Marie G Spr09

Today the four of us in the program decided to venture out and complete the third walking tour. This time we cover the Eastern and Downtown areas of Kyoto. We began by taking the bus to the Eastern side, over the river which divides Kyoto. We saw many shopping places, 100 yen stores!!!, temples, and restaurants. We even got to see a temple that I had visited with my host mom four years ago!

Later on we stopped for lunch at a restaurant with the revolving selection of sushi!!! It was alot of fun to try and decipher what was what in order to avoid unpleasant surprises ^_^ I also ended up ordering Miso soup…which for some reason arrived with oysters as well…

After lunch, we proceeded toward the local shopping district! It was AMAZING!!!! There are numerous cover streets with hundreds of stores! Unfortunately, I was unable to locate fuzzy earmuffs which are apparently all the rage here in Kyoto. I WAS able to locate an english book store, or a part of a floor, rather, and bought a book to keep my english strong! :)

Hello again!!!

On day 2, I was able to get my first real glimpse of Kyoto! and my first stop was….The Immigration Office!!!!! As I came in on a tourist visa, I needed to change to a student visa so I could stay longer than 3 months.

As my classmate and I walked to the bus stop we took in all the sights of residential Kyoto. While we were waiting for the bus, an elderly Japanese woman approached us and pulled some paper out of her suitcase. She began folding the paper and made us origami cranes!

After our success at the Immigration Office, we returned home…where I proceeded to have poptarts for dinner as I hadn’t gone out to purchase food yet ^_^

Day 3 began with an expedition on our first walking tour of out local neighborhood. We began by searching for local restaurants and grocery stores and ended at the marvelous Kinkakuji Temple. We did not actually go inside the temple grounds as it was getting late, and it cost money to enter…grrrrr.

Hello everyone!
Today is my second full day in Kyoto, Japan! I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far!

My flights were more than eventful and less than enjoyable unfortunately. It began the night before when United apparently canceled my flight only to rebook me on a flight that did not leave enough time to transfer in San Francisco. WHen I arrived at the airport the next day I learned of this mistake. I then spend 30 odd minutes waiting for the woman behind the desk to try and fix said mistake. I ultimately was given two options: either leave the next day on the same route, or fly first to Washington DC, then to Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan, then to the domestic Osaka, Japan airport. Needless to say, I chose the latter.

After just making my new flight to DC, I finally had a chance to rest on the plane….until they came over the PA system and told us they needed to restart the plane to get the engine working properly….not a good sign. Well, I made it, and then was able to ‘enjoy’ my 5 hour layover in the DC airport. Finally my plane began boarding and I was on my way, well 30 minutes late of corse. Thankfully I was able to sleep most of the ride. And boy, is it a long ride.

When I arrived in Tokyo, I needed to first clear immigration. Well this was going to be an issue since I was wanting to come in on a tourist visa but was actually planning on staying more than 90 days. Thankfully they never asked to see my return ticket…and I was able to enter Japan. I then learned that since I had needed to clear customs and immigration I would not be able to make my next flight. Thankfully United/Japan did something right and booked me on the next flight to Osaka with American Airlines. Of corse, that flight left late as well….and I finally arrived in Osaka at 8:30pm. I then had to pick up my bags and figure out how to get not only to Kyoto but to the Japan Center.

I first looked for a person with my name on a sign….no luck. Also, I was late, so I didn’t really believe he’d be there. Next I figured I’d have to catch a bus to Kyoto. luckily I had researched this alternative in advance and knew a bus did leave for Kyoto that evening. I was able to buy my ticket out of the machine no issue, and finally board the bus to Kyoto. After the hour-long ride, I arrived in Kyoto and had to make my way north to the Jana Center. I decided taxi would be easiest so I found a taxi stand and hopped in and asked him to cll a number to speak to the secretary here and get directions. Well, he ended up not understanding much of the directions and had to ultimately pull over and ask directions as well as calling again to reconfirm where he was going.

After finally getting to my destination, I had to lug my two MASSIVE suitcases up the driveway and up the skinniest stairs EVER into the dorm. After then chatting with the other students for an hour….I crashed and went to bed.