The Japan trip is coming to an end, and by Monday I’ll be back in America. It’s been a lot of fun, but I haven’t been able to get to a computer for blogging/pictures in a while as you can see. There will be many many pictures up when I get back to America. Anyways, here’s the hard copy for you:
June 17th- 新幹線の日
Not a very big day today. I haven’t written in the last 3 days because at my Yokohama family I was able to use a nice computer. I wrote it all down online. Today, we left our Yokohama host family – which I really liked. Everyone seemed to say that Yokohama homestay is best. Maybe it’s because there are kids that are the same age as us. My host family gave me gifts before I left: 2 manga (Tsubasa 6 and 7 in Japanese), a notebook, a T-Shirt (which actually sorta fits), Osenbe, and some other snacks called topo. Very tasty. Oh and Yuiko-chan gave me an english-japanese study book :)
They were all so friendly, it was hard to leave. They told me if I came to Japan again to stay with them. We took pictures and went to the station. In the car we played shiritori. Then, we rode the shinkansen for the first time. on the way, we saw one fly by us and it was going so fast, it was a blur. ‘Was that the train?’ On the inside it was very comfortable. In 8 years, there has never been nice weather on this day. But the weather was perfect today. We could have seen Mt. Fuji but people on the right side of the train all had their blinds down… Everyone was pretty disappointed however, I saw part of Mt. Fuji from he top of Yokohama yesterday. When we got off the train, we met our Oosaka host family. Mine doesn’t speak any english. Interesting. On the way home we stopped to rent videos. I didn’t know what to get so I just picked random ones. We got home and I took a quick shower and then bar-b-qued for supper. It was very good. They kept offering me beer, and I kept explaining to them that in America, the drinking age is 21. 「アメリカで二一才からのられる」 ・・・ 「そうですよ。 でも、日本で十八才から」. After super, I gave them their gifts and we ate ice cream while looking at my pictures. Tomorrow I have to get to Oosaka castle by myself… My host family tried to explain, but I don’t know…the train system here is kind of complicated to me. Sensei calls it an exercise in Japanese. We each have to find the castle ourselves tomorrow. Oi…Anyways, おやすみなさいー
Today was an amazing day. First, I had to get to Oosaka Jyo Koen station by myself. What an adventure. Tomorrow I have to get to Kyoto by myself. It takes about 40 minutes if you do it right. It’s rush hour when we use the stations so it was extra hard. But, I made it in one piece as usual. From the station we went to Oosaka Castle, a very old castle with a museum inside. It was very, very cool. Photography is strictly prohibited so I had to get pictures of everything. From the castle we went to a nearby mall for lunch and some shopping. Bryan bought a DS and he was very happy. He got the blue one, a color you can’t get in America. The mall was half outside so the rain became annoying. From teh mall we took trains and a bus to get to nara temple, and the daibutsu. Wow. First, deer everywhere. Deer are the only animals that can hear God’s voice, which is supposedly why they gather around the temple. We got to pet and feed them, and then went inside the HUGE temple. Pictures really don’t do it justice. The buddha inside is also very, very big. It was very impressive. It’s moments like this that remind me I’m in Japan. I got a few omomori at the temple, one for safe driving and a clear cellphone string. Which reminds me, I bought a really cool hanko in Shibuya. I also bought Veronica an 愛 wrist band at the temple. After the temple, it was time to return home. Alone of course. When I got home they took me out to eat at a Yakitori restaurant. It was very good and cool. Then, when we got back we watched some Japanese comedy that we rented yesterday. At first, I was worried because it didn’t have subtitles. But, suprisingly, it was easy to understand. It was a lot like Saturday Night Live only not as funny. Japanese people have a very simple sense of humor. The simplest things amuse them. Also, it was very repetitive. Anyways, I’m very tired… and tomorrow is Kyoto. Wow…Kyoto.
June 19th – 京都
Last night after some 花火 with my host family’s daughter (which was pretty fun), I went to bed. My alarm clock is so quiet it doesn’t wake me up. I don’t hear it at all. I wake up and it’s already done beeping, and breakfast is ready. Today I had to go to Kyoto by myself . It was actually pretty easy. It was just one train for 40 minutes, and I didn’t get on any wrong ones. I was, however, an hour and 30 minutes early. I sat in the lobby and played Bomberman for a while while I waited for people to show up. After people got there, we went to a temple to meditate…for 10 dollars. We even got smacked with the ‘encouragement stick’. I’m pretty sure I reached Nirvana…or whatever the goal was of that. Bryan also ascended. We took lots of pictures and it was ‘very’ fun. After meditation, we traveled to the Kyomizudera. Also known as the ‘Million-Step Temple’ (Not really, but seriously, this place has a lot of steps) The temple itself was very pretty. Probably the prettiest thign I7ve seen in Japan so far. We went to the 愛の石 behind the temple and tried to walk from one stone to the next to see if we would find true love in our lives. I almost made it across. I think only Mike, Sarah, and Emily made it. I was very close though. After that, I bought a KATANA in JAPAN. After that, everyone else copied me and bought a sword as well. But, I was the only one to get the neatest model. And one that actually fits in a suitcase… It was only ￥5,500 which is about 50 dollars. Very nice for a sword. We went to the Kyoto hotel after that. Me and Bryan have a room together. Then, we got freetime in Kyoto nightlife. Our experience was kind of boring actually, we just walked around…a lot. Now, we’re back in the room. Tomorrow, we have a full day in Kyoto free. I think we’re giong to go see a movie. And then, do some shopping.
I’m on the Shinkansen. You know, the bullet-train. Quite amazing. It’s about 7:30pm and everyone is playing DS. I got Jump Ultimate Stars, a fighting game, and my sunglases. Other than being in Japan, the day wasn’t all that exciting. We had a free day and we mostly just wandered around Kyoto and wondered what to do. The cool stores were lacking, we only found one really good one – it was an electronics superstore. They had a super PC available for ￥194,000. I could have spent a full day there, really. I did want to go see a movie, but no one else wanted to. Apparently they didn’t see the joy in going to a Japanese movie theatre. Instead, we went to the Golden Temple which was actually pretty cool. But, Bryan’s camera broke there. We were all very sad. So was he. :(
I also saw some really nice wallets, but too expensive. Now we’re on our way to Hiroshima. Tomorrow, we’re going to Hiroshima peace park
Today was a very long day…much like the other days on this trip. First we went to Hiroshima peace park. It was amazing yet very very sad. This I had anticipated, but I was really looking forward to it. After the park and eating we went ot Samurai Island by ferry. That was also very cool, and the weather has been quite agreeable. I’m learning a lot of Japanese, too :)
After the island, we went back to an Okonomiyaki shop (Hiroshima style pizza) for a while. We found an amusing book after that called 「How to Sex」 which was pretty graphic and apparently explained…how to sex. We got back to the Hostel after an endless day – and tomorrow we get to wake up at 6 – yay! Pack up and ride the Shinkansen all the way back to Tokyo (5 hours…) And then, after all that, stay in a capsule hotel. Woo!
June 22nd – From the Capsule Hotel in Tokyo—-
Very tired again so I won’t write very much. But, I’ll briefly cover the day. After a 5 hour shinkansen ride, we arrived back at Tokyo, where the trip began. We went to Akihabara, or electrical town. It’s just as amazing as it sounds. The urge to buy everything cool you see is a harsh demon to defeat. I made it through with only 2 small purchases, though. After Akihabara, we had dinner and everyone went to Karaoke. That was amusing. It was a lot cheaper than I thought it would be, and most of the food was free with the room! Crazy. It was about 4 dollars per person. It was a fun day/night – tomorrow is American Street.
That’s all for the hard copy journal. Now, for today:
June 23rd, Today
The capsule hotel was actually pretty comfortable. Not too bad. We all woke up at 8 and packed up to leave. Turns out Slowinski sensei was in the area so we met up with her for breakfast at Mister Donut! Small world. After breakfast, we went to cooking street, or something like that. And after some time there, we went to the huge lantern in Tokyo – very famous place, and very crowded. We saw a Hard Rock Cafe (Tokyo) and I bought a shot glass, because it was the cheapest item with Tokyo written on it. After that, we went to American street which I actually really liked. I bought a new wallet there. After all that shopping we met up with our Showa host family again. Mine was very excited to see me again. They took me shopping a bit at the 100 yen store, and the dad took me to a shop to transfer my SD cards into CD. Tomorrow we are going to a movie and looking around a for a good japanese style photo album for all of my trip pictures (free day with host family/last day in Japan). When the dad saw my katana he got all excited and started showing me all of his weapons. He showed me his real katana which was verrry expensive. He got it in an antique shop. He showed me his rifle and then his son’s glock. He said it took a long time to get permits for all of them. 「グロックをしている？」 We had supper and I took a shower and went to bed. Tomorrow is my last day here!