This was the day I dreaded the most!
We would all be leaving Kyoto the very next day – Mom and dad back to China, me, Tokyo before Seattle. Normally on this day dad would say, let’s not do anything other than packing and last minute souvenir shopping. Neither of which I enjoy, not to mention the thought of having to say goodbye.
If it were up to me, I would go to a mountain.
Fortunately, mom’s with me on that.
It was an hour bus ride from where we were to Arashiyama. I dozed off in the warmth of my seat, vaguely discerned a conversation between a Chinese couple, reminiscing how they used to bicycle this route in their youth. I like stories like this – ordinary people, ordinary love.
We started our walk from the Togetsu-kyo Bridge
Visiting gardens and shrines along the way
till we got to Tenryu-ji.
Dad didn’t want to go into the temple, so we stayed outside in the garden.
In a matter of days, the majority of maple trees had sheded their leaves.
But the colours of the Yoshino Cherries were still blazing.
For a moment the sun went into hiding and all of a sudden, it became cold and drafty in front of Hojo’s veranda.
So we moved on.
Exiting through the Sagano Bamboo Forest.
The autumn crowd presented a challenge in finding a descent lunch spot. Luckily this restaurant, thoughtfully provided covered seating areas for the people waiting outside.
The food was one of Kyoto’s specialty: tofu kaiseki – a vegetarian multi-course (in this case bento box) menu consisted of dishes made of soybeans. My parents particularly loved Goma (sesame) Tofu
which turned out to be my favorite as well. But I also enjoyed the umami flavor of the Chawan-Mushi cooked in dashi and soymilk with a ginkgo nut in the bottom, the savory roasted mugwort and sesame wheat gluten served with miso dipping sauce
the delicate homemade tofu skin
and the not-too-sweet warabi mochi as dessert.
Being on the main drag, this was, undoubtedly, another touristy restaurant. But the food was good, the wait was reasonable and more importantly, we got to stay dry and rest our legs during a downpour.
Back to the ryokan, we picked up our luggage and hailed a cab to a new ryokan where we would be spending the night.
We had dinner at a restaurant specializes in handmade udon noodles and the chewy texture of that noodle still haunts me to date.
Dad drunk sake and made friends with a neighbouring Japanese couple. What is it about sake and new friends??
At night, snuggled on the double-layered futon bed next to my parents and listening to the rhythmic sound of their sleep, I recalled seeing a rainbows twice that day.
After all, everything is going to be alright.