Samantha in Japan

Long-awaited Picture Post

Posted on: January 30, 2009

Uh, long story short, my laptop suddenly can get on the internet in my room. So I now, temporarily, at least, have the ability to post pictures. Scratch that. My whiny roommate kicked me out of the room to the computer lab because she couldn’t sleep~~ And I was being conscientious about typing softly. Maybe I’m an ass by reiterating the fact that you’ve slept in all week, maybe the reason you can’t sleep is because your body doesn’t need it. Well, then, so be it.

Luckily, I devised away to get the pictures from my laptop on these old-as-dirt computers.

But before I get into that, let me brief you all on my biggest frustration at the moment. I’m currently in a dorm, which has been established, obviously, but anyway, it’s one out of three traditional “dorms” here. The fourth living option they have is a building with apartments. The other option is to live with a Japanese family in a homestay. Given my past positive experience with living with a host family,  I picked the homestay option.

All the students who picked that option had a meeting today (looooong, rules-of-the-house type of thing), and afterward, a list of when we move in with our families (we were told either Saturday or Sunday) was posted up. So once the meeting finished, the rush began to the list. As I was standing around, I saw a big, bold “Feb. 5” beside one of the names, and some people mumbling in confusion about that.

“February 5th?” I thought. “Ugh, that poor soul. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Saturday, and they have to wait until next week!”

As the people in front of me started filtering away, complaining about getting Sunday assigned as their meeting date, I shuffled up, and my jaw nearly hit the floor. That one poor, unlucky soul who has to wait until next week… was me. Fantastic.

I saw no meeting time mentioned on the list, so I marched over to the main desk for an explanation, and I got taken back up to the meeting room to meet with, well, it must be whoever’s in charge of this program. At least she was expecting me. She told me that my family is vacationing in India right now and will be back Wednesday, and that I’d have to stay in the dorms until Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

Ugggggh.

But that’s not even the best part!

She then told me that I had to move out of my current dorm room, and dormitory altogether, move over to another room with a new roommate for… four days, and then have to move out when my family meets with me later in the week.

I’m really starting to feel like a vagrant now. At the beginning of this week, I was getting that same feeling when I was the last one in the room and saw the extra futon waiting, all rolled up for me, and I had to stash my stuff in empty spaces because I couldn’t unpack.

Now I have to pack up, move, and repeat the process. Head, meet desk. I hate not being able to settle in yet. Right now, my stuff is a mess. Just semi-exploded suitcases sitting around with bags and containers and wires sprawled out all over the place that I have to rummage through all the time. I only have a tiny corner to myself, but stuff always gets lost in there. I’m not quite sure how, but every day, I lose something in that mess and it takes forever to find.

I can be a very pleasant roommate when I at least have a place to put my stuff. But in the meantime, I can be very loud and terribly inconvenient for my other roommates. But you know what? I’m feeling rather unapologetic today, so here’s me not giving a shit.

So that’s what I get to do tomorrow– move out to another temporary “home.”

But anyway, let’s get to the pictures before I get too moody.

These first two were taken during my layover in the airport in South Korea. Hence the Korean flag-like symbols on the planes. Korea was very… very different. Very quiet. The information booth people were nice, though. And it was just weird to realize you’re this close to one of the most baffling countries on Earth. No, not Japan. North Korea. I’ve always been fascinated with just… the whole darkly bizarre nature of the country.

This next one is of the Kansai Airport. Nothing too special there, just a cute little sign I took a picture of while I was waiting around.

This one’s just another view of the Kansai Airport.

 

This next one… I don’t care what people might tell you, or what your feelings might be about the packaging… DO NOT DRINK THIS. This was my first crazy-ass Japanese beverage, and it was a, very literally, sour note to start off with. It looks cute and inoffensive. You know, it’s just lemon, right? WRONG. It tastes like… fifthy thousand lemons of DEATH soaring at your tongue and whipping your tastebuds with putrid acid. Since I like lemon-flavored things, I’m willing to give another lemon beverage a try here, but I will not go near this stuff ever again. Here’s hoping C.C. Lemon is better.

After waiting at the airport, I got deposited into my first temporary room, so here’s a few different views of that.

Before I got the bulk of my stuff into my little corner:

This was the sight I cringed at upon walking through the doorway. See those rolled up mats? Yep, that’s good old futon number three in the double room, just waiting for me.

The shoji screens are cool, at least. Also note the window in the background. There’s just this big, massive pattern over it. It barely serves its purpose as a window.

When I saw futon number three, I laughed, and said, “Nuh-uh.” When it was time to go to bed the first night, I dragged my futon away from the wall-to-wall futons of my roommates’ and made my own space. Sorry guys, I need my personal bubble.

No shoes allowed in Japanese rooms.

… no, seriously, they’ll come get you if you forget about that.

I spent some of today in Kyoto, which was nice, but… an absolute rush. I was only able to see one temple before I had to leave. The trip was arranged in the middle of the afternoon, and we had to get back before 10 PM. I think it’s safe to say that 90% of the time was spent on public transportation, and the other 10% was actually spent visiting the temple itself.

The entrance to the Kinkaku-ji Temple:

I’m… not sure what this was, but it was pretty. Also gave me kind of a European-meets-Asian architecture vibe. It was raining (boo), so don’t mind the umbrella in the corner.

Again, not sure exactly what this was, but it was pretty. It’s also funny to note how my flash makes it look like it’s nice and sunny, but it was raining and gray when I took this picture.

The Kinkaku-ji Temple, or the Golden Pavillion.

Another view:

Pretty little islands in the water outside the temple:

Not quite sure exactly, but seeing as there’s coins around it, I’m thinking it’s comparable to a wishing well. (Personally, I kept my coins. Public transit’s a bitch.) Sorry for the blur.

Ohmygosh! This picture has ORBS! Submit it to some ghost TV show for examination! Orbs = rain.

Waterfall along the way. Again, sorry about the blur. It was kind of a high-traffic area. Also, let me remind you all of my obscene flash. This was not a happy summer day like the picture below may make you believe. It was raining.

Not sure, but it looked cool inside.

This! Definitely what I expected to see at a temple. This is another good luck thing (oh, while I remember this– they were seeling Hello Kitty good luck… prayer things at the souvenir shop, lulz)– you go up, I think you put coins somewhere, shake this huge rope leading up to a bell, clap your hands together, and make a wish. It was cute.

And now for the funny/miscellaneous stuff. Mainly Engrish. First, we have Asty Road. Did the ‘N’ fall off? I’m not saying it was nasty. It was very clean, in fact. I just had a laugh at this… very random use of English in the Kyoto Station.

While we were looking for a place to eat, I saw this advertised– “Mano’s Cafe. We offer intelligence, excitement, and infinite dream.” Well damn, why haven’t I been eating there all my life?

And finally, my personal favorite, a candy bar with an unfortunate name.

Mmm, let’s get some Crunky!

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2 Responses to "Long-awaited Picture Post"

Awesome pictures. Wish I was there. Noticed the Kit Kat bars in the photo. I had them in New Zealand-they are sooo good!! Have fun!! Miss you.

Sam – the temple looked awesome and your thoughts are hysterical! I can’t believe that you are finally there!! Keep the laughs and sites coming. I’ll have to agree with Paula, Kit Kat’s outside the US are AWESOME. BTW – no one is ever going to believe that you are there if there’s not a picture of you in it (besides feet). Figure out how to use the timer on your camera!

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  • Isa: No, there can't be two ninja dogs in Kyoto. But in April it was in Arashiyama! http://westwards.typepad.com/westwards/2009/05/fashionable-pets.html
  • Paula: Hey: I'm so glad you are swine flu-free. A little over-kill, don't you think? Anyway, I'm so glad you are enjoying your last few days there. Live it u
  • Paula: There's no place like home, there's no place like home!!! Can't wait to see you...we are counting the days.

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