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I've been working on that bottle of Beefeater today. There's a chain of liquor stores here in Kyoto called "Liquor Mountain," with a location on Imadegawa just a one-minute bike ride from Villa Bianca. (The name is actually "Liquor Mountain" in English--that's not a translation.) They're rather large with a warehouse vibe like Sam's Club in the USA, and they have the only drinkable tonic water I've found in Kyoto.
So, after morning training at Shiramine-jinja and afternoon training at Marutamachi, I was set for an afternoon of icing my knees, doing laundry and kicking back with G&Ts and Shifflett's Aikido Exercises, which my roommate has on his bookshelf.
But after only a few G&Ts, my mind was abuzz. Different alcohols affect me differently, and gin makes me feel very creative and talkative. Unfortunately, it also impairs my memory. I had a list of about 15 things I wanted to blog about today, but now that I'm at the computer, I can't remember what most of them were...
Anyhow, here I am at Healin' & Feelin' Good Time Cafe. This is currently my blogging/Internet location of choice. Villa Bianca doesn't have WiFi yet, so I have to go out to get plugged in.
There is a free computer in the lobby of the Karasuma Kyoto Hotel, but it is a 20-minute bike away. Free access is almost worth it, except I have laundry in the dryer at the laundromat down the block, and when the winter wind blows here it is awful to ride down there. The lobby of the Karasuma Kyoto also has a bakery with the best cream puffs/top pastry I've had in Asia, so if you are ever in Kyoto, check it out for free Internet and excellent ￥300 cream puffs.
If you read WikiTravel guide to Kyoto, you'll notice it mentions Manga cafes. Well, that's where I'm at. As you can see from the photos in the above links, the shop has a literal library of manga comics, as well as a literal library of anime DVDs, as well as individual private booths with lounge chairs. And you can order food from a kitchen via a program on your desktop--this is the business model: suck you in with privacy and comfy chairs and then get you order over-priced food. (I outsmart them by stopping at the hyaku-en shop on my way here for ￥27 Black Thunder bars.)
My preference is for computer number 62, which is at the end of the purple cafe section and looks out a large picture window onto the Karasumaimadegawa intersection. From 62, you can see MOS Burger ("fine Japanese burger and coffee") in one direction and the stone wall of the NW corner of the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds in the other.
My Japanese is still almost non-existent, but I can count. So, when I come in, I saunter up to the cashier, hand her my membership card, and simply say, "roku-jyu-ni o kudasai". This seems to be adequate, as she always launches into a flurry of the stock phrases Japanese cashiers use as she types away on the cash register.
I would love to keep coming to the manga cafes to blog, but it is just too expensive at, typically, ￥1000-1500 per session. Next Tuesday, Villa Bianca should be getting outfitted with WiFi...