The Slightly Longer Way Series - Table of Contents
|Day 0 – Friday, May 05 2023 to Sunday, May 07 2023||Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo||-|
|Day 1 – Monday, May 08 2023||Train from Tokyo to Kyoto||-|
|Day 2 – Tuesday, May 09 2023||RSJP Orientation Day||W1D1|
|Day 3 – Wednesday, May 10 2023||Placement test, Kinkakuji/Golden Pavilion||W1D2|
|Day 4 – Thursday, May 11 2023||Kyo-Yuzen Dyeing Workshop||W1D3|
|Day 5 – Friday, May 12 2023||Mori Touki-ken Pottery Workshop||W1D4|
|Day 6 – Saturday, May 13 2023||Ichihime Shrine, Nishiki Market||-|
|Day 7 – Sunday, May 14 2023||Nara, Todaiji Temple||-|
|Day 8 – Monday, May 15 2023||Urasenke||W2D1|
|Day 9 – Tuesday, May 16 2023||Nijojo Castle||W2D2|
|Day 10 – Wednesday, May 17 2023||Tojiin Temple||W2D3|
|Day 11 – Thursday, May 18 2023||Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street, Tsubomi||W2D4|
|Day 12 – Friday, May 19 2023||Kyoto Station||W2D5|
|Day 13 – Saturday, May 20 2023||Kamogawa River, Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai||-|
|Day 14 – Sunday, May 21 2023||Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai||-|
|Day 15 – Monday, May 22 2023||Kimono-Pro||W3D1|
|Day 16 – Tuesday, May 23 2023||Ritsumeikan Library, Hama Sushi||W3D2|
|Day 17 – Wednesday, May 24 2023||Domoto Insho House, Kamogawa, Ichijoji||W3D3|
|Day 18 – Thursday, May 25 2023||Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Hama Sushi (with Kel)||W3D4|
|Day 19 – Friday, May 26 2023||Super Karaoke||W3D5|
|Day 20 – Saturday, May 27 2023||Nothing special|
|Day 21 – Sunday, May 28 2023||Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, a long walk home|
|Day 22 – Monday, May 29 2023||Nothing special||W4D1|
Monday, May 22 2023 (Day 15)
I had another day of wonderful dreams last night. Two nights in a row of dreams that are at least a 9/10, which is quite rare even individually. I’ll probably post them in tomorrow’s Random Notes to pad it a bit, since tomorrow’s blog post will probably be shorter due to a lack of after-school events, heh. O tanoshimi (look forward to it)!
Also, Jah asked me to ask someone to see if they knew why some Kyoto buses had a high single seat near the front door, as I mentioned yesterday. I took the chance to ask Mr Tanaka, since he was chaperoning us to our after-school event today, and he immediately grinned and uttered a “No idea!”
Mmm, where to start. New week, which means more or less same breakfast, but new lunch menu. The main dish in the lunch picture was called was stir fried beef with salted cod and vegetables (just with a Japanese name), but really it was bean sprouts with a side of other things, and I loved it. I love bean sprouts. One of the new side dishes was a tofu thing with extra meat or something too and that was delicious too.
Also, our lunch room now has students from three programs in it (RSJP and two others) as well as the Buddies, and it looked like this:
I actually sort of dislike it — it’s too noisy as some of the people don’t use their indoor voices, and if a Buddy sits next to me and tries to chat me up, I usually can’t hear them very well, especially if they end up sitting on my left, since my left ear is deaf. It’s rather embarrassing.
The class itself today was interesting, we had a Monday Mr Katsuki, whom I disliked last week, but he was nice this week. Well, nice in a general sense — he was strict with pronunciation, but I like that sort of strict. One thing I’m noticing though is that our Thursday/Friday sensei (Ms Hara) and our Monday/Wednesday sensei (Mr Katsuki) have different ideas on how words should be pronounced, and a lot of the time they contradict each other. Ms Hara tends to start a word at a lower intonation and ramp up toward the end of the word, and Mr Katsuki starts a good chunk more words with a higher intonation and keeps it constant throughout.
One thing about tomorrow is that we have both a test and a worksheet that we got today due, AND we’re supposed to have gotten some progress on our presentation script done as well. I did a bit of the latter over the weekend. Mr Katsuki got major points in my book when he knocked off a long question from the homework worksheet that he gave out and said that we didn’t need to do it, though. Last week’s Monday Mr Katsuki was the worst teacher ever, this week’s Monday Mr Katsuki was the best teacher ever.
He also taught us something cool — there are two ways to say the “to exist” verb in Japanese — “aru” for inanimate (and non-physical) objects, and “iru” for animate objects like people and pets. However! He stated that “iru” can be used for dear inanimate objects like nuigurumi (stuffed animals) if the speaker is very attached to it, because other than animate/inanimate, there’s actually a second clause for the “iru” version of the verb that allows it to be used for things that you have a strong sense of attachment to. Good news, Tigey! You are now Tigey ga iru instead of Tigey ga aru!
After lunch, despite tomorrow being one of the heaviest prep days of the program, we had an event in the afternoon anyway, a yukata fitting and picture session at a shop named Kimono-Pro in the Shijo Karasuma neighbourhood. Pictures of my yukata follow:
We had professional photos taken, though we don’t have copies of them yet, but I enjoyed taking pictures of the photographer taking pictures of other people for my collection. Here are a couple pictures of everyone having their pictures taken:
Julian committing seppuku:
Who became a butterfly like on her gorgeous kimono (the blue stood out among everyone else’s):
There are also a few misc group pics:
And here’s one of the proprietress:
And the card we gave her (and the staff):
We got to bring back our yukatas, and we’ll be getting some developed photos or something as part of our graduation at the end of the five weeks, So, fun.
Well, not really. This was probably my most dreaded activity coming into the program, and my most disliked one so far coming out of it, and it’s not due to the staff at all — they were excellent and super nice, nor was it due to the other students, as they’re a good group of people.
But man, being a) basically a generation older than all the other students, and b) transgendered, and a bit of c) being under pressure from all the work and tests and stuff upcoming, this perfectly well-intentioned event just made me feel like a fish out of water and all sorts of depressed. Not because of anything anyone said or did, that part all went perfectly fine as it always did, but I look terrible, my greying hair is terrible, my Adam’s Apple needs to be ripped out, and all those thoughts just sent me down a thought path I’m very well acquainted with — the one that goes “Why was I born this way?” and “Am I just pretending?” and “Why did I never get a proper youth/young adulthood?” and progressively worse thoughts from there.
I’ve been questioning my participation in the whole program the past few days, not because it’s bad, though I have my beefs with some of how it has been run, but because besides Zian, I’ve not really been able to make a proper meaningful connection with anyone else. And it’s not through the fault of the others, as some of them, Aurora especially, have attempted to reach out and invite me to things, and things have just not lined up.
I blame a chunk of this on the hotel fiasco and them not providing us with enough spots, so we don’t come to school or go home together and aren’t able to go out and do impromptu things, but at the same time with how the classes are going some days, a good chunk of the issue is just me too — my confidence is just not there a lot of days since class, and class prep, can be hard. And being a full generation older, I also find it difficult to act and react in an enthusiastic or energetic manner sometimes, while all the while also not wanting to reveal (any more than it might already be obvious) that I’m older, or exactly how much I am older by. Definitely old enough to be the mother of a couple of the younger ones, I think.
Well, whatever. Funnily enough little of this will apply to my Sophia stint anyway since I won’t really be part of a cohort for that (especially since I don’t plan to live in a dorm) and that one will be a lot more day-in and day-out without an overseeing coordinator and a bunch of arranged events to go to. I’ll be good as long as I find a couple decent friends, or one really good friend/partner in crime like Zian, that I can explore Tokyo or try out shenanigans with. And even if not, I’ve travelled a fair amount solo. I just feel like I’m failing in some respects here, y’know? Like I paid for a shot at trying to feel young again and it’s just bleh.
I’ll stick to writing and chronicling. And nice discounted dinners, like I’m heading out in the long Kyoto summer rains to get now.
Edit: Nothing like walking for 5 minutes in the rain with an umbrella in hand but refusing to use it, to cleanse the soul. Also here’s discounted dinner: