Again we had breakfast in the hostel after packing up our room in preparation to depart for Kyoto. I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Osaka and will be sad to leave but I look forward to the adventures to come. We took the subway to Shin-Osaka station to get on a local JR train for Kyoto where we met up with our professor who was going to take a group of us to the apartments from Kyoto station.
For whatever reason our professor decided to take the long way to the apartments…it was over 12 blocks of walking with all of our luggage in the sweltering heat and humidity. I got blisters on my hands from the trek and became very dizzy. Later when we were exploring we found the subway station, three minutes from the apartment and maybe a seven minute ride…thank you very much professor (BTW im holding on to this grudge for a while).
Once at the apartments we got our keys and subway passes. The group agreed to meet in an hour to find the super market to buy some groceries. In that hour I completely unpacked and set up my room. Then we started our very long journey in getting lost.
I suppose it had something to do with the fact that we didn’t get proper directions to the store or a map, but we ended up getting lost. A very nice Japanese man ended up going the exact opposite way he was headed just to help us find the supermarket, I don’t think I have ever seen any one in Winnipeg do that. It was an interesting experience shopping for groceries in a Japanese market as I was unable to make out what most of the products were. I bought things I recognized: bananas, apples, bread, eggs etc. Checking out is a bit different then at home too, at the register you pay for your goods then you take them to a set of tables a few feet away to bag them yourself…I didn’t know this and held up the line until the cashier showed me where to go. This moment slapped me in the face; I am not in Canada and that realization was somewhat overwhelming and completely changed my emotional state. I shook it off though with the memory that this IS a foreign country to me and I am bound to make some social mistakes, now I just laugh at how much a Gaijin I am. While at this mall/supermarket we found a Daiso, the equivalent to a dollar store where I purchased many necessary items for the apartment/food preparation. We were able to locate Kyoto station again took the subway home, it was only 3 stops away.
I don’t want any one reading this to think I am being overly negative or worry that I may be having a hard time. Rather I want to share with my friends and family the events I am experiencing so I am sharing the good the bad and everything in-between.
Once I had gotten ‘home’ I again felt the painful slap of being abroad, in my apartment I am completely alone…I am never alone, I haven’t truly been alone for longer than I can remember. Home sickness set in and I was overcome with sadness, I was tired, and had only eaten a granola bar and a melon bun all day, if I wanted to eat Id need to cook it, if I wanted to cook Id need to wash my new dishes. Instead I took to the computer to search out my friends and family but no one was around and I don’t have wifi in the apartment to iMessage any one. Then one of my travel companions, Charles, reached out to me and I found comfort knowing that though I may be alone in my room there are people who though they have not known me long do care about me and I can count on them if I need a hand. SO I got my act together and made myself a coffee and munched on some produce, no cooking needed to eat giant Japanese carrots. Shortly after there were two knocks on my door, Tim and Clark came to hang out in my ‘party’ room. We decided to try yet another dollar store equivalent but in a different area, this time attempting to navigate the bus system…needless to say we got lost but a very nice older woman pointed us in the right direction and we found it! Here I was able to get additional essentials: frying pan, knife, laundry detergent etc. It was getting late when we started to head home when…wait for it…we were lost again. We tried retracing our steps to a bus stop with no luck, we did find a different bus stop by shear luck that would eventually stop at Kyoto station and from there it was the home stretch.
My apartment is starting to feel more familiar to me, slowly I’m making it into my own little space.
Again I was faced with a dilemma, I was hungry…but the food would have to be cooked to eat and dishes would need to be washed to cook, however I had much more motivation this time around and got to it. For dinner I made half a packet of instant noodles with a precooked skewer of a mystery meat I bought earlier, it turned out to be very tasty and satisfying.