|Me and my two lovely guides, Saki and Erina, in front of the Kyoto Station.|
It’s been two weeks since I arrived at the Kansai airport in Osaka, and so I figured it might be time to write my first entry about Japan. As I told you before, I first flew to Sapporo to visit Kent, my Colby roommate, in his home environment (sort of, since he’s Kiwi). For now, everything has been great. Kent’s mom cooked some great food for us (I’ll write a separate entry about food eventually), we toured the city of Sapporo, and the island of Hokkaido. It was a great way of getting rid of the jet lag and the first cultural shock, regaining my Japanese, and doing some traveling. I’ll put pictures on Facebook, and Kent already did, but right now I’d rather write about the AKP orientation.
There are 5 guys and 21 girls in our AKP (Associated Kyoto Program) group. I know, a little gender-imbalanced, but that’s only good for me, isn’t it? We slept at the Kyoto Tower Hotel, right in the center of the city, and commuted to the Doshisha University campus. Yesterday we had Japanese students assigned to us as guides. They took us to our host family’s house, helped us register for an alien ID and national insurance, helped us purchase a commuting pass and then we just hung out. My guides were the two cutest girls I have ever met, Erina and Saki. After we were done with the painful but necessary bureaucracy, the girls took me to “Purikura”, a place that could only exist in Japan. It goes like this: you go together to a photo studio, pay 400 Yen, take pictures together with different backgrounds that you pick on a computer screen, then go to another computer and use a special pen to write whatever you want on these pictures, add all kinds of stars, hearts, ribbons, rainbows, wrappings, frames, butterflies, smileys, etc, and then have them printed out on stickers and sent to your email address. Interestingly enough, they usually don’t allow any guys in unless they’re accompanied by a girl—because they’re afraid of sexual offenders, apparently. We ended the day by going to the Kyoto Tower, from which you can see far, far away.
Today, we continued our orientation. We went to Shimogamo shrine (Shinto) to pray for a successful year and had different Doshisha students give us a campus tour. I also managed to meet up with Rie, one of my best friends from Pearson, which really made my day. I promised to her, just before we left Pearson, that I'd come to Japan to see her. Here's my promise fulfilled.
In the evening we had a welcome dinner with our host families, after which the Iwai (my family) drove me to our house. So right now here I am, at my new family’s house, writing this post.
To be continued…
PS: I will add the Purikura picture when the girls send it to me.