Journals from Kanto Gakuin University
2008-09-14 More Adventures (and some things to know)
Yokohama from Ferris Wheel
Note to future travelers: Bring your own alarm clock, and if you are even remotely picky about pillows, bring one. The pillows here are like punching bags; even though I've been tired enough to sleep on it it's nice to have something soft now. I bought an adorable panda pillow which is much softer and cuddly. My alarm clock is rather basic and can only be set for a general time and I'm never quite sure what time it will go off. I also got some stuff like a washcloth and a really nice, cute wooden bowl for meals and some chopsticks (that match my bowl ^^.) We weren't able to get cell phones yet because we have to wait for our alien registration to go through, but hopefully that should be soon.
We started our classes Wednesday. There's only one class each day, so we have Japanese on MWF, Economics/Politics on Thursday and Culture on Tuesday. Japanese will be fun and of course useful. Though we haven't had a culture class yet, I think it should be enjoyable too. The economics class, however, is a little dry, and being as that I'm not horribly interested in it anyway it could be a struggle to get through each class. Overall I don't think it will be too difficult because we are only graded on participation, and some reports. No exams.
It's great fun being here, though there are a few things I wish I'd known before coming. The food can be ridiculously expensive, especially fresh fruit and vegetables (though I knew that part.) Transportation is a bit too. It cost somewhere around $100 to get a pass for the train and bus for one month, but it's only good between the Seminar House and KGU. Anywhere else I have to pay. Despite what I was told I've received some meals that contain WAY more food than I could possibly eat in one sitting, usually from the cafeterias at KGU. I wish I knew more about some of the customs and courtesies. I'd love to go to one of the shrines but am not entirely sure how to behave, or if I can go in and take some pictures or if that is considered rude and disrespectful.
Anyway, down to the meat of it all (mmm meat--pun intended), we went as a group to have dinner with a few of the Japanese buddies (Su-san, Kazehiko, and Yuriko.) We headed into Yokohama and the first restaraunt would have been about an hour wait so we went to a place called Gyu Kaku (I think.) Basically at this restaurant we ordered the buffet course (so worth the cost) and they brought out hot coals with a grill and raw meat and we cooked our own dinner in the middle of the table. It was amazing and delicious.
Yesterday Mia and I went to the Hayama festival. We got a little misdirected, so we had to walk for about an hour to get there instead of catching the free bus like we could have done. It was a fairly nice walk and the festival was a lot of fun. They had a kids area and booths from a lot of the stores and restaurants. So we ate a late lunch there and wandered around. There were some Taiko drums for entertainment, so we watched that for a little while before wandering off. We found a trail that went up an epic set of wooden stairs. It was a little disappointing when we got to the top, because it ran into a sort of running trail that we could go right or left on. It was an absolutely gorgeous trail, but we'd been expecting to come to some sort of view or something. We followed the trail to the left because it went down more and we figured it would loop back to the park. It did and it was a great walk and we passed some little tables and other things that looked like they were straight out of a fairy tale.
I'll write a little later this week about Tokyo, Kamakura, and the Student Study tour.