The Slightly Longer Way – Day 35

The Slightly Longer Way Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsRSJP
Day 0 – Friday, May 05 2023 to Sunday, May 07 2023Flight from Edmonton to Tokyo-
Day 1 – Monday, May 08 2023Train from Tokyo to Kyoto-
Day 2 – Tuesday, May 09 2023RSJP Orientation DayW1D1
Day 3 – Wednesday, May 10 2023Placement test, Kinkakuji/Golden PavilionW1D2
Day 4 – Thursday, May 11 2023Kyo-Yuzen Dyeing WorkshopW1D3
Day 5 – Friday, May 12 2023Mori Touki-ken Pottery WorkshopW1D4
Day 6 – Saturday, May 13 2023Ichihime Shrine, Nishiki Market-
Day 7 – Sunday, May 14 2023Nara, Todaiji Temple-
Day 8 – Monday, May 15 2023UrasenkeW2D1
Day 9 – Tuesday, May 16 2023Nijojo CastleW2D2
Day 10 – Wednesday, May 17 2023Tojiin TempleW2D3
Day 11 – Thursday, May 18 2023Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street, TsubomiW2D4
Day 12 – Friday, May 19 2023Kyoto StationW2D5
Day 13 – Saturday, May 20 2023Kamogawa River, Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai-
Day 14 – Sunday, May 21 2023Shimogoryo Shrine Kankosai-
Day 15 – Monday, May 22 2023Kimono-ProW3D1
Day 16 – Tuesday, May 23 2023Ritsumeikan Library, Hama SushiW3D2
Day 17 – Wednesday, May 24 2023Domoto Insho House, Kamogawa, IchijojiW3D3
Day 18 – Thursday, May 25 2023Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Hama Sushi (with Kel)W3D4
Day 19 – Friday, May 26 2023Super KaraokeW3D5
Day 20 – Saturday, May 27 2023Nothing special-
Day 21 – Sunday, May 28 2023Demachi Masugata Shopping Street, a long walk home-
Day 22 – Monday, May 29 2023Nothing specialW4D1
Day 23 – Tuesday, May 30 2023Kyoto International Manga MuseumW4D2
Day 24 – Wednesday, May 31 2023Ritsumeikan LibraryW4D3
Day 25 – Thursday, Jun 01 2023Maiko/Geiko demonstrationW4D4
Day 26 – Friday, Jun 02 2023Final Presentation, Taiko LabW4D5
Day 27 – Saturday, Jun 03 2023Kusatsu-Juku Honjin, Lake Biwa Museum, Omi Hachiman (with Zian)-
Day 28 – Sunday, Jun 04 2023Omi Hachiman City Museum, Omi Jingu (with Zian)-
Day 29 – Monday, Jun 05 2023ArashiyamaW5D1
Day 30 – Tuesday, Jun 06 2023Nothing specialW5D2
Day 31 – Wednesday, Jun 07 2023Final exam, Osaka, Manga Cafe (with Zian)W5D3
Day 32 – Thursday, Jun 08 2023Osaka, Namba (with Zian)W5D4
Day 33 – Friday, Jun 09 2023RSJP Graduation DayW5D5
Day 34 – Saturday, Jun 10 2023Leaving Zian, Train from Kyoto to Tokyo, Ikebukuro-
Day 35 – Sunday, Jun 11 2023Shibuya, duo MUSIC EXCHANGE-
Day 36 – Monday, Jun 12 2023Shinjuku, Sakura House, Sophia University-
Day 37 – Tuesday, Jun 13 2023Akihabara-
Day 38 – Wednesday, Jun 14 2023Flight from Tokyo to Edmonton-
Final Thoughts--

Sunday, Jun 11 2023 (Day 35)

Random Notes

Some housekeeping items:

Firstly, everytime I do a withdrawal at an ATM against my credit card, it apparently costs $7.50 CAD as a “Foreign Cash Advance Fee”. Oooops. I knew my card had no foreign exchange fee and some sort of a service fee, but I thought the fee was a bit lower than that. I generally only withdrew 10,000 yen (100 CAD) at a time to prevent overspending or loss though, and there was that time I withdrew back to back from an Aeon Mall ATM and a 7-Eleven ATM to test the conversion rate and stuff, oh well.

Second, I do remember one thing Mr Tanaka said at the closing ceremony — that we’re all part of the Ritsumeikan Family now, which I thought was cool. Also, Ms Nishioka said thank you to me after the ceremony as well, for the long and detailed comments I left on the survey, and that was a little awkward because I had also called the dashimono stupid and frivolous in that thing, and recommended they get rid of it, so. I did also apologize for using harsh language and said a lot of other mostly-positive things about the program in there though. Though I did complain about several other things, like the hotel situation, Mr Katsuki‘s “study from the back of the textbook” thing and the disappointment over the Karuta event being Iroha Karuta instead of Uta Karuta, and the origami portion being something that we could have just Googled ourselves. Ms Nishoka is a literal angel though, she’s super nice.

Thirdly, and this frustrated me quite a lot, Spotify stopped working because my country has not matched the region I’m in for too long of a time period. There’s a 14-day grace period (local) or something, after which point it doesn’t work anymore unless you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, which I am not and have no plans on doing for now. But then I learnt that it seems that I could reset this 14-day grace period simply by opening Spotify on my home computer anyway, which I have been connected to via Remote Desktop, so that’s what i did.

Next, here are some pictures that Zian sent me today from her phone stash from the past few days.

This first one is from Arashiyama, when Zian and I were waiting for Miyu and Jerome to arrive. We went into a souvenir store there, and I swear, these bags that I saw looked just like the one I carry Tigey around in. Just with a slightly different pattern. I’m lucky I wasn’t called for shoplifting on the way out! I think Kel gave the bag to me as a souvenir, I guess I know where it was from now?

This next one is also from Arashiyama, likely on the iconic bridge, a selfie-style picture taken late at night, with Jerome, Miyu, me, and Zian, going from left to right. Both these pictures would have been from Day 29.

All the other pictures were from graduation day, Day 33. Besides Zian, everyone else featured in these pictures were Buddies, since we were not close with the other 6 students and barely took any pictures with them that weren’t group shots. Here’s Sawa, me, and Zian:

Here’s a Buddy whose name is unknown to me, actual me, and then Sora on the right:

Apparently I uploaded two versions of basically the same shot accidentally, so here’s a second one.

We switched out who was taking the photo, so here’s me, Sora, and Zian:

Here’s Genji and me:

And Takito and me:

Despite sleeping at 4 am last night, I woke up at 9 am — I guess that’s actually a little better than my previous days of sleeping at 10-11 pm and waking at 4 am. I did sleep comfortably, so that was a couple of minor plus points for the housing.

I was feeling better about things with a night’s sleep under my belt, but I was still feeling a little blah from being alone again, and it was drizzling outside to match my mood too. But I actually had a quest today, to buy an event-limited CD from a singer named Natsume Itsuki for Mart. He was eyeing a CD which would only be sold at the venue, for a concert that the singer was holding, though she’d apparently put leftover albums on sale on her website afterwards — if there were any leftovers. That concert happened to be today though, in the hump between the end of RSJP and when I went home, and it was to be held in a live house venue near Shibuya called called duo MUSIC EXCHANGE, so I had told him that I would try to get it for him if I was in Tokyo.

To get to Shibuya, I walked to a station that was slightly further away than the one I arrived at yesterday — Itabashi Station.

I took a rapid train from there along the JR Saikyo Line, right past Ikebukuro and directly to Shibuya in 3 stops. Convenient. The concert venue was about ten minutes walk from Shibuya Station, and I stopped for lunch along the way at an intriguing-looking open-air ramen bar of sorts.

Especially since it was still drizzling. The interior of the building was covered, of course, but I liked how the side of the shop was fully open, in a very Singapore sort of way. The hygiene was a little questionable though but nonetheless, I had some bean sprouts ramen there and it was good enough.

Trudging on to the venue, I saw a lot of people lined up with tickets and either buying stuff or waiting to go into the venue, I’m not sure which one.

There were a bunch of people at gacha machines too, the ones on the left in that above picture behind the people with umbrellas. Armed with a roll of 100 or 500 yen coins or whatever the machine took, some of them were pulling out ball after ball in an effort to empty the machine for themselves or to complete their set. It was pretty crazy to watch people throw away thousands of yen that way. I asked about joining the queue if I didn’t have a ticket, and the event organizer person I spoke to hesitated, asked another person, then said to come back after 12 pm. It was 11:30 am at that point, so I wandered off and walked around Shibuya for a bit.

Obviously the main thing to do in Shibuya is join the iconic Shibuya Scramble crossing, although I had been here before several times, most notably during last year’s Halloween. I found a good vantage point where I could take pictures of people taking a picture of the crossing:

Before taking said crossing pictures myself too:

And then going down to actually walk across it.

Very nice. I also saw this poor umbrella by the side of the road and wondered how it got into that state; there was barely any wind through the day. It looked like a squashed insect.

I then went back to the event venue, and was told that I could now join the waiting line to buy said CD (and other goods) despite not having a ticket for the concert, and to just go join “the back of the line”. The line looked like this:

With more people across the road outside a Lawson convenience store. I quickly learnt, however, that this was actually three very different lines — one group was waiting for people to arrive to enter a bar across the road, another line was waiting for a separate bar to open, and the third line, the one for the concert and goods, was a lot shorter. I eventually sidled up to the back of that line, and got the CD that Mart wanted.

I don’t actually know the singer or her songs, but I know she’s one of a trio called La prière who I also had helped Mart secure a CD from back in M3-50 last year. I was pretty much one of the last people in the line, and there looked like there were several boxes of CDs left, so there would probably have been leftovers to be sold online anyway, but there was no guarantee of one person getting a CD that way against every other online fan, and apparently there was a second concert that evening too that might have spawned another group of fans that wanted to buy the CD on the way in or out. All in all, it was an interesting and new experience, even if I didn’t pay to go into the actual concert itself. I plan to wait until returning to Canada before mailing the CD this time though.

Next, I wandered back to the main Shibuya roads. I visited this giant Donki store:

But didn’t buy anything. I did pick up some USB-C earphones with attached microphone from another nearby store, Labi, because I wanted it for tonight’s chat with Zian. The cashier casually inquired whether I was sure about the USB-C connection type, and I held up my Pixel 5 phone to show him the port, at which point he ahh’d and nodded. I’m not sure if this was Japanese politeness and/or a reaction to past customer incidents and thus him wanting to make sure the customer would be satisfied with the purchase before they actually went through with it due to the language barrier, or if he was mansplaining electronics to me, but whatever.

I went home again via the reverse route to Itabashi, as I wanted to walk around that area and check out a few malls there. I like the look of the area outside of the station:

And these flowers reminded me of Zian‘s umbrella pattern, which made me wistful again.

I also saw this really weird double-sided sign:

One side says No smoking, and the other side says No passive smoking. What.

In actuality, the second side says to prevent passive smoking (i.e. by smoking near others, they inhale the smoke too), but the translation definitely needed work.

I bought some groceries from a grocery store named Maruetsu, and also found three different stores selling my favourite tea and second-favourite drink, the Juurokucha, so I was happy about that. Both the Maruetsu and Yorkmart supermarkets to the north of me did, as did a Sugi Drug store not a minute from my front door. I never thought of going into drug stores to look for my drinks of choice. I’ll never go thirsty! I even found a store, I think it was the NewLife store at Itabashi Station, selling my favourite drink, the Maroyaka Banana Milk, but that one was a little pricey at 135 yen or so. I was just happy to see it at all in Tokyo though. I went home after this, passing by this garage workshop thing right across from the front door of the place I’m living in:

It was still early in the afternoon at this point, but I had groceries for the evening, and even some bread for next morning, so I went home, did some laundry, and worked on my blog. It’s now 1:27 am on June 12th as I type this, so I’ve finally caught up again! The dryer function of the bathroom’s heat vent is terrible, as I said in the last blog post — some things were still slightly damp after 6 hours of heating. Thankfully this is likely the only time I’ll have to use the washer/dryer in this stay, as I have enough clothes to tide me for the rest of the trip and back to Edmonton.

I also picked up this station stamp along the way from Itobashi Station, the picture has it paired with a Namba Station stamp that we got on Day 31 in Osaka but that I never did snap a picture of.

At night, Zian and I had our first video/voice chat. It lasted 2 hours, 9 minutes, and 10 seconds, from about 10 pm to just after midnight! Definitely the longest personal phone call I’ve had in about 25 years — I used to have extremely long phone chats in the evening with Zixiang back in Sec 1-2 too, to the point that Dad would yell at me to hang up or else. I felt really good about this chat, with no negative emotions at all, even afterwards, just the satisfaction of two friends catching up again. Having sorted my thoughts somewhat, I’m not sure how well this chat friendship will work though, although I would love it if it does.

But we were very comfortable around each other from chatting on a daily basis, and reacting to things in real time that we saw on the road or when attempting to do things. That sort of dynamic isn’t necessarily available online, since it’s just two people sitting and chatting, and she doesn’t really seem to do much in terms of online stuff (like games or anime) for me to connect to her that way, I think. I believe we both had a good time nonetheless though, but I think the main reason I am upset is that I really liked spending time exploring places with her, and that isn’t a connection that can be done online. I’d love to get to know her and become best friends online anyway, but that would require probably a voide/video chat at least every week, and I don’t want to force her into that, because I know she has lots of other chats to do and friendships to juggle too. I don’t want her to think of me as a burden or chore. That being said, I’d definitely love to make it work if possible, so I’ll just have to prove myself somehow!

For tonight, among other things, I gave her a visual tour of the inside and outside of my apartment, basically reiterating the complaints already listed on my blog so far. She also said that she had read some of the Singapore portions of my blog, and had this poem for me that she learnt in middle school and which now reminded her of me.

Entitled 回乡偶书 and written by/attributed to 贺知章, it reads:

The gist of the poem is that the poet left home when young, and returned home when old. The local accents had not changed, but the local places had changed. The children see him and, not recognizing him as a local, smile and ask him where he’s from.

Yep, that fits. What or where is home for me? I don’t know. Anyway I believe we’re going to have another chat tomorrow night, and I am going to appreciate the heck out of these conversations while I can.

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