I said my heartfelt goodbyes to Yoko and Aki on the morning of the 16th of May. Jumping on the local bus, I headed to Shinjuku station to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto central!
The Shinkansen is far more spacious than I had anticipated. Three seats on the left, two on the right, with twice as much legroom as a second class train seat in the UK- you wouldn’t know that we were the nation that pioneered the rail industry.
Even though it presses on through the industrialised southern Japanese coastline at a similar speed to that of it’s inter-European counterparts, bullet is a more than apt description. A mere two and a half hours later, I’d covered a measly 318 miles.
Navigating the less Western friendly subway system, I headed North of the station to the Khaosan Theatre hostel via Teramachi shopping arcade- a few minutes from my home for the next 5 days or so.
That evening I wined and dined myself in a local restaurant where I had miso soup, chicken, tofu, gohan (rice) salad and a drink for a mere ¥1000.
One of the reasons at the time why the British Pound was so strong against the Japanese Yen was also one of the reasons I’d headed to the nearest airport to get as far away from the UK as possible: the Conservatives had won a majority in the general election.