Time for another first day of school, only this one was in a foreign country and therefore more exciting. I didn’t have class until 9 and I’m only a 15 minute bus/walk away from the campus, but I got up at 7, had 7:30 breakfast then left at 8. What can I say, I wanted to be on time! Breakfast this morning was really good, okaa-san made a sunny side up egg with ham cooked into it, plus shiitake, miso and toast! The toast was sooo good, I love how thick it is here. Plus the honey – a truly great combo. Then as I was ready to go to the bus stop, okaa-san said ‘let’s go’ and ya know what? She walked me over there like I’m in some cheesy slice-of-life thing. I couldn’t believe it!!! We got to the bus stop, she told me not to worry and reminded me what stops I could take, then she saw me off until I was actually on the bus. I kind of wanted to take a picture.
Turns out I wasn’t the only early spud – I ended up getting off the bus and walking that perfectly-awkward 20 feet behind another AKP student, but I didn’t know his name (and I’m forgetting it now, dang it) and I didn’t want to be a weirdo and either speed up or call out something like “yo gaijin” so I kept my pace and hoped he wouldn’t turn around and see me. I mean, it’s nobody’s fault or choice, but it’s just one of those situations where you feel the weird. Anyways, we both made it to the same bench (whew, relief struck me) and started chatting, and were soon joined by a flock of also-early AKP students. Finally the time came that we actually had to do something, so we split into our respective nihongo review groups and got cracking. It was mostly talking about the weekend, self-introduction and a bit of a worksheet, but I’ll be damned if that bit of a worksheet didn’t whoop my ass. Ageru, kureru, morau I’m coming for you, ya stankin’ grammar. Ugh. (Fun fact – when I came home, I asked okaa-san about it and she helped me with it for at least an hour. I can’t take this kindness man.)
Then, I went on to my lunch break. Ya know how long it is? 2 hours – minimum! On Mondays my afternoon class runs 1:10 – 2:40 with nothing afterwards, and Fridays are no afternoon classes, but Tuesday through Friday I have a weird, almost 4-hour lunch break and class is 2:50 – 4:20 (blaze it). What the hell am I supposed to do to entertain myself in that time? I mean hopefully I can actually explore some more of Kyoto with this weird time lump, but for now it just seems like too much power. Blech.
My afternoon Monday/Wednesday class is called Minorities and Immigrants in Contemporary Japan, and the course syllabus seems interesting. We’ll be reading about and discussing burakumin, zainichi, nikkei, Ainu and other segregated peoples in Japan – check back later and I’ll probably be posting about what we learn in class! The professor seems like a sweet lil ol’ man, and he promised field trips so I’m excited. Woot woot! And so the 1 1/2 hours came and went, then I was on my way home.
Fun fact: despite there being 1 stop name, there are multiple stops with the same name depending on which line you’re riding, and even if they’re super close to each other when you’re a gaijin you don’t know and likely can’t read any signs that clue you in. Yay. So I started by just hitting up a big hyaku-en shop (literal dollar store, as in *everything* besides a few snack stands is just 100 yen/~1 USD), where I got a few lattes and some spiffy notebooks for $4. Then came the real fun, aka 20 minutes of me wandering to find my new home despite only being a 3 minute walk from it. Problem was, not only am I horrid at not getting lost, I also wasn’t entirely sure that it was a different stop (on an entirely different street) than where I rode the bus. It was, but silly me with no wifi/data/whatever couldn’t be sure, so we was a bit screwed. Oh well, I made it anyways.
Tonight was yakitori, gyoza, a Japanese version of a manapua and oshinko. So meaty, so much, so mhmmm. For dessert I got to try taiyaki that okaa-san bought specifically just because I asked about it (thanks for the rec Melissa!!!). She got original and matcha, but I only tried original tonight because if you’re gonna go a first time, you might as well do it right, right? It was yummy, and a nice experience because I got to see more of Chiro-chan’s tricks – she got ripped-off pieces of the pancake itself. And after dinner okaa-san and I talked about how we’re all just one people, and her seeing everyone as the same and the bigness of people’s hearts yet also close-mindedness that you can see from anyone. Basically, she was inspiring, I was sitting there in awe at her words and m comprehension level, and then we checked out because *le gasp!* I have school tomorrow. Until then, oyasuminasai!