Day 7: A trip to Kyoto

Friday, August 29

Following the “best” One Piece traditions, I always spoil the main event of the post in the title, but a lot of things actually happened on campus before we left for Kyoto.

Look at all those flags! Wait, where’s Russia?

First event in the morning was the official opening ceremony for students of the Kansai Gaidai Asian Studies Program. The reason I am being so specific is that most local students don’t actually actually begin on Spetember 1st like we do and instead start school on the 11th.

The schedule.. And, once again, where’s Russia?

I was kind of amused that I got grouped together with students from the US, and although I made many comments about it I wasn’t actually bothered much by it. Not only am I not particularly eager to have the endless honor of representing my country, it’s kind of fun to be the hidden Russian.

After a few advice-filled speeches given by University President, two special guests and a faculty representative, the ceremony ended on a more light-hearted note with a traditional dance performance, which I actually snapped a (horizontal!) video of for any of those that are interested.

[The Nankin Tama Sudare Performance]

Got a photo of me with two of the performers and Reiko, my Japanese speaking partner!
[This photo makes me very aware of how chubby my face/everything is XD]

There was a luncheon (never heard of the word before!) right after the ceremony, but I didn’t go there right away because first I had to meet up with my speaking partner, Reiko. We ended up going to the luncheon together anyway and then we spent some time talking.

I was really worried about the meeting, because I worry about everything, but Reiko was very fun to talk to. She is incredibly adorable and a bit nerdy! :D

I don’t have a better picture of the Kyoto tour gathering, but here goes.

Said bye to Reiko for the time being, because she had other plans and probably wouldn’t find a tour of a city she’s from all that exciting. Students that wanted to go along on the tour were gathered in a huge lecture hall along with some local students that volunteered to show us around the city.

After a few safety announcements and some general tips and directions, we were finally told to form groups and get ready to go. I squeezed into a group with some of the people from my dorm and we had 6 Japanese students accompany us, which was more than most groups!

Not so fast. How about you figure this out first!

The ticketing system is kind of a pain. Just in like in Boston, getting a refillable card is a bit of a chore, so you need to either buy a ticket with an area-specific amount of money on it or buy a temporary 1,000 (or 3–5k) yen card which would leave you with an awkward remainder you can’t really use.

The temporary card.

Naturally, I decided I would rather waste 200-ish yen that have to figure out how much to pay each time, so I bought a 1,000 yen ticket.

Yeah, I won’t pretend I know how we got there, but eventually we did!

Another train ride…

..and we finally reached Kyoto station! It’s huge! Especially shocking as a contrast to our tiny Hirakata-shi station! Here, the station itself is also a shopping mall with restaurants and even a hotel!

I think I found my personal heaven. Surprisingly managed to keep myself from buying something.

At this point is started raining, so I ended up buying another umbrella. Kind of glad, because kiddy umbrella was a bit too small anyway.

A handy map of the area. Red Kanji at the bottom represent current position. Instead of climbing the stairs we we just had to keep going straight along the wider road.

Our destination: Kiyomizu-Dera (清水寺), the pure water temple.

We were always in a bit of a hurry, so I never got a chance to take good pictures. I will probably end up coming back again when the weather is better, but at least I got to be a creep and take pictures of other people!

AAAAAAH! MURDERCAT!

I also have some short footage of really pretty wind-chimes, which I believe are attached to prayers in this temple. Can’t quite capture that via a photo, so I figured a shaky video would be better!

[Chimes, Pt. 1] and [Chimes, Pt. 2]

Also got my fortune in a bit of a lottery manner, as seen in this video:

[Fortune]

Apparently it wasn’t very good, and Google Translate was extremely confused, so I decided to save it for the future, when I can read more Kanji and will, hopefully, be able to laugh at any promised bad stuff.

And, for the last video (I promise!) or this post, I’d like to share this interesting water ritual!

[Water Ritual]

The temple closed around 6:30 PM, so we starting heading back towards the station with a brief stop at a sweets shop for our bingo challenge.

Personally, I was extremely tired and hungry by that point, so I kind of stopped functioning along the way to get food.

Which is why this meal we got at the station was that much more delicious! By that point, it started getting pretty late, and with the orientation week curfew being 11 PM we were getting dangerously close to being late.

We returned just in time to catch the bus to the seminar house and arrived back safely around 10:30 PM or so. Close one!

Bonus:

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