yesterday was the last day of school, and as i’m sitting here (doing laundry of course, as with any time i have any free time at home) it’s good to look back a bit first, and try to remember everything (bad memory, that’s all. no influences could possibly alter the effectiveness of my memory at all, of course.)
6/25 to 7/2
the most i remember about this period is that it was the last few days before the 6-week program kids went home. i was also completely sick during the entire period from previously mentioned up to now, and the following weekend would have me bed-ridden with sinus problems + bronchitis + stomach virus all-in-one. fever too maybe but i’m not sure. in any case it was terrible. i lost my voice 3 nights in a row (with yui’s concert being the middle) due to too much talking+karaoke+sick, but i endured. it was also around this time that i seriously started to enjoy shopping in japan for clothes, because i discovered that although there was a bunch of wierd designs and poor fashion, there’s also things that fit really really well with me and look pretty good. as lilly said “the last thing i expected you to pick up out of tokyo is fashion” haha
there was also a school-hosted bbq event on the 28th, which was pretty good. it was in odaiba, which i previously mentioned. the park that we held it in was right next to the water, which made for some good scenery to drink bottles of wine to. yep that’s right, the french part of zac came out sometime early this trip and he’s influenced everyone into bottles of wine instead of beers. i like his plan, however, because even though i don’t understand his reasoning, i definitely approve of the higher alcohol per yen rate that bottles of wine gives. i ran into the usual kids (and some that i didn’t really know too well) and ate a bunch of meat. amongst the “groups of friends” there’s this group of 6 or 8 and i’m not sure if they’re AEP or what, but they don’t seem like undergrads and sometimes play poker or just hang out. i played with them once or twice but that’s about it. paying for dinner with poker = woo
in any case i saw sean and yumi on that saturday evening with sean’s relatives and yumi’s friends from euphro. the funny thing is that i introduced her to that, and then i quit, and i guess she just kept on doing it casually. since i can’t play anything casually i guess i burned out faster, haha. we went to eat some sukiyaki, but time was getting cut short and thus we had to cut the karaoke. i got word sean went back to the states already, which is sad because due to scheduling conflicts we’ve been out of touch for a few weeks
damn these bugs. if you wear clothes, you sweat to death. if you don’t, you scratch yourself to death. where’s the compromise??
as much as i would love to give the month-after recollection of how ridiculously good yui’s concert was, i think it would be a time waster here. after all i can just click “home page” and read it again lol. ahhh there’s just those freeze-frame memories that (i hope) will never go away.
in any case, i think that after doing massive recovery of body health, i plunged directly back into the everyday routine. sean and i attempted to coordinate something for a while but that’s failed miserably. mai also finally arrived here after working on a farm for two weeks (o.o) and thus got busy with her job. for the first week she apparently lived out in like chiba which meant she had to get on a train by like 8 to go home lol. poor thing. plus the schoolkids, she had to take care of those too. but anyway we finally got in touch the day i was leaving for kyoto, which was just planned the same week. decently hectic, that was. at this same time katie was in tokyo from osaka so i showed her around a bit and we hung out with some of her other acquaintances from school. of course, we went eating again. mm oo-toro *drool*
kyoto trip – 7/10 to 7/14
when naho (japanese TA back at wake) got back from man-hunting in indonesia or australia or…yea whatever she was doing somewhere, we organized the trip and got the plans settled. it went surprisingly well – boarding+travel fees were all booked in 1 day. we took the bus over, which was actually not bad, but only for me. i slept some of the trip and was in this dream-like trance state for the rest of it. cynthia seemed to be able to sleep a bit, but kevin and zac had some serious problems it seemed. cynthia and i brought our stolen eye-guard things from the airplane, which i have to say is amazing, since obviously this proves great minds think alike. it was probably the key difference, indeed.
when we got there it was about 7:30am, so with my plan that i drew up the previous day (with the help of google – who needs ridiculously expensive tour guides when you have google?), we launched 京都観光大作戦. we found this little breakfast joint close to our hostel place and it was pretty homely. though, the pet got my allergies going, so i had to hit up some expired claritin. as soon as we got out of there we went to 東寺(tou-ji), the pagoda place close to kyoto station. as our first real temple experience it was pretty good, though there were places that you couldn’t go without invitation. this is something that’s common in kyoto and places in japan that have history – you need an introduction to get in. tokyo’s ginza district, as well, has places like this. this happened when we went down the geisha bar street near gion at night as well
in any case, we left 東寺 and got lunch at kyoto station. there were some expensive places but i didnt feel like ramen so cynthia accompanied me to this pasta-ish restaurant whereas z+k went to a ramen shop. this restaurant was amazing. we got like crazy fancy glasses and this ridiculous high class environment with 3 waitress girls waiting on us to finish our water and bread so they could refill/bring more. the plates and dishes were all very fancy and it was overall ridiculous. the price – 1000yen each. what? i cant believe. so simple, no skill required at all anyway, afterwards, cynthia had this idea to stop by the 京水寺 (kyoumizu tera), which turned out to be the best idea ever. if any of you go to kyoto, do NOT miss this fantastic mountain of awesomeness. there was beautiful scenery, many historic buildings (pagodas, shrines, etc), places where you can go pray, a dragon hand washer (!!!), the COOLEST rite of passage ever (leading to a wishing stone), a waterfall of holy water that you can drink, and passage to a hiking trail that extends through about half of kyoto. for kevin, there was a pack of about 30 girls (prolly some women’s university field trip) that nonstop stared at him. aww yeaaaa…and also kinda awkward lol. i normally hate sightseeing and historical museums and whatnot, but this place blew my mind.
the 銀閣寺(ginkaku-ji) was next, which is better known as the silver pavilion. unfortunately it was under construction and we pretty much paid the entrance fee for access to the souvenir shop. hopefully it will be fixed soon. after that disappointment, we headed over to gion (the entertainment district, and i’m not talking strip clubs) where zac cynthia and kevin went to watch this variation japanese art show (with bunraku, tea ceremony, etc). i didn’t really feel like it, however, so i went back early, got checked in, misc. i think i was getting grumpy from the 14 hour sightseeing, since i’m usually an indoors type and nothing kills my mood like the heat.
saturday was crazy. we went to the 金閣寺(kinkaku-ji), or better known as the golden pavilion (which was quite a magnificent view), followed by the rock garden place nearby. i feel bad because i was being a bit of an asshole cause i was worried about the day’s schedule – we had to get back to kyoto station soon in order to maximize our time in……….osaka! yessss we went to osaka, if only for a dismal 4 hours. a funny thing happened at kyoto station – we bought our tickets and i saw the express was leaving in 2 minutes so i told them to rush. i saw them on the escalator on the way down to the platform so i went ahead a bit and got on the train. then i turned around, the doors closed, and zac is outside with this incredible “wtf” look on his face. this was a nice summary of our trip though, because it seemed the 3 of them sticked together often whereas i would be the guy that goes off somewhere sometimes. maybe that’s just how i work though, i dunno. we went to umeda sky building, which is gorgeous. then we went to the shopping district cause the osaka castle closed for tourism by the time we finished sightseeing the sky building. we only had time for this one department store were we found a floor of yukata/kimono, and a jewelry section. they had this custom engagement right thing where you could choose everything – shape of ring, width, customization to fit the person’s finger, material, design, text, and all of this on top of choosing the gem, which was broken down into different shapes, designs, cuts, etc. pretty cool – i’d totally come here (provided i had the bling) for engagement ring selection. after that, we went back to kyoto station, washed up, and went to go meet naho and her best friend rie for some drinking => short time of karaoke. now, all i’m allowed to say, is that SOMEONE was very drunk and frisky. SOMEONE. I DONT KNOW WHO. ahem. edited pictures available on facebook >.>
sunday was a nice final day of the trip. me being me, i can’t stand looking the same 2 days in a row, so i tried to vary my clothing a bit to include my yui shirt under a button down, which was a terrible idea because i forgot how kyoto is like a george foreman grill (actually the scientist inside objects, it’s more like a one of those solar power receptors that is made in the shape of a satellite dish in order to concentrate the energy reception in the center. or if you’ve watched gundam seed, it’s like zaft’s genesis wmd), so i sweated through my yui shirt a bit and stained the button down with some red splotches. good thing the cleaners work miracles, or i’d be out a really nice shirt. however, i might have rethought this if i knew that the monkey park we were going to was on top of a mountain. yep that’s right. hiking uphill in july in kyoto at noon in 2 layers and jeans. real smart lol. but the monkeys were cute! that’s all that matters ;o
shinkansen on the way back. wayyyyy expensive but so cool! z cynthia and kev were like freaking out when we got there lol. i was excited but i guess nowhere as excited as them. we rode the のぞみN700, which at this time is the fastest in japan. just waiting for when they complete the 中央新幹線 (in 2050? lol) which will be on maglev technology…yeeeep…
overall the trip was pretty awesome. and probably far cheaper than if we went with the school. souvenirs and pictures came with the trip, so at least i have those still. i wanted to keep my shinkansen ticket but unfortunately that’s the only way i coulda gotten out of shinjuku station without making up a story about mis-swiping my suica somewhere else, and honestly by then i was too tired to try. because that night i had a nice literature paper waiting for me when i got back. woo!
i think i understand a little better now why people are so busy here. i don’t feel like i’ve done anything productive or made massive contributions to any crazy project but i’ve still been busy just staying alive lol. i think the kind of busy i’m used to and the kind of busy that is the city are totally different – concentrating all your efforts into one thing makes you miss out on so much of everything else the world has to offer. on the other side of the spectrum, spreading yourself out too thin doesn’t really let you seriously focus on anything, which is kind of like living on the meat samples at whole foods and never getting to have a steak. balance, all about balance…