Do not set out to find something on an empty stomach. Your patience will be greatly diminished, and your frustration significantly amplified.
Rule no. 2
Know the distance between your point of origin and your destination. Failure to obtain this information in advance may result in extreme fatigue.
There was a gallery on my list of important/interesting Kyoto art spaces that I had yet to visit - Foil. Strangely, it was at the top of that list, and almost 8 weeks had slipped by without attempting to locate it.
I began my journey to Foil at Karasuma-Shijo. I headed in a north-west direction, passing Nijo Castle. I was fairly certain the gallery lay in the neighborhood bound by Sanjo to the south, Oike to the north, Horikawa to the east and Senbon to the west. I had an address; I even had cross streets. The only problem (it's really always the same problem) is that the streets in my notebook were written by me in Romaji and the street signs are of course written in Kanji. I wandered up and down the streets believing not only that I was in the right area, but that the gallery would simply show itself, like a pervert in a trench coat flashing his privates. Well, I was not in the right neighborhood. That was never going to happen. I inquired at another gallery I chanced on, "Foil Gallery wa doko desu ka?"
They showed me on a map. It was far. I didn't want to trek back to the subway, and I'm still a little uncertain about bus routes so I walked. And walked. The gallery was off Imadegawa Dori between Horikawa and Senbon. I had the east-west part of the grid correct, but the north-south coordinates were way off. It was about 3 miles I walked from point A to point B, not including the errant search. That is a lot of burnt shoe leather.
So what I discovered from this navigational error is this: I still don't know where I am or where I am going in Kyoto. Omit the word Kyoto and that statement may also apply to my life.