皆さんおはようおございます! I hope your semester is off to a great start. It is hard to believe that I have already been at Kansai Gaidai for a month. I guess the saying, “Time flies when your having fun”, is true! However, that being said, I have come to realize that there is a lot of work requirements for my courses. Specifically my Japanese courses. As you know from my last post, I am now in level 4 Japanese reading and writing. The writing class can be very stressful at times. It is very challenging for me but that is what I was expecting when I wanted to move up to level 4. The speed we are learning Japanese is insanely fast and trying to remember the kanji writings, new vocabulary words, sentence patterns is proving to be a challenge. I am however, really enjoying my speaking class. My Sensei is very funny and he definitely knows how to interact with the students! I feel like there is not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do anymore. I am enjoying my time here tremendously and am still thrilled that I am actually in Japan studying at Kansai Gaidai.
Last weekend, I took a trip to Fushimi Inari Shrine with my religion class. Started my day off by purchasing a ticket to Temmabashi station which I quickly found out was incorrect. The ticket I should have purchased was to Tambabashi. Thanks to the station attendant, I was able to make my way there with no other snags. I arrived at the station just in time to see my class exiting the station. Once I caught up with them, it took about 3 minutes by walking to get to the shine entrance. It was really interesting listening to what our teacher had to say about the shrine and the beliefs of Japanese people regarding deities and gods. I quickly became impressed by the shrine when I saw the red tori gates. There were literally thousands of them. To reach the top of the shrine it took us about an hour and 15 minutes. Almost the whole way up the mountain, we walked through the red tori gates. After 35 minutes of climbing stone steps, my legs started getting tired. I took my coat and my sweater off because I started sweating even though it was only around 6 Celsius. My class began to move really slow after 40 minutes so I went alone to the top. It was…to say the least, not what I expected. I thought there would be a great view of the city, mountains, etc. but instead, the prayer shrine was surrounded by trees and there was a shop next to it. I offered some Yen at the shrine and prayed. After waiting for 10 minutes and my class never showed up, I decided I would descend the mountain myself. There was some really nice scenery on the way back down. Probably 20 minutes down the mountain there was another shine. Here is a short clip I took: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZO8LQBPyAI I explored for a few minutes before I decided to finish my journey down the mountain…or so I thought. Everything seemed fine as I was going down until I notice the red tori gates starting to disappear. After 10 minutes of walking and not seeing one other person (I saw about 500 people as I was walking up the mountain), I began to question if this was the right way. I had that little voice in my head saying, “just a little further and I am sure you will see someone or find a new path”. Well, I continued for another 5 minutes before coming across a really old shrine. I thought it was very neat because the whole thing was covered by moss. After I left that shrine, I was now walking on a mud path that had no foot prints and or tire tracks to be seen. I crossed a thin metal bridge over a small canal and walked for another 5 minutes before I thought, uhh…screw that. I am not sure how old this bridge was, if that’s what one would call it, that was in front of me. It looked like a log that had been decaying for a century covered in holes, moss with major portions of the side missing. Unfortunately I did not take a photo and I am very upset that I didn’t. At the time I was thinking to myself…if I try crossing this and fall into this canal that probably won’t be good. I decided to turn around and make that brutal 20 minute walk back up mountain to see if there was a different path I could have taken earlier. By the time I made it back to the right path, I saw some of my classmates so I followed them. By this time, my legs were like jelly and I was sweating but I still had about 25-30 more minutes of walking…sigh. I was able to get some good scenic photos though! In front of the shrine I purchased a small souvenir for my homestay family. I finished my day at the shrine around 2 pm and returned to my homestay house where I slept until around 7 pm. If any of you every come to Japan, I highly recommend visiting this shrine, it was a great experience.
This week was pretty hectic. I had a report due in my religion class and 3 tests. Two of which counted for 10% of my overall grade. I mainly used what spare time I had during the week to study for those tests and do homework. I bought a Japanese mystery novel at the Kasai bookstore that I am attempting to read while I am commuting via train and bus. I also made some new Japanese friends as well! Almost every Japanese student I have met here so far is majoring in English. When I tell them that I am also majoring in English education they are always shocked and want me to teach them English in my spare time. Everyone is so kind here and I am enjoying every minute of it. Well I feel like I am rambling now so I will end here for the day.
Until next time,