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
Thursday, Jun 08 2023 (Day 32)
I forgot to mention yesterday, but while I forgot to bring the card for Mr Katsuki, and I forgot to bring my textbook (thankfully I didn’t need it as I study from my notebooks), I did remember one thing, which was to switch out my 30+1 day SIM card for the second 15+1 one. This otherwise might have meant, depending on exactly when it expires, that I would have lost my mobile data connection in Osaka.
Also it’s funny, my sleeping schedule is still casually way off sync, I frequently go to bed around 10 pm – 12 am or so and wake up around 4 am still.
I woke up at 4 am today in my little manga cafe room, and started working on my blog posts and random other non-dashimono things to catch up with them. First on the menu were pictures of the place. Here’s a repeat of yesterday night’s pictures of my room and the manga shelves in the cafe:
I went out and took a few more pictures today. Here’s the corridor outside my room (17) and Zian‘s (18).
The washing machine and dryer — both are actually free, but detergent costs 100 yen at the front desk:
Small eating area, and a sign to help people call for food delivery services:
The front desk:
A food rack with snacks for sale to the right of the front desk:
And a printer/scanner/copier/fax machine next to that:
There’s a magazine rack to the left of the desk:
There seem to be two other types of accommodations that one can purchase here besides private rooms. One is just a public booth with a chair and a computer and some space:
One is a private booth with a door but basically the same thing:
There’s also a version of the private room with a reclineable plush chair or something instead of a big floor mat like we have, I think. Both are the same price — the two columns on the right in the picture below.
There are free drinks, though most of it is not very good:
I liked the Maggi Koku Uma Cream Corn drink though. There’s also a smoking room for those inclined:
And finally, back at my room, there’s a little rack under my floor bed thing:
Mostly for shoes. Can’t really access what’s under there when the room door is closed. They also provide slippers:
And this is what my room looks like when sitting/lying back on the floor and looking up:
Zian mentioned this first and I concur — the room and the cafe in general is surprisingly clean. And decently comfortable, we slept fairly well. There’s lots of space under the desk for us to stretch out our legs, and it was high enough (and the room wide enough) that I didn’t feel claustrophobic, though I wouldn’t want to stay here for more than a day.
After waking up, we hung out in my cramped room for about half an hour, sitting side by side and propping our feet up on the opposite wall and just chatting about a million things under the sun. This felt great. This was by far my favourite part of the Osaka trip, and somewhere in my top 5 events in RSJP. I didn’t know my second toe being longer than my big toe wasn’t a prevalent thing. Although I guess it is, Google tells me it’s 10-30% of people, so prevalent enough. Anyway, we hope to chat over the phone now and then after we get home. It felt like the beginning of the end though, and that was starting to feel sad.
But for the moment, we were in Osaka, and there were things to do. After our lazy morning, we went out to a second-hand CD shop, a nearby Book-Off Plus+ store that I apparently had been to last year as well, according to my notes, though I don’t really remember it. I picked up a couple CDs there for 300 yen a pop. We then walked around the area a bit, looking into the various souvenir stores there and such:
We saw this guy live streaming, and would see him again later on, at which point I wondered if we should innocently follow behind him in a casual stroll, holding up Tigey to perplex his viewers.
But we didn’t. We briefly stopped near the Dotonbori Glico Sign, aka the Glico Running Man, apparently a really famous landmark in Osaka. I had never actually heard of it, but Zian pointed it out to me. She then received a WeChat phone call from Jerome, who was having lunch back in Kyoto, and “wanted to chat with us” while he had lunch. But we were out shopping! Zian chatted with him for a little while still, but we were in a pretty noisy place anyway so it didn’t last that long. However, while we were standing there, I saw multiple people lining up and imitating the Glico Man’s pose on the other side of the bridge, with friends taking pictures of them. I also tried taking pictures of them, but we were on the other side of the bridge and there was a constant swarm of people walking by, so I never got a good picture. You can kind of get the gist by this one though:
After Zian got off the phone with Jerome, we eyed a shabu-shabu place right next to where we were, and then saw a sign for a sushi place basically right next to it. This store was Kappa Sushi, a chain that had been recommended to us by another Buddy, though we never went to the Kyoto version of it. It was right in front of us now though, so we went in to try it.
Unlike the first Hama Sushi place that I went to with Zian, but very much like the second Hama Sushi place I went to with Kel, this store didn’t feature a constantly revolving conveyor belt, but instead featured conveyor belts that zipped your plates right to you and then stopped right next to your table for you to pick up the plate.
Like the second place, it also automatically just counted the cost of the meal as we went along, and not via a plate count at the very end, so they cleared the bowls as we went and we didn’t end up making a tall pillar of plates or anything like that. We did still stack our bowls somewhat nicely at the end though.
This store was nice, but didn’t seem as filling as Hama Sushi was for the same price, so I got some ramen at the end from the store to polish things off. You had to “order” a Chinese soup spoon from the menu for 0 yen for the soup too, and we idly pondered placing an order for 4 soup spoons and nothing else to see what would happen. We didn’t, though!
After lunch, we walked around a bit, going to other used CD stores and looking around what they had. Most of them ended up being western-focused CD stores, or record-focused “CD stores”. We also went down a really suspicious and tiny alley at one point that was crammed full of second-hand stores. Down that alley, I saw an Edmonton connection on a shirt, of all things. Something about the South Edmonton Lions Club, which is apparently this one (local). A grassroots volunteer club, not a sports team one like I thought initially. Still weird, since I live in south-central Edmonton.
We continued walking on, winding north and west from the Dotonbori Bridge:
And reached an area that looked like a little slice of America, with a bunch of what looked like Japanese-style Western stores lining the streets. Or maybe it was the cannabis stores prominently featured here.
In that area, there was a fancy looking mall with a really nice architecture, with its front area kind of looking like a sliced fruit, with stairs and escalators going both down and up right from that front area.
We wandered around a giant capsule store with tons of gacha machines. Even some rather recent seasonal animes from a season or two ago. Nothing that more than mildly tempted me to buy though.
There was a CD shop adjacent to that capsule machine store that we could reach from the back of the store, since they had no neighbouring walls. Zian bought a CD from that store. I almost did too, except the CD that I was eyeing did not seem to have an obi, and I couldn’t open the case to check for sure since it was wrapped, so I did not get it in the end.
We tried to visit one or two more, but they were mostly busts. At this point, we had been to several CD stores, but visiting a maid cafe was also on Zian‘s list, so she wanted to try for that. I had also floated the idea of an idol cafe, since I had seen (but not gone into) some of those in the past, and had seen and liked idols in previous events as well. We looked for one of those, but ended up on the 4th floor of a really seedy building that looked like a bunch of storage units or delivery doors along a back street for businesses that otherwise sounded like regular clubs and restaurants.
Except we were on the 4th floor of the building and not on a back street. It was weird. It also smelled weird. A security guard looked at us funny as we went by him. And there was also a window balcony with no proper entrance that someone was curious about:
(She didn’t actually go in there in the end.)
We both needed to use the washroom at this point, so we decided to wrap up and head back to the hotel. It was getting rather late in the afternoon and I was a little worried about checking out. We had checked in the night before at around 10 pm, so we needed to check out before 7 pm and then make our way back to Kyoto. I also had to get back and finish writing that dashimono eventually (and start memorizing it). It also started to drizzle and then rain at this point, so we had to share her umbrella, and she had some planning for the post-Kyoto legs of her trip that she wanted to do back in the internet cafe room before we checked out too. So I didn’t really see how we had time to fit that maid/idol cafe visit in as well, even though she looked a couple up on her phone. I had also been pondering buying a souvenir (in the form of an edible) for the Buddies and the other students while we were here, and we had checked out several stores along the way too.
All those were excuses in the end though. She sensed a reluctance on my part to continue searching for a cafe and relented, but I think in the end I kind of put a damper on this part of her plan and I felt very guilty about that.
Anyway, we went back to the cafe and I borrowed her umbrella (although I never used it and just ran through the rain itself) to go out to look for souvenirs. I was specifically hunting for Hokkaido’s Shiroi Koibito cookies because I liked them, but Osaka only had knockoff versions of it, Osaka no Koibito cookies and Omoshiroi Koibito cookies, whose title made me laugh (since Omoshiroi means funny/interesting, whereas Shiroi means white). Apparently those cookies are seldom if ever sold at all outside of Hokkaido, and only by the Ishiya store. There was an Ishiya nearby in the basement of a large department store, whose Google reviews suggested that they used to at some point sell them there, but when I went they did not have any, and said that the only nearby place where it was purchaseable was in Osaka’s airport — past the departure gate. So that was a no-go.
I considered getting some other random cookies as well, but Osaka was so close to Kyoto and so many of the Buddies were from there anyway (and everyone else, including all the RSJP students, had probably visited it too — I think I was the last one to visit it this trip) that it didn’t really feel right to get those. So in the end, I just picked up a few cards and stuff to bring home so that I could write a few thank you notes for some of the Buddies and for Zian. I also picked up a Kuromi plushie from a Korean discount store in Shinsaibashi, and that one has a very minor story attached to it that I’ll save for when I do a Plushie of the Week section on her.
I also saw this enormous burger:
So at that point I was a little hungry as well. We didn’t eat in Osaka though. Rather, we checked out without issue, then took a single, direct train back from Nippombashi Station all the way back to our home base, Saiin Station, without needing to get off and transfer to another train at any point on the journey. Even though this took 20 minutes longer than hopping between trains to optimize using the express and non-express lines, this afforded us good seats for the entire way back so we could doze off, even though the train got additionally delayed at one point and was making lots of ominous squeaky noises.
We ate dinner at a Yoshinoya shop next to Saiin Station. Compared to the night before, this was a lot of food for very cheap, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Zian had a bunch of gyoza and I had some noodles, and we shared a bowl of bean sprouts and pork or something. Yummy! This is a chain store, and was definitely not the cleanest place (I saw a fly or two buzzing around inside) but it came recommended by a Buddy too and apparently for good reason. Though weirdly, they had the sauce racks removed from the table and only brought to the table and offered to customers just before their meal actually arrives, due to COVID sanitation issues or something like that, which was weird to me since it doesn’t seem to do anything and no other eating place I’ve seen does this. Plus, while they removed all the liquid condiments, they left a black pepper shaker (which has no liquid in it, so that’s probably the difference) at each and every table anyway. Weird.
Once home, I washed off two days worth of grime, finally finished my part of the dashimono (it was just minor editing at that point), and fell asleep immediately.