I’m back in Kyoto, safely out of Okazaki now, although I kind of miss Okazaki.
The Sky Is Crying Way Too Much
I’m so happy to finally be dry. Why is it whenever I go to Kyoto, it rains? (Does two trips count enough for a “whenever?”)
It started this morning, during “The TP incident,” and stopped right before class. Thinking that the rain had ended for good today, I rode my bike for the last time to class, made it through class, and when it was over, I was greeted by a total downpour.
I went to the school office to pay my boarding fees– 40,000 yen for two weeks lodging is awesome in my opinion. But for some reason, it wouldn’t take my BofA card again. Luckily, it took one of my other cards, but I was irked.
Then it was off to Nonoyama Bicycles to return the rental bike with the somewhat embarrassing helmet, in what had become a driving rainstorm.
Here’s a shot of the helmet from earlier in the trip:
I learned something else important today: it’s next to impossible to ride a bicycle and use an umbrella at the same time. For me, anyway. I wound up walking the bike there. Either way it didn’t matter, because I got soaked.
After I turned the bike in, I went back to the dorm by taxi. It took some explaining to get the driver to understand where the Student Village was. Don’t assume that cabdrivers will somehow “know” where everything is.
While my pants dried, I wasted 30-minutes in a pointless attempt to get some useful info out of BofA.That was 30 Euros down the toilet, by the way. Ouch.
Really, be careful what you use to dial out.
Anyway, the time to get out was fast approaching.
One strange thing about the clothes dryers in the dorm: there was a lint tube leading up from the dryer, but then it stopped short, and just sort of aimed at a vent in the ceiling. I guess the last few inches were covered by hope, faith, and good intentions? I’m not sure how the engineering behind that works.
I spent 30 minutes in the rain waiting for the bus, gave up and wound up lugging the suitcase and backpack to the station. By the way, lugging 8,000 lbs. of crap around in the driving rain is an excellent argument for traveling as light as humanly possible.
And one day, I might actually do that.
When I got to Nagoya, I had my last meal at the Mermaid Cafe. Then I grabbed a shinkansen to Kyoto.
I’m now in the Comfort Inn Kyoto. Yes, there are Comfort Inns in Japan. The rooms are pretty nice, too. Tiny as hell, but still a lot nicer than the last hotel I stayed in, and cheaper, too. I even get the BBC in English. (Yay! English!) But it is the BBC, so it’s all very depressing.
Overall, I have to say my Japanese has improved quite a bit. So far just about everyone has forced me to speak Japanese. I keep hearing stories about people coming up to foreigners and talking English to them, but I’ve only had that happen once so far.
I’m no Yan-san yet, but I’m trying. In case you’re not familiar, Yan-san is a chunky foreign guy who teaches us foreigners how to speak Japanese properly in a very cheesy and sappy set of Educational Videos from the mid-1980s, when everyone was trying to teach their kids Japanese.
Now everyone is desperately cramming Chinese down their kids’ throats.
I’m actually a big fan of the Yan-san videos. I always thought they were great, because it was like watching a drama series.
But I digress.
There’s a typhoon offshore, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to do much here. It’s going to rain a bit on Tokyo, but that doesn’t matter to me here in Kyoto.
Unless the weather does something rude tomorrow, I’ll visit some shrines/temples or Arashiyama. Sunday I’d like to try to see the Heavenly Bridge, but I’m not sure how long it would take, and I don’t want to spend a whole day on it.
Monday I head to Nara to my spa hotel. I can’t wait. Tuesday & Wednesday nights are in Hiroshima. Maybe Thursday in Beppu. If I can get my suitcase weight reduced significantly, then I’ll do it. Otherwise, I’ll spend three days in Osaka.
Not much else to report. I get to watch Japanese TV again, so I get to see just how weird it is. (And it is weird.)