Wednesday, March 22, 2006

京都 2005 - 30 Shichijo-dori

[261105] last day in Kyoto =| time for just two last temples + one stream + one river + one university....

but first, a few landmarks in e neighbourhood where e cat has been leaving its pawprints behind every day for e past 12 days:


this building (residential apartments?) along Shichijo-dori was probably named after e pharmacy that occupies e ground floor. & e cat thought that some of e condominium & estate names in Singapore (e.g. The Savannah, where e closest thing to zebras would be e pedestrian crossings) were silly enough....

space is really tight in Japan. e driver who squeezed his car into that little gap here can select & pay for drinks from e Kirin vending machine by just winding down e car window. Japan is a really convenient place =) but to collect e drink from e dispenser, he will have to get out of e car & close e car door. e cat has not seen him before but he must be quite thin ;)

blocking e front of e car is e door to an apartment (& e apartment itself) that prevents this vending machine from becoming Kyoto's first 'drive thru' vending machine. no wonder you must produce proof of ownership of a parking space (issued no earlier than one month ago?), which you may have to find & rent through a real estate agent, before you can even buy a car in Japan....!!

a pharmacy occupies e ground floor of this building along e route between K's House hostel & Kyoto Station. Japanese pharmacies will have at least one version (pink or orange) of Sato-chan, e cute elephant mascot/symbol, standing near e entrance. e cat has met Sato-chan before in Singapore, in e pharmacies next to Meidi-Ya @ Liang Court, e supermarket of Isetan @ Lido, & B2F of Takashimaya.

in Japan, at least 50% of e space in pharmacies are devoted to cosmetics. if e pharmacy occupies 2 floors of a building, one floor will be solely for beauty & make-up products & fragrances:


Japanese ladies don't leave home with a bare face. but Japan has a far lower humidity & cooler temperatures for most of e year (not sure about Okinawa though). ladies who try to do e same in humid Singapore might have to spend quite a bit of time in washrooms every few hours touching up all e gunk that has melted in e heat & slid off their faces. to spend less on make-up they try to stay within air conditioned areas ;)

further west of e pharmacy is e mini stop konbini, & a petrol station:


konbini is essential for e cat's low-budget survival anywhere in Japan. e konbini in Japan put 7-Eleven in Singapore to shame with their prices - here you can be sure that konbini offers one of e lowest prices. in Singapore you can be assured that 7-Eleven's prices will be almost always be higher than in NTUC, Giant, Carrefour etc (except for 'fixed price' items like bread, milk & fruit juices in 1 litre Tetrapaks)....

in Japan, e konbini have an amazing variety of products & bento (many with no. of calories stated on e label). they also offer seasonal stuff - autumn is drawing to a close & large partitioned metal containers filled with hot soup & skewered oden ingredients dipped in them have appeared on e cashier's counters of many konbini....oden is a winter food that looks a little like yong tau foo.

& not to forget that cheap superglue from a konbini saved e day (& this vacation) for e cat when e sole of its shoes (only pair brought on this trip) started to come off after covering just two of e six hikes on its itinerary =) LAWSON (matcha cream puff!!) & 7-Eleven (gyoza!!) are e cat's favourite konbini chains, & it has popped into quite a few ampm, ministop & Family Mart outlets too.

further east along Shichijo-dori:


they-who-shall-not-be-named, these are some more of your 'souvenir' Japanese schoolgirl photos ;) as you can see, e cat is only half-heartedly indulging you guys cos it is simply not cat to zoom in on & photograph (e prettiest of) them without permission. you may, however, stake out this spot around 08:00AM on school days (like what that policeman is doing? =P) yourself if you ever come to Kyoto - see map below:


Kyoto Women's University & Junior College, Elementary School attached to Kyoto Women's University, Kyoto Girls' Junior & Senior High School....that explains ;) e cat was standing at e little 'You are here' red dot (very Singaporean), & e girls were walking from somewhere to e right of e map instead of taking e bus to e stop nearest to their schools. perhaps these schools are some of those in Japan that require students to walk or bike some distance to school every day to promote fitness & a healthy lifestyle?

here, e cat also discovered that Sanjusangendo temple would open only at 09:00AM, & decided to visit e nearby Tofukuji temple first....

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