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||-|
Monday, Jun 05 2023 (Day 29)
I actually remembered to retrieve and prepare my second 15-day SIM card to swap out my first one for. Apparently the second SIM card is valid for 15+1 days though, and the first one is similarly valid for 30+1 days. The first one should be good for two more days… but I’m not going to be using the full length of my second SIM card anyway since my trip doesn’t last an additional full 15 days, so why am I delaying the replacement of this thing?
Also, we want to get some of our Buddies some gifts at the end of the week just before we leave, but it’s a little stressful deciding what and how.
Also also, a survey link was sent out on Friday but it was broken until they fixed it earlier today. I have not filled in yet but am looking forward to tossing several essays into that one over the next day or two.
I didn’t remember to take a picture of the usual breakfast (with little milk carton) today, nor did I remember to take a picture of the new weekly menu this week, but here’s a picture of lunch:
And one of Mr Katsuki holding up a can of his Monday coffee and intently peering at the kanji on its label.
Despite the issue with how I think he screwed me over on the third test, he’s actually my favourite teacher of the three. He has this kindly and yet strict old father/grandfather aura around him I guess.
I had a mild argument with my classmates during class about how I had reservations about how the end-of-program skit that we have to do (the “dashimono”) wasn’t funny at all, and how it wasn’t going to be any good if all of us wrote a portion of it like they have it currently planned. I wanted to give a shot at changing the story to something that ties in to the RSJP program and then writing it properly myself (in English) and submitting it for approval for the others to do. But the others were resistant against it.
However, in the end, they convinced me that they were probably right — I’ve been fairly vocal that I don’t think this is something that the RSJP coordinators should have forced on us to do in the first place, probably the most vocal of the group in doing so, and yet here I was trying to push for putting in effort to the thing that everyone else also just (less vocally) wanted to be over. And that while they appreciated it, it would have meant a bunch of extra work for me. I’m glad they talked me out of it, partly since I arrived home very late today, and partly because of what happened near the end of the day when I visited Zian‘s place (see far below).
But first! We have no after-school Japan Culture activity after lunch on any day this week, so all our afternoons are free. We had lunch in the lunch room with a few Buddies, with Aurora the only other one of the eight that turned up — several of the others chose to go grab lunch at an external store, and then go shopping for second-hand goods at nearby shops with some of the remaining time that they had, and this also played into what happened later down below.
For our afternoon though, Zian and I went down to Arashiyama a little after 1 pm, where we were scheduled to meet Miyu and Jerome once they had finished their classes, so we could hang out and have dinner together. Miyu is Wada Miyu, a Buddy we’ve hung out with many times, including after the Kyoto International Manga Museum on Day 23, and Jerome is Jerome Li, or Jelly, a student from James Madison University that we’ve gotten to know over the past few days. Hey look, they both have floaty names now! Several of the other Buddies are definitely in familiar enough acquaintance-friend territory that they could get floaty names, I just haven’t actually done anything statistically significant with any of them (or had them appear in any dreams that I remember) besides Miyu yet.
As things stand, I’ll probably be ending up with exactly one leftover postcard from the 12 that I started off with, and Miyu will probably get that one. (Or Zian, but it feels wrong to just give Zian a postcard.)
Anyway, Arashiyama. I’ve been here before, but Zian hadn’t.
The reason we had come here in advance of the other two, besides the whole “we have no scheduled activity in the afternoon while the other two were occupied until 4 pm” thing, was that we wanted to hit up a couple museums and temples before they closed and figured that the other two likely had no interest in them anyway, or at least not to the degree that we did.
Zian and I visited the Saga Arashiyama Museum of Arts and Culture to start, this was a museum that I had already visited during my last trip but that I was happy to go into again (despite the steep 1,000 yen entry fee for what essentially is a small museum), because it houses a permanent Hyakunin Isshu exhibit (local), a poem series that the karuta card game and the Chihayafuru anime series centers around. I love it, as did Zian. There was also a temporary exhibit (local) featuring paintings from an artist named Hashimoto Kansetsu, that we weren’t really there for and didn’t particularly care for (although I did like a couple of the paintings, one with three crows above a bridge in particular), except that it raised the price of admission from the usual 900 yen to 1,000 yen.
I don’t remember seeing this the last time, but I bought a clear file with all the poems listed on it this time, which I’m very happy with. It cost 385 yen.
It looks weird because it’s a clear file, and so while it’s inside its unopened packaging, the letters on the front of the front side and the back of the back side blend together. Zian badly wanted one too but rolled a dice (using Google Search’s random number generator on the phone) for it and the dice told her no. She was still sorely tempted to get one at the end of the museum visit though, and I had to convince her not to disobey the dice, especially since I had quietly bought a second one to surprise her with later on in the trip while she was busy in the washroom. The clerk was all smiley and “ahh, himitsu no purezento neh!” when I snuck by with a second file and a 500 yen coin and told her that it was for my friend who was still upstairs. Yes, I confirmed, it was a secret present. She quietly returned me my change and I went to the nearby bench and pretended nothing had happened when Zian came down the stairs.
After this, Zian and I went out and walked over to the nearby Tenryuji Temple. This temple angered me last time, as different parts of the temple each cost what basically is a normal full temple entrance fee to enter, 800 + 500 + 500. While I didn’t take a picture of it this time to compare, it was the same picture as this one with one exception that I remember — the left sign now had an English translation as well noting that there was a shorter scenic route through the gardens that cost 500 yen, and a longer general route outside that was free, for any traveller trying to get to the bamboo groves. It was also quite crowded, with groups of school children powering the local economy.
We picked up a goshuin from here though, and interestingly enough this time it was a proper stamped one and not a pasted one like I had gotten the last time. We also went to Hogonin Temple, a side temple adjacent to/within the larger Tenryuji Temple grounds. It consisted of a garden which had a “special” viewing period going on through June or something that allowed us in for 700 yen. I couldn’t tell if there was a non-special viewing period for less yen or not. There was also a main temple area inside the garden that itself also cost another 500 yen to see. Just like the main temple, it had ridiculous costs. We did walk around the large garden though, and then picked up a loose paper copy of a “special” goshuin that the front souvenir desk was selling, that we had been considering when we saw it on the way in, despite it being paper (and requiring it to be pasted in).
We spent some time walking around Arashiyama after this, as Miyu and Jerome were scheduled to arrive at the Randen Arashiyama Station around 4:30 pm but were delayed until 5:10 pm because Jerome had not realized that they would be let go at 4:00 from the location of their afternoon activity (chado) and not the University. We had plenty of interesting things to view, though.
When Miyu and Jerome finally arrived, we greeted each other and then stood around to chat for a bit before again starting to wander as well.
After wandering back and forth in search of some recommended food places, we ended up at a shop named Yuba Udon, where we each ordered our own bowl of udon, and then ordered some dessert to split between us all.
By the time we were done, the sun was starting to set, and we spent another hour and a half walking around the Arashiyama district and the nearby Bamboo Forest, chatting away in a hodgepodge of English, Japanese, and Chinese, And a very little bit of Spanish, which Miyu was apparently learning.
There were clouds in the sky, so although we had a great view of the vast sky from the bridge, we didn’t get to see many celestial objects via Google. However, we did see one last auspicious sign to close out the night. This was impossible to capture properly on phone camera, but:
The little streak of light in the middle was a firefly, fluttering around some bushes by a darkened path just across the Togetsukyo Bridge and to the right, past a ryokan and toward a monkey park of some sort. Something else checked off the to-do list! Miyu said that it was really a rare sight to see one in Japan these days. Especially in urban areas I’m guessing!
A bus that also went to Nishioji Sihjo came zooming across the bridge about 10-15 minutes later, and Zian and I said our goodbyes and hopped onto the bus. On the way back, we stopped by her housing arrangement, and she showed me the apartment complex she stayed in and her little room. It was a very residential place, complete with a mailbox, and nothing like a check-in booth or “front desk” or anything like that. It was small, but apparently cost about half of what I paid for the entire month.
Anyway, we had something important to discuss in her room, which was what to do on Thursday — we had toyed with the idea of skipping class entirely on Thursday, after the final exam on Wednesday and before the dashimono/closing ceremony on Friday, and making a trip out to a nearby city. Either something like to Kobe or a small town near Kyoto to visit some more museums or other interesting places, or to Osaka to do some shopping (we both enjoy hunting for old CDs) and look for some interesting experiences. We ended up leaning toward the latter.
However, the skipping itself was the main issue here. Neither of us had missed or even been late for any classes so far, so we had plenty of wiggle room anyway (passing requires attending at least 2/3 of the classes and activities), and I frankly wanted to get back at the RSJP in a small way for forcing the stupid dashimono skit upon us to fill up our time after the exam. But that would be petty if that was the only reason — the biggest reason was that we only had until the end of the week to enjoy each other’s company, after which point we would split on Saturday morning and potentially never see each other in person again. Both our classes still had minor Japanese lessons on that day, along with a bit of dashimono preparation time, but nothing that was unskippable on the level of a final exam or graduation ceremony. Which was more important at that point, one extra day of Japanese classes or one extra day of hanging out together with a good friend and making memories?
So we tentatively floated the idea out to the cohort of eight others to see if anyone had any objections, which no one (that has replied so far at least) seemed to have, since that would affect our dashimono preparation time too as we planned to leave Wednesday afternoon and come back late Thursday. We also kind of did that to see if anyone else would want to take the plunge and also skip the last skippable day in order to go spend more time around Japan, as it would be really scholastically interesting, for example, to have everyone skip the day. No one else seemed to be leaning in that direction though, and I didn’t directly propose that bit to them either.
We’ll see over the next day or two if we actually end up taking this plunge ourselves, but it’s an inspiring idea that was really fun to discuss and plan out. We even discussed the possibility of letting the teachers/coordinators know in advance not to expect us here on Thursday, as a courtesy thing. What are they going to do, withhold our graduation certificates? They don’t have any grounds on which to do so. But anyway, before all that we have a final exam to study for on Wednesday morning.