WHY IS IT SO COLD HERE!??!
So, two days ago, a massive cold overtook Japan from north to south. It snowed in Hokkaido! It even snowed on a mountain nearby! And it's even cold in Kyoto! :-(
Speaking of Kyoto...so, I was there last weekend! It was fun to visit my girlfriend. On Friday, we saw the Jidai Matsuri, which was surprisingly short. It was just a parade of people in various attire from the olden days to pre-modern days. Later that evening, my girlfriend and I went to Gion, where the Geisha roam the streets. We saw one, actually! She was a Maiko, an apprentice geisha.
Finally, that night, my girlfriend had a small pot luck dinner, where she invited three of her Japanese friends over, and the four of them each had some sort of dish to share. My girl made her awesomely cheesey mac-and-cheese. There was also chirashi-zushi, hot cakes, and Ritz crackers. *nice* We also watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame; fun times.
On Saturday, I got to eat ramen at what as become my favorite ramen shop. SOOOOO GOOOOOOD. Then later that evening, we hit up Fushimi Inari, which is the famous shrine with hundreds of torii gates along the trails that lead up the mountain. My girlfriend and I walked the ENTIRE LENGTH of the trail! It took THREE HOURS. And it was COLD. And DARK. It was really, really creepy and surprisingly scary at some points. Plus, there are families that live up there, who tend to the various shrines. So sometimes we could hear them make sounds, which, in the dead of night, is damn frightening. Anyway, the whole trip with breathtaking. It was amazing. And near the top, there was a beautiful view of western Kyoto.
So yeah, Kyoto was awesome. And the cold is not.
Yesterday, Shoe came over and taught me how to use the kerosene heater. We cleaned them up (I have two) and turned them on. It is surprisingly efficient. It heats up instantly, heats the room up quickly, and is relatively inexpensive compared to the electric heaters. But the problems are that the kerosene smell is awful and the room must be ventilated every hour to insure that the toxic fumes (carbon monoxide) don't kill me. But in ventilating the room, the heat escapes. To deal with this problem, I was told that if you just keep the window a little open, the room is both ventilated and keeps the heat from escaping too quickly. Nice. But man...the smell sucks. And so does the cold.
Word of the day: 灯油 「とうゆ」 "touyu," or "kerosene."