Tuesday, April 24, 2007


This is a Starbucks in Shijo, Kyoto! Many Starbucks in city area, and Macdonalds are everywhere just like in the USA.
Many and many of buildings which have shops, offices, restaurants and fancy department stores in this area. We usually get together in this area or the area of the Kyoto station when we see friends. This area is really large as it's impossible to see through all of them in a day, because it's not only one street.
You might notice that there is not a tall building. It's because there is a law that we cannot build a tall building to protect a beautiful view of Kyoto. Kyoto is a city which has mountains around. We have a traditional mountain called "Daimonji". We think that it's silly to break a view of the Daimonji.

I went to enjoy "Ganban-yoku" which means it's like low temparture sauna with my friend. There are many flat bed sized stone on the floor, and the stone is hot. Put a bath towel on the stone, then lay down on it. This was my first time to experience the "Ganban-yoku", my friend told me that she loves it as she enjoys it every week. It was very comfortable! I sweat a lot though, the sweat is only requid that does't contain oil. So after I sweat, I didn't need to take a shower becuase I felt like that I just took a hot spring, and my skin was very silky smooth.
For your more information, here is the website of the "Ganban-yoku" place. You may be asked to install Japanese language to see this website though, just click "cancel", so that you can see pictures of the place.
Yume no Iyashi

And then, we went to have lunch at my friend's own restaurant! She opened her restaurant in the last year, I was really looking forward to visiting it. Her husband also owns Soba restaurant that he makes soba from soba powder. I have been in the restaurant, and it's very! really! delicious! The soba is not usual, or common, something very special!!
Again, please enjoy the pictures of her restaurant! I will bring other of my friends here, it's really! special!! I am green in envy her because her talent of cooking is very special.

After that, we went to join "English conversation cafe". This is a cafe that at least one English native speaker always stays, and make free conversations in English. I usually join the English conversation club which is held in the library by volunteer American people in Virginia. This group is also for making free conversations in English for English learners. It's similar to the conversation club though, there is a big difference between the Virginia one and the cafe one. Many people who came from other countries get together at the Virginia one, but only Japanese get together at the cafe. I think most of Japanese think that it's kind of shame to make a mistake, so to not make a mistake they do nothing. In the cafe, they would like to practice to speak English, but most of them don't speak. So the English native speaker (kind of an organizer) need to speak a lot or need to give them a topic to talk all the time. But the Virginia one, it's totally opposite. Many members try to discribe themselves, they are very participate in possitive mood. So the organizer sometimes need to control them.
The cafe charge us $10 for an hour including one drink, $20 for a few hours. English can be a big business in Japan! For now, there is only one English conversation cafe in Kyoto.