w-inds. – ハナムケ (w-inds. – Hanamuke — w-inds. – Parting Gift)
A goodbye song.
My final post for this blog! Spring break for the exchange students was March 19th-23rd. The Japanese students at Kansai Gaidai were either still on break–they ended their semester in January before we came back, and returned in April. Anyway, my mother’s spring break (she’s a teacher) happened to line up with mine, so she and my father came to Japan to visit!
19th:They arrived in Tokyo on the 18th, so I took a night bus from Osaka that evening and arrived in Tokyo the morning of the 19th. We then went to Disney Sea! Disney Sea is a Disney theme park unique to Japan/Tokyo. It was lovely, but the wait times in Japan are no joke. I went to Disney World in Orlando last May with a few friends, one of whom was a Japanese exchange student at UF. We skipped a few rides for later/used a Fast Pass because the wait times were more than forty minutes, but the Japanese friend kept saying how short an eighty minute wait was compared to Japan. I believed her, of course, but it didn’t really register… however, the waits for the few rides at Disney Sea were all above two hours. It wasn’t exactly peak season, and we went on a Monday… It was rough, haha.
That evening we went to Tokyo Tower, and actually climbed up this time. When I went in December with Halona, we didn’t go inside because it cost money. XD It was cool!
The view from Tokyo Tower
20th: We took the shinkansen (bullet train) back to Osaka in the morning. Riding the shinkansen was great–it was comfortable, fast (of course), and Mt. Fuji was visible from the train as well. In fact, as we were passing Mt. Fuji, the conductor(?) came over the PA and said something along the lines of, “We are now passing Mt. Fuji, and it’s so beautiful that you might want to take some pictures.” XD oh, Japan. Not surprising, though, considering that Mt. Fuji is a symbol of Japan, and one of its most important and revered.
After arriving in Kyoto, we had plans to go to Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji (the Gold and Silver Pavilions), but these plans became obsolete after a ridiculously long lunch. We managed to make it onto the Kinkakuji property right as it was closing–some people were even turned away. It was really beautiful, and I’m sad we couldn’t make it to Ginkakuji.
21st: First we went to an old brewery in Kyoto and tried some sake brewed in the original manner (without the use of machines, which is how the company produces most of its sake). It was good. Then we continued down the Keihan main line to Fushimi Inari! It’s my favorite cultural place that I’ve been to so far. It’s so striking.
22nd: We went to see a Takarazuka play! Who’s surprised? XD Well, my favorite troupe was performing a Takarazuka adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, but only for about two weeks–spring break and the week after, which is when all my midterms were. XD But my mother is a Jane Austen fan, and therefore familiar with the story, so she was fine with seeing it. And my father, well…he just came along for the ride. XD It was wonderful! I even did a little bit of demachi (where fans wait outside for the actors to come out) and saw Suzumi Shio and heard her speech for her fan club. \o/
After the show we went back to Umeda and went to Hep Five (a mall with a ferris wheel on its roof). We rode the ferris wheel and ate a waffle shop–it’s sort of like a cake shop, but with waffles. It was delicious!
23rd: The last day. We went to two temples in Nara: Todaiji and Yakushiji. Todaiji is the largest wooden structure in Japan (the world?), and is actually only one-third of its original size. We then went to Yakushiji, another Buddhist temple dedicated to the Buddha Yakushi. Unfortunately, it was being renovated, so the view was marred by all of the reconstruction.
That evening we met up with my speaking partner and went out for yakiniku! I love yakiniku. XD
They left the twenty-fourth, and I started preparing for all my midterms. XD
That’s all! I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog. 😀