Getting lost in Japan | day two

(If you haven’t read about day one, it’s here.)

Our second day started with a lovely breakfast where we got the chance to actually talk to our hosts. Yuri’s husband Ken was who I interacted with on Airbnb and he was just as nice in person. They even gave us a snack (mochi, I think), eek—note to self: bring some Filipino food over to give your hosts next time! Ken had to leave for work soon while Yuri had to take little Aoi, their cute daughter, to school, so we took a few photos, packed really quickly (although probably not quick enough to not annoy Yuri a little bit—guys, please don’t take Filipino time with you on your travels!) and headed out.

Our airbnb home! I loooved how symmetrical and clean Japan’s houses looked.

Our first destination for the day—and our last in Osaka—was Orange Street, a strip of stores and cafes. We stored our luggage in coin lockers again so we could roam freely (this can actually get rather costly: I had to get two lockers costing a total of JPY 1100, which is roughly PHP 400. Not a bad price to pay for comfort, though). Once again we had no mobile wifi, so we had to rely on the teeny map I included in our itinerary. Only problem was that we didn’t know which direction to follow, lol.

IMG_1894-polaAnother kind lady saved us this time, but this one didn’t speak or understand English, unlike Kana, so it was rather difficult. Still, again, exhibit C of the-Japanese-are-super-kind scenario, she tracked the location down using her phone and gestured for us to follow her. (Took us a while to pinpoint what we were looking for, however–Orange Street isn’t a typical tourist spot, so she wasn’t very familiar with it. If you plan on going here, maybe ask for Tachibana instead of Orange Street.) We kept talking to her and making sure this wasn’t a nuisance for her, and luckily she was just going the same direction.

She was wonderful and giggly all throughout our walk—despite her limited English, she genuinely tried to talk to us. Very kind lady. When it was time to part, we asked if we could take a selfie with her (yes, this was going to be a thing from then on) and she agreed and even took one with her phone! Adored her. It’s challenging, but so interesting interacting with people who don’t speak your language. Connecting with people despite not being able to understand each other verbally is apparently really fulfilling and wonderful—I hope everyone gets to experience this at some point in their lives. Such a nice little way to get in touch with humanity.

It started to rain after a while so we decided we’d just allow the day to be a slow one, went in and spent an hour or so in a coffee shop. This is Biotop.

There was a store connected to the cafe so we checked that out before leaving.

Trying out glasses from Persol
Another lovely cafe slash shop along the street
That man on the left is just about to tell us not to take photos. Oops.
That man on the left was just about to tell us not to take photos. Oops.

It’s impossible—not to mention ridiculous—to wear trench coats (or any coat for that matter) in a tropical country blasting 33 degrees celsius so I took this chance to feel a little cinematic slash Parisian chic (riiiiight). Didn’t work for me and my god-awful hair at the time (I am so mad, honestly, looking at these photos now, lol), but hey at least the transparent umbrella looks pretty. Always wanted one of these!

Hey self, please don’t cut your hair this length ever again…

After checking out what Orange Street had to offer, we went back to the station, picked up our bags, and headed off to Kyoto.

I included a quick trip to neighbouring Nara to see some deer in our itinerary but since it was raining and we had a lot of luggage (sigh, pack light, guys) and were exhausted, we opted to skip it. The train ride took around two hours. We grabbed a quick bite in a curry (apparently that means 50% rice, 45% sauce, and 5% actual meat) shop in Kyoto Station and started our hunt for Airbnb home #2.

This was perhaps my least favorite part of our trip. Our Airbnb home was around a kilometer (900 meters to be exact) from the station, which would’ve been chicken had it not been a) pouring hard (we later confirmed it was actually a thunderstorm); and b) had we packed light. My brother had no problem carrying his humongous one-piece luggage (as seen on the first photo on top), but I was carrying a camera bag, a 7-kg carry-on, a 20-kg luggage and an umbrella, so… yeah. I’ll let that speak for itself. I handed him my phone so he can take care of navigation and I could focus on lugging all these things around and not getting them soaked and had the absolute hardest time. Man. I wished we simply took a taxi, but I’m also glad we didn’t because they’re crazy expensive.

Anyway, eventually and with great success we finally found the house, went in, briefly said hi to our host Kiyoko, who was at the time having a class with her students and therefore couldn’t tour us, and let ourselves in. We freshened ourselves up a little bit and later on went out again.

Our view from the nearby bus stop.

We waited for our bus in the stop near Kiyoko’s house for, I don’t know, maybe an hour, until we decided we were probably not where we were supposed to be—buses passed by but none of them actually stopped for us. So we walked around aimlessly again, despite now having a mobile wifi and Google Maps. I insisted we walk to the stop Google was pointing us to, while my brother, who was at this point super annoyed at me, insisted that it was pointing to a flyover (he was right, lol). We waited at the bus stop we ended up in and maybe thirty minutes or so of standing later, a bus picked us up.

We were heading to a restaurant called Salon de the Francois, which I purposely included in our itinerary because it looked beautiful in photos. We followed Google Maps’ instructions on bus transfers and when we got down, realized our bus went around in circles and dropped us off a block away from where we rode it. Turns out we didn’t need to ride that extra bus and simply had to walk. My brother got extra pissed at me by now, which I completely understood, lol. When we spotted the restaurant, it turned out to be… well, let’s just say it wasn’t for a pair of siblings. Suited maybe more of the couple wanting to pretend to be French for the night. (Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve loved that! But, yeah, not with my brother, lol.)

We ended up just having dinner at the nearby Mo’s Burger and going straight home after. So, yeah… all that getting lost thing just to have an average, forgettable burger. I wanted to walk around the nearby and iconic Gion despite the heavy feet but didn’t bother asking my brother anymore knowing he’d roll his eyes at me, so I just tagged along as he slept on the train and ignored me through our eerie, quiet, loooong kilometer walk back home.

This right here, ladies and gentlemen, is why they say travels test relationships, and why it’s important to choose the people you travel with wisely. (I’m not saying I made a bad choice, au-contraire.)

I really love this about traveling, actually—not the fact that it has that power—but that it puts you out there. In unlikely, unexpected situations. In the real world, where you get to test not just your navigational skills, your patience, your relationships—but your life skills. Skills that you can only hone by actually going, being out there.

All this getting lost made me realize that there’s so much to learn about what it’s like to actually live in this world, and not just in the little piece of land we’re used to—but the world beyond our own. The real world. And what a beautiful thing it would be to learn more, and more, and more. They say traveling is addicting… this, I think, is why.

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