On Wednesday night, while Amy was downloading the pictures from her camera, Matt decided to do some laundry. We were thinking maybe he was going to rinse out some socks and underwear in the sink, but to our surprise he put all the dirty clothes into the bathtub and soaked them. When Amy walked into the bathroom, she found sopping wet jeans, t-shirts, and other items hanging all over. So, Thursday morning was spent with Matt trying first to blow-dry, then to iron dry all of our clothes. While he did this and Amy packed, the kids played hide and seek in a 300 square foot room, which takes some creativity. Trevor wrapped himself in a robe and stood like a statue in the corner, thinking nobody would see him. Will tried to hide in a drawer and almost had a suitcase and a dresser fall on him.
We checked our bags in the hotel lobby and decided to see one more Tokyo site before we took the Shinkansen (rapid) Train to Kyoto. We went to the Asakusa neighbohood to see the Senso-ji Temple, the oldest Buddhist Temple in Tokyo. It has these huge hanging lanterns and a little street leads up to it that sells all these Japanese snacks and souvenirs. We got some little crackers that looked like mini rice crispie treats. By this time, we were very good at taking the Tokyo subway, and could even purchase tickets by pushing the buttons in Japanese!
On the way back to pick up our bags, we stopped at the Mitsukoshi department store food hall and got lunch to eat on the train. Boys got the usual baguette and chicken yakitori, Yamini got a strawberry and banana sandwich with whipped cream, and Matt and Amy had sushi and some Japanese sausages. We love these food halls.
Waiting for the train was very civilized. The train pulls into the station, and all these ladies get on to clean it. 5 minutes before departure, they get off, everyone takes their assigned seats and the train leaves on time. Lots of leg room and big windows to see the view that goes whizzing by. In under three hours we were in Kyoto. It was 6pm and raining, and Amy was wishing she had reserved the luxury hotel right above the train station so we could just be there already.
Instead, we got the lady in the tourist office to write down the Ryokan address in Japanese so we could give it to a taxi driver. We got to the hotel which seems to be in a nice neighborhood and checked out our tatami room. We miss our fancy Toto toilet from the Tokyo hotel, but this is a very cool experience.
Amy was also worried about whether the boys would eat anything in the hotel-provided dinner, but when they carried in our HUGE trays of food, we saw steak, and we knew it would be okay. There was steak to cook yourself, a hot pot with broth & seafood, sushi, miso soup, japanese pickles, rice, fruit for dessert and a couple weird un-identifiable items. When dinner was over, they came and laid out our futon beds for sleeping and took away the table and we were ready for bed!
One other cool thing is how everyone is so exciting about the Cherry Blossoms and how they bring Spring. We saw all these beautiful cherry blossomed themed desserts in the food halls, and in the Kyoto Tourist Office, they even had a Cherry Blossom viewing chart, which Amy thinks indicates buds versus blooms!