There is so much to tell.....
Let me start off with a short tour of my new accommodation.
After my mom and I spent a whole day scrubbing (and meeting my new roommates...the cockroaches) it was time for her to leave and for me to really start my life as a Kyoto University student. I felt so miserable I immediately went out and bought myself a large box of sushi...
That feeling however was short-lived (as was the sushi) for it didn't take long to realise what a beautiful city Kyoto
is and how nice the other students are. It really is a mix from almost every corner off the earth...Australia, Austria, Britain, Thailand, Sweden, France, Germany, Israel.....etc. (hardly any Americans which surprised us until we found out they had their own programme :P). As we left the sanctuary of our rooms we met up and started exploring the streets of Kyoto. After some very intensive wandering we soon realised that it really was better to get a bike a.s.a.p.....
Getting a bike however also meant adapting to Kyoto biking rules....or should I say lack there off.
Coming from Holland I felt rather confident with my biking skills however it took all of them to manoeuvre over the narrow pavements (there are no cycling lanes) filled with shops, parked bikes, pedestrians and other bikers. On top of that it seems that Japanese cyclist have strict first bike then look policy.
Next to biking we filled our days till classes would start with many trips to hyaku yen shops ( '100 yen' stores were they have tons off stuff all prices at around 70 eurocents) and random explore trips.
One such trip led my fellow Dutch student Maurits, Sam from Australia and myself to a tiny Japanese restaurant/bar. We were welcomed by the giggles from tipsy female customers and an imposing 'Heeloo I speaku Englishu' from the bartender. What followed was an awesome evening filled with conversation about Japanese culture, rice and mountain climbing. I think we almost gave him a heart attack when we mentioned Holland has no mountains....
However, it was soon time for us to begin our orientation at Kyoto University. On our first day we were
immediately welcomed with a GIGANTIC stack of forms and papers and a whole party in our honour (have you ever walked in a room with 200 people waiting for you?....no?...it was something like that). I have only now (after two weeks) started to get through all the papers but not after having spent many hours getting the right papers to get a phone, health insurance, a name-stamp (apparently one does not use signatures here), alien registration, course registration and so on and so forth. Now this might not be very different from any other country but if you can't read the forms...that's when it becomes tricky.
Currently, most off my days are spent with morning content courses - given by teacher with varying levels of
English- and afternoon Japanese language classes (9 hours a week, in blocks of 3 hours). Usually, you are not done with class until 4.30 or 6.00 which is perfect for grabbing dinner at the University Cafeteria ( I've cooked a grand total of 3 times. The uni food is cheap and there is noooo way that I could make Japanese food as they make it J ) or one of the cheap ramen(Chinese noodle), udon (thick noodle), donbori (stuff on rice) places nearby.
When we are not studying or eating we fill our time with more sightseeing, festivals (there are tons apparently), karaoking (inescapable whatever problems you have with singing in public :p), arcading, purikura (photo booths where you can add all sorts of things and posed to your pictures)
Anywayz, there is much more to write but I hope this gives everyone some general idea of what I've been up too. Comments are most welcome (nederlands or english :P) and I'll try to keep this thing updated....
Phieuw, finally I manage to squeeze in a few hours to inform my loving friends and relatives (who where unfortunately neglected due to a full-time Kyoto schedule :p Sorry bout that) about my life in Kyoto!