Written on May 27, 2007
Finally! I got around to writing again. Sorry, but I've been busy both at work and on the weekends. I will try to be better about writing in the future.
Well, I've done a lot in the last month but I think the highlight was my trip to Kyoto. I went there with some friends and so, I didn't have to worry about the logistics of getting there. They figured out everything for me. We departed from the Nagoya train station which, by the way, is literally the biggest train station in both Japan AND the world! I read that approximately 1.2 million people use it every day. We took the bullet train which was quite an experience. What should have been a three-hour trip by car took about 45 minutes by this train. It was a little expensive but very convenient.
I really enjoyed Kyoto, but felt a little rushed all day. Getting around town was difficult because of the crowds and so, I didn't get a chance to see all I wanted. I did see two temples that are quite famous, but will focus on what's referred to as 'The Golden Temple.' I will definitely visit Kyoto again before I leave Japan.
In picture number one, you can see this temple in the distance surrounded by water. In the second picture, you can see the same temple from behind. You can tell by looking at the water that it had just started sprinkling. It lasted for only five minutes but seemed appropriate at the time.
Some more observations . . .
*I really, really like my coworkers! Some of them were a little shy at first, but have overcome that shyness as time progressed. It's a pleasure to go to work every day.
*The students . . . well, I've spoken of them before, but they continue to impress. The other day, I was in the main office and noticed that someone had shut my office door. I could also hear some kind of noise coming from inside. When I went to investigate, I found a student vacuuming my carpet! Not only that, but he was a major! I couldn't believe it! When I asked him why he, a major, was doing this, he simply replied that he was a student and his rank didn't matter. It was his duty to clean my office. Gosh! I've had students in the past that made me happy if they took their pizza boxes with them when they left class!! DLI really needs to move to Japan.
*When I go downtown, I sometimes like to conduct an experiment. I pull out a little pocket map of Nagoya and start looking at it. In a very short time, someone ALWAYS stops to ask if I need help or directions. This happens without fail. Sometimes, it happens immediately and sometimes it happens after only a few minutes but it always happens. The people here are so polite. I haven't always had positive experiences in Asia but Japan has been positive without exception.
Gosh! I've had to rush this segment a little because I'm going hiking today with some of my coworkers. Don't worry though! I've heard the hill is only 300 meters so it shouldn't be as strenuous as the one I climbed in Slovakia. I'll tell you more later.