It has been forever since I last wrote anything, but this time I really have lots to tell. First, now I’m actually living in Kyoto and technically totally settled down. My flight from Helsinki-Vantaa to Kansai International took place on Sunday the 9th of September. Everything went fine, except we kind of a lost all sleep that night. On the other hand, I didn’t actually have a jet lag at all, since I just stayed up until nine on Tuesday and woke up with an alarm on the next day. Really comfy compared to what others went through.
Kyoto is a super hot and humid place. I have been worshiping my air-conditioner. The whole dorm is really cool inside compared to other buildings just to make it more healthy to us foreigners from cold climates. The building is old but it functions quite well. We have our own little rooms with a lot of cabinet space, own air-conditioner/heater, table, chair and bed. I also rented a fridge+freezer -combination for 8 euros, since the kitchens’ ones are really full. Bedding is included with the rent like technically everything else too. I really like this old dorm compared to the new one which is far from shops, located uphill in middle of nowhere and is even more expensive. Here you meet the other residents in the corridors and kitchens. I have made a lot of new friends from all over the world. This exchange will make my Japanese better of course, but also my English, French, Spanish, Swedish and Chinese.
Food’s good and quite cheap, I take my bicycle to everywhere to save some money and to get free exercise and the weather is sunny. Temples, shrines, historical sites and shops are numerous, so there’s no problem about too much time and too little to do. Japanese people are mainly friendly, a bit surprising sometimes and they love eating and drinking. There are of course days when I’m totally fed up with the paper work and stupid rules ( they will take away your residence card and passport when you are applying for working permit, but it is illegal for a foreigner to be without either one and the consequences are severe…), but most of the time I’ totally happy with everything and wanting to stay here forever.
Studying only began two weeks ago, so we are still getting used to the schedule (which is easy) and to the teachers (mostly great). The University of Ritsumeikan, Ritsu for short, is close by and has quite new facilities. It has at least two combinis (stores), three or four cafeterias (really good but pricey), a book store, a gym, a library and a lot more, so there’s really no need to leave the place during daytime. We foreigners are quite separated from the ordinary students but at least the “buddies” (tutors) are Japanese. It would be a shame to get here and not befriend anyone from Kyoto.
But for now everything is going quite smoothly after choosing the courses (they still do it with real paper!), getting a phone and opening a bank account. Finding the best places to buy food and stationary etc. is like solving a puzzle, fun but it takes its time. The other students, kanrinins (dorm’s parents) and buddies have been a great help.
This was all for this time, next I’m trying to get here some travel pictures.