One thing that I was hoping to purchase while I was in Japan was a kimono or yukata (which is a casual, summer kimono), and after doing a tea ceremony/kimono experience in Kyoto, I was determined to find something to bring home with me before I left the city.
After running around Kyoto non-stop for two days though, I was short on time for shopping, and except for grabbing a few trinkets while visiting the shrines, I hadn’t even given it much thought. So before I got on the train to head to Osaka, I decided that I would visit some of the stores recommended for kimono shopping on Google.
I eventually found myself at a specialty kimono shop called Mimuro, and after a couple of hours browsing the yukatas and learning how to properly put on one by myself with the incredibly kind and helpful staff, I was headed towards Nishiki Market, two yukatas in hand (one for me and one for my sister who had just had a birthday), to search for something to sooth my throat which was burning at this point.
I learned very quickly though that Nishiki Market is not the best place to walk on a Sunday afternoon loaded down with purchases and while under the weather (so many people!), so after browsing a couple of the shops there, my head was feeling rather fuzzy, and I looked to my phone for the nearest coffee shop. I was growing concerned that, if I didn’t sit down, I was going to pass out.
I was very pleased to find that Weekenders Coffee Tominokoji, which I had seen recommended on several travel blogs before my trip, was only a few blocks away, so typing in the address to Google Maps, I headed in the direction of the shop.
But when I arrived at the final destination point as indicated by my phone, I was severely confused. All that was in the spot was a small parking lot surrounded by a few closed restaurants. I glanced at the signs on the doors to verify that none of them were the coffee shop, and I walked up and down the street several times with no success. The additional walking was only further exacerbating my exhaustion and frustration, so eventually I headed back to the parking lot and hid in a shady spot to figure out what I was going to do.
It had to be around there somewhere, right?
Deciding to take one last look before heading back to Nishiki Market, I followed my gut instinct and walked to the back of the small parking lot. Low and behold, hidden in the far corner, behind a couple of trees, and with no visible signage was the small building which held Weekenders Coffee. Excited that I finally found the place, I rushed up to the front door, and immediately realized, to my disappointment, that there was no place to sit inside the building.
Fuck, I muttered to myself. I really needed something warm for my throat, but it was a high temperature day, so sitting outside while drinking a hot coffee seemed like a terrible idea. Something cold sounded absolutely wonderful to cool my sweaty body, but I knew that would do nothing for the pain in my throat, which was becoming more and more intolerable by the second.
I didn’t know what to do. Should I look for somewhere else to go? Should I just suck it up and order something? Should I go for something cold or something warm? My fuzzy head was absolutely killing any ability I had to make decisions.
Thankfully for me, automaticity kicked in at this point and shut down my overactive brain. Within a few minutes, I was sitting in a shady spot near the entrance with a cappuccino, my usual afternoon coffee order.
And as I sipped on my drink and stared out at the full parking lot, I realized a few things:
- I’m a creature of habit. Even when I am deliberately contemplating breaking from routine, my brain will override the effort, especially during times of stress, and before I even know what has happened, I will unconsciously find myself back in my old habits, like with the cappuccino. Not a big deal when it comes to coffee. Massive issue when it comes to addressing my struggles with anxiety and depression.
- I am just so obviously American. I mean, setting my looks and accent aside for the moment, the fact that I was really struggling in Japan with the lack of seating areas that are freezing due to A/C overuse was a wake up call that as much as I try to differentiate myself from the dreaded “stupid and rude American tourist” designation, I probably fit that description in one way or another.
- The Japanese have an amazing ability to make the most random of places, like a parking lot, zen and peaceful.
Anyway, the cappuccino was delicious and a delight, and I do have to admit that, despite the lack of seating, it was a very cute spot out of the way from the major crowds in Kyoto. I wish I had felt better when I visited because it really is the perfect place to take a break when shopping or checking out the sights.
That is if you can find it. Ha.
Before I end this post, I just wanted to make a note that if you are in Kyoto and want to buy a kimono or yukata, I highly recommend Mimuro as mentioned above. The woman who helped me was very kind, spoke English very well, and was extremely informative. During the time I spent in the shop, I don’t remember once thinking about my sore throat, and I could tell that the few women who work there are very proud of the yukatas and kimonos that they sell.
And that’s all I got,
The one and the only Pookachino