Monthly Archives: June 2013

Day 15: An Adventure at Izakaya!

First thing today we had our midterm…I couldn’t sleep last night and ended up staying up until 2am then hitting my snooze button a few times this morning. I felt I did well on the exam, there were one or two questions I couldn’t answer with great detail but overall I feel good about it. For lunch I splurged and bought a tray full of food, I brought my empty bento box so I could bring the leftovers home for dinner.

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This is curry rice, spicy chicken (wasn’t actually spicy) and some sort of spicy noodle with some sort of sweet chicken. All of it was very delicious and came to under $5, plus I had enough leftover to eat at home for dinner.

Our field trip today was the Manga Museum, which is more like a manga library, which isn’t as cool as you’d think considering most things were in Japanese and I cant really read that…I didn’t take many photos as you were not supposed to take photos in many areas but I did sneak one or two.

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Sorry it isn’t a very good shot.

As I wasnt really interested in the site and we were not required to write a journal about it I left rather soon. It was an interesting experience getting home, uneventful, but I had left by myself so for the first time I was going home on my own from an unfamiliar location. It wasn’t difficult…the subway I take to get home is two stops after I get on the subway, and the station was just down the block from the museum. However I felt…empowered, to be in Japan, not relying on others to get me from place to place, some thing just felt different and I liked it!

Our group had made tentative plans to go out drinking tonight, I had a plethora of time between when I got home and when we would be going out…yet I did nothing. I could not focus on my school work so I procrastinated until it was time to get ready for the night.

We consulted one of our Japanese acquaintances for the location of a good Izakaya (Japanese drinking establishment) and she recommended Torikizoku, it was right across the street from campus and really inexpensive (the equivalent of $2.80 per drink). We invited a classmate who doesnt usually come out with us and another Japanese acquaintance. We had such a great time! It ranks really high on the “most fun I’ve had drinking” list.

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Yes, our friend is being creepy in my photo…

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These establishments also serve food, this one in particular does mainly meat skewers. They were all delicious and also the equivalent of $2.80 per two skewers. We had to end the night early as the last train home is at 11:49 and it would be an uncomfortable walk home, it was like riding the drunk train in New York area. I had to have my friends assist my down the stairs of the subway station as I was much inebriated. Then some of the group came back to my apartment to continue the celebration into the early hours of the morning. I had a fantastic night with my new group of friends and I will always regard these memories as some of the most fun I have had in a long time.


Day 14: An Adventure at The Imperial Palace

After lectures today we headed to the main cafeteria on campus for lunch, I brought some stuff to eat but I also bought a little extra so I could bring the left overs home for dinner.

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Its really inexpensive to eat at the caf’, I got this salad thing with chicken and in the smaller bowl is potato with a sweet sauce , also any time you purchase food you can get as much tea as you want at no charge.

After lunch we had a guided tour of the Kyoto Imperial palace, to get past the main walls of the palace you need to book a reservation in advance and provide identification so its really neat that we got to do this. Also, it just so happens to be right across the street from the main campus. This is one of the gates to the inner courtyard area.

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They told us at the beginning of the tour that we needed to stay together as a group and wandering off was not permitted…Guess they don’t know I’m no good at that…I did get yelled at a few times (in the most polite way) and was told I couldn’t wander off…but that didn’t stop my exploitative nature.

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I apologize that I do not have an tidbits of information on this site, since I was off exploring I missed a lot of the explanations, oops.

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Through out the day I think of things I should add to my blog and it always happens that I forget what those were by the time I write my blog, sorry!

We have our midterm test tomorrow so we all headed home right after the tour to study. I had a really long nap, Hah, and started to study after I had dinner, though it was really hard to concentrate. I am just not in school mode. Later in the evening I had some guests over, we attempted to do a study group, it did help, but we always end up goofing around, good times.


Day 13: Geisha Hunting?

After today’s lecture our field trip was to the Yasaka shrine or sometimes referred to as the Gion shrine.

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This is the main gate. This shrine is used for wishing good fortune to young children, is popular at New Years, and used to pray to ward off epidemics. There are many smaller shrines inside the complex.

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Afterwards we were to explore the Gion area for our journal assignment. The street we wandered was packed full of traditional looking buildings that at one time would have been used by Geisha when entertaining their guests with conversation, tea ceremony etc.ImageImageImage

A lot of these buildings are now restaurants, which we didn’t eat at as they were very expensive. Our professor told us we would most likely see a Geisha here if the timing was right, unfortunately we did not see any. We did come across two women who were all dressed up and went into a private looking building, they may have been Geisha in training. Afterwards we decided to find an inexpensive place to eat and headed towards this cramped little ally of a street lined with restaurants, but they were all closed. So we found our way to a subway station and made our way home. We stopped by the Lawson’s and I picked up a few things for dinner, including a cheese flavored bun, it was a lot better then I expected it to be.

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I notice that almost every day when I get home I take a nap, this is so not like me but it really refreshes you. We have our midterm this Friday so after dinner I tried to study but I didn’t get a lot done. Good thing I prayed to the Kami for good grades on the first day of classes.
Tony and Charles came over and we hung out while trying to study/work on journals, then it was off to bed.


Day 12

First off I would like to make a shout out to Clark who was so inspired by my onigiri (rice ball) eating skills that she made a comic that I would like to share with you.

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Alright so today we had regular lecture BUT we didn’t have a field trip so we had the entire afternoon to ourselves. I came home for lunch and made one of my individual rice packets with some chicken, it looked really weird but it was a lot better then the rice back home, the down side was I couldn’t read the instructions so it was interesting trying to cook it.

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Tim was very generous and brought me a banana flavored ice cream she had bought from 7-11, why don’t we have these back home?

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Tony, Tim, Clark and I had lunch at my place then we headed to Kyoto station to browse the immense network of shops they have above the subway. I gave my self a limit on how much I was allowed to spend today, and boy I did not have any problem spending it!

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Tim and Clark then moved on to Aeon mall while Tony and I stayed at the station and had dinner together before heading home.

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I tried to get the restaurant we ate at in the background but it didn’t work >.<

Once I got home I tried to write my journal for class but it didn’t go so well, eventually our group gathered in my room and we hung out for the evening. I have to admit that there is some stuff going on in my personal life back home that I have had to deal with during my time here. It has become an annoyance, especially after tonight, so for the remainder of the trip I am going to focus on the people who are here and not worry about that stuff.

On a side note…Toilets here are very different and have a bunch of odd options.

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There are also squatting toilets…they are quite the experience.


Day 11: Day Trip to Nara

Instead of having a lecture in the morning and a field trip in the afternoon the class met at Kyoto station for 9am to go on a day trip to Nara. We take a rapid train to Nara which took about 1 hour, I got some course reading done in this time.

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We started the trip off with a visit to Nara Park and the Todai-ji temple. Nara park is inhabited by ‘wild’ deer which are not so wild and casually stroll around as if you were at a petting zoo. There are rice crackers available for purchase to feed the deer with but after watching a few others try this I was inclined to not be charged by dozens of deer.

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The park was very beautiful, and it was kind of neat to have the deer freely roaming around.

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Our next stop was Todaiji (Great Eastern Temple). Todaiji ranks as the largest wooden structure in the entire world even though its current reconstruction is only 2/3 its original size. The pictures I took do not do it justice, walking up to the gate makes one feel tiny in comparison to its stature.

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Inside the main hall is one of Japan’s largest bronze statutes of Buddha, literally sitting at 15m in height.

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We were given a quick lunch break in which time we were also required to get back to the train station to head to our next stop. Of course I spent this time buying gifts and souvenirs, I ate my lunch while walking to the train station…which is not super acceptable in Japan, we heard a few remarks about “those foreigners” lol .

Next we took a short train ride over to the Horyuji temple. We had to walk quite the distance to get to the actual temple, it was supposed to rain so most of us were not prepared for the bright and sunny day. This made the walk over tiring and I got really sun burnt.

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Sorry for the awkward photo!

Horyuji takes the title of the oldest wooden structures in the world, kind of neat, and lucky that it has not succumb to fire. It also houses a great deal of national treasures and was the first site in Japan to be selected by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage. I don’t have any good photos of this location as apparently we were not supposed to take photos, but every one else was… Here is one inside the complex of a path leading to a main area.

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I slept on the train ride back to Kyoto then came back to the apartment. Some of the group headed out to who-knows-where but I was just to exhausted to do more shopping. I was going to cook dinner but instead I ended up eating left over inari, which Natasha and Remy you have to try! I think I am going to have a quiet night, prepare for class tomorrow and maybe watch a movie I have on my laptop.


Day 10: An Adventure in Chilling in My Room

Sunday is a day of no plans, besides cleaning my room. I did chores, recolored my hair, helped some one do laundry, chatted with friends, did some reading for class, and pampered my self.

I scrounged up some dinner, it was really good. I bought Inari from the store and had it for the first time with my dinner, it is incredible. Its bean curd wrapped around rice, delicious!

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Now we are hanging out in my room again.
BREAKING NEWS! We were just hanging out when Tony casually pointed out a cockroach crawling up my wall. Eww!

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The strong, courageous men hanging out in my room sat back while the squealing, jumpy girls took care of the intruder. It crawled up into my shoe cupboard in an attempt to escape the determined trio, so we had to extract it.

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I was not going to have that little bugger free loading in my room so I dragged everything out into the hall. Eventually we captured it and released it outside in some bushes.

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I feel accomplished that we removed the pest with out killing it, and relieved its no longer in my room.

Tim, and Charles pleaded me to add this to the blog, so here it is upon their request. Charles had referenced his silly pun about my favorite Pokemon (Jolteon) and my last name, it was a silly joke then and it was still silly…so I threw my eraser at him…except with my bad aim…It hit him in his junk. It was hilarious.


Day 9: An Adventure in Shopping!!

Today is Saturday! Which means I slept in and didn’t have to go to class. I spent most of the morning cleaning the fallout of the night-before’s party. Around noon a small group headed over to Aeon mall, we browsed all the floors checking out a lot of neat shops. You know that I cant be in a mall and not buy any thing, and buy things I did. A lot of gifts for other people but a few things for myself as well, and of course some groceries. I was even able to find clothing that fit me, they were soo cute I couldn’t help but buy them.

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After our adventure at the mall I spent some time talking to friend back home, and began dinner. Clark invited the group out to Karaoke and we met her Japanese friend Sumika.

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We all had a really great night! The best part was when Charles busted out his Eminem rap, totally unexpected.

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Afterwards we hung out in Bruce’s room for a bit. I retired early and chatted some more with people back home.