"Get your little ass back to the penitentiary, motherfucker. You know what you did last time you was here."

People keep on complaining about the amount of swearing on the blog. And I can’t have people not happy on the internet. So no more swearing from now on, if you see profanities it’s just your imagination. Now piss off.

The 28th was my day off from traveling around, so in order to waste enough money by the end of the year I decided to reserve a bed in the same hostel in Kyoto where the others were staying. In addition to making my wallet lighter, it also meant that I would not have to wake up as early in the morning and waste two hours in transit just to catch up with the others. The following day I was back on the road again and led our battalion to places I had already visited twice, Tenryuji and Iwatayama monkey park. I will not write about them again, but photos are available below. The second to last day of the 20th year of the Heisei-era begun with visiting a pagoda Tommi had chosen, after which we returned to more déjà-vu, Kiyomizu-dera. Long story short, it looked the same as before.

Pagoda. Nuff 'said

New Year’s eve actually brought something new, although on a general level it was all I’ve come to expect of Kyoto: temples. We went to the Kinkakuji, Ryoanji. Both very beautiful places. Also, those who are divinely skilled in pattern recognition might have noticed that the Japanese “ji” stands for “temple”. I’ve grown so weary of visiting temples lately I don’t even want to write about them anymore.

Kyoto Temple - Gold Edition

Stone garden at Ryoanji. Supposedly you can only see a maximum 14/15 stones at once but due to photography-related issues you can see even less in this picture. Isn't that grand?

Joona taking a break

As the sun came down we began our westernized New Year’s Party. It started in an izakaya somewhere around Kyoto’s Shijo. We ate lots of different Japanese snacks, drank some alcohol and took a set of awesome purikura while preparing to take it to the next level, Jumbo Karaoke. Thing is, karaoke on New Year’s Eve is not actually the cheapest thing to do. It took us a while to find a suitable spot, and we had very limited time as well, as it was practically 2009 before we found a place that wasn’t a complete ripoff, although it was. The previous sentence makes perfect sense. To me. We “checked in” into Jankara at 11:50, just in time to observe one of the coolest manifestations of Japanese work ethic. Picture this: There was a huge HD screen at the main entrance of the building. Around 15 seconds before midnight the Jankara staff gathered in front of the screen (that was showing some kind of New Year’s concert) and handed us all some confetti cones to celebrate the new year. As the clock hit 00:00 there were a few seconds of vigorous omedetoing and exchanging of Happii Nyuu Yaa’s wishes before the staff got back to work behind the desk. There were about 10 people behind the desk and 0 customers checking in at the time but it didn’t seem to mean they could slack. According to my calculations, the incredibly unoccupied personnel celebrated New Year’s for something between 23 to 31 seconds. Good for them.

Epic Purikura feat. President Kekkonen

30 Seconds From Work

After we got into our karaoke room I proceeded to get smashed with the umeshu and Ryukyu awamori we had smuggled in so the recollection of what we sang that night is vague. In addition, the whole karaoke party ended up costing a fortune, namely ¥4400 per person. When added to the izakaya bill and transportation costs it definitely amounts to the most expensive New Year’s I’ve spent in Japan, ever.

Inward Singing

Lauri was as festive as ever

We bought some munchies-countering snack from a 24h convenience store and went to eat into the empty Kyoto Imperial park before catching the first metro to go back to the Kyoto station to see the sun rise. We never saw anything worthwhile though, because someone had summoned so many clouds all we could distinguish in the distance were shades of gray. After the worst disappointment of 2009 until then, we dragged ourselves back to the hostel and wasted the following day in bed.


Leave a Reply