The rain stopped last night, and it was a lovely sunny day—though pretty humid for a So Cal boy like myself. Started off with a walk to the Convini for breakfast and an excuse to start taking pictures. This was followed by our first orientation to the International House dorms where we’re staying and the welcome news that someone was coming to fix my air conditioning (turns out it was only dead batteries in the remote control—go figure).
It’s only about a 5 minute downhill walk to get to the main gate of the University followed by another 5 minute Uphill walk. The location is really very nice with excellent views of North Kyoto and the mountains. I won’t help but lose weight with all the walking and the heat!
After learning how to use the Japanese ATM machines and a stroll back home when I used the first of the ubiquitous vending machines to buy a bottle of Pocari Sweat (sounds horribly nasty in English, but it’s really tasty stuff—like Gatorade, only sweeter and without the weird aftertaste), I got online to post some updates and photos which you can see in the photos link. The other fun thing was talking to my Mom & Dad and my sister using Skype. We spoke for about 15 minutes—which cost exactly 24 cents. My how the internet has changed global communication.
Later in the afternoon, Paul-san drove Me, Leslie and Alia downtown to a popular mall so we could do some grocery shopping—which was interesting. I managed to see my first $20.00 watermelons and $12.00 bunches of grapes, but Bananas were relatively affordable at a mere $2.00 for 6 medium ones. Some things are outrageously expensive (like a beautiful slab of sushi tuna around 2 x 4 x 3/4 inches for $15.00) but others are insanely cheap (like my favorite brand of instant Yakisoba noodles which were only 75 cents). If you could live on nothing but instant Ramen and the like, Japan isn’t so expensive.
Dinner in the cafeteria next door in the Men’s dorms was pretty good and surprisingly filling even without the huge, American-style portions we get back home (which is probably better for me also). The funny part was seeing absolutely every head turn to look at us when we walked in. I suppose we are something of a spectacle, especially me—it’s not every day you see a 40-something Gaijin (foreigner) with white spiky hair walk into a college dorm’s cafeteria I guess.
In the evening after it cooled off, the entire ICP/UCR student body (that’s 6 of us) went for a stroll up the road to see what we could find. We saw where to catch the little train up the mountain to Kurama (which should be a lovely day trip some weekend). It was really quite peaceful and there was a nice breeze coming down the valley and off the stream.
Not bad for a first day…