Left the hotel late-ish and took a taxi to the Imperial Palace. Wasn’t blown away as the palace was closed but the gardens were restful as it was a hot and humid day. Thought of walking to Nijo-Jo castle but thankfully common sense prevailed and I took a taxi. As it turned out it was one inch on the map but about two miles on the ground. Hugely impressive Shogun castle, just what you’d imagine: wooden walls, curved roofs and a garden to blow you away. Some people see Japanese gardens as too manicured, too precise but they have a deep sense of peace. Found a bank of vending machines and enjoyed a pale green drink and had absolutely no idea what it was. I ruled out tea or lime so I am still at a lost to what it was. Refreshing none the less. I developed a new game called Japanese Vending Roulette. You pick a number between 1 and 30, pop in your ¥150 and push the relevant button. You’ll be amazed by the sort of liquid you’ll be dispensed.
Then headed back to Kyoto station for some retail therapy.
Went into Bic Camera, a multiple-floor Dixons on steroids to look at tech. Wow. The new 3D TVs are everywhere and they even supply magnifiers so you can look at the pixel clusters. Camera equipment is more expensive than London by 20%. The mobile phone department was heaving with a range of fashion phones to suit every outfit. As the Japanese are text crazy so most had keyboards and the iPhone was there but was just another phone. One interesting tech story, over dinner at a local sushi bar I heard an elderly woman mention the word iPad, as I was reading a book on mine. I smiled and let her and her husband have a play. They thought it was fabulous but I avoided having a quick game of Plants vs Zombies with them, some things are definitely lost in translation.
Then a quick nap as the pace was getting to me and phoned Elly from my iPad using Skype. Sadly the only place to do this was the hotel lobby and I got some strange looks having a conversation with an eBook reader. Then some quick shopping and sushi for dinner. Sushi is the most addictive food I know. However, the Japanese have thought of a way around this – make it very expensive. I limit myself to six or eight pieces and always walk out £25-£30 poorer. Tonight I had medium fat tuna, ikura, sardine, bonito and sea eel. Fab.
Then a bit more retail therapy and I have become addicted to Japanese greeting cards which are so beautiful. Another quick call home and bed.