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Virginia Beach, VA, United States
This blog (or 日記 if you will) is intended to chronicle my experience in Japan at the Yamasa Institute in Okazaki, Japan from July to August, 2012. I have always wanted to have a journal, though, so I will try to get into a habit of writing frequently about the things important to me in my life. Besides, I plan on returning to Yamasa to participate in the AIJP after I get out of the Navy! These are the Espelancer Chronicles. Erica is also blogging about the trip, and you should totally check it out. It is The Marvelous Misadventures of Schneewittchen link over on the sidebar.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

京都へ行った週末 (Weekend in Kyoto)

   Kyoto really is a beautiful city, although it is incredibly large and can be difficult to navigate at first.  I think after spending the weekend here, I have become an expert on using the 地下鉄   (subway) and 市バス (City Bus) in Kyoto.  We did a great deal of walking the first day, though, since we did not know how to get around very well.  I don't think Erica has walked so much in all her life.

Chikashiku-in Temple
http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/visitkyoto/en/theme/sites/shrines/temples/m_chishaku/    We woke up on Saturday morning and searched for a place to enjoy breakfast, however we happened across a temple called the Chishaku-in Temple not far from our 旅館  (Japanese inn), so we checked it out.  There were not so many tourists at this temple since it is a little far from the popular tourist sites, so it was not so crowded at all.  This temple features a museum, the temple itself, and a beautiful garden with a pond (in fact, it is most well known for its garden).  After realizing we forgot to bring Sugarwater, we headed back to the hotel to retrieve his and had our first おにぎり (rice ball) for breakfast.
しゃけのおにぎり (Salmon Rice Ball)
Chikashiku-in Garden

On the Imperial Palace Grounds

   Well, it started raining at about that time, and it would not let up for the rest of the day, so it started to impede on the places we could go.  Added to that, it was our first time in Kyoto, so we spent a fair bit of time being lost as well.  We did make our way to the Kyoto Imperial Palace (walking from Gion-Shijo), though, only to find out that you need a reservation to enter the main palace.  There are plenty of places on the grounds that you can freely enter, though, and we rested in a small secluded temple in the southwest corner of the Imperial Palace grounds.

  After leaving the Imperial grounds, we began a quest to seek out the International Manga Museum, since Erica wanted to go there.  It was difficult finding it, though, since the directions we got were incredibly vague and for some reason the Japanese like to have maps everywhere pointing everywhere except for north.  Seriously, most maps here have "North" pointing to the right, and one even had north pointing down.  To make it worse, unless you knew 北 was the kanji for North, you would not even realize it.  I will say, though, that walking around Kyoto is really good exercise, and you really learn your way around after you do it all day.  We did not find the museum on the first day, though, and the rain continued to fall, so we returned to the hotel and watched コクリコ坂から and did our weekend homework.

Us at the 金閣寺(Golden Temple) in Kyoto
  The next morning's weather was much better, so we went to the 金閣寺 (Golden Temple).  After all of that walking we did the previous day, it was easy to figure out how to get just about everywhere in Kyoto by subway, so this time we actually used the public transportation.  For those of you who have Apple computers, the Golden Temple is featured in one of the screensaver themes that comes packaged with Mac OSX.  The Golden Temple was truly breathtaking -- both the temple itself and the scenery around it.  It is surprisingly very affordable -- only 400円 per person and you can see one Kyoto's best temples.  I wish we could have seen more temples during our short stay in Kyoto, but we had one more stop to make before returning to Okazaki.

   We finally found it -- it is on Kurasuma-dori north of the Kurasuma-Oike subway station.  The Kyoto International Manga Museum used to be an elementary school, but then it was converted to a museum commemorating manga and comics from around the world.  They probably have a copy of every manga since 1945 in there, and they also have comics from other countries and even America.  It's a 3-story library of manga and comics, and for only 300円 you can read any manga within the museum during your stay.  I found the perfect souvenir for Martha there, as well, so I went ahead and bought it.

   Anyways, I am now back in Okazaki, preparing for tomorrow's lesson.  I will leave you with a ton of photos from the weekend, though, in no particular order.  Until next time... じゃね。


  1. You most certainly should have seen more temples.

    Are you going to have a change to go to "the countryside?"

    Also, Martha is excited about her gift...lol

  2. I'm thinking of heading to some of the more rural parts of Aichi-ken sometime before I leave, but I don't have solid plans yet. I want to take the ferry across the bay to see the Grand Shrines of Ise, too.

  3. "For those of you who have Apple computers, the Golden Temple is featured in one of the screensaver themes that comes packaged with Mac OSX." NERD ALERT. Haha just kidding.

    All these pictures are so pretty! I hope you have more.

    Also, could you pretty please if at all possible pick up a Japanese version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? I will pay you back.

    "I found the perfect souvenir for Martha there, as well, so I went ahead and bought it." YES! I AM HERE FOR THAT.

  4. I'll see if Book Off has it. Books are a lot cheaper here than the US -- you can get most books on paperback for 100円-300円. E-Books are not very popular here -- most people would rather read a real book, so store like Book Off are always really busy.