The Slightly Longer Way – Day 12

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--

Friday, May 19 2023 (Day 12)

Random Notes

I forgot to note this down, but a couple of days ago we exchanged stories in our class, between periods, of just how bad UAI had bungled their handling of this study abroad program and it turned out that pretty much everyone had some sort of horror story or other really iffy thing they could point to during their application to the program. At least two people had a bad experience with our UAI coordinator, at least two others never heard back from the Risk Management person on the form that they submitted, one person had to submit the form twice due to confusion, and everyone pretty much agreed that UAI and PTJC together were really slacking on getting us the application and post-application information in a timely manner.

The coordinator setting up a Discord server when I asked for a way to coordinate/get in touch with the other students was pretty odd too in hindsight. Why does the coordinator want to own the server? We’ve all since moved away from that, to an Instagram chat since we could actually invite the non-UAlberta students to that as well. UAI and PTJC cut the program length in half *and* raised the application fee from $150 to $250 too, and they are as guilty as anyone else in the University of sticking the rising cost of living on the students and then wondering why everyone is mad. They basically looked at us as dollar signs and didn’t really care about us, when this was the trip of the lifetime for likely at least some of the participants. Although I assured them that the full-year program coordinator at UAI, Michal, comes across as far more awesome, responsive, and caring.

It was showering rain all morning and afternoon today, so for the morning, I borrowed an umbrella from my rental apartment lobby and went off to meet Zian at 7:45 am as usual. We went to the cafeteria today to get our breakfast, since it was too much trouble to wait around for the convenience shop to open at 8:30 am and then figure out how and where to stay dry while eating before 9:00 am rolls around. We did visit the convenience store AFTER eating, though, so that Zian could pick up lunch in the form of a wrapped sandwich, and I could pick up a pack of sticky notes, which I needed for labelling my receipts and brochures (I label them by daily chunks), as the sticky pad that I had brought had run out.

Class today was mediocre. We started a new chapter of the textbook today, so it seems that we were supposed to read ahead at the essay at the start of every chapter, which I did do, but also that we were supposed to look at the vocabulary list and start to memorize or understand that or something, which I just don’t have the time to do. We did that in class the last two chapters, so I don’t really know why this chapter was being treated differently. Oh well.Β  One thing I do appreciate is learning new words and phrases and then immediately seeing it appear on posters or books or something when exploring the city. For example, I saw this sign at Kyoto Station earlier today:

It’s a collaboration poster for the City of Kyoto, and the xxxHOLiC anime, which Satinel, Nak, and I watched a couple of months ago as a group watch pick of Satinel‘s. What’s particularly cool about it though is the phrase up top, which reads 京都をε₯½γγ«γͺγ‚‰γšγ«γ„γ‚‰γ‚Œγͺい, or “Kyoto o suki ni narazu ni irarenai”. And “zu ni irarenai”, which was a grammar phrase completely unknown to me before today, was something we actually learnt today in class that means “can’t not (verb)”, so the sentence basically translates to “I can’t not fall in love with Kyoto” or (somewhat less literally) “I can’t help but fall in love with Kyoto”. And that grammar piece itself builds off of ず, or zu, which turns the preceding verb into a negative and is a term is from old Japanese — right out of my Classical Japanese class from last semester! So all that immediately paying off was super cool.

But anyway I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we had lunch. This was my lunch:

Curry rice, and fish. Because it was raining, and I think because no one really had the energy to play mentor to the new students on top of having to keep up with Buddy conversations, only Zian and I even attended the lunchtime Buddy chat sessiion, out of the 8 people in our cohort. A bunch of the other students from Case Western were there, as well as a few Buddies, but the rest of our cohort either left for sushi at a nearby restaurant, or ate at the cafeteria and then went straight back to their hotel. I do not blame them one bit. Although we did make a friend in Lauren yesterday, Ritsumeikan should really not be mixing up these groups and Mr Tanaka should not have asked us to mentor the other incoming new students too like he did two days ago. That’s literally Ritsumeikan‘s (and/or the Buddies‘) jobs, to put it bluntly, and we already pay overpriced fees to our University to come here to learn from a weird turnable of teachers that I’m not fully convinced even want to be here. Zian and I ignored the other new students anyway, though mostly because we organically settled at different tables in the classroom we use for lunches, rather than because we dislike them or anything, and we chatted to one Buddy whose name I never really caught all the way through lunch, before parting and leaving on our own.

Zian and I looked around for a bit while deciding what to do — we didn’t really want to visit temples in the rain, and there was no one particular option that stuck out above the rest. After some time of researching things to do on our phone, we angled toward trying to look for stamp rallies, and I found what seemed to be an advertisement about some sort of stamp rally/mystery game thing involving taking buses or trains to different parts of Kyoto, which started at Kyoto Station, so we went over there by bus to take a look at it.

We never really did find much more about this mystery game thing — we did find the bus ticket counter where we supposedly could start it at, but it (supposedly) cost 2,500 yen to get the information book on it, and there were actually no advertisements or samples or anything out at the ticket counter so we were a bit loathe to ask. We had also found a separate one at the Tourist Information Center in Kyoto Station that featured going around by trains and solving puzzles, and that one was free, but that one didn’t specifically involve collecting stamps, and we realized that the 2,500 yen one likely didn’t either. We didn’t want to put down that sort of money for something we might not be able to solve at all due to language barriers either way, so we left that alone. We did each take a copy of the information brochure for the free train one though, just in case we have time to burn over the next week or two.

In the meantime, since we were already at Kyoto Station, we just spent some time walking around there instead. There sure were a lot of people taking shelter from the on-again, off-again rain there. On top of the usual steady stream of tourists and locals passing through the station, there were also a lot of students:

We stopped at a place called Boulangerie Patisserie Grandir at the underground Porta Mall, which was a bakery where you could pick up some bread and then sit down at a table restaurant-style and chew on it. That was a cool experience.

Although for Zian, it was a spicy experience, as one of her two buns had curry in it. She doesn’t like being friends with spicy stuff, so I traded her my cylindrical bun (yuzu and what she thinks was cantaloupe) for it, and we were both happy (since I don’t particularly like cantaloupe but only had one small bite of it anyway before we traded buns).

We then walked around a bit more, ogling at bookshops and Japanese ChatGPT books and jewelry shops and other food shops. I think we enjoyed each other’s company (at least I hope the feeling was mutual) so we didn’t actually have to DO anything, we just wandered the mall for a bit, and I showed her the Isetan underground food market where Akira had taken me to buy food a couple times at just over 6 months ago. We then headed on home — Zian tried to get me to accompany her to a karaoke place but one place we tried had too long of a wait and the other place was too expensive after 6 pm, and we had reached there at 6:07 pm, so we decided that it was not to be tonight.

We called it an evening there and I went home to do my laundry. I had soup this evening, using up the rest of my groceries from — geez, Day 5 and some leftover rice from Day 6. It was still fine though, assuming my blog posts continue past today.

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