate your effort.
I also got the first feedback from school. We get grades for every essay we submit. I am really happy that I achieved the maximum points for the first two tasks. I am hoping to continue like that.
One day, a friend from work asked me to join them to watch the Avengers endgame in the cinema. I actually wasn’t that interested, because I haven’t watched the first Avenger movies, as well as any of the marvel movies. I know, for some people unbelievable. But I just had the feeling that I needed to do something outside of work. Therefore, I went with them to watch the movie. The cinema is really nice. And if you wonder if the movie was in Japanese? Of course not! The movie was in English with Japanese subtitle. Otherwise it would have been stupid to go. I understood more than I expected. It was nice to get a little distance from the stress at work with Popcorn and a movie.
Because of the Japanese holidays which are called “golden week”, the hotel was extremely busy. Not even during the Sakura season it was that crowded. We were running from the early morning until late afternoon non-stop. It was a very stressful time.
Sometimes it was difficult for us at work, because the guests were all Japanese. It is just a totally different season right now. Sakura Season means 90% international guests, where else Golden Week means 90% Japanese guests. We stayed every day super long and made every day over time. The oshibordi and napkin factory was opening every afternoon.
The last few days I was working at the reception, which was really nice experience. It is great when we get the chance to learn new things. I asked the Japanese customers in Japanese for their room number and their name. And most of the time I could understand and help them to find a table. In the afternoon I went to the F&B office to do some calculation and preparation for the next day.
One morning, I escorted Pharrell Williams and his wife to their table. Yes! You heard right. I knew that they were for one night in our hotel, but I didn’t expect them at breakfast. Most of the celebrities eating in their room to ensure their privacy. I was sure, they will order something from in room dining. Therefore, I didn’t even know that it was him, Pharrell Williams. I asked his wife for their name and room number. Haha! Of course, they have fake names and nationalities for their reservation. I was very confused that they had a Chinese name and wondered if that could be true. Pharrell Williams first didn’t talk, and he was wearing a cap, so I thought it might be just a weird guy.
After my reception supervisor looked through all the reservations, she told me who I just escorted to the table. Omg! I couldn’t believe it. So funny! In Japan he isn’t so famous, so we tried to keep the foreigners away from their table. They really enjoyed it here and before they left, we even had a quick talk. Really nice people and motivating experience!
Something which is probably the biggest part of the Japanese culture is the food. Japanese people are obsessed with their food. When you walk through the streets there is one Japanese restaurant after another. It is very rare to see international restaurants. In Europe we are used to eat every day something from a different heritage. Sometimes Italian, American, Thai, Chinese, German or Vietnamese food. Totally different than here. Japan has an amazing food culture, where they can be proud off. When we speak about Japanese food we think about Sushi or Ramen, but there is so much more to eat here what we don’t get at home. If okonomiyaki, takoyaki, udon, soba, omurice, matcha desserts, eel, yuba, and so on. I really want to try more and more traditional foods. Now I have the chance!
One day I went to the Ippodo Tea shop to try some original Japanese matcha tea. I am walking by every day when I am going to work. This day I finally went inside. It is a really nice experience seeing the Japanese women making the tea right in front of you. Next to the tea you get a home-made Japanese sweet. Very “oishi” (delicious).
After I went to some traditional shops, I headed to the subway station. I discovered an underground shopping mall with lots of good options.
I headed to Matsugasaki station, which is quite far from the centre of Kyoto, but I really wanted to go to this restaurant. One vegan, German Instagrammer recommended it. Because Kyoto is a place where many Monks lived in the past, the vegetarian cuisine is still present in some areas. The restaurant is quite far away, but I didn’t have anything better to do anyway. I walked from the station 15 minutes until I arrived. And I expected something totally different. With vegan food I mostly connect modern, minimalistic and trendy restaurants. This place was the opposite. It couldn’t have been more original and typical for japan. When I entered the front door, I walked through a little alley. It looked like a secret place. Inside it’s even better. You can sit on the floor, right at the counter or on tables. It is very small and special, and you aren’t allowed to take any pictures. But I tried to take some. The food was soooo oishi and the girl could speak a little English. It was amazing and really worth the way. I ate so so much!
From that moment I realized that I should go more out to eat, instead of cooking at home. There is so much to discover and experience.
Therefore, I went a few days after with Yemima and Jessy after work to the Gion area to try a very popular Sushi restaurant. The restaurant is not comparable with anything we have in Europe. The shop is popular for their saba sushi. We ordered a plate for 3 persons, so that we could have a taste from everything. Yummy! You didn’t eat soy sauce, wasabi or anything else with the sushi. In Japan that’s the traditional way to eat sushi in order to taste the pure quality of the product. The location, as well as the plates and the atmosphere was amazing!
I think that’s basically what happened the past weeks. I am looking forward now to the good weather and to experience more of Kyoto and it’s food.