- No brownies. At least, there are none anywhere that I’ve been. Maybe they’re just super American, or hidden in the dark back shelf of some conbini down that side alley by the bus stop, but I can’t find any and I need a fix.
- In Japan, from what I can gather, not living on campus is the normal thing in college. Which is strange coming from America, where you have to live on campus in most places for at least one year, if not more (I’ll be living on campus for all of undergrad). You know what it affects, that Americans don’t appreciate then? Space design. Everything at Doshisha is meant to be functional, so there are few to no places to simply relax, or that aren’t bustling with people. It’s a difference I’m just now realizing and not appreciating.
- On that note, making plans with students isn’t nearly as easy or accessible as it is at home. Everyone isn’t right on campus when you want them to be, wifi is rarely available at Doshisha so I have to message far in advance then be left hanging – it’s a mess for those who like to plan spontaneously. The forethought required for hangouts here is much more necessary than at home, and it’s been more than a small obstacle for me in trying to make and see new friends.
- Pudding. Or, as it’s known here, purin. Which is everything under the sun, from flan to pudding to weird airy mousse texture. I’m fine with it, but when you’re buying purin anything be ready for a guessing game galore.
- The goddamn bikers. STAY IN YOUR LANE.
- There’s this one cat logo moving company that’s *always* in my way and makes me scarily walk in the middle of the street on my way home. I never see the trucks anywhere else, but there’s stickers for them all over the city. What the heck.
- Toilet seats are always warm. Even when they don’t have the typical fancy toilet tech, they’re warm and I like it.
- Halloween is in full swing here. It’s not everywhere, but the stores that have stuff can rival American stores, and I think that’s saying something.
- A lot of people here talk to me with their mouths full. I mean this is at meal times, and we do it in America too, but I’m talking just-took-a-bite, non-comprehensible type of mouth-full talking to me. I don’t care from a courtesy perspective, I just absolutely cannot understand anyone when they do that to me. So I ask for a repeat and it leads to more mouth-full talking, when that’s the problem in the first place . . . why, friends, why?
- Some words that have kanji are written in hiragana, a lot, and I never understood the reasoning for that. I’m not saying I always do now, but okaa-san explained it a bit. Typically, if something has kanji and is written in it, the product was actually made in Japan. If it uses hiragana instead, it was likely made out of country. (This was sparked by my hunt for honey candy; all but one bag used hiragana, so I had to know why one brand was pretentious and used kanji. The more you know, eh?)
- The leaves don’t start changing here until November earliest. Yeah, some places start in October, but not near me and it’s hella strange. Coming from New England, which is famous for its fall foliage starting in mid-late September, this is very strange. Kyoto doesn’t see it’s leafy peak until mid-November earliest.
- Few people carry water bottles. Due to the vending machines everywhere and the fantastic array of drinks, it’s easier/more interesting to just buy-as-you-go. It’s not as wasteful with their separate bottle and label recycling system, but coming from a place where there’s literally no incentive or good clean-up method for these things I find it odd. Mottainai (don’t be wasteful) not applicable here? I don’t know, I stick to my water bottle/thermos.
- Cat stuff is everywhere – it’s not just in the anime or wherever! We’re talking shirts, socks, bedspreads, tea cozies, fancy china. You name it, they make it with cats. A+ job Japan, loving it.
Check out my other Thoughts On Kyoto posts below, and take a look at all the posts in my Thoughts On . . . series here.