Get Lost!

Monday was the first day in Kyoto that Sebastian and I did not get completely turned around and end up walking blocks in the wrong direction. It took us more than two days to figure out that somewhere around 2pm (dubbed "the witching hour" by Sebastian) our brains turn to mush and we can't be trusted to make sound directional decisions. Therefore, we tried to plan ahead and be somewhere contained and relatively harmless between the hours of 2 and 5 pm. I, for one, don't feel too bad about it, since we've been averaging close to 6 hours of almost solid walking before reaching that point.

One deterrent to accurate navigation is an abundance of discrepancies between the tourist maps, the actual street signs, and the fact that many of the maps don't include the Japanese characters (which Sebastian can more-or-less read since a chunk of their characters are borrowed from Chinese) and most of the smaller streets don't have street signs at all. As we learned en route to our second ryokan, even the taxi drivers don't really know their way around. (In that instance, he spit us out the cab with the equivalent of "it's somewhere around here," leaving us to wander up and down the street for about 45 minutes with our bags before finding a person who could actually help us with directions - a rickshaw driver)

Only once did we get so hopelessly lost (and grumpy) that we hopped into a cab and paid the six bucks back to the ryokan just to get our bearings. I'm quite sure that if we kept going the way we had we would have ended up somewhere south of Bermuda (though I like to think that reaching the shoreline from inlad Kyoto would've given us a small clue.)

Prior to the witching hour, however, we have done smashingly well and even managed to stay more or less on task and on the map. Sebastian is an expert globetrotter - the type of guy who has his passport number memorized and had to get additional pages put in that passport. He is also great to travel with, as easy going as I think I am (we'll see if he agrees...) and we both are happy to indulge the others whims to check out side streets and intriguing drive/pathways when the opportunity presents itsled (as long as it's before 2!)