質問事項は、1. Where are you from? 2. Is this your first time in Japan? 3. Why did you come to Japan? 4. What is one thing about Japan that surprised you? 5. What is your impression of Japanese people? の5題でした。


Where are you from?
Why did you decide to come to Uji?
などです。中には、英語の通じないグループもありましたが、ほとんどの方が笑顔で質問に答えてくれました。計30人から解答を得ることができました。Thank you so much!


I attended my first sumo match this weekend. Usually I am not a fan of any sport, but a friend invited me to go to Nagoya with her to see the sumo tournament there. Tickets had been sold out online for months, but some would be available at the arena in the morning. We were advised to arrive early, around 6 am. After my dinner of the most delicious eel, and a nice bath in my ryokan's sento, I set my alarm for 5:15 so that I would have time to get ready and walk over to the arena. I woke up and saw that the time was 5:40! Oh no! I had set my alarm for the right time, but for the wrong day! I got ready as quickly as I could and called a taxi to save time. My friend was already in line when I arrived. An attendant marked the end of the line just behind me. I was relieved, because if I had been any later, I would not be able to buy a ticket. Then, the attendant moved the marker to 4 people ahead of me! I was no longer in line. I didn't know what to do. I asked, "kippu wo kaimasuka" and the attendant only said, "Tabun." A woman was able to explain that even though I could not buy the ticket I wanted, I could possibly buy a ticket that someone else had cancelled, which of course would be much more expensive. That is how I ended up sharing a box seat with a lovely Japanese man who kindly explained the matches to me. I was able to try a bowl of chanko, which is a special stew that rikishi eat. It was very tasty. I actually had a lot of fun watching the matches. I tried to guess who would win, and I was surprised when it wasn't always the biggest rikishi. Although I do not consider myself a big sumo fan, I would definitely go see another tournament. And I'd buy tickets for the box seat.


Over Golden Week, and the week after, one of my best friends came to visit me. It was very exciting to see my new home through her eyes. Every day Japan feels more and more like home. It feels less strange and foreign, and more like this is just how life is here. It's nice to be in that comfortable place, but also very refreshing to share it with a first-timer. She had a rather short to-do list: eat conbini sushi, order ramen from a machine, and ride a crowded train. Although we could have easily crossed-off every item on her list within her first ten minutes in Japan, she also wanted to visit Tokyo. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. I was under the impression that Tokyo was highly overrated. I mean, really, what does Tokyo have that we don't have here, or at least in Osaka?
I understand that subtle antagonism, being from Vancouver. When I tell people I am from Canada, they often ask, "Oh, Toronto?" I try not to be annoyed, and just happy that anyone knows a city from my country. But Toronto is kind of like our Tokyo; It's the default city foreigners think of, and that can cause a touch of resentment from time to time.
But we had a very good time in Tokyo. We went to several museums: Studio Ghibli, ramen, parasite. We ambled through Akihabara and hurried through Harajuku. We visited shrines and shopping malls. Of course, there was too much to fit into just a few days. We didn't even get to see the Sky Tree! I enjoyed Tokyo, but I was very happy to head home to the much more laid-back Kyoto.


The new school year has begun! It feels a little bit strange, because in Canada the school year starts in September. But, spring is a time of new beginnings and is the perfect time for school to begin. While I did not take a break along with the students, I found plenty of time to enjoy Kyoto during this special time. I particularly enjoyed watching the Hanezu Odori at Zuishin-in. I love the precision of traditional Japanese arts. I tried uirō, which is a sort of brown sugar jelly that you eat straight out of a bamboo tube. It tasted a little bit like liquorice to me. It was very delicious! The dance reminded me of the Japanese tea ceremony with its deliberate and practiced steps. The temple's famous plum garden was also lovely. I didn't know that there were so many different types of plum blossoms. While plum blossoms are very pretty, the true star of the season is the sakura. I love how the build-up to the first blooms is almost a season of its own. Everything is sakura-coloured or flavoured. Decorations are in every store. It's like Christmas! I enjoyed walking down the Tetsugaku no Michi or Philosopher's Path, and seeing all the beautiful sakura trees, although I think half the city was also trying to walk down the same path. It was very busy! But now, the sakura blossoms are gone and it is time to focus on textbooks and classes.