On Monday it was overcast and thick.  It never really rained but did want to, it seemed.  Susan left me a note in the morning saying she was keen to rest in the morning rather than scurry off and do things.  Happy about that myself, I went downstairs to blog and catch up on computer-ing.  After lollygagging in the room a bit and making a game plan together we headed off to grab a bite next door.  The most delicious restaurant with an outstanding atmosphere is literally right next door so we enjoyed a great meal of steamed dumplings, fried dumplings, greens w garlic (yum!), and a spicy fried rice w fish.  I have photos of all the food and plan to load them when I am able to use my own computer. 

Next on the list: to the mall (I say it like there’s only one; there are many).  We went to a mall that had at least 5 stories and sold everything under the sun.  Shopping, marketing, and status would appear to be the words of the day for Japan.  And the stores are packed full of everything under the sun in dense numbers.  Boots line the aisles one after the other.  Backpacks pack the shelves.  Furry purses and gorgeous things drew us in.  But here I am with an already-too-packed backpack so there is no way I can make a purchase if if Iwanted to.  It will be necessary to visit a post office in Kyoto in order to relieve myself of some things by sending them home – – including the computer bag  I will no longer need now that I bought a proper backpack to carry my stuff around in. 

During our shopping adventure Amy and Colin rang and asked us to meet them for a beer and a round of bowling (is it called a round? Or what?).  We met them at the train station and found the bowling place.  It’s on the 7th floor of a gaming building called Big Box.  The place is filled with stuff like video games, those dancing things with lights that you have to coordinate your feet on (Colin does an excellent impersonation of these dancing machines!), indoor golf with a golf school and the like.  The place was filled with teenagers and the fact that there was no beer served at the bowling lanes drove home the fact that this place was for kids.  Deciding that we wanted to go get beer first, we told the girl behind the desk what our plan was.  We could tell by her expression that she thought we meant we were going to go get beer and bring it back to the place.  This was confirmed when she sent an English-speaking guy to tell us alcohol was prohibited.

All we wanted was to go somewhere for a beer and a rest first, then we’d come back to bowl.   Recalling that there had been a guy in a sandwich board out front handing out advertisements for a certain place with cheap beer, we went out of Big Box to find him and figure out where to go.  Not understanding his directions, he helped us understand that he would take us there.  We followed him up to the place and were sat in a booth where we promptly ordered appetizers and beer.  Turns out it’s one of these club card places, like Granite City or the like.  We paid for a club card, then got the low-price beers, still a good deal.  And the food was delicious.  Skip the bowling!  We were happy to drink beer, eat, and talk about various things including Japanese culture from Amy’s perspective whilst living here and teaching English.  She has a lot of interesting observations about the culture here from her conversations with her students.  It was interesting. 

We made a plan to go to the fish market on Tuesday, set a time of 6:45 a.m. and a meeting place, then separated for the evening.  Susan and I headed back to the hotel to organize my backpack and to pack up to be ready to depart for Kyoto tomorrow.  Then headed over to our favorite restaurant where we enjoyed more dumplings, more greens, and a delicious pork dish than had us moaning in pleasure with every single bite.  And I am not kidding.  It was heavenly!!

A low-key but delightful day!