Saturday, July 1, 2017

In Japan: Week 2

First, with some good news: I got into the second class like I wanted! Bad news: It's really, REALLY tough. However, I was ready for that challenge when I came here and I've been studying very hard.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to do as much my second week here because I was busy studying for a test on Monday. However, that doesn't mean that my week or weekend was without adventure.

On Thursday, the resident assistants threw a welcome party for everyone. We had nachos, pizza (which has different toppings from American pizza like shrimp and eggplant), and sushi to eat and we also played Paper Telephone (kind of like telephone, but with pictures). Luckily, my team got second place and we didn't have to eat the mystery cream puffs (some of them were filled with spicy mustard and one guy almost threw up because of them).


Saturday morning, I found the channel that shows kids shows in the morning. They still have a version of Saturday morning cartoons here, but (apparently) the most popular ones are shown Sunday morning because sometimes kids have school on Saturdays. I have been watching those as well, seeing what little kids are watching in Japan Saturday and Sunday mornings (and, maybe, enjoying them as well).

On Sunday, Yuuka and I went to Kyoto. I had to go buy something at the Pokemon Center in the Takashimaya Department Store and that time was the best for me. Pokemon Centers are what they sound like - they are places in Japan that specialize in selling the different stuff, all related to Pokemon. They have lots of Pokemon merchandise: mostly stuffed dolls, but also eating utensils, trading cards, key chains, fans, and lots of other things I can't even begin to mention including the two exclusive Pikachu dolls.

Here is a link by Kotaku for the Kyoto Pokemon Center itself and here are a couple of pictures that I took at the place.

The day we went, they were giving away free Eevee and Eeveelution hats. I choose Vaporeon and Yuuka chose
There was also a kimono store on the same floor. There were selling a few of those, but right now it's yukata season. They were all so pretty, but really, REALLY expensive (about $300 for one and it didn't come with all of the parts). While it is true Takashimaya is a very expensive department store, I didn't want one THAT badly.

Here is a picture that compares a yukata and a kimono.

https://etuitrove.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/yukata-kimono-differences.jpg

Yuuka and I then went for lunch at a nearby McDonald's. Real Japanese, I know... They have menu items that you would find in America: cheese burgers, fries, shakes, etc. However, I ordered the えびフィレオセット (shrimp fillet set (combo)) and changed my drink to a マックシェイク ストロベリー(S) (small strawberry shake).

It was actually really good.
I wasn't surprised to see the food smaller (I knew that would be the case before I came here), but I was shocked to see how small the shake was. I told Yuuka what I consider a normal sized shake and she was shocked to say the least, especially when I compared it to one from Steak & Shake. I later talked with one of Yuuka's friends, Yuuki, and he said that it would take him two days to finish it.

After lunch, we went to the Kennin-ji Temple.

It lists out all of the rules of the temple such as no bikes and pets and other things.
Yuuka and I managed to make our way to a not-very-visited area of the temple. It was super peaceful back there, especially the room that I wasn't allowed to take photos in.
 

We didn't see any of the gardens (we had walked in the opposite direction of them), but we did find a very peaceful area at the far side of the temple along with what I would consider the most peaceful room of all time (in which taking pictures was prohibited).

There was also a special even going on that day. 京都大学書道部 (Kyoto University's Calligraphy Department) was hosting a free calligraphy viewing of their members' work. While I unfortunately did not take a picture of my favorite work (a four paper piece talking about the seasons), I did get a couple of pictures as examples.



The calligraphy itself was quite beautiful to look at, even if the only word I could read out of all of the works was fright. Even Yuuka could only read so many characters on a piece because so many are considered outdated or just not used often enough to commit to memory. I was glad I could see so many examples of it.

We then headed back to the dorms and I was able to study for my test. I'll keep on studying Japanese and having adventures.

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