News from
April 2006

April 3rd
I can’t believe it’s already April! Time is going so fast, isn’t it? The Kyoto’s busiest season has finally arrived. We got an enquiry call from our client this morning. She (actually her brother) is planning to come to Kyoto this weekend. We did our best to find a vacant room of ryokan…but they are already booked up. We expect the cherry blossoms in Kyoto to be in full bloom in about a week. If you are so lucky to have booked a ryokan/hotel in Kyoto this weekend, please enjoy the spring beauty! One more information is here…According to the weather report, it will be sunny on Sunday! (Risa)

April 17th
It is a very beautiful day here in Kyoto today. I went out for lunch and felt the spring breeze, which was really nice. Junko and I talked about cherry blossoms in the past news - maybe too much? -, but the peak season is already gone. People say [the life of a cherry blossom is very short]…it was really true. The cherry trees already have leaves and WOOLY WORMS on them…so, be careful when you walk under the trees! But, the season of new green leaves in Kyoto is also lovely, so don’t miss it! (Risa)

April 18th
I will talk about one of my favourite spots in Kyoto. Fushimi Inari is a famous shrine dedicated to Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Shinto god’s messengers, therefore a lot f fox statues can be found at the shrine. Fushimi Inari is also famous for the countless torii gates, which cover the hiking trail of Inarisan, the wooded mountain behind the shrine’s main building.[ I am sure you will be amazed at the sight of the torii gates!] It takes you about 2.5 hours to walk though the hiking trail. While the hiking, you can stop for lunch at a small restaurant along the trail. Kitsune(fox) Udon, a noodle soup topped with pieces of aburaage (fried tofu), a favourite food of fox is served there.
* Here is a tip for this weekend. There is a big event at Fushimi Inari this Sunday. If you are around Kyoto, you should go there! (Risa)

April 19th
I recently realized another great aspect of Kyoto!!! There is this building near our office. It is just a regular office building facing the big street, Karasuma-dori. The reason why I am writing about this building is because it has the KYOTO SPIRIT!!! Look at the picture below. Can you see the temple [Rokkaku do] through the window?

April 20th
English is a hard language… When Junko and I explain things in English, we sometimes don’t understand each other. She studied and worked in the States & Canada. On the other hand, I studied in New Zealand. I really don’t notice, but people say I have an Oceanian accent. We also use different words, too. [push bike], [chilly bin], [jandal], [togs] and [bach]…if we go camping together and talk in English only, we will definitely be in trouble! (Risa)
In case you are wondering (why camping?)…well, the unique words she said above mean >>> [push bike]=[bicycle], [chilly bin]=[beer cooler], [jandals]=[sandals], [togs]=[bathing suits], [bach]=[a beach house] and theses are some words that made her think of camping. (Junko)

April 21st
Junko and I went to have dinner at a restaurant called ‘DEMODE queen’ last night. The restaurant has very American flavour and serves quite a few varieties of American dishes. We ordered a salad and chips for two of us…and, of course, we ordered drinks too. You may say we eat like a tiny bird, but the dishes really made us soooooooooo full. We could hardly move quickly. After we finished eating, we noticed the restaurant is famous of a Hawaiian dish [Rocomoco]. Umm…it was too late to order their speciality…next time for sure.

April 24th
We just received an e-mail from one of our customers today. He and his family stayed at ryokan [Matsui] last week and they had a great time there. I was soooo pleased when I read the mail. He said in the mail that it was a great experience for them to stay at ryokan, not a hotel in Japan. That’s exactly we were hoping to hear! I think it’s much more interesting to stay at ryokan than hotels in Japan because you get all the Japanesy feelings! This makes me want to travel and get unique experiences in other countries…somewhere with beautiful beaches would do…(Junko)

April 25th
The best season for cycling has just started! I love riding around the town and finding good stuff. Kyoto is a very interesting city, and it has both old and new aspects. Although I have lived here in Kyoto for more than 20 years, I have no chance to get bored. When you come to Kyoto on a sightseeing trip, you may not think about renting a bicycle. But, I do recommend you to use a rental bicycle to do your sightseeing. I’m sure you will find something nice during the trip. As Junko said in the news yesterday, I also would rather have unique experiences in other countries!!! (Risa)

April 27th
Kamogawa Odori starts on May 1st. It goes on for about a month, till May 24th. This is a very traditional dance show started in 1872. Lots of beautiful Geisha (Geiko) show their dances on a stage. If you are in Kyoto during this period, I recommend you to check it out because this is a good chance to see Geisha’s show without paying lots. The cheapest ticket for Kamogawa Odori is 2,000 yen! Can you believe that? (Junko)
Here’s a new picture from Mr. Sugiura! He sent us a picture of Geisha (Geiko). Beautiful work, eh?

April 28th
There has been a huge boom in yoga all over Japan. Although I was also interested in yoga, I couldn’t find lots of yoga studios here in Kyoto until a couple of months ago. But…finally, there are quite a few nice ones here too. Yes, I am pretty happy about that. After I started to take yoga lessons, I have been very relaxed physically and mentally.
I guess it’s really good to concentrate all my attention on assuming a correct posture and keeping it. I do understand why a lot of people are attracted to yoga. I booked a yoga lesson from 10:30a.m tomorrow. Yeah…it’s Saturday but I WILL get out of my bed early tomorrow!!! (Risa)

Good luck Risa! I might join you…if I get out of my comfy bed…(Junko)

April 4th
Did you lie to anyone on April fools day this year? Yep, we do have April Fools Day in Japan too and it is called the same but we pronounce it in Japanese way…like, [Eh-pu-li-lu-hooo-lu]. I lied to my co-worker but it was an innocent lie and she didn’t even care…I have to make a better lie next year, I guess.

I was walking around downtown Kyoto on Sunday and saw a pretty sight. It didn’t come out well in the picture but someone decorated the river bank of Takasegawa. [Takasegawa is the small, shallow river…or more like a stream along Kiyamachi street.] There were many bottles (mostly wine and sake bottles, I think) that were made into lamps. With the cherry blossoms over the river, the shinny bottles were very beautiful! If you are lucky enough to be in Kyoto this week…or maybe next week if the cherry blossoms are hanging in there…please check out the river bank of Takasegawa!!! (Junko)


April 5th
It has been raining here in Kyoto…it is no good for the cherry blossoms. When I walked around the office, I saw lots of the fallen petals on the street. The cherry blossoms look particularly beautiful on a sunny day, so I hope the sky clears up as soon as possible.
I got a happy call from Kikoku-so, one of the ryokan on our website. Not only our clients enjoyed their stay at the ryokan but also the owner couple was very happy to have them. The clients visited Kyoto to take pictures for a travel magazine. The owner of Kikoku-so said he was interviewed and photographed by them. I don’t know where the travel magazine is published…but you may have a chance to see and read the article. (Risa)

April 6th
My friend just told me a piece of news to write in here. Tom Hanks was in Kyoto the day before yesterday for sightseeing…or for fun…who knows. He came to Japan to promote his new movie (Is it new everywhere in the world? Because movies often come out late in Japan…it’s not fair, if you ask me!!!) [The Da Vinci Code] in Tokyo.

I can’t wait to see this movie since I read the book and I personally liked it a lot. But my point is that a Hollywood star like Tom Hanks comes all the way from Tokyo (or on the way to Tokyo) to Kyoto for FUN between his busy schedules!!! (I am just assuming he is a busy person…them stars are always busy with their crazy lives, right?) Kyoto attracts so many people from all over the world including Tom Hanks and hopefully YOU! (Junko)

April 14th
I have contacted a couple of my friends overseas, but they are gone on Easter holiday. One of my good friends, Jasmin is not coming back until 20th April. Lucky her! We also have a long holiday called Golden Week next month. It is from 3rd May to 7th May this year [it changes every year]. Some lucky guys & girls have a longer holiday from 29th April. Hmm…I am very envious of them. There are lots of Easter events on in western countries, right? I hope you have a neat holiday! (Risa)

I went to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo this week on business…not braggin…just wanted to make an excuse for not updating the news page…it was interesting to be in the 3 biggest cities in Japan though. BUT I can tell you the best one is Kyoto!!! I am serious! (Junko)


This temple is called [the bellybutton of Kyoto] since it’s located right in the middle of the city. But as you can see, the temple is kind of hidden in between tall buildings now. It is such a waist not being able to see the nice temple easily…do Kyoto people care? Of course they do! They made this building with big glass walls so that everyone can see the temple from Karasuma street! Isn’t it a great idea? (Junko)

As the American diner is located on narrow winding paths, you may have some difficulty find it. But, it is definitely one of options when you miss Western food.
Tomorrow is Junko’s birthday. Because it’s Saturday tomorrow, I will say [Happy birthday!] here in advance!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Risa)

Thank youuuuuu!!! I am a year wiser now! (Junko)


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