A night in Pontochō

7 09 2011

My post about the visit in Kyoto was becoming extremely long, so I decided to dedicate a special post to the only night I spent “alone” in this beautiful city.. and I had lots of fun!

For alone I mean not with Aikido people, and it is a change that I enjoy from time to time.. The risk of spending all the time with Aikido people is that the practice never ends.. and I need a break sometimes! Enjoyable and enriching as it can be, I still like to spend some time without thinking about Aikido. Weird? If you think that, it means you also need a break 😉

Show at KamogawaMy last night in Kyoto, after practice, I had to wash uniforms and pack and I also went to the railway station to buy the train ticket for the day after. I enjoyed the bus trip to the station, and notice that it was actually cutting through the very lively area where we ended up the first two nights: Sanjo Shopping District (along 三条通 Sanjō-dori, Sanjo street) crowded of people, especially young people! Also the bus passed a bridge over the river, I think called Kamogawa, 鴨川, and along the shore it was full of people, just hanging out, and a band playing, with instruments, loudspeaker and all.. It seemed an extremely lively and nice area.

I discovered later that the area is called Pontochō and it is indeed a hot spot for the night life in Kyoto.

Show at KamogawaFor me, just a chance to see and feel people: so I got back to the bridge, got down from the bus and walked to the riverside.. where 2 bands, 50 meters apart, had already set up their “stages” (much more professional than common street singers: with amplifiers and loudspeakers). I enjoyed both shows, and the people around were all enjoying the shows, or themselves, or the friends, or just hanging around, drinking and chatting.. Amazing meeting place, indeed!

playing with fireAfter some time, from the dark area, a small fire was lighten up.. and a young man came out from the shadows and, with a cool music background, started playing with the fire.. At the beginning he was a little annoyed by another music band playing side by side, and not respecting his chance to perform as well! But then, when he got fully the scene, and he started relaxing, the show was really good!

At the end of his show apparently the people were mostly moving elsewhere, except the “private” parties going on, among group of friends.. So I decided to talk a walk around the streets in this Pontochō area, and it was a great choice!! Lots of tiny streets with.. everything!! Bar, restaurants, clubs, disco.

I step in front of a Brazilian cocktail bar, and I thought it was ages since I had a good caipirinha.. so I went in and enjoyed the taste do Brazil! After that, I started along other random roads, enjoying the amount of happy people walking around, from place to place..

@ Bar黒 - KuroIn another tiny street I stopped in front of a very black door.. and a girl working in that bar she just smiled at me.. so I thought, why not, let’s have a look inside there.. and I discovered a cozy comfortable friendly little bar, called “Black bar”, Bar黒 (くろ, kuro). So different people inside there. All seemed to be aficionados of the place, and I could have made it my favorite bar as well. Quite, good drinks, good beer, nice background music, friendly boss, nice guests..

I left the bar around 3am, forcing myself thinking about the practice the day after.. but that’s a place I’d like to visit again, with more Japanese knowledge!!



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