One thing led to another and I found myself hanging out and partying with newly made friends from Australia and Belgium in Kyoto until five the next morning. It's just so easy to get to know new people whenever I'm abroad, especially in Asian countries where it's a rarity to spot fellow gaijin youngsters and I have that talent to just hit it off with others at first sight. I looked like a hot mess and still boys on the way to school bothered to holler a friendly 'Ohai, kirei ne' at me. Don't quote me on that, though, I naturally trust strangers my age in such faraway countries, took them a lot to get there and it probably wasn't their intention to kill me that brought them to Japan. So, I got back to the apartment at 6am and had my alarm set for 8am from the day before because I had planned to go on a day trip to Arashiyama, a Kyoto suburb.
After an eleven-hour flight from Amsterdam to Osaka, I embraced the well-known Asian humidity and boarded the rapid express to Kyoto, hassle-free thanks to my ICOCA & HARUKA combination ticket. It was the morning of the 1st of August, a perfect time to arrive. At Kyoto Station I switched to the local train line and easily found my way to my apartment right around the corner from Shijo Station. I didn't give myself a minute to rest because I knew the lack of sleep would eventually kick in; not so much the jet lag, though. I only ever deal with that bitch when I travel to and back from the US. After a quick shower, a first 'welcome back' conbini visit and first sip of my dearly beloved milk tea, I headed straight to my main point of interest and the reason for my trip to Kyoto in the first place: the famous torii gate 'tunnel' from one of my favourite movies 'Memoirs of a Geisha' - Fushimi Inari-taisha.