Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Orientation (Chris)

My dorm mates and I
(August 30, 2014) A lot has happened during my first week in Japan. I have met so many people and have seen many sites. This week was the orientation week for Kansai Gaidai University, so I had to wake up every day this week at 7:00 while being jet-lagged, and walking 20 minutes to the university.  Along my walk is a plant for the company Komatsu that constructs equipment for various things, mainly construction equipment.  The area across the street from Komatsu is residential. The walk is not difficult to make. I literally walk out the door and walk straight down the road until I reach the gates to the college. Most of the people, that I pass, are older people riding bicycles.

My dormitory for the semester
A view of Komatsu from the street

Most of my first week was spent on campus getting ready to take classes. But, on Friday, the international student body was divided up for orientation on the use of the train and bus system (which is surprisingly easy). A group of people and I spent the day in Kyoto. This was my first time in Kyoto. We went to Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple. At these two locations a group of people and I did a few of the normal things when visiting a shrine or a temple. We purified our hands and mouth, and wandered around the grounds. Inari-Taisha Shrine has many torii that create almost a hallway. Torii are traditional Shintō gates.  It was a really cool site. Kiyomizu Temple was such a pretty site.  We got there about 45 minutes before closing, so we did not get to see the entire temple, but we saw most of it. In the valley of Kiyomizu was a water purification place where you take a ladle and put it into these mini waterfalls to get water to purify oneself by drinking the water. After the temple closed for the day, we left to find a place to eat, but all of the nearby shops were already closed.  It was surprising to see how quickly a place becomes completely quiet. We were able to find a place to eat and made it back to the dorm.  That is a summary of my first week in Japan. On Monday, I officially start taking classes.  So, until next week. Sayonara.

Inari-taisha Shrine

Kiyomizu Temple

Water purification at Kiyomizu Temple

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