What I also really enjoyed in Japan was meeting the other Japanese students. I always had a difficult time keeping in contact with exchange students I met when I was younger. But I felt a deeper connection with these students. Especially Ryoko. I met her when we went on a trip to Nagoya castle. The ESS students were leading the way, and acting as our tour guides. I learned a lot about Nagoya castle, but I also learned a lot about Japanese students. I eventually reconnected with Ryoko yesterday night. We decided to go to dinner together. I was so worried that I would be late meeting her, but I got there just in time. It was so nice to see her. We hung out for about two hours. Just talking. I think I always have the most fun when it’s me and a few other people and we just sit and talk for a while.

My other highlights on this trip would include karaoke, and going to the club. I had never been to either one before, considering karaoke is ridiculous in America and all the clubs are very far from my home, so I was at first skeptical if I would have any fun. Clubbing was unbelievably fun, dancing for hours. Of course me and Nicci always had to watch out for awkward turtles, but besides the random creepers we had so many fun times.

I have to say that regardless of some of the major suckage I have gone through on this trip, between getting lost, getting ditched in a subway station, and getting sick, I really did enjoy myself. I am surprised to say that I did end up meeting some decent people on this trip, you know who you are, who aren’t afraid to: dance very sexy, talk in ridiculous accents, donate unicorn tears and various other cool things. Those are some pretty cool people if I do say so. I’m really glad I decided to go on this trip, I had a great time. This trip has inspired me to continue my study of the Japanese language, and to plan to further my education in Japan.

The best part about this trip would have to be my two Sensei’s. they made this trip worth while. They taught us about traditional Japan, but they encouraged us to learn what it was like to live in modern Japan. They let us be who we are, and I could never imagine better teachers.

I had a lot of good times in Japan. I think the times I spent with Anna, the mikes, Senaka, and Li happened to be the highlight of this trip. Each time I felt I got to know each person a lot better, and there was so much to talk about every time we have gone out. I think my favorite night was when we went to our favorite restaurant in Kyoto. I had been feeling like crap for about 2 days at that point, but I had been graciously invited to hangout with them anyways. Most of us got eel, Karage Mike apoted for ramen, which was equally good. From there we all split up for a while checking the various awesome shops in the surrounding area. Eventually we all reconnected and went to a nearby bar. We sat there for maybe 2 hours, the minimum, and spent the whole time talking about movies and music, and other interesting topics. It was very relaxing and fun.

My other favorite night would be the night I spent with my roommate Yuki. Yuki and I had decided to make dinner together. We spent a lot of time deciding though, it had to be very Japanese. Then we shopped for food together and spent most of the night cooking and talking for hours while watching some crazy Japanese tv. It was so much fun to just have dinner in and actually enjoy ourselves.

What else did I like about Kyoto? I think one of my favorite things was when we walked through some side streets heading towards Gion shrine. It was a great walk and allowed us to go off the beaten path and get a look at another side of Kyoto. There were also some very interesting  shops selling very traditional Japanese souvenirs.

I also really enjoyed going to the Basho hut, even though I was left at the train station after telling people that I was going to the bathroom. Thankfully I had Meguro-sensei’s phone number and I called her and let her know that I was fine and that I would be waiting downstairs. Yea by the way having people’s contact info is extremely important I think, so make sure you are prepared in case people forget you XD.

Anyways Basho was really cool, we had a second opportunity to walk through the streets of the outlying towns, they were similar to suburbs, and I loved the bamboo forest especially. It was so peaceful and quiet. And no body was loud an obnoxious, until ben scared that huge dog who started barking at us.

After walking through the bamboo forest we made our way through another area, that was somewhat residential but had some interesting little shops. What was really cool was that there are little shrines all along the way, some are just small statues people have placed outside their homes that others put money in front of.

Actually that is something that I wanted to comment on. One of the things I love about japan is how trust worthy a lot of the people here are. One of the small shrines was actually a circular statue with a large hole in the middle. In this hole someone had placed what is known in Japan as a lucky cat. ( a little statue of a cat thought to give luck, I think) anyways as many people had walked by they had placed coins at the cat’s feet. What I thought was so interesting about this is that no one even thought to take any of the money. Can we talk about how people in America wouldn’t think for a second when it came to taking something that didn’t belong to them? In this case the money belongs to the gods I guess, but I know many people, if not most people in America, would have taken the money. If not the lucky cat as well. Or they probably would have smashed it.

I think the trust the Japanese expect of each other, and the respect they expect of each other influences a lot of individuals decisions. There is a concept of the group in japan that I believe is good in some ways and not so good in others. It’s good because it allows people to consider the feelings of others and to make decisions not just based on themselves, but on other people. It can also be negative, leaving people with the inability to think for themselves. But in my opinion I think that are more positive then negative aspects. In America if you think to much about what other people think then you are thought of as less then an individual, and you are seen as week. In japan it is fairly normal. But what I find interesting is that this is an underlying concept. I have actually only picked up on it directly when I noticed that no one j walks in Japan, unless other people walk with them. I actually found it a little funny.

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