. I guess its the same everywhere. For lunch we found a tiny place that was the perfect example of uninviting on the outside, but great on the inside. The front was almost completely bare except some small pictures, but inside it was almost like being in someone's house. You were supposed to take your shoes off before going to your table but they had heated floor mats so your feet wouldn't get cold. It was a good find. So far we've been lucky in that we haven't had any bad experiences really. From there, we explored the geisha district, Gion. There were lots of tea houses, but we went to Starbucks and got a venti Sakura Latte, and it was awesome. Gion was not quite as nice as we expected. A couple times we thought we found some geishas but it turns out they were fakes. You can pay a couple hundred bucks and they'll dress you up in a fancy kimono and do all the makeup, then take pictures of you and walk you around town. It's pretty easy to tell they're fake though. In the afternoon we went to a Catholic Church next to our hotel for Ash Wednesday mass. The whole service was in Japanese and it was a lot harder to follow then we expected. It was a good experience though, and we got our ashes. One funny thing about the Japanese mass is that there is lots and lots of bowing. At the part where we are used to shaking hands for peace, everyone would look at another person and bow. It was pretty funny. Tonight we did the the full circle of old and new japan. We went to a traditional place for dinner and sake. It was very quiet and nice with traditional bamboo cups and japanese tables where you sit down low. Then we headed to a fancy bar where you sit on beds, drink mojitos and play American pop music. We got french fries and you have to eat them with chop sticks! We've been gone for exactly a week now and we only have a few more days here. Japan has been great, and really easy. But from here we have to strap on our backpacks and do some real traveling. After today we don't stay in the same place for more than one night for about 5 days. We'll see how it goes!
Today was another temple day. We woke up early, for us, and took a bus slightly out of the downtown area, kind of up in the hills. The first place we stopped was one of the more popular temples in Japan and apparently a hot spot for field trips for Japanese middle schools. There were kids everywhere. They liked to smile at us and say "hey-ro!" Apparently we stand out more than we thought. The temple is perched up on the hill overlooking the city. It was kind of cool. We are kind of getting templed out though a little bit. The road leading away from the temple is called 'teapot alley' and there were a bunch of little tourist shops selling trinkets. We spent the rest of the morning walking around the old temples and shrines. At one of the temples there were two "love rocks" about 100 feet apart that if you can walk succesfully between the two rocks with your eyes closed you would have luck with love. All of the kids were trying it. It seemed like the guys were helping each other get to the other rock, but the girls seemed to try to get the other girls off course