I had a very comfortable night’s sleep, but awoke to found myself resembling a Chinese ballet dancer’s left foot: bound tightly in three blankets to keep out the cold Kyoto morning air. After untangling myself from this cosy cocoon we headed out for another day of sightseeing. Akira has been the perfect guide, and owing to the fact that he knows Kyoto very well, has a great interest in Japanese history, and is basically just a thoroughly nice chap, we spent another day sampling the bountiful delights of Kyoto. For me the two personal highlights of the day were: seeing the Kinkaku-ji (Golden temple), an astonishing pagoda decked out in gold leaf; and wandering amongst the Take Mori (bamboo forest), admiring the way that the sun danced amongst the overgrown grass shoots. It was with a heavy heart, but a collection of grand memories, that we bade farewell to Akira and Kyoto, and headed back to Tokyo.
After returning to Tokyo we headed straight to a friend’s birthday party, and I proceeded to gorge myself on the all you could eat selection of food at the Izakaya (Japanese bar). I met some really interesting people, and managed to get a good amount of Japanese practice in; my one main mistake being confusing the sentence ‘Have you heard of this theatre of Yokohama?’ with ‘Did you buy that cup in Kyoto?’, but apart from that I acquitted myself reasonably well. I had to leave at just before 23:30 in order to catch the last train home, and was absolutely shattered by the time I stumbled into bed at just gone 01:00. Shattered, but full of happy memories from a glorious weekend, spent in majestic surroundings with fantastic people. What more could I want, apart from the ability to feel my hands and feet again on a regular basis?