The Slightly Longer Way – Day 1

The Slightly Longer Way Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsRSJP
Day 0 – Friday, May 05 2023 to Sunday, May 07 2023Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo-
Day 1 – Monday, May 08 2023Train from Tokyo to Kyoto-
Day 2 – Tuesday, May 09 2023RSJP Orientation DayW1D1
Day 3 – Wednesday, May 10 2023Placement test, Kinkakuji/Golden PavilionW1D2
Day 4 – Thursday, May 11 2023Kyo-Yuzen Dyeing WorkshopW1D3
Day 5 – Friday, May 12 2023Mori Touki-ken Pottery WorkshopW1D4
Day 6 – Saturday, May 13 2023Ichihime Shrine, Nishiki Market-
Day 7 – Sunday, May 14 2023Nara, Todaiji Temple-
Day 8 – Monday, May 15 2023UrasenkeW2D1
Day 9 – Tuesday, May 16 2023Nijojo CastleW2D2
Day 10 – Wednesday, May 17 2023Tojiin TempleW2D3
Day 11 – Thursday, May 18 2023Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street, TsubomiW2D4
Day 12 – Friday, May 19 2023Kyoto StationW2D5
Day 13 – Saturday, May 20 2023Kamogawa River, Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai-
Day 14 – Sunday, May 21 2023Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai-
Day 15 – Monday, May 22 2023Kimono-ProW3D1
Day 16 – Tuesday, May 23 2023Ritsumeikan Library, Hama SushiW3D2
Day 17 – Wednesday, May 24 2023Domoto Insho House, Kamogawa, IchijojiW3D3
Day 18 – Thursday, May 25 2023Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Hama Sushi (with Kel)W3D4
Day 19 – Friday, May 26 2023Super KaraokeW3D5
Day 20 – Saturday, May 27 2023Nothing special-
Day 21 – Sunday, May 28 2023Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, a long walk home-
Day 22 – Monday, May 29 2023Nothing specialW4D1
Day 23 – Tuesday, May 30 2023Kyoto International Manga MuseumW4D2
Day 24 – Wednesday, May 31 2023Ritsumeikan LibraryW4D3
Day 25 – Thursday, Jun 01 2023Maiko/Geiko demonstrationW4D4
Day 26 – Friday, Jun 02 2023Final Presentation, Taiko LabW4D5
Day 27 – Saturday, Jun 03 2023Kusatsu-Juku Honjin, Lake Biwa Museum, Omi Hachiman (with Zian)-
Day 28 – Sunday, Jun 04 2023Omi Hachiman City Museum, Omi Jingu (with Zian)-
Day 29 – Monday, Jun 05 2023ArashiyamaW5D1
Day 30 – Tuesday, Jun 06 2023Nothing specialW5D2
Day 31 – Wednesday, Jun 07 2023Final exam, Osaka, Manga Cafe (with Zian)W5D3
Day 32 – Thursday, Jun 08 2023Osaka, Namba (with Zian)W5D4
Day 33 – Friday, Jun 09 2023RSJP Graduation DayW5D5
Day 34 – Saturday, Jun 10 2023Leaving Zian, Train from Kyoto to Tokyo, Ikebukuro-
Day 35 – Sunday, Jun 11 2023Shibuya, duo MUSIC EXCHANGE-
Day 36 – Monday, Jun 12 2023Shinjuku, Sakura House, Sophia University-
Day 37 – Tuesday, Jun 13 2023Akihabara-
Day 38 – Wednesday, Jun 14 2023Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton-
Final Thoughts--

Monday, May 08 2023 (Day 1)

A couple notes from the morning. I went to bed at midnight and was out like a light nearly immediately, but was up by 4am again. Probably because I didn’t turn off the lights before falling asleep. That’s fine though since I have lots of little things I want to get ahead of so I can sleep well tonight.

Breakfast was yesterday’s pile of little buns, they’re called Chigiri Bread or Pull-Apart Bread, though there’s a variety of names for them. Each one of the six conjoined pieces was a different flavour, and it was pretty good overall.

My Android phone camera started making a clicking noise everytime I take a picture, which it did not do during my last trip and which I hate. Apparently it’s an anti-creep thing in South Korea and Japan. Anyway after a bit of fiddling I quickly found out how to fix it — it didn’t happen the last time because I never turned off my virtual SIM card from Telus Mobility while I was here, which caused some kerfuffle with accidental calls to the stupid Voicemail app once I got home. This time, I have a virtual SIM from a different Canadian phone provider, Virgin Mobile, and I had disabled that on the plane after also receiving yet another spam call that went to unanswerable voicemail.

Anyway, turning the virtual SIM off caused the phone’s camera app to eventually — not immediately, but several hours later, or upon next reboot — start doing the clicking noise when I take pictures. I re-enabled the virtual SIM but gave it as limited a scope as possible, leaving the Mobile Data and Data Roaming settings off, and leaving the Sakura Mobile SIM card as my primary SIM for SMS and calls (even though it doesn’t have a phone number). The presence of this Canadian SIM card immediately seemed to toggle the phone camera’s clicking noises off again. And possibly due to how Virgin Mobile handles voicemails, as I think they tried to convert it into a text and send it to me anyway, I’m not getting an annoying Voicemail popup that I cannot remove, like I did with Telus on my prior trip.

I had picked up my Shinkansen tickets from Asakusabashi Station yesterday evening, although I did not scan them or anything at the time. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get to keep these tickets, but just in case I don’t, here’s a snapshot of them for the travel scrapbook.

I also found and took a picture of a giant brochure with Tokyo and surrounding area railways on it. I’ve actually been to a good chunk of these lines, especially in the central, south/southwestern, and north/northeastern portions. It sounded like a good thing to add to today’s scrapbook entry, so here’s a picture of it.

And Edmonton’s struggling so hard to reach 20 stations. Ganbatte Edmonton!

My lack of a mouse for my laptop has caused one very unexpected but noteworthy roadblock — it’s really annoying to use the draw kanji portion of Google Translate to get translations of things. It’s just so hard to draw with only a trackpad and without either a mouse or a touchscreen monitor. I’ll probably pick up a cheap and cute mouse somewhere at some point on my trip.

Here’s a picture of Tigey lounging and waving at the camera from my hotel room. He wanted to let my blog’s readers know that he’s doing perfectly well and there’s nothing to worry about, and he definitely doesn’t want to go home right this moment and sit in a plushie pile with Ally again. He also wanted to add this custom message to my blog entry.

Hello to Shiara‘s blog readers!
Everything is going perfectly fine here!
Looking forward to the rest of the trip!
Please don’t worry about me!

My owner is treating me very well, and
Every need of mine is being taken care of!

How sweet of you, Tigey! You’re the best!

Also, here’s a morning picture of the view outside my hotel window. It’s still gently raining this morning, and I probably should pick up an umbrella at some point in Kyoto.

For the moment though, I inquired at the front desk and found out that although checkout time was at 10, they were happy to hold my luggage for me for several hours after I had checked out, and also had umbrellas that they could lend me, so I checked out of the hotel early, grabbed an umbrella, and went to explore early morning Akihabara, just after 9 am. I learnt that a great many shops in Akihabara don’t even open until 10 am, and many not until 11 am or even noon, but I did hang out in the Akihabara Donki (Don Quijote) store and bought myself a cheap mouse that was on sale, as well as that Maroyaka banana milk drink that I’ve raved about on my previous blog. I had no idea that Donki sold that as well, so that’s two places in Tokyo now (Donki and Daiso) that sell it for sure. The packaging was a little different, but not enough to fool me.

After that, I wandered around a couple more stores without any further monetary incidents before heading to Akihabara Station, and then Tokyo Station from there, to take the shinkansen to Kyoto. I’d done this ride before, even if not on exactly the same train, so there wasn’t a ton new here, except that the Nozomi train actually had a lady with a little food cart plying her wares (mostly tea, as far as I could see, though I’m sure she had snacks and other drinks too) up and down the aisles several times during our trip.

I continued to strictly adhere to my policy that a shinkansen ride must always be accompanied by an ekiben bought from the departing station whenever possible, and this one was no exception. The ekiben I got was called Nihonbashi Makunouchi, cost 1300 yen, and was great!

I spent most of the trip playing more Persona 5 Royal on my Steam Deck, and before I could say phantom thieves, we were in Kyoto. Once in Kyoto, I was forcefully separated from the train ticket above, the smaller one of the two in the picture from earlier today, by the Shinkansen exit gates of Kyoto Station, so I was glad that my past self had decided to take a picture of that. I guess only JR Pass holders get to keep that, since the machine spits the JR Pass right back out when I used them to exit the stations on my last trip.

Anyway, I had two optons for getting from Kyoto Station to my residence, bus or train. Someone else in the UAlberta Discord server for this program that I was in mentioned a bad experience they had just had with bringing luggage onto a full bus though, so I opted for the train instead. I got to my residence, checked myself in at the front desk, and then took some pictures of the place once I finally got to my room. I idly wondered if this place was going to show up in my dreams since I would be here for a full month, and wondered whether to give it a name like Kyoto 401 and a hover text entry for it or not. We’ll see!

Floral Green Maple House

As can be surmised, my room number at this residence was room 401. My initial reaction was that I was rather impressed, there was lots of space in the unit, it seemed clean and well taken care of, and there were no nasty surprises waiting for me, or missing basic things (like utensils) that I assumed every house would have.

The outside of the apartment looked like this, a little side path branching out from a little side road and leading to the building itself.

The interior and main hall looked like this:

The bathroom looked like this:

It even did the clever water flow thing that I’d previously seen in Shuji and Noriko‘s place several months prior.

The toilet also had a little door that led to a proper bathroom.

There was a balcony door that I could open and access the tiny balcony from. It also came with a screen door so the balcony door could be left open without bugs coming in, if desired. Here’s the view from the balcony itself:

Finally, the kitchen. Lots of space around the stoves and even a drying rack for once!

I didn’t see bowls or utensils at first, but it turned out that they were all tucked away beneath the boat.

The stove itself was a gas stove! This took me back — I haven’t used a gas stove since I was back in Singapore. Blue flames! Very old-fashioned.

Ritsumeikan University

I spent a couple of hours at Floral Green Maple House while I left my phone to recharge, and then I set off again, determined to visit Ritsumeikan Unversity before the first day of the event actually arrived, so that I could figure out the lay of the land. Following Google Maps’ instructions to the nearest major bus stop, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that not only were there several buses that went up toward Ritsumeikan from that bus stop, but there were even a couple of direct or semi-direct buses that went there in the mornings, including two that even went there directly with no intermediate stops. That was nice. I hadn’t quite planned it all out this way on purpose, but I did appreciate that stroke of luck. Definitely going to try to catch those 8:21 am and 8:29 am buses when possible.

For now, I took the 205 up north toward the campus, though it only got to about 10 minutes away or so on foot, so I still had to walk in from there, past a lot of students walking by me in the opposite direction, likely headed home from various activities. The campus itself was very pretty, lots of individual buildings connected by paths and wide open spaces, and backdropped with hills and open sky depending on which direction I was looking. I went all the way to the classroom in the building to get the lay of the land straightened out and make sure I knew where I needed to go tomorrow. Here’s a map of the school.

And some of the nicer buildings and backdrops that I captured on digital film:

There was also a cemetery connected to the school grounds:

Finally, it was time to leave. Instead of going right home, I wanted to research buying a monthly bus pass, so I went out to the main bus stop on the northeast side of Ritsumeikan and took a bus to one of the transit center hubs.

I took this bus, the M1, all the way to the end of its route, which took about 20 minutes or so. This put me at Kitaoji Station, and also let me check out what a bus terminal looked like.

I went to the transit office planning to inquire about a bus pass, but it was fairly busy, and was several minutes away from closing for the evening at that point. I did see from the RSJP welcome package notes that they talked about how a necessary step to getting a bus pass was to fill out a form, so I at least picked that up:

I had been having some internal arguments about whether a monthly bus pass, which would cost 9,660 yen, was worth it or not, since pretty much the entirety of Kyoto was under a single bus zone and it was 230 yen to take a bus from anywhere to anywhere within that zone. The bus service doesn’t seem to have the concept of transfers though. And I decided in the end that the flexibility was likely worth it. Either way, the form was still indecipherable to me and the office was closed after the events of the next couple of paragraphs, so I took that form back home with me and plan to ask about it tomorrow at some point.

I also didn’t have enough physical cash on me to buy the pass itself anyway, and I was going to alleviate this by making a withdrawal at a 7-11 ATM, but to my horror my credit card was declined when I tried it there. I called my bank right there on the spot, uncaring as to whether I incurred an additional charge for this call or not (although it’s call collect, so hopefully they got the brunt of it), who said that there was nothing wrong with the card and it was probably a machine error.

There wasn’t another machine in that transit area though, so I went out of that underground area and up to the surface, where I saw an Aeon Mall there.

I withdrew some money from an ATM in that mall, though it wasn’t a 7-11 ATM and so was less flexible and I think cost me a little bit more in the end. It still was only $505.97 CAD for 50,000 yen though, which was still acceptable.

While I was at the Aeon mall, I also went into their supermarket, Kohyo. and picked up various ingredients for soup from there. I took the 205 bus home, the same bus as I had taken earlier that afternoon to get to Ritsumeikan, as it also apparently terminated at this same Kitaoji Bus Terminal that I was at. The reverse route more or less followed the same path, and I arrived back home without incident. A great shower and meal later, I sat down to write this blog entry and then zonked right out afterw-.

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