Unfortunately, today became a free day due to the brewery cancellation. After discussing the economics and the Japan’s involvement in WWII, we rushed off to Kyoto station to reserve seats on the JR to Tokyo tomorrow. I am excited about Tokyo and very relieved that we are paying under $20 a night for a hostel. We were able to split up the group between a large five person room and a smaller double room which, reduced costs greatly. After getting things squared away at the station we were free to roam on our own the rest of the day.
Hungry and antsy, Aaron, Gabrielle, James and myself all headed to Sanjo Street for some food. After proudly navigating the subway we found ourselves at a small restaurant that taunted us with large glass displays decorated with various ice cream masterpieces. Unfortunately, money beat out our taste buds and we each walked away without ordering desert. The four of us wandered into the covered mall and began searching the rows of shops for our various needs. For me this meant shoes. This was my third day on my quest for adequate footwear and with every step shot pains of determination. Apparently, Japan does not know what a size twelve shoe looks like and I receive laughs and bewildered looks when I request it. As my size 11 Nikes force my toes inward I feel a small connection to the women with bound feet years before. After searching store after store to no avail it seems Tokyo is my only hope for fixing this dilemma.
While I looked for shoes, the others with me had their own agendas. For Gabrielle this was the ever-popular Japanese phone charms to bedazzle her cell. For James, the hippest threads to earn him cool points back in the states. And for Aaron, the obscure, outrageous and more than likely inappropriate. It did not take long before I tired of predictable rejection at shoe stores and headed back to Otsu.
After struggling with a foreign washing machine and dryer, a short nap and the usual email conversations with family we finished out our night loudly at our local German bar and restaurant.