Journals from Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan
Together again at Kinkaku-ji
January has been a pretty crazy month. I rang in the New Year with friends and karaoke, as well as the traditional first temple visit of the year. However, the fun was short-lived, as I soon had to return to school and finish my final exams. I’m not too worried about my grades, but I doubt I have straight A’s either.
I looked forward to the end of finals eagerly, and not just because of the promise of a nearly three-month-long vacation. This JanTerm, there was a math course that visited China and Japan. I was really excited to see some other Linfield students whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, especially my boyfriend. I have missed him dearly and I fear that I may have annoyed my friends with my excitement about his arrival.
The trip to see him wasn’t completely problem-free, however. I took the train to Tokyo Station where I would catch my overnight bus to Kyoto, where the JanTerm class would be staying. I didn’t realize that the train times were different on the weekends, but luckily I just barely caught the last train that was headed to Tokyo City. It ended up being a local train the entire way, so I had only five minutes to get to the bus. I didn’t make it.
I had no idea what to do. I was in Tokyo, a city I was completely unfamiliar with, at night. It was too late to go home as the last train that would take me that far had already departed. I was scared and panicked and completely lost. I called one of my friends. He was with some other friends, and they passed the phone around to help console me and figure out what to do. One of them got in contact with his girlfriend, another friend of mine, and she agreed to let me stay at her place. I could only take a train part of the way there and then a taxi the rest of the way, but at least I had a place to stay for the night. She helped me reserve a new bus ticket and the next morning, I was on my way to Kyoto.
I checked into my hotel in Kyoto late, but the hotel staff was very kind and understanding. I had some more troubles locating the hotel of the Linfield students, but finally, a happy reunion was had. The Linfield professors were very kind in allowing me to join them on most of their excursions. I got to see and hold ancient math textbooks. I’m not a big fan of math, but even I found the history of the ancient development of math to be interesting. In exchange, I was able to help point out fun things to do in Japan and I shared some of my favorite Japanese foods. Even though I’m unfamiliar with Kyoto, I felt very much at home. I don’t think I ever realized exactly how much I miss Linfield until seeing all of the JanTerm students and professors. I still have another semester in Japan to go after the break, and I am looking forward to it, but I am perhaps even more excited to complete my senior year back in Oregon.