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|
|Day 23 – Tuesday, May 30 2023||Kyoto International Manga Museum||W4D2|
|Day 24 – Wednesday, May 31 2023||Ritsumeikan Library||W4D3|
|Day 25 – Thursday, Jun 01 2023||Maiko/Geiko demonstration||W4D4|
|Day 26 – Friday, Jun 02 2023||Final Presentation, Taiko Lab||W4D5|
|Day 27 – Saturday, Jun 03 2023||Kusatsu-Juku Honjin, Lake Biwa Museum, Omi Hachiman (with Zian)||-|
|Day 28 – Sunday, Jun 04 2023||Omi Hachiman City Museum, Omi Jingu (with Zian)||-|
|Day 29 – Monday, Jun 05 2023||Arashiyama||W5D1|
|Day 30 – Tuesday, Jun 06 2023||Nothing special||W5D2|
|Day 31 – Wednesday, Jun 07 2023||Final exam, Osaka, Manga Cafe (with Zian)||W5D3|
|Day 32 – Thursday, Jun 08 2023||Osaka, Namba (with Zian)||W5D4|
|Day 33 – Friday, Jun 09 2023||RSJP Graduation Day||W5D5|
|Day 34 – Saturday, Jun 10 2023||Leaving Zian, Train from Kyoto to Tokyo, Ikebukuro||-|
|Day 35 – Sunday, Jun 11 2023||Shibuya, duo MUSIC EXCHANGE||-|
|Day 36 – Monday, Jun 12 2023||Shinjuku, Sakura House, Sophia University||-|
|Day 37 – Tuesday, Jun 13 2023||Akihabara||-|
|Day 38 – Wednesday, Jun 14 2023||Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton||-|
Wednesday, May 31 2023 (Day 24)
For a talking bit in class today, we had to talk about experiences in Kyoto that we dislike (mine was the tourists everywhere — but that it was also extremely beneficial for the city) and two people mentioned some beefs that they had with the designated hotel — poor WiFi, no kitchen (shared one in lobby area but I think they aren’t allowed to use it somehow), and poor laundry services and dryer in particular — this last one sounds very familiar to me too, but they are using a coin laundry service over there, and not an in-suite one, so that’s even more terrible.
So uh I’m glad I have this apartment.
Also, I picked up the teacher names for the other RSJP class, the Beginner 2 one, a couple of days ago from Zian‘s notebook, and wanted to add them here too to match the one I did for our teachers. Unfortunately, we don’t have classes with these three and I have absolutely no connection with them so I’m not giving them floaty names. But at least they’re chronicled for the future. They are: Tanabe Yuusuke (Tues/Fri), Yoshida Kaori (Thurs), and Kijima Yuriko (Mon/Wed). It’s really interesting — their split is also 2/2/1 but their single class per week teacher is on Thursday instead of Tuesday.
Here’s Day 3 of the house being demolished near my place:
It’s basically gone now.
We went to the campus convenience store for breakfast today, after we had meant to go yesterday (due to a random number generator deciding for us when we were indecisive in the morning) but didn’t do so because it was drizzling and so somehow we ended up at the cafeteria anyway. Due to all that, onigiri was the breakfast du jour today.
The ones pointing downwards are Zian‘s, the upwards ones are mine.
Zian and I are making plans to go to nearby Otsu on the weekend, so she booked a place for us there for one night through whichever app she uses, and I found out the price today and paid her a tiny amount of it so that I have a nice round 10,000 yen remainder that I can bring a single note for tomorrow. She also gave me back some repayment for some food we had shared but that I had paid for from Kitano Tenmangu, so she immediately got back some of the coins that she had given me for that since she made her payment first.
We got back the quiz results from Monday today, and I didnt do well at all, but at least I passed. Only because I think the teacher was a bit more lenient on the marking though. But I’m not happy with this and am going to give them an earful in the final survey.
For lunch, we were headed to the cafeteria as usual, but instead stopped by a food truck outside the cafeteria. There are four spots in Ritsumeikan (I assume all on their main campus, but they’re four separate spots so I didn’t see the other three) for food trucks and they rotate on a daily basis — there’s a schedule posted and everything in front of the truck area. This food truck Zian and I decided to eat at was called Kyoto Kebab-ya Moto-3.
Their food, while quite tasty, came in ridiculously small portions. You can see the image of the kebab sandwich on the menu in the top picture above, which was made to seem very big, so Zian ordered a regular one and this was what she got for 450 yen:
That also doesn’t really capture the size and slant but it was basically sized and shaped like a small ice cream cone. For 450 yen! That’s worth maybe 250 yen. I got a regular kebab bento box, together with a side of fries, which came with a 50 yen discount when buying a bento box. At 700 and 150 yen respectively, I got this:
That’s a little more like it, but mostly because the fries came in a decent quantity. The recycled food box was actually a lot bigger than the space the actual food took up inside, so again it was kind of deceptive. It was at least mildly okay though, though not worth it in terms of quantity or quality, except the fries were really nice if you like salted fries (and I do!), and the meat portions tasted quite decent. Still, it reminded me of cheapskate airline food, except I think even airlines serve more than this per meal.
The signs and things associated with the truck were amusing though. For starters, in that first picture of the truck, there’s a tissue paper dispenser where the tissue is coming out of a statue’s nose. Secondly, while that sign on the right (Life is Short, Break the Rules, Forgive Quickly, Be Nice to Yourself, Laugh Every Day, Love Deeply) is always good advice if a bit of a generic motivational sign that one can get in a multitude of places, the other custom attempts at English had rather unfortunate errors. A bit with the “Welcome for visiting us, Great to see you” one, but more so the potato chip box in the second picture, which reads:
Thank you very much for purchasing today
This is one of our special recommendations of the shop.
Our mission is to make our customer
happy with our food and say “what a so tasty!!”
Our pursuing tastiness will never stop.
We intend to offer tasty food that meets
your satisfaction. All efforts are for our customers’ smile!!
We are looking forward to your visit again.
To be fair, we did smile at that. And we chanted “what a so tasty!” a few times while having the fries up in the Buddy classroom. And at least they tried. Probably not really typoes you want to make when running an official business and printing hundreds of these potato fry bags to hand out to people though.
The other six RSJP students did not come to the Buddy classroom today, nor did anyone from any of the other programs, except one of the Case Western students who wandered in near the end of lunch to sit and chat before being told by Mr Tanaka and Ms Nishioka, who also wandered in near the end of lunch, to tell him that he was supposed to be upstairs in a 5th floor room. They were going for their Wadaiko event today and were meeting upstairs, but apparently had the morning off and so they were only just now coming in over the lunch hour (we would meet another three of them later on our way out), and he thought they were meant to meet in the Buddy classroom on the 3rd floor.
I did wonder though — they only had a two week program compared to our five weeks, and yet somehow had at least this one morning off instead of Japan studies every day. I guess even though we have a revolving door of teachers and way too much homework and stuff to do, we’re actually pretty fortunate to be the “main program” under the wing of the teachers and coordinators.
Anyway, we had about five or six Buddies or so join the lunch room and surround where Zian and I were seated to chat with us, and while I don’t know the Buddies on the other side of Zian, I did know the one in front of us, Takabayashi Sawa, who had been with us several times already and is very nice. I also wanted to highlight and honour the two boys behind us, and I think their names are Ikeda Yuma and Kurata Leon. They’re both familiar to me now too (even if I probably typoed their names and that of many other Buddies) and great Buddies to hang out and chat with.
I asked out of curiosity and found out that Ritsumeikan does indeed have a lot of these little exchange programs going on (I know that we’re RSJP1, for example, and there’s a second RSJP2 later on in the summer, as well as RWJP1 and RWJP2 in the winter, I believe, and plenty of other satellite programs like the Case Western one, and some other ongoing ones from Michigan and North Carolina or something whose students have been in and out as well but that I’ve never really gotten to know or recognize.
Anyway, I asked them how long the Buddy program lasts each year, and apparently it goes from like May to July in the summer, and then again in October to December or so in the winter, plus or minus a couple weeks to the side. It’s a constant revolving door of foreigners for the Buddies to chat with! I idly wondered (but didn’t say it out loud) if I should stop by to chat if I came to Kyoto to visit it during my upcoming year in Tokyo.
After lunch, Zian and I went to the library — she was working on her presentation, while I was working on our class’s final worksheet so that I could get it out of the way and work on my presentation with the rest of my time today and tomorrow. It took 3 hours but I got it done. Along the way I noticed the Case Western students and teachers headed for the bus stop through the library window we were beside:
I missed the students because the literal window of opportunity was small and they had already walked on, but in this picture at least I captured their teacher, Ms Onitsuka, front and center, and a little bit of the chaperoning Ms Nishioka and one of the five students on the right as well. They’re leaving in three days time, so I thought this was a particularly poignant moment. Similar to us, Wadaiko is their final cultural excursion event.
Around 4:30 pm or so, after we both played with and squeezed Tigey a little for stress relief purposes, I was done my worksheet and looking to stretch my legs, and Zian said that she was meeting a friend at Ritsumeikan that evening, I believe someone from her NUS days. So I bade her farewell and stepped out of the library, and saw this line:
There are a bunch of special semi-rapid 205 buses from the Ritsumeikan bus stop inside the campus itself, to Kyoto Station via Nishioji Shijo, that only run between about 4 pm and 5 pm or so as that’s when a large percentage of the students are getting out of classes for the day. Zian had encountered this line a few weeks ago, but I had never been around at this time until now, since no bus usually runs from this bus stop outside of this time period — we usually have to walk out some ways to catch the regular 205 or another bus home.
Anyway, after taking pictures of the line, I happily jumped in queue too and squeezed onto the last bus before 5 pm, the 4:38 pm bus, and zoomed out of there.
Once back at Nishioji Shijo, I decided to walk over to the Aeon Mall to buy some groceries for dinner since it looked like I would be eating by myself and it was still far too early for discounted bento boxes, and I didn’t want to eat out by myself later on since I would have to dress up and get my feet all dirty and smelly again and so on if I went out after showering.
On the way, I saw this scene. Insert funny caption here.
I bought enough stuff for 2-3 home-cooked meals, which might take me to the end of RSJP, depending on Zian and other after-school activities, and decided to stock up on tea as well.
The evening was (or will be, since I’m writing into the future now) spent on my blog, finishing my presentation Powerpoint slides, script memorization, and a little bit of Persona 5 on the side to unwind.
I’m so glad I managed to finish that worksheet in the school library. Which, by the way, is a fantastic place to study in. Mr Tanaka said yesterday, during the introduction to the Manga Museum activity, that we would be walking by a business building called Nichicon between the bus stop and the museum, and Nichicon is a company that was owned by a Ritsumeikan alumni, Hirai Kaichiro, who lived from 1907 to 2001. His wife, Hirai Nobuko, donated a large sum of money that he left behind to Ritsumeikan to build the library that we used today and last week, the Hirai Kaichiro Memorial Library, which opened in April 2016 and still looks gorgeous. There’s an English article on it here (local).
I want to write that sort of informational, historical article piece on things someday.