Yikes, almost 4 weeks since the last post! Ok, I have a good excuse, my girlfriend came to visit for a couple of weeks. We spent a couple of nights in Tokyo in the Kadoya hotel in Shinjuku. It was a bit expensive, but then again not too bad for Tokyo. And of course completely worth it to show her around the city.
We then headed back to my place in Nagano, had dinner with my friends here, then a day later hopped on a bus to Kyoto for a couple of nights. We stayed at a really neat hostel just south of the station (J-Hoppers). The price was pretty good and the hostel quiet, clean and friendly. We saw the tourist bits (ginkakuji, kinkakuji, nijo jo, imperial gardens) and also took a wander along the philosophers path, which I hadn't done before. We happened to walk past a Geisha house and saw one being dressed (!) through the doorway. I decided to leave the camera in it's bag.
We also took a walk down the canal (surrounded by neon restaurant signs and weeping willow trees) and through the narrow backstreets that I think give Kyoto it's charming quality. After being fleeced for a really small and really expensive meal we found an awesome sushi bar along the canal and fed our faces for half the price of the previous meal.
After Kyoto we visited some places around the area in which I live, including "my" lake and a lovely mountain-viewing area called Shirabiso Kogen. We ate there and spent the day sat out reading, playing guitar (on a mountain, yes!!) and taking pictures.
Around the Shimoina area we sampled many of my favourite restaurants and eateries and generally spent time relaxing in the beautiful weather around the lake and local parks. Bliss!
But alas she is now back in Australia continuing her tour of it and Asia. Hopefully I can tempt her back before the end of the year...