Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Kyoto and 2009!

I know I already said it but, Happy New Years! 2009 WOOT WOOT! My first new years in a foreign country, and it was interesting.

As for resolutions.. I want to study more Japanese of course, and another one of my resolutions is a bit weird. What I plan to do it talk to more random people. For example if someone sits next to me on a train, I'm going to talk to them. I kind of wonder why people don't do it more often. If they don't want to talk they'll let me know, and you never know you may make a friend in those few minutes you talk.

Ok with that out of the way... time for a super long post, get ready for it... (Deep Breath)

I made it back from Kyoto and wow it was alot of fun. Thanks Chris for everything! I don't even know where to start about it. I don't think I can accurately write about everything so I'll link the pictures and talk alittle about it. I made three photo albums on Facebook with all most of the pictures I took, if you want to see them here are the links.

Kyoto Part 1

Kyoto Part 2


If you are lazy and don't feel like clicking on the links, throughout the post I've put some pictures.

I guess first I should talk about how I got there. I took the overnight bus and it was really cheap, only $40 or 4000円. I had to lug my stuff to Tokyo to catch it but that's ok. I think it took like 8 hours by overnight bus to make it to Kyoto. I slept a tiny bit.

I sat next to a university student and talked to him for a few hours. We talked about random stuff, all in Japanese. I showed him alot of my pictures and videos and he really liked them. I got to Kyoto at about 5am, which was earlier than planned. I got greeted with a blast of cold air and snow. There wasn't any snow on the ground but it was snowing kind of hard. I waited around the station for about an hour for Chris to get there since I got there super early.

Once we made it to Chris' place it was nice. I didn't really know what to expect but his place was nice. We took a nap under the kotatsu (this heated table with a blanket over it.. its amazing America should have them.

Anyways the first couple days we just relaxed and didn't do to much. I got to meet Ranbo Chris' roommate, he's a nice guy. One day we made mochi. It's really simple, its just rice that you smash into a paste. Its kind of like a rice cake, but I don't really know what to compare it to, the texture is soft and chewy. You can wrap the mochi around whatever, but we used Anko (Sweet beans) and strawberries. That was a fun experience.

Ranbo Making Mochi

Chris making Mochi
One of the days Chris and I went on an expedition and checked out some sites that Chris hadn't seen yet, even though he lived there. That was fun, and I took lots of pics, here are some of my favs:
That's alot of Graves
Found a Ninja Dog
Kiyomizudera, my 2nd visit
A shot of Kyoto from Kiyomizudera

Alot of people came to visit for new years and meeting them all was great. On new years we relaxed in the house and made some Nabe (Japanese Winter dish, with a fish/meat based broth and vegetables). Around midnight we went to a temple and rang the bell there.

Monks chanting It was nice, but very quiet. I'm so used to being loud and celebrating at midnight with a countdown. Later that night we went to Daimonji and it was amazing. The view was beautiful. Unforunately my camera didn't do it justice, as you can see. It's like 10,000 diamonds.
From Daimonji at 4am, overlooking Kyoto. I told Chris the flash would hurt and to close his eyes, but I guess he didn't listen haha.

Chris and I also decided to take a trip to Kobe and check i tout. I thought it was a really beautiful city, even though we didn't get to see and of the "Major Attractions".
I came back on the 5th, on the way back I took the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) which was so much faster but about twice as expensive. It only took about 4 hours though haha vs 8. On the Train I talked to some woman who was 26, I like practicing my Japanese so I just did a self introduction and told her where I was coming from and stuff. It was a nice conversation.

Once I got back, Graham picked me up from Sano station and gave me a ride back to my house. Thank Graham!

I rescheduled a package that I got on Xmas day to yesterday and I opened it. Inside I found awesome stuff from my Grandparents. Alot of food (because that's what I asked for haha) and an iPod. I told my family not to get me stuff, besides food, because they helped me so much getting here I feel bad. Anyways I'm really greatful to have such an awesome family. Today I bought a case for it and I'll start using it real soon.

My grandparents bought me a iPod Nano.. are they nuts or what?

I'm thinking about buying a PS3 or Wii, but I'm not sure which and I need to research alot. It'll be a tough decision and any input is welcomed. I also consider buying a DS Lite for the Kanji Dictionary game, Chris has it and it comes in handy everyday.

Tomorrow I have training in Ujjie with work from 10am-4pm. I wonder how it'll go, I don't think I need anymore training, I've been doing my job for 4 months now, and I got the hang of it pretty well lol.

How is everyone else? New years resolutions? Life? If you haven't talked to me in a while contact me! (^-^)

1 comment:

リナ said...

Sounds like an awesome trip!! The mochi video was hilarious hahaha. And wow, talking to random strangers. I tried doing that at school when Japanese people came to visit... It was... awkward. Haha.
And your family is sooo sweet! Awwww~~ Anything from Luke? :P