October 8, 2006

Visit/end of holiday

Well that's the end of the holidays...feel a little refreshed, I suppose...two friends from back home came to Japan on Thursday, and it was beneficial to hang out with them for a bit and travel a little and so forth.

I met them at Nagoya airport (always a pleasure to go there as it's so very nice), where they came after spending several weeks in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong and brought them back to Okazaki to show them around...Okazaki is by no means a hot tourist destination but it's quite interesting if you fancy seeing an ordinary, everyday, non-touristy Japanese town. We ate, drank, saw the castle, went shopping for Engrish t-shirts.

On Friday afternoon they went on to Kyoto to find a cheap hostel (there aren't any in Okazaki) and I joined them there the next morning. Kyoto is one of Japan's major cities; it was once the capitol (before Tokyo), and was spared bombing in WWII in order to preserve its many historical sites.

I arrived (obviously) at Kyoto station, which is hugely impressive (sorry, didn't get any pictures, try Google). We then went east and wondered around various temples and parks for several hours, including Ginkakuji temple and Maruyama park (see pic). We had lunch (okonomiyaki), did more wondering, and then headed west.

Next up was Ryoanji, a temple with a famous Zen-Buddhist rock garden, laid in the 1400s. I seem to enjoy such places for some reason, and as such I really liked it. Very tranquil.

After yet more wondering, we took in the shopping district, looking around any shops of interest we came across, and also an amusement arcade, to marvel at the kids playing such games as Dance Dance Revolution and the new Street Fighter at ridiculously high speed and accuracy. Then I headed to the station (my friends stayed and went on to Tokyo the next day) and arrived home at about 1am (I took the cheapest route, which takes about 3hrs). Even had an, erm, interesting conversation with some drunken businessmen on one of the trains back. All good speaking practice I suppose.

Kyoto was somewhere I'd wanted to go for ages and I am sad that I didn't really get to see much of it (I'd also like to see the nearby town of Nara, which is even older and less touristy). It seems to be an excellent place, somehow concatinating metropolis with beautiful historical sites. I hope to go back again someday, maybe I'll go live there, hehe.

Still, back to it tomorrow...I am slightly nervous as I will be meeting the people I will be spending the majority of the next 3 months with. I hope they are nice...


tom October 12, 2006 5:18 AM  

Was that Paul coming to visit? Who was he with?

ajf October 13, 2006 6:43 PM  

It was indeed Cool Paul, he was with his coursemate Rod.

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