is for Ichijoji, or the place known as my neighborhood. Ichijoji has been my home for about four years now. It is a charming, slightly grungy area of Sakyo-ku (East Ward) that is also known as Ramen Ally. To be honest, I haven’t actually eaten that much ramen around here, but that’s because I’m a creature of habit, and after I found one ramen restaurant I liked, I didn’t see the need to explore further (especially since I don’t have a budget for exploratory meals at Kyoto prices).
Ichijoji isn’t just ramen, though. It’s been home, and a good one. Our neighbors have been friendly, we are in proximity to a lot of convenient places and beautiful temples that draw large crowds every year. Amusingly, at least for me, is also how very hipster this area of Kyoto is, with shops stressing the exterior of their shops like a pair of fashionable jeans. All the cool kids do their tourism in Ichijoji, I guess, which besides for its temples and its ramen, is also home to a very over-priced hipster bookshop, and a very inexpensive used bookshop that is far more authentically hipster.
It’s also home to the ugliest gym on the planet (my gym, which I have to pay $130/month for), a hideous arcade (that kids don’t frequent) and an even more hideous pachinko parlor (Japan’s only legalized gambling). I sound like I’m complaining, but actually, I’m really fond of this area, and I’ll be sad to leave it.
NJ and I will never really have an experience like this again. Nor will we ever live in a place quite the same as Ichijoji. And that’s okay, but I’ll still miss it.
Images hosted on Flickr.