Maybe some day I’ll write about my first Christmas in Japan two years ago, but for now trust me that pretty much everything that could go wrong, did.
This year Christmas wasn’t as big of a disaster as it was the last time I was in Japan, but it was still disappointing. As some of you might know, around Christmas all the large cities have big illuminations everywhere. My boyfriend found some that were supposed to be pretty cool, on the far side of Kyoto to Matsugasaki station.
I love Kyoto, and I hadn’t been there yet this trip, so I was pretty excited. However, due to our consistently non-consistent horrible schedule, we woke up pretty late in the day. Yuuki also had decided to get a haircut, and that ended up taking longer than we thought. In short, we were already leaving later than what was wise.
I dressed up a bit, all in red and gold (and my dress kept clinging to my tights! argh.) and at first it was a little embarrassing. I already get stared at quite a bit, but obviously this attracted even more attention. I was relieved when we finally got to our destination. Because of the illuminations and the fact that it’s a couples holiday in Japan meant that there were dressed up couples everywhere, thankfully all more interested in their partner than me.
We both hadn’t eaten yet, so we decided to eat first. Yuuki had found a reportedly delicious pizza place online, but their number didn’t work so we couldn’t make a reservation. It was supposedly close to the station though, so we figured we’d chance it and find something else if it didn’t work out. Unfortunately, Yuuki had forgotten to look up directions to the pizza place, so we followed his GPS. It, for some unexplainable (and unchangeable) reason would only give us directions as if we were driving a car. Fifteen minutes after walking we were far from the station, essentially making a wide circle, and his phone battery was dead. We stopped and asked for directions at a 7-11 to the special pizza place were looking for, and after following them, ended up at a Dominoes (which costs around $30 here for one pizza). Fate also decided to mock us with a delivery guy from Pizza-La hanging out one block away.
So we kept walking, and asked at another convenience store. The worker at this store knew the pizza place this time, but said it was a 15-20 minute walk from there. When we finally reached the pizza place, they said due to how busy they were, it would be an hour and half (by this time, that would have meant 10:30 pm). So, very disappointed and taunted by the wonderful smell of melted cheese, we said no thank you, and turned back to a yakiniku place we had seen on the walk there.
However, after waiting in line for awhile and getting a table, we found out they weren’t doing the regular menu. They were only doing the all-you-can-eat options, which was your choice of $20 or $30 per person depending on what kinds of meats you wanted, I think. So we said sorry and left.
Luckily we soon found a little hambagu restaurant that was almost hidden called ハンバーグ一乗寺 (Hambagu Ichijouji – website: http://www.hamburg-i.net/). They had a ‘winter only’ special that was a hambagu in fondue – it was really, really good. It also came with a beautiful, tasty salad.
Yummm. And once you finished all the meat and vegetables in the fondue, they took the left over cheese and made a risotto for you.
We were the only people there, and both the workers were super nice. I would highly recommend going there if you find yourself in that area.
But, as delicious as it was, that was it for the trip. It was already so late that the illuminations were done so I didn’t get to see any. That was a pretty big bummer. And of course most places were closed, obviously temples too, so it didn’t really feel like a trip to Kyoto. $12 on train fare to eat at a restaurant, hah. Yuuki and I laughed bitterly about that on the train home. And I really wanted to eat Japanese Christmas cake (it’s a tradition here – as I mentioned earlier it’s regarded as a couples’ holiday. But if you’re not on a date, the tradition is to eat KFC (yup) with the fam and then eat cake. They have all these fantastic Christmas-themed cakes, and I always wanted to try one. They’re so pretty.). I didn’t get a super cool one, but luckily when we got back to Hirakata Starbucks was still open and they had two tiny ones left that were chocolate-raspberry.
We thought about going to karaoke, but I had promised my mum and sister I would Skype with them.So that was my Christmas this year. Slightly better than the last time I was in Japan (we got on the train home this time!), so there’s hope for the future.