The second week in Japan was filled with unexpected last-minute plans that I would usually just turn down or postpone, but this time I decided to just accept them and see how it goes. Well, I can’t complain too much. This ‘why the hell not’ attitude does tend to lead to more surprises but also very memorable experiences.

To start of the week I went to Nara. This plan was made around 10 pm on the previous evening, but was well worth it in the end. Last minute for sure but still had a fun day with new friends.

The only thing pre-planned this week was attending Tenjin Matsuri, which I did with a few thousand other people… My first matsuri but not my last!

I had planned a rest day in between all my activities, but somehow that turned into shopping and going to see the view from the nearby Abeno Harukas skyscraper. A quick visit turned into hours of wandering and rest turned into fitting rooms and testing which stores would accept my Visa card. The views from the 16th floor free observatory of Abeno Harukas were pretty nice and I’ll definitely have to check it out again in the evening to enjoy the night view as well.

So on Thursday I finally managed to have my day off just relaxing and did achieve one goal that day, to have a day without spending any money! Mostly spend the day writing and researching for the next day, which was going to be my first trip to Kyoto.

Kyoto ended up having so many places to go to and to choose from that I just decided on the famous Fushimi Inari and the area surrounding it. There would be time to explore central Kyoto on another day. Fushimi Inari was filled with those world-famous red toori gates and… chinese tourists. Also learned the difference between local and rapid train lines that day as an hour turned into much more.

And because last-minute plans were the thing this week I was invited to Kobe for the next day by a fellow Couchsurfer. Why take it easy when you can just climb mountains everyday in intense humidity and 35+ degree temperatures? Well can’t say I regret any of it in the end.

Sunday was finally the time to do laundry to make sure there was something available in the closet that had not been entirely drenched in sweat before going out the front door. Also was able to take advantage of the end of matsuri season and finally find myself a discounted pair of geta to go with my yukata, from the mens side of course, because this country is not made for giants like myself.


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