Yesterday, I had my first Japanese ‘going-out-for-a-night-on-the-town’ experience. In the morning, after meeting JP and having some internet access, I headed out to Kyoto to meet some other coop students. It takes about an hour and three quarters to get to Kyoto from my place, if you get the Rapid train. At Kyoto station, after giving myself a pat on the back for a successful trip, I met up with Terry, a coop from UVic. We walked to downtown Kyoto. Kyoto is a pretty big tourist destination and has a lot of old architecture, temples, etc. I’d like to plan a day to go see it all! We walked by one neat temple-looking thing, so I figured I’d be touristy and take a picture. I also snapped a picture of the Kyoto Tower, which is on top of the Kyoto Hotel – also pretty neat. Once we go to downtown Kyoto, we met up with Matt, another coop. The three of us wandered for a bit and ended up having a pre-dinner snack at A-bar. A-bar was a really neat place. It’s this little hippie-Japanese bar…it has mostly-somewhat-obscene saying scribbled all over the walls and tables in black felt pen – I think that the thing to do is leave a note behind. I don’t know if they know what half of it says. It was a neat little place, though. I didn’t take any pictures, but I’m sure we’ll go back there and I will. When you order food in Japanese bars, you don’t eat order something, you order a couple things, and you share them all. We had some gyoza, fried cheese, tortilla chips, pork something, and chicken something. After A-bar, we met up with a couple more coops, Tony and Eric. Eric lives in the Osaka region, close to JP – about an hour from me, by train. We all went for dinner at a hamburger place – named Donkey something…I can’t remember – but Japanese hamburgers aren’t the same as Canadian hamburgers. They don’t have a bun. I know what you’re thinking – how can it be a hamburger without a bun!? It’s just the patty, with cheese, or pineapple, or curry sauce on it, or other things. It was very good. After dinner, we collected Chris, who had come to meet us too. We went to Round 1, which is like a massive arcade/bowling/billards/karaoke/gambling sports amusement place. We wandered around and played some games, then decided to do some karaoke (at another place) before we hit up the club. It was so much fun! You get a room to yourself, with the TV, microphones, and a big phonebook-style book with tons of songs in it. You can pay a little extra to get unlimited alcohol, but you can each only have one drink at a time, and they’re pretty weak drinks. We had a lot of fun, though, singing to all the songs and laughing at song choices. Karaoke is pretty popular in Japan, and I can see why! Apparently there’s similar karaoke places in Vancouver (Richmond, specifically) – and I’m definitely planning a karaoke night when I’m back in Vancouver. (PS – Jeff, they played the I-got-it-from-my-momma song, and I thought of you and had to laugh. ) After karaoke, we headed to World, one of Kyoto’s two clubs. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was pretty similar to a Canadian club. They actually played a lot of English songs, too. We had a lot of fun there, and got these funky neon-flashing rings. In Canada, clubs & bars close at 2 or 4, depending on where you’re at. In Japan, they close at 5. We hung out until 4, then went to McDonalds for a snack. Trains in Japan only run until 11 or 12 or so, then start up again at 5 or 6, depending on where you’re going. We hung out in McDonalds until 5:30, then headed out to catch our trains. I rode back on the subway to Kyobashi with Eric, then headed home. I was definitely exhausted when I got home, but the all-nighter was worth it. It was so much fun to have some friends to hang out with and to go out and do something fun – and to be able to speak English! Oo – and Chris can do magic tricks. He makes coins disappear and stuff…I’m still trying to figure one of them out. It’s pretty good. That entertained me for a quite a while, when we were waiting for our karaoke room. All-in-all, it was a very good first going out experience in Japan. I slept a bit when I got home, then called home in Kelowna and talked to Mom & Joanna. I like calling home, but it makes me a bit more homesick, because I realize how much I miss everyone and everything there. I’ve been trying not to be annoying about getting internet, but I’m going to ask again, because I want to be able to talk on MSN & Skype and email everyone! I’m off to make some food and head on another adventure to try and find a gym…I’ll let you know how that goes, tomorrow!
What a successful day! I didn’t feel like going out to try and find the gym, but in the end (as usual!), I was glad I did! I headed to Yao station and decided to check out iPod prices, first. I’m going to buy one, but I’m not sure which one… and I want to wait until I get my first paycheque, anyways. I also managed to find some shoes for the gym – I didn’t bring any running shoes. I got some nice Rebok shoes for 2900 Yen, which is around $25 – a good deal! I managed to find the gym, too, without too much difficulty. I was given a tour and a brochure with the prices. A membership is expensive (7350 Yen/month ~ $70), but I think it will be worth it. Then – here’s the good part – I came back to the dorm and cooked myself the most amazing meal. I had carrots and potatoes and an onion and some kind of random meet (Pork? Chicken? Antelope (you never know)?) I threw it all in a frying pan and tossed it around…it took forever to cook, but was so good. I even had enough left over to freeze for another that I don’t want to cook. The internet process is going to get started tomorrow (finally!), and I have tentative plans to go hiking and skiing twice, with three different groups of people! When I think that I have stuff to do and people to do it with, it’s a huge encouragement. I’ve also gained a bit more confidence in myself: my navigation skills, my ability to deal with a problem should it arise, and my Japanese! I’m also excited about my gym pass…I find the gym really rewarding – sometimes I don’t feel like going, but when I’m done, I feel better about myself and I feel like I accomplished something. I’ve also discovered it’s a great place to teach myself discipline and endurance, and it definitely helps me sort out all the thoughts in my head, while I’m swimming afterwards! They also have classes at the gym; I didn’t ask for what, but they have some. Depending on how busy I am and when they are, I might try to join one of those too. Between being able to connect to Canada on Saturday (borrowed internet!), a night out with some friends, future plans, and a gym membership, I’m feeling very optimistic and looking forward to the next couple weeks! Take care, and keep emailing me! I appreciate all the emails I get from everyone – they’re a huge part of the encouragement I find in many things.
-Japanese arcade...infinite games like this!!
-Reminds me of Scandia!
-My first karaoke experience, and it was so much fun! My Vancouver friends, beware..you will be subjected to this experience when I get back!
All in all...it was a great time! It was nice to meet some people and make some new friends and have some fun, but at the same time, it made me miss my friends from Ktown, Vancouver, and Sparlem so much more!