Gion Matsuri in Kyoto

 

It was my first time attending the Gion Matsuri on July 17, 2016 in Kyoto.

I left home at 7:30 am and took a train to Gion-Shijo Station in Kyoto. It took about an hour from Yodoyabashi Station.

When I got there, I stopped at the Visitors Information Center at the station to grab a map of the matsuri.  The person at the center recommended that I watch the floats at the street corner to see all the turning. I tried to go to the corner of Shijo and Kawaramachi but couldn’t get in, so I kept walking north.  I settled at the corner of Kawaramachi and Oike across from the City Hall. I got there around 9:30 am. The first float didn’t arrive until around 10:30 am. By that time, it was packed. I watched the floatsfor about an hour. My feet were so tired, so I started walking back.

After the parade, I explored the area, had lunch at Ootoya, and went back to Osaka around 4 pm.


First Time in China

I got to China for the first time on Sunday. We flew to Shanghai and then a driver drove us to Changzhou Wujin. It took us three hours to drive to Changzhou Wujin from the Shanghai Airport.  

Changzhou is bigger than I expected. My first meal in China was Japanese food (and I just came from Japan).  

However, I got to eat Chinese food on the second day (today). We are staying at a Holiday Inn – another fancy Holiday Inn right in the middle of the city. I can see a beautiful park from my room. 
At dinner, I got to learn how to socialize Chinese style. Here is some of what I learned today. I’m sure I’ll need to learn more. 
1) You don’t just drink. You should ask someone to drink with you. 
2) It’s okay to pour your own drink. It’s also nice to pour drinks for others. 
3) After eating for a while, you should get up and ask someone else to drink with you. 
4) At a table, after you toast you hit your glass on the table a few times before drinking. 
5) Just eat with your chopsticks. Use them to take whatever you want to eat from the dishes in the middle of the table. 
6) You can keep using the same glass to drink something else. It’s okay. 
I’m glad I’m getting to learn all these cultural details. I’m really enjoying the education! 

Internet at Home Finally Working

I was having a hard time connecting to the Internet in my apartment. I decided to go with EO Internet service. I followed the instructions on the web but kept getting an error on my Airport Time Capsule about IPv6. I was able to connect the Internet to my laptop but I couldn’t connect from any of my phones. It turned out I had to enter the IPv6 DNS addresses in the Airport Time Capsule. I used the DNS service from Google. It worked.

Heading to Singapore

After spending two nights in Malaysia, I went to Singapore and spent four nights there including the weekend (from June 24th to 28th). It was great to be able to spend some time there on my own. I stayed at a brand new hotel, Mercure Bogis. It just opened a few weeks ago. So far, they have only opened a few floors. The pool and the rooftop were not ready yet. The location was good.

It was pretty hot and humid as expected. On Saturday, I went to the Sands Hotel and Casino. There was a big mall there and I had lunch at the food court. Then, I walked over the bridge to the Marina City Park and went to Orchard Road to walk around. I couldn’t believe how many shopping malls and food courts they have in Singapore. It seems they are everywhere.

At night, I had food on the street in the Bogis area. It was pretty cool.

On Sunday, I had lunch with a friend I worked with in San Diego. She is living in Singapore now with her family. It was great seeing her. Then, I went to the National Museum. It was a nice museum to learn about the history of Singapore. After that, I went to China Town to visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple there. It was very nice.

Marina Bay

An Old Neighborhood 

The National Museum 

Chinatown 

Chinatown 

Chinatown 

The Sands

Heading to Malaysia

I spent the night in Makati, the Philippines last night. Today (June 22, 2016), we headed to Kuala Lumpur. I haven’t been to Malaysia for a long time. The last time I was there might have been 20 years ago. They have a new airport which was nice but pretty far away from the city. It took me about 45 minutes by car to get to the city. I stayed at a very nice Holiday Inn in Glenmarie. For dinner, we ate at the restaurant at the hotel. It was very crowded because of Ramadan. The food was very good (buffet style) and there were so many options to pick from. My favorite was satay. I ate too much. I didn’t get to see anything cool in Kuala Lumpur.

A view from my room at the Holiday Inn

A very nice lobby at the Holiday Inn

Local cuisine from the buffet at the hotel

Satay and other things 

Lunch at a company’s canteen