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|
Friday, May 12 2023 (Day 5)
I didn’t sleep very well at all between Thursday night and Friday morning, only getting a couple hours of shut-eye in. Therefore this blog came around later than usual because I got home today, Friday evening, and fell asleep right after my shower and woke up at 4:30 am. So technically it’s yesterday since I’m writing this from Saturday morning now. Slept right through dinner and relaxation time and blog writing time — all that went to my sleep debt! I feel pretty great now again though.
Talking about dinner, I never did add a picture of Day 4’s dinner so I went back to do that. It’s nothing groundbreaking, just part of the travel log, though I’m not sure I always want to bother unless it’s an interesting meal.
I’ve been keeping an eye out for teas since I want to try some local teas while here, but everything I’m finding are things like 20-50 packets of one certain flavour of one certain brand of tea or something, and I’m having trouble finding sample packs with mixtures of tea. Or small packs, so I’m not left with a whole bunch of extra tea if I don’t like whatever I try. That peach tea I bought the other day for example is one that I don’t really like. Neutral at best. But at least thankfully it only came with 6 sachets and not 60.
I’ve been wondering if I should track my bus routes to see if the month-long Kyoto bus pass that I bought was worth it or not. Like I did for my JR Pass usage during my Japan trip last year. I figured this was pointless though, the reason being that (as mentioned previously), basically the entirety of Kyoto is under a single bus fare zone and it’s 230 yen from anywhere to anywhere else until outlying towns get involved in the mix. And I’m taking at least two trips a day, one to school and one back from school or whatever location we disband from after an event. Two a day multiplied by 23 school days alone is 9,200 yen, and Kyoto doesn’t do bus transfers either, so often there’s a third bus in there that adds more to that, and then there’s weekends. The 10,160 yen all-in price would easily be smashed.
To get my meals out of the way, since I managed to dodge dinner entirely, here’s free breakfast:
And lunch, which cost 578 yen.
Mackerel, rice, okra, pork soup, and hijiki, which is a type of seaweed. The description of the hijiki bowl on the tray was particularly memorable:
It’s just.. kind of edible.
This is what the Ritsumeikan cafeteria (the morning one, though the afternoon one looks similar) looks like:
Our classes were pretty fun, although I kind of forgot about a little bit of homework we had and thus had to do that in the five minutes before class started. It was no problem though as it was really short (and not listed on our schedule, nor were we turning it in for marks, which was why I had forgotten about it).
One standout thing that we, and apparently the other class as well, were given today was a sheet of paper with the names of body parts on one side, and set phrases to use when describing various ills and ailments to a doctor on the other side. Just in case we had to see a doctor or something I suppose. We then took turns roleplaying a quick doctor visit with each other.
The lessons jump around a lot within the chapter in the textbook — the main bulk of it is taking turns to read a short one-page passage, but as we hit a highlighted phrase or grammatical usage in the reading, the teacher pauses the passage reading and we dive into what it means and some practice exercises with the phrase, which usually takes about half an hour or so, before finally returning to the passage and continuing on where we left off. I really enjoy this method of teaching. It also probably really helped that our teacher on Thursday and Friday was the same one, Ms. Hara, so there was some continuity.
Next week, and every week really, we have Mr Katsuki Shigefumi sensei on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Ms Hara Manami sensei on Thursdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, we have a Ms Kaneko Shouko sensei teaching us, but I have no idea who they are yet. The two teachers that I have met so far are both great and kind, though, and that’s good.
For our afternoon activity today, we took a chartered bus down to the outdoor shopping street near Kiyomizu Temple, and were led into the back rooms of a pottery workshop there named Mori Touki-kan, where we were given a piece of paper to draw the rough shape of what tableware we wanted to make on, and then a bunch of clay to match that plate, bowl, or cup. We were taught how to use our fingers to meld the various pieces together to form the shape we wanted, and then taught how to use a piece of wet leather to smoothen the tops and bottoms of the clay piece so that there would be no sharp edges once the pottery piece was fired. We didn’t get to use an electric spinning wheel like in Yakunara Mug Cup mo, an anime from a few seasons ago that I really liked, but it was still quite interesting. And I would not have been able to make a square bowl with an electric spinning wheel, which was why I opted for a non-round pattern here.
Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the clay-making process (Kiyomizu-yaki) itself because my fingers became a messy affair and my phone would have been caked in clay dust if I had tried. A picture of what I wanted to make was is here though:
And a couple pictures of the workshop here include:
My “finished” clay bowl is the one on the far right. The reason I wanted to make that, well… these pottery projects will apparently undergo a firing process in a gas-powered kiln in the basement sometime over the next couple weeks, and the workshop will paint and glaze them according to our chosen colours, and then we’ll get the final finished pieces during our graduation ceremony if we last that long. At that point, if my piece survives, I’ll show what I did using the final product and explain what I wanted to do with it.
We were taken for a brief tour of the downstairs area too. The kiln looked like this::
And there were some great-looking ceramic lanterns made using this clay process whose method was pioneered by (and allegedly only known to) the owner of this workshop:
I brought out another postcard for everyone to sign as a small gift for the workshop host.
After this, we went to the front of Kiyomizu Temple to take a mildly illegal photo (I believe a sign said that photos on the steps are not allowed after 4 pm and we were there just after that).
And then we all disbanded and headed off our own separate ways. Zian and I went into the temple itself, paying the 400 yen entrance fee, which also netted us an entrance token that looked like a bookmark that we got to keep.
We then walked around and then found the booth doing goshuin. We both picked one up for 300 yen each.
Interestingly, this is a completely different one, not just the date and time but also location and written script, from the one that I had gotten while I was here in November, which looked like this:
Some (possibly many) temples have different “goshuin booths” open on different days and while the other one was the Hon’in Sacred Site or something (I’m still not sure of the exact translation), the one open today was from a completely different building, which I think was the Saigoku Sacred Site. Names fuzzy. We also walked around and took some pictures of the temple itself, or the people in the temple. Here’s an obligatory temple scenery picture:
I told Zian that the last time I was here, I had gotten in for free by entering the temple from the back gate. We walked there to look at the back entrance and she realized from a sign next to the large pagoda by the back entrance that the name of that pagoda actually was the same as her own Chinese name, just pronounced differently in Japanese. We were floored by that.
After that, we left the place, walking around the main street outside the temple and glancing into shops:
Picking up snacks (She bought #2, I bought #3, and we split the buns with each other):
And then figuring out a way home. After some Google Maps confusion, we walked out to a bus stop, caught it to a connecting bus stop halfway toward our Saiin Station/Nishioji Shijo bus stop, and being far more astute that I am, Zian pointed out that at least eight different buses or so from that intermediate bus stop basically went to our bus stop, which was still about 7 stops or so away. Basically all the buses, or nearly all of them, that stopped at that stop, would work to take us home.
And that was it for the day! I stopped by a Gyomu supermarket to pick up groceries for dinner and some more random thing like a sauce bottle that I wanted to try:
But I fell asleep before I could use it. Nothing there was due for expiry that night though so they just rolled over into the next day.