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
|Day 3 – Wednesday, May 10 2023
|Placement test, Kinkakuji/Golden Pavilion
|Day 4 – Thursday, May 11 2023
|Kyo-Yuzen Dyeing Workshop
|Day 5 – Friday, May 12 2023
|Mori Touki-ken Pottery Workshop
|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
|Day 9 – Tuesday, May 16 2023
|Day 10 – Wednesday, May 17 2023
|Day 11 – Thursday, May 18 2023
|Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street, Tsubomi
|Day 12 – Friday, May 19 2023
|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
|Day 16 – Tuesday, May 23 2023
|Ritsumeikan Library, Hama Sushi
|Day 17 – Wednesday, May 24 2023
|Domoto Insho House, Kamogawa, Ichijoji
|Day 18 – Thursday, May 25 2023
|Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Hama Sushi (with Kel)
|Day 19 – Friday, May 26 2023
|Day 20 – Saturday, May 27 2023
|Day 21 – Sunday, May 28 2023
|Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, a long walk home
|Day 22 – Monday, May 29 2023
|Day 23 – Tuesday, May 30 2023
|Kyoto International Manga Museum
|Day 24 – Wednesday, May 31 2023
|Day 25 – Thursday, Jun 01 2023
|Day 26 – Friday, Jun 02 2023
|Final Presentation, Taiko Lab
|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
|Day 30 – Tuesday, Jun 06 2023
|Day 31 – Wednesday, Jun 07 2023
|Final exam, Osaka, Manga Cafe (with Zian)
|Day 32 – Thursday, Jun 08 2023
|Osaka, Namba (with Zian)
|Day 33 – Friday, Jun 09 2023
|RSJP Graduation Day
|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
|Day 38 – Wednesday, Jun 14 2023
|Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton
Wednesday, Jun 07 2023 (Day 31)
Our final exams are over! I’m jumping the gun, but hooray.
I studied last night basically from whenever I finished my blog, probably around 6 pm or so, all the way until bed at something like 11 pm to 4 am, and then again when I woke up until it was time to go. I still felt woefully, woefully underprepared. I had breakfast in the form of a bowl of instant noodles when I woke up, so although I followed Zian to the campus convenience store so she could get a couple of onigiri, I didn’t actually get any extra breakfast for myself.
We went right to our respective classrooms to do some last-minute studying. Apparently (and this wasn’t written on the schedule) we were all going to have the exam in the same room though since there were just 8 of us, and they were going to use the second classroom, our usual one, for the spoken component of the test. It seemed like the others were told just before they came in to the classroom, around when they were standing in the corridor between the two classes, since I saw them outside the wide open door to our classroom, but none of them ever bothered telling me until the proctoring teacher, Mr Katsuki, came looking for me.
I’m just going to assume that most of them just didn’t see me in the other room (I was very much visible and in my usual spot but maybe they didn’t look my way) but it’s things like this, and like how they’ll wait for any of the other 6 of them if any of them, say, go to the washroom after classes before heading down to the cafeteria, but they will not wait for either Zian or I if we do the same, that drive me up the wall. Although we are cordial with each other still, I’m totally done with this hotel clique of folks and their passive exclusionary tactics — passive because I don’t know if they’re actually doing it on purpose or not. Although I’d have loved to have gotten to know most of them better, and I do still have positive interactions with some of them (particularly Cameron over the past few days, which I have appreciated immensely) and neutral interactions with the rest, and no one is actually hostile or anything like that, some of our interactions are still so awkward that I don’t think I will miss most of them when this program is over. This program would have been absolutely miserable for me if Zian wasn’t here, and this is a sentiment I’ll likely echo in the final wrap-up post too.
Anyway! Grouching aside, the final exam went really well — I was worried because there was so much to review and it could easily have gone really south, and I could foresee many timelines where the exam would pull from tougher words that I didn’t fully know yet, especially after the placement test and the 3rd quiz, both of which were really rough. I could easily have failed the exam, but the lucky charm from the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine visit must have really worked, because the exam was really easy for me. Not to the point that I knew everything or will get anything close to 100%, but it will likely be around the 70% mark after accounting for mistakes and random things, which will be more than enough for the overall 60% needed to pass RSJP.
A big helping hand for this came from Ms Kaneko, our Tuesday teacher, since basically everything from the review worksheet that she gave us the previous days was on the final, both in terms of vocabulary and grammar, although she didn’t specifically say this at the time. I’m glad I made that a priority to study though. She also gave us potential leading questions for the oral part of the exam, which was a one-on-one series of questions, three sets of 2-3 related questions per set, and all three leading questions were basically the three she gave us (or me? it was over email because I didn’t get to practice in class with her the day before since we ran out of time). The questions were something like:
- How was RSJP? What was your favourite part of the program? Why?
- How was Kyoto? What was your favourite thing in the city? Why?
- In chapter 6, we learnt about food habits and commercialism. Do you think this is a good or bad thing? Why?
The last question would completely have flummoxed me if I didn’t get a heads up on it the day before — it DID flummox me in class but I didn’t have to deal with it since Ms Kaneko skipped me for reviewing that one after quizzing the other three and putting them on the spot to answer it (I still don’t really know if commercialism is the best translation for 商業主義) — but I prepared a decent answer for it, I think, so even the oral portion in the end didn’t give me trouble. The oral exam was weird too because the exam was something like 9:05 to 10:15 am, with 5 minute oral exams starting in the other room from 9:15 onwards, but somehow between 9:15 and 10:15 only 6 people got theirs done, and Aurora and I had to wait to do ours after we had handed in our papers. This also meant we got a bit more time to actually do the exam than the 6 who had to leave partway for the oral. Most people (including me) were done their exam within an hour though, or at least done their first pass and were staring down a couple questions that they were trying to take their time with to decide something on, that sort of thing.
I forgot to bring the card for Mr Katsuki, even though this was his last day, whoops. The reason this happened was that I swapped bags to be able to bring my laptop to school to work on the dashimono after the exam, as my hefty laptop doesn’t fit very well in the shoulder sling bag that I currently have. Oh well. I’ll bring it for everyone to sign on Friday and hope Mr Tanaka or Ms Nishioka can get it to him.
After the exam, as mentioned, we worked on our dashimono, the stupid end of program skit, for a little bit. I banged out about 3/4 of the section I was asked to write, but it’s weird since “my section” is nearly as long as the rest of the script itself, as well as containing basically all the plot action that they refused to be specific about (like they were supposed to decide on and maybe buy props two days ago, but that kept getting delayed, and I find it hard to write things when they’re so wishy washy but their argument was “there’s a potential list of items in the document, and besides you don’t have to actually explain/mention the items in the script”.
But the list is very half-assed right now (it literally says “booklet looking thing, postcard/photos/etc” right now and that’s it!) and it’s like a 1st year University group project all over again. These people rejected all my suggestions for funnier scenarios, and then, as far as I’m concerned, made me decide on and write the bulk of the story’s details myself. So we’re not exactly dividing the work equally, are we? I also had to come up with the ending myself, as it lacked a punchline and was left uncertain with a bunch of half-assed options (right now it reads “steals our wallet/no money to take the train/bus back home and have to walk? We go home sad :(“), which makes zero sense outside of a very high level feeling, which is not something one can write a script on. I’m at least satisfied with my ending though. But I’m not sure when I will have time to even memorize my lines for it, since it’s still not nearly done as of Thursday morning. And I don’t care. From my point of view I have done far more than my fair share of that and am spending the day in Osaka anyway so someone else can clean it up.
Talking about Osaka, Zian and I had lunch in the usual lunch room, but the line was long and everyone else had left us behind as usual so instead of going to the cafeteria, we visited another little convenience store-like place right next to the cafeteria and bought a couple of lunch boxes from there. I bought two of them:
We had lunch in the room along with a couple other Buddies, and a friend of Zian, named Shupang, who was a current full Ritsumeikan (exchange?) student and the reason Zian had enrolled for RSJP here in the first place (and thus the reason that she and I had even met). However, they only had been able to meet up to talk for two or three times in the entire month that Zian had been here, so I left them to chat for a bit. Also, after everyone had cleared out at the end of the lunch period, I took a picture of the empty room as a keepsake.
After that, Zian and I left for her home, where she packed up one of her suitcases, and we then spent an hour and a bit figuring out the post office process for her to send the luggage overseas, back to her parents’ home in China. This worked, but took forever, mostly because of the declaration process where they wanted us to declare every last hanger and sanitary item and case in the suitcase itself. After that, Zian packed up and came to my apartment room for about half an hour before we headed off to meet Miyu at Saiin Station, about 2 minutes from my place, and rushed off to Osaka via a series of train transfers to meet Jerome there. Jerome had initially brought along a couple friends as well, but those others decided to leave for Kobe at some point before we came, so it was just the four of us again when we finally all met up together.
We went for dinner at a place called Chinese Restaurant Pang Chiang, which had an attached Horai 551 branch to it, though I’m not exactly sure how the two were affiliated. It was a full restaurant with a menu that had a couple of Horai 551 items, mostly steamed buns and such, on it. It was also a slightly pricey restaurant, but we ordered a few things and split them between us.
We had a great time chatting together, and also signed a card for Miyu in three different languages (although I’m only noticing now that it got smudged in the process — oh well).
After all the activity hosts and the teachers, I only had that one extra Edmonton postcard left, so Miyu was the one that received it as she was by far and away the one we were most attached to, and the only one that had invited either of us to anywhere. Jerome also ended up footing about half the bill for the meal, which was nice of him. He tried to foot it all but we weren’t having any of that.
After dinner, we wanted to look for a manga/Internet cafe to spend the night at, so after taking some suggestions from Miyu and looking up a couple things online, we ended up at a place called Media cafe Popeye, where we parted ways with Miyu and Jerome. Going in, however, we found that either they didn’t have lockable rooms or they were all sold out, so we refused to spend the night there and looked for something else. Our second attempt, Kaikatsu Club, also lacked rooms with keys, so we moved on from there too.
Eventually, we found a cheaper one called @Wan that did have rooms for the night, so we stayed there instead. The disadvantage of this place was that it was literally just a manga and internet cafe — I believe the others had other things on the side like games, or karaoke, or even billiards, darts, or mahjong, depending on which place you went to and which tier of room you booked. This one was simpler, but probably cheaper due to that, and we were tired and not going to be able to use most of the facilities anyway in all probability. And it had lockable doors. My little room looked like this:
It wasn’t in the lap of luxury or anything but I had a surprisingly decent sleep. The manga portion of the cafe looked like this:
And it had free drinks, though they were really bland. Besides private rooms, there were also public booths to use the computer or read a manga at. The manga selection was also decent, I suppose, but not particularly noteworthy. No or very little CGDCT/Manga Time Kirara sort of stuff, for example, and definitely nothing from my favourite show, Hidamari Sketch. Also, they provided free toothbrushes and shavers and free phone chargers if needed too, and a two-pronged power plug plus a USB-C port in every room, but (I believe, I didn’t try it) towels and showers were not free, nor was laundry detergent.
Anyway, we explored the place and chatted for a bit before settling in for the night.