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|
Wednesday, May 24 2023 (Day 17)
We sat on a couple of buses today with TWO front raised seats.. one on the front left of the bus next to the front door, and one on the front right of the bus just behind the driver’s seat. They’re very weird.
My laptop’s graphics card fan also managed to somehow turn itself on and perpetually stay on even though the laptop wasn’t hot at all. I eventually found a key combo that turns it off though. I wonder how it came on by itself.
Also, this is the halfway point of the program — the 3rd day of the 3rd week out of 5.
Breakfast today was at the cafeteria:
A good 100 yen spent as always. Zian‘s class had their second quiz today so we didn’t delay once we finished eating, and went right off to class instead of chilling in the cafeteria.
One of the three other people in our class was sick and didn’t come today, so the rest of us had more in-class questions than usual to answer. That library prep work the day before really helped!
Our third 50-minute period today was a Buddy Talk period, the second one of three, and just like the first one, it was pretty awful. The topic (Regarding Recent News) wasn’t really one that any of us were equipped to talk about, never mind in Japanese, so as usual the topic drifted off into another prefecture altogether. We also had the same teacher, Mr Katsuki, overseeing this session, but he was a bit more interested this time and tried to prod the conversation on at times, so that was nice to see.
At lunch, I tried to take another picture of tihs week’s menu:
The top one is still slightly cut off, but close enough. Roast chicken garnished with cheese sauce, or something. I had the Gyuu Shiodare Yasaiichame in the top left, which is the same thing I had on Monday, it was just too nice.
But I swapped bowls with Zian halfway through as she had ordered the Abura Soba and it was too spicy for her, while I was all too happy to eat anything with spice, so my meal ended up something like this:
Our after-lunch arranged activity today was an origami and karuta session at the Domoto Insho House, which apparently was a former artist’s traditional house located just outside the University’s front gate that the University had bought a long time ago and which people (or at least teachers, not sure) could request the keys to and host events in. Anyway, today’s session was hosted by Ms Nishioka instead of Mr Tanaka, and she brought us into there.
We did something like 30-45 minutes of origami, where we were given a sheet with instructions on how to fold a paper crane and a few other things. The instructions were a little vague so the Buddy that was with us showed us how to do it instead:
It’s a little squashed, but I took my yellow one home. We then played some karuta — except this was very disappointing, because while the picture on the booklet that we had been given at the start of the RSJP session used pictures of real karuta cards, i.e. the one that the Chihayafuru anime features and that I’ve written extensively about, we instead played a children’s version called iroha karuta, which basically involved Ms Nishioka reading out a series of phrases and everyone trying to find a picture card with a hiragana character on it that matched the first character of the phrase that she read out.
In and of itself it was a fun activity, but compared to the original expectation of *real* karuta, it was a colossal disappointment. Due to the one absentee, we were split into two groups, a group of 5 and a group of 4, each of us huddled around the group of 50 cards and trying to grab them as quickly as possible as they were ready. Ms Nishioka gave a small prize to the person who grabbed the most cards in each round too, which was Aurora in the first round and Julian in the second:
A bag and a pen from the University bookstore. The setup was actually really lopsided because someone in the group of 4 was guaranteed to win every round, since they were splitting 50 cards between 4 people, whereas the people in the other group never stood a chance because they were splitting 50 cards between 5 people. But the prizes were small enough that it didn’t exactly matter. I was in the 5-person group in the first round and the 4-person group in the second round and netted 12 cards per game. We disbanded for the day after this, even though it was only 2:30 pm. We were only here for an hour or so.
One thing about Kyoto is that it has barely any music or anime related stores — one generally has to go to Osaka to get decent stuff nearby. There was one Tower Records store in Kyoto, for example, versus at least four in Osaka, two Animate stores in Kyoto versus around nine in Osaka, no Gamers stores in Kyoto versus one in Osaka, and so on, and the second-hand stores like Book-Off and Suruga-ya follow this pattern as well. Kyoto may be culturally rich when it comes to traditional stuff, but it’s culturally poor in terms of anime and game stuff (despite having things like the Nintendo HQ located here, and the Kyoto Animation HQ located nearby as well).
Anyway, since it was still early, I dragged Zian downtown to that one single Tower Records store in the city, since I wanted to go buy a new CD that had just released today. It was tucked away on the 9th level of the Kawaramachi OPA shopping mall, which I had just visited and scouted out on Saturday. i found the CD that I was looking for quite easily, and they still had the first print bonus I was hoping to get as well.
So that was nice. Zian was busy glancing through the store’s shelves looking for some CDs from Kiroro, a pop duo from Okinawa that debuted in the late 90s, but didn’t find anything there. I suggested that we stop by the Book-Off second-hand CD (and miscellany) store one level down, on the 8th floor, where I had spent a couple hours before, to see if they had any of their CDs there, and they did! She came away with two purchases for around or just under 2,000 yen in total, and seemed to be very happy with them, as they came with booklets and other misc stuff as well.
Anyway, the other reason I had dragged her down here, besides the CD shop, was to go for a walk along the Kamo River (or Kamogawa River). We had made plans to go to “Ramen Street”, or the Ichijoji neighbourhood, in the northeasternn portion of Kyoto, and we figured we would just walk all the way there, following the river most of the way. So that’s what we did!
We stopped at the other Book-Off store that I had visited on Saturday as well as that was also located more or less along the riverside, though she didn’t find any more CDs there and we didn’t stay long. We were both thirsty so we split the cost of a large bottle of water from a 120-yen store called Watts in the basement of the building next to the train station, and she filled my 500 ml bottle from that 2L beast of a bottle before carrying the rest of it along with her and eventually all the way home.
In the meantime though, we walked north for about 3 km or so, far past anywhere I had ever walked along the river before, and even past where the river split. Or rather, where it joined together, since it was flowing south and we were walking north.
We followed the river going northeast, which was called Takano River, though the riverside path here was a lot narrower and we had to constantly dodge bicycles and joggers. Eventually, we left the river entirely and walked up through residential neighbourhoods toward our destination, passing some really interesting sights along the way, like this guy practising his bat swings:
And this apartment building complex that really reminded me of Singapore because it had void decks (an open bottom level that one could walk through):
The whole neighbourhood around there just gave me a very old-school Singapore residential area sort of vibe.
And we amused ourselves by ogling at interesting buildings as we walked:
Once we reached Ichijoji, we walked around a bit before settling on a ramen store called Arajin. I’m not sure the ramen there was any better than anywhere else, and the two flavours that they had were very much standard ones, but it was quite good, and it seemed like one of the less seedy bars in the area. It had one of those ticket machines that we could order from as well, which was a plus. We each ordered a bowl of ramen as well as a side dish each — the gyoza were absolutely delicious!
Dusk had fallen by the time we were done, and we caught a couple of buses back home together from there.