It’s my fifth time at ‘Cafe Bibliotic Hello’ which must be one of my favourite cafes in Kyoto by now as it can be crowded with people and dare I say it even their offspring – argh! – but the place is tranquil…charming…calming…and to my utter delight full of books available for everybody’s perusal. Only in Japan. Over many centuries Japanese culture has refined the art of keeping human relations politely restricted and soothingly quiet in this rather crowded country with mind boggling spacial challenges. Over the course of three weeks I have encountered ONE male person – one! – displaying a certain obnoxious finesse of boganism…think classic Australian but with Japanese face under stupid head gear. Now this is nice. ONE..
Three weeks of German research has come up with this list…
1. Japanese love stripes.
2. Stripes on everything…socks and shirts and hats and pants and umbrellas and bibs and coats and scarves and book covers and envelopes…obsessive. Maybe the equivalence of Cuban Lycra Love…
3. Everything else is either ‘Cute’ or ‘Cat’. Or ‘Cute Cat’. And that is just the adults.
4. Japanese children are unbelievably gorgeous. This coming from a certified ‘NO CHILDREN PLEASE’ person might illuminate the visual delight they ooze out….without much noise attached. That of course makes them beyond belief. I cannot believe I just wrote that.
5. Just spotted ‘Head to Toe Plus Accessories’ Stripey Japanese man – STRIPES!
6. The Kyoto public transport system is equally enchanting…must be one of the best I have ever encountered. No Japanese written or spoken abilities needed but you can navigate around this town faking nonchalance and knowledge. Good ego booster and helpful to counterbalance feelings of clumsiness and massiveness and Non-Japaneseness.
7. Japan makes me feel like a GIANT turtle.
8. Japanese are compulsively polite. And helpful. People stop to help you find places insisting – very politely! – on walking you there. Seriously. Mostly for the questionable pleasure talking to you in English…if that is what I speak.
8. People don’t lock their bikes…and not necessarily their doors, either.
9. Japanese cars look like pugs’ faces…squashed to fit.
10. Japan makes me feel like a MASSIVE panda.
11. Or an ENORMOUS pumpkin.
12. Flea markets here are spectacular.
13. So is the absence of privacy. Challenge!
14. Green MACHA ice cream = positively wonderful.
15. Grey black SESAME soybean ice cream = ditto.
Tonight is my last night and while I have seen A LOT – outrageous footwear was not part of it. Apparently this is all happening in Tokyo as Kyoto is the conservative, subdued STRIPEY relative. Must admit I would have thought they might have one…one! One? One ‘weird and wacky’ Kyoto shoe shop….but alas, I haven’t found it. SOU SOU – as mentioned in my last blog might just be it. Never mind. My suitcase is full of old silk kimonos and to make matters smooth and mainstream when dealing with customs early Saturday morning I have added 2 simply fabulous round and rather large wooden frames….as well as about 29746352 lacquered wooden bowls sporting – mostly – cranes. LOVE CRANES.
So this is it. Spent some time trying to come up with distinctive Japanese shoe designer – all the links I found have been either broken or are not displaying because of some unhappy server or other…but will keep it Asian with those two: check out Zoe Dai’s designs – I think she hails from Taiwan – and Xiaojing a Chinese (?!) designer…
Might try to hunt down yet another GREEN ice cream on my way back to my Higashiyama residence…and packing all those kimonos and cranes….currently littering my 2 square meters ‘appartment’…bird shit everywhere! EVERYWHERE!
Sayonara from Kyoto…leaving you with a graceful jelly fish on this Thursday night.