Today, I was off to see Himeji Castle and Kokoen, but before I did that, I also stopped at Kyoto Tower since it was closed the first time I went. I’ll admit that when I learned about Himeji castle in my Japanese classes, I wasn’t overly interested in it, but I ended up deciding to go mostly because it isn’t that far from Kyoto and because it’s such a popular place. In the end, I’m super glad I went. I think it’s my favorite out of all the castles I’ve been to.
This is actually my second time in Kyoto. Despite the fact that I’ve been here already, I decided to go again simply because I didn’t get to do everything I wanted the last time I was in Kyoto. There’s just so much to do here, especially if you’re into traditional Japanese culture.
Yesterday I decided to take a break from traveling. When coming back from Sendai, I arrived at my dorm around 6:00am. Since I didn’t get very much sleep, I decided to push my travel plans back and take a day to simply catch up on my sleep. Now that I’m all rested up, I’m off to Nagoya.
Yesterday was my last final written exam, and I also turned in my last report, so today I started traveling. The first stop is Sendai and the areas around there. Our first stop was Yamadera. It sits way up in the mountains, and you have to climb 1,000 steps to reach it. Later we went to Matsushima which is ranked one of Japan’s three most scenic views.
This week was rather busy. Finals have started, and now that I’m feeling how truly limited my time is here, I’m trying to check off places on my list. As I mentioned in my last post, I went to the new Pokemon Center that opened in Tokyo Sky Tree. I also went to Tokyo Tower and an owl cafe.
Back at my home university in my Japanese classes, we learned about the word “chikan”, which refers to public, unwanted molestation. In general, it’s often used to refer to perverted Japanese men. I’d heard stories about Japan having problems with men that would grope women, usually while on trains. Yet, it was never anything I took seriously, because I’d also heard that these types of men usually avoided foreigners. Foreigners usually weren’t afraid to retaliate, while Japanese women, especially the girls, were less likely to speak up. Since arriving in Japan I’ve seen some women only trains, but other than that, I hadn’t thought much about it.
On Tuesday me and a few friends went to Yokohama for the day and went to Chinatown and the bay area. Then, on Saturday our dorm held a farewell party. We still have a few weeks before people start leaving, but with finals starting this coming week, they figured now would be the best time. It’s hard to believe it’s already time to say farewell.
On Saturday I went to a Noh workshop that was being held at Rikkyo. Noh is a traditional Japanese musical drama. Chances are, you’ve probably seen pictures of the masks that are often used in Noh, even if you didn’t realize what it was for. Yesterday was the 4th of July, which is Independance Day in America. Once classes were over for the day, I went out to an Izakaya (a casual drinking establishment with small food dishes and lots of alcohol) with some friends from America to celebrate my friend’s 21st birthday.
In my last post I forgot to mention that I went to Waku Waku Dome (a local swimming pool) with some friends. Then today I visited Hamarikyu Gardens and Origami Kaikan. Unfortunately though, there isn’t much to say about my adventures today.
On Saturday I went to the Ueno Zoo, which is the biggest zoo in Japan. They had all sorts of exhibits and the entrance fee was pretty cheap. Today I was supposed to go adventuring, but unfortunately there is a 100% chance of rain pretty much all day. That’s one of the joys of rainy season here in Japan. I look at my weather forecast for the week, and it’s pretty much entirely rain.
On Tuesday I decided to visit Kiyosumi Teien, which is an extremely beautiful and peaceful garden. Unfortunately though, I brought my camera but forgot my memory card in my laptop back home so I had to resort to using my phone for pictures. Then, yesterday I went to the baseball game between two of the baseball clubs in Rikkyo to watch my friends play.
On Wednesday I went with my friend down to Kamakura to see some of the famous shrines and temples in the area. Then on Saturday I went to another professional baseball game, but this one was between the Chiba Marines and the Tokyo Swallows.