Well, the semester is over for me, and I’m currently writing this entry from the dwellings of my new home in the USA. When I was off exploring and learning in Japan, my family moved into a new house. It’s been an adjustment when I can’t find anything of mine to take back my apartment at USF next spring, but it’s worth missing moving all of that stuff. Everything seems to be settling down now however. This is going to be my last blog post for you guys this year. I hope that you’ve all had fun tagging alongside me in my journey as I discovered new adventures in Japan. I would have stayed another semester at Kansai, but the credits for me are limited (especially with the excess credit law in Florida, but that’s another story).
Before I was forced to sit down to complete two Japanese finals, write two papers, and finish up another lecture class, I was able to get two of my friends (see the trend here, two, I don’t know why that is) to accompany me to climb up Mt. Atago, only a 924 meter mountain in Kyoto, the highest in the city. It took about 2.5 hours to climb up and about 1 to come down. To get here, we took the trains to Hankyu Arashiyama Station, and then took the Kyoto Bus to Kiyotoki, where the mountain trek begins. There’s a shrine on top of the mountain which dates back hundreds of years. I bought a nice little boar omamori for my brother, since he was born in the year of the boar/pig.
Mt. Atago, Kyoto
Katrina and I walking towards the beginning (photo credit to Stephen Kahlow)
The view about half-way up
Another secret entrance way to the old cable car path. A girl online did the hike and said it was awesome. I didn’t have time though.
The day before I had to leave for the airport, I wanted to climb Mt. Daimonjiyama because I wanted to see the sunset over Kyoto. My friend Katrina, accompanied me because she is my unofficial climbing bud. Little did we know that the small amounts of snow that day would accumulate on the mountain to be a death trap. I fell almost 17 times on that mountain! Didn’t get one scratch though, only a bruise on my shin. I did give Katrina a heart-attack though. I wasn’t trained for this type of weather, it gets about 60 F outside, and it’s the Apocalypse in Florida. Nevertheless, it was fun for us.
After Katrina and I returned from purgatory on the mountain, we got ready for our Seminar House 1 Party. People made food from their countries, and everything was delicious! It was great spending time with everyone this semester and meeting people from so many countries. I learned so much about the world, and hopefully I shared that Americans can be cool too. I’ll miss the comrade that I shared with these people, from breakfast time, to sports festival time, to even hall talk. It was great, thanks everyone!
If future Kansai-Gaiders are reading this, say hello to the little nice black cat on the way to Makino Station for me. I named her Tomodachippoi because she was so friendly. “Tomodachi” means friend and “Ppoi” just means “something like” or along those lines. So basically, I just named her “Friend-like”. I’m pretty sure she has a home and may or may not be pregnant right now, I’m not sure. :/
Additional Information for Future Kansai-Gaidaiers
So, here’s some information for people who are probably reading this blog for their own adventures.
1. When you come to Kansai Gaidai, even if you are homestay, you have to stay in the seminar houses for orientation. The catch: they don’t let you cook or use utensils. So, people had to eat out or buy bento boxes. Be prepared. A good place I went to for food is SANKO, which is the opposite direction towards the school, walk past the park and keep going till you reach it. If your level is high enough, or someone is with you, ask to get a card. It was 200 yen, less than a buck, to sign up and I received discounts with it for buying stuff. They always ask for it, too. Also, I got a card from Lawson, but it’s tricky online and in all Japanese, have one of the RAs help you. I got points for buying stuff from them and then coupons too. Also made it easier to reserve spots online for events, like in Tokyo. 7-11 and Family Mart both have cards too.
2. You have to register your residence card that you received at the airport. Basically just take a bus from the Kansai Gaidai stop to the end, which is the station. Go out left, not towards the Karaoke places but towards the fancy looking buildings. Walk until you reach the town-hall and read the signs.
3. Get an ICOCA card. You can get it at the ticket stations at the station. You also load money on it at the station and can use it on the bus and trains, and in some stores, as a type of debit card. Saves A LOT of time, and you slow down your friends if you have to pay for tickets all the time. :/
4. The WIFI isn’t good. Especially split between all of us. They have computer labs at the CIE lounge and in the Seminar Houses, they work fine enough and you need to use them to print. I guess just go out and explore rather than sit around. I did load an anime all day and came back to the house as a treat for myself though.
5. Hyperdia. It’s a cool website to show you how to get to a certain station. You input your station and then the final one and it gives you detailed instructions. DON’T TRUST GOOGLE MAPS.
6. Don’t be afraid to have your own adventures. If people want to do something you don’t want to do, check out, do your own thing. Often, I put together trips of my own and invited people to go hiking. But sometimes, people couldn’t go, so I just went by myself.
7. If you have any questions Bulls, or just curious about something, I’ll be around campus, feel free to stop me and be like “Hey, Japan-Girl, right?”. I’ll be happy to help.
Thanks so much for reading my blog guys. ありがとうみな！Happy New Year! (I would say 新年おめでとうございます but you can’t actually use this phrase until the next year has begun)