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Of packing stuff for home

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/6/2005 9:59:33 AM
Heh, a day of school and now another three-day "break." Lovely. ;)

After the kanji class, I picked up a gakuwari (student discount) paper for my trip to Kyoto, then did some DDRing with Becca. The Joint Premium thing must have just been during Golden Week, since we had to pay 200 yen for us both to play instead of just 100 like it was last week... but oh well. It was still fun. And this time it wasn't ridiculously hot outside, either, so it was a little easier to cool off. I swear, though, I may never quite get the hang of metal platforms. Even when I manage to perfect combo the whole song I rarely get a AA, which is kind of frustrating. That and I just can't bounce like I do on the soft pads. Whatever. DDR is DDR. *laughs*

Afterwards I exchanged my last US Dollar traveler cheque (since the Yen ones can't be used at all, oddly) and came home and slept. Well, first I did some work that needed to be done, then slept. Ate a dinner and watched the rest of the video from my parents, then did some more reading and repacked my box that I'll be sending home. I still have yet to tape it up, but I want to keep it open until the last minute just in case I realize I forgot something or I want to stick something else in there. It's a little hefty, but... eh, that's just the way it's gonna be. I bit my lip (and stepped on my foot and twisted my arm and sprained my ankle) and decided not to pack some things and instead just toss them before I leave, which I guess is a good thing. No sense in sending home stuff I'm never going to use, I guess... but, gah, I feel so dirty and filthy and wasteful and terrible when I throw something away that still has decent use left in it. Perhaps the only way to combat that is to buy even less than I already do (or don't, for that matter).

Or maybe when I get home I'll just tell my conscience to shut up for a moment and take that opportunity to dump a ton of stuff out of my life once and for all, and actually NOT pick it back out of the garbage right before the truck comes by to haul it away. I'd much rather endure the pain of slipping up in DDR and twisting both my ankles simultaneously, getting all bruised up as I collapse onto the hard metal platform, and then getting kicked by a bunch of bratty middle-schoolers as they try to push me off so they can play than have to go through that. If you think I'm joking in the slightest, you can stop laughing because I'm dead serious.


Aaaaanyway, I'm going to try and categorize some more pictures until the bath opens up, and then head off to bed. Sleep coming as a result would be appreciated.
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Of geek life

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/7/2005 7:17:09 AM
Another day of nonstop work. Geez. How do I always seem to manage to have an unending stream of things I need to do? I guess it's better than not having ANYthing to do... but, yeah.

I'm trying to think of something interesting that happened today, but nothing is really coming to mind. I did read some of the Simpsons comic I had brought along with Saki-chan before dinner, which was pretty fun. I was planning on shipping out the package today, but post offices in Japan are closed on the weekend so I'll do it Monday. Napped for an hour and a half or so... did a lot of reading. Yeah... it's the life of a geek. *laughs*
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Of another day

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/8/2005 6:40:45 AM
Another day, another... uh, day of working. Sometimes it feels like I waste a lot of time doing nothing... but I guess if you're learning new things in the process then it's not really that bad after all. I did a lot of studying computer stuff, which I suppose will help me later but doesn't really make me feel all to fulfilled at the moment.

Speaking of fulfilled, I'm ready to come home. *laughs* Not a whole lot more left to go... let's just get it over with.
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Of the postage parcel predicament

Location: Yoshitaka residence 5/9/2005 8:28:33 AM
Okay... after a full week of vacation followed by one day of school followed by another three days off... yeah, I'd say I'm about ready to get back. *laughs* Well, let me rephrase that. If I could just stay home and work on my own things until I had to leave for home, I'd certainly like that. However, seeing as there's class tomorrow whether I want there to be or not, it would be best if I were ready to actually tackle it... and I think I actually am. I looked at my "To Do" list for the weekend and surprised myself when I saw that I actually had everything checked off. I, like, actually got what I wanted to do done. Nice.

Today I finally got the box of stuff to ship home shipped home. Everything told, the thing weighed 17.03 kg, which is 37.54 pounds for all you non-metric dudes and dudettes back home. Mama said I could use a bike to take it to the post office, but there weren't any straps on it or anything so I decided to just carry it myself lest I make a turn and the whole thing fall off and explode or something. Wouldn't want that. No siree. o_O;;

So anyway, carrying a 40-pound box in the hot sun for 15-20 minutes is fun. Good exercise in endurance and figuring out which position won't make your arms feel odd for long. When I wrote down the contents and address and stuff for the box, my hands were shaking somewhat. *laughs* I'm sure it'll be legible enough, though. I mean, let me say that again: if the customs guys in America can't ready that, then they need to go back to school. ;) Shipping was nearly $100, though... whoo. Technically the total value of the things in there was way more than $100 (more than $200, even), though, so shipping everything home was certainly worth it. I think I'll be able to pack the rest of my stuff up in the suitcases I brought; if I can't for some reason, I have at least two more boxes I could use to ship stuff back home via airmail, though I'm sure everything'll be just fine. Stopped by McDonald's on the way home for lunch; been a while since I've eaten there.

Random thought of the moment: my OJ consumption has been high recently. OJ is just so good.

I decided to jog part of the way home from my postal parcel predicament (eh?) and on the way noticed a bunch of beautiful purple and pink flowers. So what did I do? I stopped and smelled the flowers, of course. Like, literally. It felt good. ^__^

The rest of the day was pretty much spent relaxing, doing some studying, and solving a mind bender that Kristin showed me that apparently Einstein wrote and claimed that only 2% of the people on Earth would be able to solve it. According to my IM log, it took me two and a half hours to complete, from first looking at it to arriving at the (correct) solution. Very fun. It's been far too long since I did one of those!

I watched an interesting show about monkeys with Mama for dinner, which was pretty fun. She asked me if I had any plans to see a sumo match; apparently the previous two students had gone to see a match with their classes, but as of yet I haven't heard of anything like that. Made me realize I haven't seen any live sumo. *laughs* But then, there are a lot of things I haven't seen, which is okay. Again, I didn't come here to be a tourist... I came here to live my own life.

Bath and bed soon, I surmise. Tomorrow after class I'm going to find that international ATM and suck out some cash from my bank account, since credit cards are almost never used here, I've used all my USD cheques, and the yen cheques apparently can't be used (unless I converted them to dollar and then back to yen, but not only do I not know how the process for that works, if it does at all, but if I did it they'd probably look at me funny and things would get odd). Then I'm going to hit up the ticket office at Baba-eki to grab some Shinkansen/bus tickets to/from Kyoto. Next week I'm going to have midterms and stuff, but that's okay... I'm just going to go to Kyoto anyway. And I'm going to take pictures and sing the "Off to Kyoto" song and... *does some quick Googling* HOLY HEP. I don't believe it: you can get Big Bird in Japan on DVD (or VHS) from Amazon. Holy muggling muggle and a half. I... I...

...I may seriously need to acquire that. Like, seriously. It's quite possibly the biggest and earliest of my Japanese influences. We already have it on tape, but not only is the tape falling apart (as VHS tapes are wont to do), but it's also not DVD. *laughs* The tape is actually deteriorating... it's not just broken like an old Muppets one was (that had an awesome clip of a metallic dragon that I wanted to see for many years but couldn't because the tape was busted), so it's, like, red alert dude. (By the way, one day I sat down and actually dismantled the VHS tape and manually repaired the broken tape so I could watch the whole thing, including the dragon scene, once more. It was very touching... and one of the reasons I like to hold onto things, even when they seem broken: you never know when you'll need to see them again and realize you can fix them...)

So, yeah. Off to doing stuff. See y'all. 1 reply

Yen to $$
Posted by: badcheeso 5/10/2005 7:03:32 AM
You may want to find out how to convert the Yen cheques to $$ because they won't do you any good back here in the states. And it will probably be tougher to exchange them here anyway. I suggest you find out how to do it and then deposit the money in your account. We can figure out what to do with it when you get home. But this way you'll have access to more $ and the Yen cheques will be cashed in.

Too bad you won't have company to Kyoto but knowing how you operate you'll survive and I know you'll enjoy the experience and then feel like you want to share it with someone.

It's 7 weeks and counting down.

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Of a day of firsts

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/10/2005 8:11:00 AM
Whoo, today was a day of firsts in a way. *laughs*

There were six students in Japanese class today, including me. Even some of the people who, like, NEVER miss a class were missing. Huh. Not sure what was up today... I guess everyone was still zonked from Golden Week or something. *shrugs*

I picked up the essay I had to write for Japan Study about the practicum between Japanese and Microeconomics classes (whoo, an A!), and later stopped by the post office to use the international ATM and make a withdrawal from my checking account. As funny as it sounds, the hardest part about it was remembering my PIN. *laughs* It's been so long since I've had to use it, and for a few seconds I was like "My what?" before I realized, "Oh, yeah, that thing I never use anymore." Fun times.

After that I went to the ticket office at Takadanobaba station and got myself a one-way Shinkansen ticket to Kyoto this Saturday. Whoo! The return trip will be an overnight bus that leaves at 9:30pm. Normally I wouldn't really want to go home on a bus overnight, but I've heard the "Dream Bus" (which I got) supposedly has seats that are comparable to Shinkansen seats, which are supposed to be really nice. I saved some money and got a non-reserved ticket... but I think even then it's still nice. I probably could have treated myself to some first-class stuff or something, but I wasn't really thinking straight because I was concentrating more on figuring out the right things to say. Heck, I even completely forgot that I had a gakuwari, which could have saved me another thirty bucks or so. *laughs* Ah well. I got my tickets, and that's what matters. Now I just need to figure out what to do and where to go. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever... maybe I can find some good guides online or something. I should probably think of searching for those soon, I suppose...

When I got home, I hit up Itoyokado again for some more OJ (my OJ appetite is skyrocketing once again... as in, returning to normal levels). I decided this time I'd go pick up something new to drink on the way home to complement my apple, so I decided on a sports drink called "LEMON WATER." *laughs* It wasn't lemonade, but it wasn't just water with some lemon juice in it, either. It was 1% lemon juice and 99% something else. *laughs again* But at least it wasn't carbonated... and, you know, it was actually pretty good. It made me wonder if I should figure out how to make some decent lemon water so I can get more water in my system. I figure if I found out the right combination of water and lemon juice (and maybe something else, if it's needed), I'd drink a heck of a lot more water. Just plain water as a thirst-quenching drink just doesn't work for me for some odd reason, unless it's from a water fountain (and even then only certain kinds). I really don't know why, but I seriously get bad headaches and my stomach feels weird after I drink cold water when I'm hot and sweaty. Cold Gatorade or OJ or lemonade is just fine.

But anyway, once again I digress. I was completely exhausted by the time I got home for some reason, and I napped for well over an hour or so. Mama said she was going with Saki-chan somewhere so I could eat dinner on my own, so around 7:30 I bopped downstairs and scrounged up some stuff to eat. First time I actually made my own dinner from leftovers and stuff in the fridge; normally Mama has everything all set out for me when she leaves. When Mama got home she asked if I had eaten and I said yes... but she's making more food now. *has to laugh* I hope she doesn't call for me to come eat again, because then I'll feel really awkward. o_O; I don't think she will, though. After all, she did say I could eat when I got hungry, and I get hungry before 9:00. ;)

Lately I've been thinking about how awesome Mama is. She does so much for her family, so much for her friends and Amway partners, and so much for me. And she does it with a smile on her face and she doesn't necessarily expect anything in return, at least not from me. I do the dishes quite often, though sometimes she'll say it's okay and I don't need to finish them. And whenever I ask if she needs help with something, she's got it all under control. And heck, even when I asked her if she had seen a shirt I thought I had lost, she searched through all the laundry for me without my even asking. Well, okay, I actually asked if she could keep an eye open for it that would be great. *laughs* She didn't find it, but it did turn up a week or two later.

I have a quiz in Phonetics and Phonology tomorrow. I really have no idea what to expect, because we have no real material we can study with as far as transcribing Japanese and English words into the IPA sound system, and we just have some theory about phenomes and phonemes and allophones and all that. I'm a little worried, but since there's pretty much no chance this class could possibly transfer as any useful credit, any grade I get in it is as good as any other. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to purposely slack off or anything, but as far as killing myself over making sure I know each and every nuance of the material... it's certainly not worth my time!

Have I written enough? I kind of space out writing these journals and just keep on going and going. I've already spent about 30 minutes writing this one. It's crazy how quickly time can go when you're using the computer. It's like everything goes at warp speed, no matter what you're doing. Unless you're doing homework, in which case it doesn't move at all... unless that homework is a programming assignment or some other project that requires the use of the computer, in which case it blazes by even faster and you realize you're out of time AGAIN. Okay, now I'm just rambling. This would be a good place to stop.
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More dinner
Posted by: Gerf 5/10/2005 9:09:12 AM
Addendum (22:07) - It looks like Mama made dinner for us anyway. *laughs* So I had a second dinner of sorts, but I didn't eat too much so it was okay. That and Mama and I had some fun talks, as well as some fun ghost... scare... things. I guess it's kind of an inside joke. ;)
0 replies

drinks for home
Posted by: badcheeso 5/11/2005 6:53:45 AM
I thought we tried that lemon drink when we were visiting and decided it was water with maybe a lemon dunked in it for 10 seconds?

Anyway, you'll have to bring some Boss Cafe (coffee) and Pocari Sweat home for niche. Maybe you can ask Papa if there's a small bottle of japanese whiskey you can buy for me. I didn't get to try it.

Hang in there summers coming.

1 reply

Posted by: Gerf 5/11/2005 8:24:43 AM
Somehow I have a feeling Papa's going to be giving me some alcoholic beverages to bring home. ;)

As for Boss and Pocari Sweat, I'll see what I can stuff in my bags. I may have a lot of room, I may not. Only time will tell.
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Of thinking of thinking

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/11/2005 8:25:02 AM
I realized something yesterday after I typed up my entry and everything: I got almost no work done whatsoever that day. o_O;

Today I took the phonetics quiz, and while I honestly knew most of what I was supposed to do, I was thrown off-course by some stuff at the beginning and ended up changing all my correct answers into incorrect ones. Haha, yay. I think I'll get some credit for it, anyway, but again... even if I don't, it really doesn't make a bit of difference as far as credits are concerned so I'm not really worried. It's a pretty fun class, don't get me wrong, but if the grade is just going to be based on two exams then, well, yeah, it's kind of all-or-nothing, and if you make a silly mistake BAM there goes your grade. *laughs* Look at me, I'm worrying over it even though I said I wouldn't. ;)

One of the examples we used in class today to discuss emphasis and vowel weakening involved five "that"s in a row, which immediately reminded me of the one Mom told me that had 11 "had"s in a row. So I mentioned that one and the teacher wrote it on the whiteboard. I pronounced it correctly for the class, but the teacher didn't write any of the punctuation and instead told the class to think about it for next week and come back with the solution. Haha, score.

Spent the next four hours working on stuff in the loud international lounge, then had my development economics course. While my brain isn't geared to remember names of theories and dates of economic crises and, especially, who thought up of what kind of theory, I do find all the concepts to be very interesting and am really getting into it. Unfortunately, our poor professor has so much he wants to cover but has to go so slowly, and the class hardly ever participates in the discussion. I feel bad raising my hand all the time, but then I also feel bad if I don't raise my had, either. It's totally lose-lose and it's annoying, which is a shame because with a more lively class it could be one of the best I've taken here at SILS. Though, of course, nothing could possibly ever beat the Science Fiction in Japan class that Mr. Campbell taught. That class was absolutely awesome.

I've started to seriously think about how I think, how I set personal policies, and how I feel responsible decision-making should be carried out. Today I even drew a little graph that showed a relationship between two very unusual and completely unquantifiable values, complete with reasoning behind the shape of the curve and so on and so forth. I'm thinking of trying to add tiny little pieces of information like that to a mental database and eventually write something that describes how I think and how I feel about the way all decisions and policies should be made, as well as how effective argumentation should be conducted and how values and beliefs should weigh in against the social state... and so on and so forth. Stuff I have absolutely no formal training in except nearly twenty-one years of living (so far, anyway). Stuff that people way smarter than I have spent centuries trying to figure out already. But nevertheless, stuff I feel is important and could use a Gerfish twist.

Okay, Gerf, stop wasting time. You've got a grammar quiz tomorrow, a Kanji quiz Friday, and a Kyoto trip on Saturday. GET TO WORK! Not later, now! *whip-cracking sound*
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Of preparing for Kyoto

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/12/2005 8:43:17 AM
I don't know what's happening to time. It's just flying away. As has been my money lately, too... I've been buying more things to eat. It's funny... when I don't eat much, I'm not hungry very often. But when I start eating more, I just get hungrier faster. I think that's one of the reasons sometimes I don't like eating much: I know that when I start, I'm just going to keep on going! Blah!

That's my American side talking there. It's saying, "I'M READY TO GO HOME."

But HA HA, the joke's on you, pal, because I'm going to Kyoto in a day and a half, and a few weeks after that I'll be going to Nagano with the Japan Study folks again. Mwahah! I found a really good site online (which just happened to be exactly the one Becca recommended to me) that suggests some good day trips through Kyoto. I really should be staying there for two days, but partly because I'm not a huge fan of traveling and partially because I have two midterm exams next week as well as Japanese interviews I need to do, one day is all it's going to be. Today's link is to the page I've been checking out; I'm thinking of hitting up the Northern Kyoto full-day trip, all on foot. I'll probably have a little more info on exactly what I'm going to tomorrow... though "exactly" is a kind of silly word because I'm going to be winging 90% of this thing. ;)

But hey, that's the way it should be, I say. And if I get lost... well, I can actually ask for directions back to the station, and dang it I could even make some friends in the process if I really wanted to. *has to laugh* I like this being able to speak Japanese things. Sometimes I have a really hard time finding the right words, but other times I just go and it sounds pretty decent, I think. Unfortunately, usually the times I stumble are when I'm in class or I'm talking with my host family... when talking with people I don't see every day, I can just go. It's almost like I'm better talking with strangers or something, but perhaps that's because a lot of times the conversations are pretty much the same: where I come from, what I'm doing here, that kind of stuff. But then, they're all different. Today I talked with a Japanese girl about video games, and a few weeks ago I talked with some woman about photography. I don't know why my brain decides it's going to let me speak adequately some times and not at other times... but, okay, whatever. If that's what it wants to do, I'll just smash it with some sake until it shuts up.

*laughs* Now that's DEFINITELY my American side showing... more specifically, my Homer Simpson side. And, actually, my Homer Simpson side is rather small, and I'd never purposely smash my brain with alcohol unless there was a really, really good reason. What kind of reason is that? *shrugs* Don't know yet. Hopefully I won't have to find out, either. I'm more useful to people when my brain is actually working, so shutting it down with something other than sleep would be ridiculously dumb on my part.

Mama was in an especially talkative mood today during dinner, which was pretty nice. We were watching a show about how some folks transformed a normal Japanese house in the city into a "country living"-style home, and it was pretty cool. We've been spending a lot more time together, mostly in the kitchen and dining room over a meal and such, and Saki-chan, while she still occasionally bursts into my room and spontaneously climbs all over me for no real reason at all, all but considers me to be a big brother. Papa and I kind of have more of a "businessman" kind of relation it seems (though at first it was much more personal, since he pretty much did everything with me when I first got here), and while Natsuko and Soichiro still don't talk too much, Natsuko and I do chat briefly every now and then, often when she comes into my room so she can get some Snoopy trinkets from the big cabinet I have here. Sometimes I feel really out of the family, and other times I feel totally in it. And I think that's a good thing... it's good that I can feel both of these kinds of in/exclusion and still function pretty much the same way (though when I feel "out" for an extended period of time it can get really, really lonely). I'm getting to the point in my life where I'm going to need to start being on my own more often, and being able to move in and out of "interim families" is going to be a very important skill to have. If I hadn't come to Japan like this, I probably would have broken into a thousand pieces pretty quickly if I had to go live somewhere on my own. But now, I don't have to wonder if I could do it. I know I could. Yeah, Mama wouldn't be there to make my meals and do my laundry, but I could manage. *has to laugh*

The Yoshitakas are great folks. Just thought I'd say that, just in case they ever read my journal.

But yeah, anyway, I'm tired and I need to study some kanji. And I want to just take it easy and do my own stuff. I don't care if I'm in Japan or America or Africa... I just want to get these dang personal projects DONE somehow and then allow myself to start fresh with nothing in particular to do. So many college students complain about having nothing to do... y'all had better be glad you don't have too MUCH to do. ;) 0 replies

Of going off to Kyoto

Location: Yoshitaka residence - dining room 5/13/2005 8:00:07 AM

Ahem. Anyway, today I had a nice kanji class, came home, slept, muggled around for a few hours, and before I knew it it was 5:00. Time = prone to vanish without a trace these days. Wah. o_O;

I spent a little while checking out maps of Kyoto and such, and it looks like I'll be doing quite a bit of walking tomorrow. Like, a LOT. *laughs* I'd probably be okay, but if I could rent a bike somewhere that would be really useful. In any case, I think I'll be ready. Gonna leave the house at about 7:00 and catch the Shinkansen... uh, whenever it comes to Tokyo station. And... well, we'll see what happens from there, I suppose. Like I said before, I'm going to be winging this to almost the highest level of wingage, so therefore I'll likely have no idea what I'm doing and thus will have fun. And if I get tired... well, I can just go crash somewhere and nobody will be prodding me along but me. And Father Time. That old fogey. *laughs*

Being the geek that I am, I'm looking forward to getting back home, reformatting Tiamat, and getting her up and running with my new tastes in software and with a new kind of organization that will let her work well with Apsu. I'm such a loser. ^__^

Well, chances are you won't be seeing me tomorrow, unless I can snag some Internet somewhere. I doubt it, though. So you'll have to put up with no updates for one day, and then put up with a dual update the next day. That and a lot of pictures!

*sings* I'm off to Kyoto...
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Of my Kyoto day-trip

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/15/2005 3:59:13 AM
--> 8:45 - Shinkansen bound for Kyoto
For a few moments, I thought I had totally slept in an hour. Yesterday I had overslept 30 minutes (meaning I got up at 6:45 instead of 6:15, which was still an hour before I had to leave!), and this morning I looked at my alarm clock after turning the noise off and saw it read "7:00." WHAT!? But since it's a world-time clock, my mashing a random button actually caused it to switch to some time zone that was one hour ahead. In other words, I got up at the right time. ;)

I decided to print out a map that I had found online which should allow me to pretty much go wherever, time (and feet) permitting. We were out of milk, so I had some dry cereal and peanut cream bread... and OJ, of course. Then at 7:00 (sharp!) I headed off to the station, and now I'm riding the Shinkansen to Kyoto! I was a little confuzzled about which line I was supposed to go on and had to ask, since none of them said "Kyoto." However, if I would have just read the signs I could have figured out that "Shin-Osaka" was the one I wanted to go on, since Kyoto's right on the way. Duh. *laughs*

While the non-reserved section that I'm in doesn't seem as classy as the reserved ones, it's still pretty nice. It's like flying on an airplane, except you're flying across the ground. I'm in seat 3A (the window seat) of car #2 (a non-smoking one; I originally got in car 3 but it was full of smoke so I got the heck out of there pretty quickly!). We seem to be going at a pretty decent clip; I don't know exactly how fast we're going, of course, but I have a feeling we could speed up some when we get out of the city. Though, looking out the window, we ARE out of the city... at this very moment we're in a tunnel going through some mountains!

And yes, I sang the Off to Kyoto song. I don't know all the words, but that's okay. AND WHOA, we just passed an ocean. Or lake... or something. Came out of the tunnel, caught a glimpse of the water, and then went right back in. And ooo, there's a shrine over on that mountain over there. And houses, too. Eeee, this is neat. When I get a house, it's SO not going to be in the city. Random, I know, but then I'm random, too.

--> 15:24 - On a bench in some Kyoto park, surrounded by bugs
Okay, I think I'm going to take a little break. I've been walking all day so far, and my dogs are getting a little tired. Whoo.

Kyoto station is gigantic. *has to laugh* I could have spent a good hour or two just exploring that place, but I was in such a hurry to get on my self-planned trip around all of Kyoto that I got out of there within about ten minutes. I headed to the east and hit up Sanjuusangendou temple first, which I immediately recognized because that's where Big Bird and Barkley went! *laughs* It's the place with 1001 statues of Kannon and the guardian gods. I couldn't take any pictures in there because there were "No pictures" signs (though some bum tourists were still taking photos). Really, really cool... lots of gold and LOTS of arms (each statue has a bunch of arms, and the really big one in the middle has 26 pairs... wow). It was really cool.

I decided I'd head out toward Ginkakuji, which is up in the eastern mountains, but realized I was going the wrong way and turned around. After 20 minutes of walking that way, I realized that my FIRST path was actually right and had to go all the way back. That's when I started thinking maybe I wouldn't make it everywhere after all. If I knew exactly where I was going, maybe I could have done it. But since I decided not to get any real map other than a kind of vague one from the Internet, I quickly realized I didn't know exactly where I was going. It was frustrating at first, but I've gotten used to it. As I stand (or sit, I guess) right now, I'm just going to walk around and when I run into a cool-looking place, I'm going to run into it. If it happens to be a famous spot, all the better. ^__^

Eventually I made through a gigantic graveyard (what do they call them here?) to the Kiyomizudera temple, a really large and very nice group of temples and heavily wooded paths. There were quite a few absolutely fabulous paths there, many of which I got to walk on. I can't quite remember the names to everything I visited (since I don't really have any English guides with me), but maybe I'll be able to identify the pictures later. ;)

I ate lunch at a noodle place in the temple (600 yen for some zarusoba and water... whoo, talk about expensive); the lady there wasn't sure if I had ever had zarusoba before, though she seemed to believe me that I actually did when I told her I had been here since September. There were three girls sitting at the table next to me who were all like, "Wooooaaa" (as Japanese are wont to do). The lady drew an imaginary map on the table and asked them if they knew where Ohio was (after I told them I was from Ohio, of course); they kind of pointed to New Mexico and Kansas, and laughed when I pointed to where it really was. Afterwards I did some omiyage shopping, then wandered semi-aimlessly around. I've hit up quite a few temples and gardens, but I don't really know what they're called because I'm totally winging it. And these dang bugs here are going to be the death of me if I don't get out of here... which I think I shall right now.

--> 18:09 - A bus stop on Higashioji Avenue
Whew... yeah, I'm done. I decided to crash here for a while and just chill. I know there are still three hours before I need to be at the station to catch my bus (3 hours and 20 minutes if you're really counting), but I just can't continue. Well, I could, but I'm not going to. As I mentioned in a previous journal entry, my max time for "doing stuff" usually tops out at about two to four hours. After arriving at Kyoto, I've been going practically nonstop for over seven hours. I'm surprised I didn't stop sooner!

Let's see... since the last sub-entry, I explored that area again and hit up the Chion-in Temple, the Shoren-in Temple, and even made it all the way up to the Heian Shrine. I stopped at a few other ones that weren't listed on my map, too (like Shinrakuji). I know this is going to sound shallow and lame, but after seeing so many temples and not being able to read much of the stuff there (since it's almost always written purely in Japanese using all the kanji I just happen to not know), they all kind of start to look the same. Or feel the same. Yeah, that's it, because I sure as heck haven't seen such colorful temples and shrines before coming to Kyoto, but as far as my foreigner brain is concerned, that's pretty much the only difference. I'm not saying I don't appreciate them... but seeing so many of them all at once just doesn't work for me. *has to laugh* I'm actually kind of glad I stopped a little early, because not only would my feet and legs probably have betrayed me had I gone much longer, but mentally it wouldn't be worth the effort. It's a psychological example of the Law of Diminishing Returns, I tell you. We talk about that all the time in Economic Development class.

I know I'm not home yet, but as far as exploring goes I'm pretty much done. And therefore I can say that this trip was worth it. It may not have been worth it had I been someone else, but I'm not someone else. No, I didn't get to see all the big sites and sights, but I'm often not too interested in that anyway. It's like how I've been living my life in Tokyo: there are a million and one things I haven't done that most foreigners do when they come to Japan, but I'm not most people, either. Some people probably understand what I mean, and some people probably think I'm absolutely nuts. I think I'm me... I can't really be anyone else.

The next entry probably won't be until I'm either on the bus home or I've gotten home. So, until then, 黄色い線の内側までお待ちください。

--> 16:34 - Yoshitaka residence: my room
Back home. Safe, but tired. Actually, I got home at about 10:00 or so, but I slept and muggled around until now, and I'm going to do some more sleeping pretty soon. But before that...

I picked up a dinner at a nearby Mini Stop and then met a guy named Roory at the bus station who happened to be going to Tokyo as well. He's been going to all sorts of different countries lately, and was slated to leave Japan the next day (as in, today). Good guy; it was nice to actually talk to someone after being essentially alone for the whole day. The bus was a double-decker and looked cool from the outside, but the actual ride itself was... well, I think this will be the first time I use "awful" to describe something done for me. Not only was it kind of cramped, but the seats were NOT conducive to sleeping whatsoever, and the bus driver was either torturing us or just decided not to turn on the fans much at all: it was so hot up there the windows were literally dripping with condensation. Roory told me this morning that the lower level was freezing cold, which by my standards probably would have made it a very nice temperature for me. But yeah... I was so hot and muggy-sweaty up there, and the air was so stale I thought I was going to start hyperventilating or something. That and my seat seemed to be the only one that creaked when the bus bounced around a bit. Yeah... bad experience there. Got two, MAYBE three hours of sleep, which is certainly not what I wanted after having walked for so long nonstop.

We arrived at Tokyo station at 5:00... and boy, I was really glad to be home, even if home home was still two hours away (and home home home was on the other side of the world). I was going to go to Shibuya to look for a skateboard thing for my brother, and it turns out Roory wanted to see the Meiji-jingu shrine there, so we went together. At 6:30 we ate breakfast at a McDonald's (I had some pancakes... and they were actually really good), and thought about how we could figure out when the sumo tournaments going on back near Tokyo started, since he wanted to see them before he flew home. We ended up asking a police officer on the street, who didn't know but was kind enough to call someone and get the number of the place so we could call and ask ourselves. While the officer was making a call, some guy came over and asked what was up, both in English and Japanese. He happened to have a paper and found what time they started, then wanted to go eat some noodles with us and talk English and stuff. *laughs* We had just eaten so we weren't about to eat again, but I gave the guy one of my e-mail addresses so he could send me some English e-mails if he wanted to sometime. Roory doesn't speak Japanese, so he had to kind of stand around while I talked with the officer and the Japanese guy... poor dude. *laughs* If you ever read this, Roory, I wish you the best of luck!

After that, we walked out to the Meiji-jingu shrine and checked that out (making it my third time there). At 7:00 in the morning, it's really nice and cool and quiet, and the monks are all out sweeping the rocks and arranging stuff. I didn't see a wedding procession this time, but I did see a little bit of some sort of ritual the monks were doing, so I suppose that'll count. Dropped Roory off at the station after that and then looked for the Skateboard thing for a while, but after sweeping through all the spots in Shibuya I knew of and not finding anything, I decided I'd head back. There's another skateboard thing in Shinjuku next week, so maybe if my brother can find out what time that starts I can head there.

Random: I found a dime at Kyoto station when I was coming out of a Lawson's. Whoo.

My feet were so dang sore when I got home... though as it turns out, most of the pain was just coming from one of my toes (the same one on each foot) that had gotten kind of smooshed under the others and was subsequently stepped on a few tens of thousands of times repeatedly. It's still pretty sore now, but by Tuesday when I have to get going to school again hopefully it'll have gotten better.

So, in summary, my Kyoto trip was pretty good. Going there by Shinkansen and seeing the Sanjuusangendou temple were probably the best parts, and the trip back was definitely the worst. Finding Roory and showing him around was also a lot of fun; it was a great way to kind of wind down (by doing more walking, no less) and just kind of chill. I'm glad I went, but I'm glad to be home, too. Like I've said many times, I'm not a big fan of going places for long periods of time, and my Kyoto trip definitely maxed that out. But hey... I got to ride the Shinkansen and sing the song, and I got to see one of the most important cities in Japan.

And now I have two midterms I have to somehow prepare for. Blah. That and I have an interview project for Japanese that I need to start doing. Fun. I have no idea what I'm going to do in terms of studying quite yet, though. I think I'm just going to deem the rest of today as a "recouperation period" and ban all studying except for MAYBE some Japanese vocabulary, and do all my Micro reviewing tomorrow and then my Devel reviewing on Wednesday. Not really looking forward to either of those... but at least it'll be a major mental load off when I get them out of the way.

Okay, time for a nap. Enjoy the pictures!
Photos: Kyoto 1 reply

I'm glad you went
Posted by: badcheeso 5/16/2005 7:10:39 AM

That's a lot of neat pictures. I bet there's a story for everyone and I know they don't show the whole picture of what you saw and experienced.

A real american dime?

A person needs to step out of the ordinary and try something new. That's what makes living wonderful. Newness and sameness together. You have the sameness wrapped around you like a protective cloak or "blankie" and with that deeling you have the power to step out and experience the "newness" of the world around you.

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Of a day of "studying"

Location: Yoshitaka residence - my room 5/16/2005 8:38:10 AM
Today I was so busy doing stuff on the computer that I totally didn't eat lunch, aside from a power bar Mom had sent over. Mama said I could eat early since I didn't have a lunch and I said I was fine, but she insisted on it so I did. *laughs* She's so sweet. ^__^

Turns out my glasses weren't TOTALLY unscathed after being stolen by Saki-can back then... there's a scratch right in the center of the left lens which I can see sometimes when I take my glasses off, but it doesn't bother my vision at all. I'm probably due for some new lenses when I get back, anyway, so it's no real loss. ;)

Got two midterms this week, neither of which I really want to do much studying for. Not because I don't think I need any, but because I just don't enjoy studying in general. While I call what I do "studying" (Mama commented how I spent all day studying today, like I often do ;) ), it's studying of a different variety. Actual studying for tests... I can't do those well. I mean, I either know the material or I don't, and I can't suddenly learn what I don't understand by studying. I just don't work that way. *shrugs* Hasn't caused me any problems yet, though, so I suppose it's not all that bad. *has to laugh*

If you missed the Kyoto pictures from yesterday, check my last entry to see them. Lots of pictures!
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