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|
Thursday, May 25 2023 (Day 18)
Zian and I decided to go to the local campus co-op convenience store this morning, but as it opens at 8:30 am and we arrived about 15 minutes early, we found a nice table to sit at and just study and enjoy the view for a bit. The convenience store entrance is a little bit weird, it’s accessible through the passageway leading down into the ground in the distance here:
From that same table, but looking the other way, we had a great view of whatever astroturf-like grass they use for this field, because there’s no way that that’s new:
I also saw this poster on a nearby board:
Futurize! This is from the same ad series as the one I saw last November in Osaka, specifically here:
And that relates to this site (local). Be the first penguin! I remember it mostly because Satinel hunted down the site and then we randomly discovered that it was a Ritsumeikan thing, long before I ever came to the school. No penguins in this poster though.
Anyway, once the stores opened, I bought three onigiri and lugged them back to the classroom. They’re pictured here, with one that Zian bought in the middle, and they were absolutely delicious:
Class was sort of off today. The Thursday/Friday instructor, Ms Hara, explained a couple grammar points from our latest textbook chapter really poorly, to the point that I still don’t understand them and will have to look them up on Google to do so. This is the first time this has happened all program, but two of them happening back to back isn’t a good look for this sensei.
She also gave us the topic for a short essay that we had to write, basically what we planned to do after RSJP, and entitled it Shourai no Yume (my future dream), and although we went through an example essay and paragraph structure that was about wanting to become a teacher, she said that it needed not be about work specifically, which was good since, well, I already am working. And have over a decade of work experience.
So I decided to write about my next study abroad plan, the one in September in Tokyo. But then once I was three-quarters through the paper and the class was nearly over, I showed it to her and she said that no, because I’m studying abroad now, I can’t do study abroad again because surely I’m not going to continue studying abroad forever or something like that. It made no sense to me. She started asking what my dream job was, and when I explained that I wasn’t focusing on work because I already have a job and that specific topic was for the younglings while I was an older student, she insisted that oh, but what can you take back from your study experience/s to apply to your job?
Firstly, at that point the change she was proposing would be even further away from the original question than what she was accusing me of being, and secondly, the second and third paragraphs of the essay were supposed to be about positive and negative points of whatever our dream was, and I had been doing the plusses and minuses of studying abroad for one month an how that will prepare me for the one year one, but she was suggesting that I change it to how studying abroad in general is preparing me for whatever my current or future job (again, insisting on jobs) will be. “Surely your experiences here must enrich your job in some way!” (No it doesn’t, I’m trying to leave my current job. “Surely you didn’t come here just to play around?” Um.
At any rate, it was the end of the period by then, and that essay isnt due until Monday anyway, and I’m not going to worry about something that isn’t even worth 1% of our mark. Since it’s due to be handed in to a different teacher anyway and I disagree with her topic assessment and have better things to do with my time anyway, I’m just going to hand it in as is.
When I had asked her about a potential sentence using a newly-learnt grammar point earlier on between periods, and had tried to be fancy by including one of the two grammar points earlier on that she had explained poorly, she had also said something to the effect that I was (always?) being too fancy and should stick to easier sentences or something. That plus a tendency I’ve noticed to skip me when asking for examples or readings from the class, has dropped my opinion of her as a teacher hard.
At any rate, lousy teacher or not, class ended soon enough and it was lunch time yet again. Zian actually returned home at this point to get her goshuincho, or temple stamp book, because we were visiting the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine for their Tenjin-san festival that afternoon and she wanted to bring her book for that. The rest of the cohort has seemed somewhat more aloof/distantcliqueish than usual the past couple days as well and had left for the cafeteria without waiting on me for lunch, so I decided to go for a change and get some bread from the cafe beneath the cafeteria instead, the idea being that I wanted to not become too full so that I could eat things at the festival as well.
So due to all that, I ended up with two pieces of bread. Mind the poor quality of the first picture of Mentai (walleye pollack) Potato Bread, as that’s the only picture I have of it. It was okay. The second one was Hachimitsu (honey) Butter Bread, and was really nice.
I brought it to the usual classroom to eat and met up with the rest of the cohort (minus Zian) there, together with the students from the other groups. With Zian gone for the lunch hour, I’m the only person left who has attended every lunch session, although I’m not sure it’s a record I want to maintain either, but I did join a group with Lauren and Takebayashi Sawa, a Buddy that I had talked to several times at lunch before, as well as someone named Angela who was from the same school as Lauren but a lot more reserved, and it turned out to be a fun lunch hour overall.
After lunch, Mr Tanaka came in and did a brief presentation on Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and flea market and the legend behind it. I had heard of this guy before, and had taken note of him largely because my birthday was his death day, just a thousand years and change apart, although the Wikipedia article on him lists a different death day, and not the one the shrine celebrates (Feb 25 903). Mr Tanaka also added an interesting tidbit, which was that he had arranged for a special behind-the-scenes blessing ceremony at the temple itself that few people ever saw or got to experience. Another Tanaka Special! We walked from the University to Kitano Tenmangu, with Zian meeting us on our way out of the University once her bus took her back to Ritsumeikan from home.
Since pictures were not allowed inside the temple itself, in the area where few people ever got to see, here are some pictures of Mr Tanaka as we waited in the temple precincts for the priest to beckon us in:
The building that we entered, and possibly the ritual itself that we underwent, was called haiden (拝殿), or Hall of Worship. Once inside the building, we were asked to kneel/sit on the floor as the Shinto priest chanted some words to a side altar, did some things with religious artifacts as we lowered our head, and then chanted our names at the main altar in the middle. He then had Cameron place a tree branch offering, kind of similar to the ones I saw at Ichihime Shrine two weekends ago, on an offering altar on behalf of the group, and that was it for the ritual. The shrine (and ritual) apparently has to do with good fortune and performance in studying and scholarship and grades, and on the way out we were given a packet of items as a souvenir that included a pencil and a couple of tea bags from the shrine, and a plaque that we could carry around for good luck. Zian and I also picked up goshuins from the general temple area outside the haiden, and altogether the stuff we got from the shrine looked like this:
Anyway, we walked around the shrine a bit from that point, as it was 2:30 pm and we had to be here until at least 3:30 pm with our Buddies before we were allowed to leave. Zian and I went around with a Buddy named Nagakura Anri in tow, she had also been around for the origami/karuta event yesterday and was one of the Buddies that I recognized quite well by then (though names were always a bit of a problem).
It was still fairly crowded at this point, and highlights included a trainer and his monkey companion, dressed in a suit and obediently performing acrobatics.
I had my first of three snacks at the festival, some shaved ice that was really difficult to eat because we were allowed to add and mix our own syrup flavourings into it and apparently I hadn’t put enough syrup into it to soften the ice, so it was breaking up and flying everywhere when I poked at it with the straw-spoon, until I went back and added more syrup.
Later on, I also had some baby castellos, which looked like weird walnuts or something but were basically a slightly crunchy, bread-like thing that tasted surprisingly good.
And fhen even later on, some really nice takoyaki in a box.
Affter we reconvened at 3:30, the rest of the cohort/hotel clique left for a maid cafe or something, though they didn’t invite Zian and I and we didn’t ask either. I had heard that Kel and her boyfriend were in Kyoto and were thinking of heading to the festival as well, so I was going to stick around anyway, and a few Buddies and some people from the Case Western University group were still sticking around as well, so we went around a bit and then hung out to chat.
The main Buddy that stuck with us here was Nakamura Satomi, and we actually ran into another Buddy on her day off as well, Takasaki Miku, who happened to be visiting the shrine/festival herself and pulled out her nametag as we did introductions. It was around 4 pm at this time and while the stores were still somewhat open, many of them had started shutting down, especially the non-food ones on the outer “arms” of the flea market area. By 4:30 pm or so, it was no longer really worth visiting as less than half the stalls were still around, and by 5 pm, about 90% of the stalls were basically packed up and either gone or loading up their vehicles to leave.
This was a bit weird because our material and most online sources said that the flea market was open until 9:00 pm, but Zian also pointed out that it started at 6:00 am and that she had heard that the best time to visit this was early in the morning and even by the time we came in the early afternoon we had likely already missed the peak of the event. Also, it had been drizzling on and off through the afternoon and so that might have affected attendance and thus how long the stall owners decided to stick around for as well.
At any rate, we split up around 5:00 pm or so as Zian had to be home by 6 pm for a phone call, and I had arranged to meet Kel and her boyfriend at a sushi place near my apartment at 6:30 pm or so. Her phone was nearly out of battery, so we only had a little bit of communication before we actually met up, but we agreed to meet at a Hama-Sushi place, another branch of the conveyor belt sushi chain store that Zian and I had visited a scant two days ago.
The store was fun, and both Kel as well as her boyfriend, whose name I found out was Nathan, seemed to end up enjoying it. The food was good and interesting and we had a great chat between us, as I learnt about how they met and what they planned to do in the near future, as well as comparing notes on Japan and China and the locals in them, as well as our experiences in Kyoto.
It was also neat comparing the subtle differences between the two stores too, for example the conveyor belts they used here were different, and instead of endlessly looping around in circles, there were two conveyor belts, a top one and a bottom one that would just zip dishes to the correct table and then stop there until the dishes were taken. This made a sign that Zian and I saw in the OTHER restaurant, that said to please wait until the food had come to a halt before taking it, make much more sense, since the conveyor belt never did stop in that other branch. Also, whereas the final bill total in the other branch of Hama-Sushi was done by a waitress who came up to count the number of coloured bowls we had on the table, instead of trusting the subtotal figure on the tablet ordering device that we used, in this branch they just directly used that subtotal instead.
Our final plate count looked something like this, although a couple extra soup bowls had been removed by a cleaner at some point:
That cost about 7200 yen split between the three of us, although both Kel and Nathan insisted on paying a larger share. And in lieu of pictures of them as well, withheld by their request, have a picture of Tigey instead:
I stumbled home after that to have a nice, long shower, do some laundry, fumble through this blog, and try to figure out what the heck our teacher was trying to explain earlier in class.