This semester is moving by so fast. I cannot believe it is the end of November. There is only two weeks of school here left at Kansai Gaidai and then I will be returning to Florida on January 5th. This past week I have been doing nothing but studying. I will be taking the Japanese N2 certification test this upcoming Sunday. Actually, I am pretty stressed about taking it because I know it is going to be extremely difficult. I was initially going to wait until next year to take it but I decided to challenge myself before I leave Japan. However, this blog is not going to be about how much I have been studying lately. I am going to talk about my trip with two of my close friends from Kansai Gaidai to Kyoto to see the foliage.
Last weekend, I made plans with my friends, Uyen and Dan (who are both in the highest level of Japanese at Kansai Gaidai), to go to Kyoto. Our original plan was to go on Sunday but that was changed due to the weather. We then decided, on Monday after class we would go to see the foliage. We gathered at the front gate of Kansai Gaidai around 1pm and went to Hirakata-shi station. The limited express train from Hirakata-shi to Kyoto takes round 30 minutes. After getting off the train we bought day pass bus tickets and went to Kinkakuji (a very famous shrine in Kyoto). The bus ride to Kinkakuji was not fun. I was shocked at how many people were on the bus on Monday. The bus got so crowded that we started stopping at bus stops and people were not even able to squeeze on the the bus. Not to mention, it was extremely hot inside the bus with that many people. It took almost an hour to get to our bus stop.
I was glad I could visit Kinkakuji one last time while I am in Japan. It is my favorite shrine in Kyoto and perhaps Japan. My two friends had never been to Kinkakuji so I was sure they would be in awe over the beauty of the shrine. My friend Uyen brought a really nice camera so we were able to take many excellent photos. I also didn’t realize how professional she was when taking pictures. She brought a variety of lenses with her and was constantly changing them when she wanted to change photo subjects. During this trip to Kyoto, we didn’t speak any English, just Japanese. It was really great practice and many Japanese people kept staring at us, specifically my friend Dan because he can speak fluently. The next thing I was really surprised by was how many people were there on a Monday…wow.
We walked around Kinkakuji for at least a good two hours and took a plethora of photos. Dan is very goofy so every time Uyen or I took a photo of him, he would do some random pose. I was thinking to myself, there is no way I would do that with this many people around. After leaving Kinkakuji, we were all starving. Uyen called a Yakiniku (Japanese dish of fried meat) restaurant and made reservations for us. To make things better, it was an all you can eat Yakiniku restaurant for only 1,000 yen…that is roughly 9 USD.
After we got off at the nearest bus stop, we had a 10 minute walk to the restaurant according to Uyen’s phone. I don’t trust her phone anymore. We walked around for about 25 minutes trying to find the restaurant and had no luck. Therefore, I decided to use my phone and used the same address in google maps. I had a completely different location that was 10 minutes away from were we were. We soon all found out that my phone was better at giving directions that Uyen’s phone.
We ate so much food at the Yakiniku restaurant. I felt like I could not move from my chair after eating. In addition to the all you can eat Yakiniku, there was a buffet that had all sorts of delicious food. I was literally in paradise at this restaurant. After we finished eating, we decided to go out to Karaoke for a while. We sang Japanese songs for about an hour and thirty minutes before we all called it a night. I had a wonderful time visiting Kyoto and spending time with my friends. I hope I can come back to Kyoto next year!
This is where I will end this blog. I need to start studying again. I have three tests this week, my N2 certification Japanese test followed by final exams. This next two weeks will be pretty stressful. I hope all of you had a wonderful thanksgiving break and ate to your hearts content. Until next time, またね！