04. 18. (Thursday)

And the smooth insides

And the smooth insides

Black sesame anpan

Black sesame anpan

On Thursday I only had classes in the afternoon, so I could eat at home. I wanted to extend my egg pörkölt for another day, so I needed to get more eggs. I went to the Fresco at Shuugakuin again, and got white eggs which I’m absolutely not used to, as all eggs are kinda… well… light brownish/beige colored in Hungary. I was even more surprised to find that the shell is even more white that the insides XD; Anyway, since I was already there, I went to the bakery for an anpan, this time for the one with black sesame on top. And finally I realized the difference: the one with the white sesame seems to have more rougher parts of the bean as well, while the paste in the other is very smooth. I think I like the rougher more, because it’s just more exciting :D

The washing machine

The washing machine

After that I went to wash my clothes. Fortunately there are two washing machines in the building we can use for free, so yay~ The problem was, that despite checking the machine once, I didn’t translate all the words there, so in the end I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and could only hope I took the right program. I wasn’t really sure about the washing powder/softener thing either, and I just used the washing liquid I got the day before at a drug store at the Kyoto Station (I even asked one of the clerks, because I couldn’t figure out which is the washing stuff XD;). After the program was over it turned out I wasn’t doing it right, because the machine ate one of my shirts – it’s completely useless now >< From the feel I also deduced that there needs to be softener somewhere in the drug store, and I need them next time. I hung the clothes up in my very small and otherwise unusable balcony, but the "rope" there seemed kinda loose, so I was a bit worried when I left everything here.

Look at these pretty swallows!

Look at these pretty swallows!

Grape juice - yumm~

Grape juice – yumm~

The uni was nothing special. After the classes I stopped by the drug store to stock up on Vitamin C, softener, and I also got panty liners as well. Sorry, if anyone thinks it’s intimate topic, but I think it’s part of daily life and another interesting thing here. So, I was surfing the net beforehand to see what they have here in Japan, but even with that it wasn’t easy to pick one. Well, if it doesn’t work out I can try something else next time. Anyway, the interesting thing was, that at the counter the panty liners were put in a bag separately, and then once more with the other stuff. I think I have heard about this before, that such “intimate” articles will be hidden, so others can’t see what you buy, but experiencing it first hand was kinda strange – not to mention the bag of that store is completely brown anyway… Oh well, just another tidbit I guess ^^;

Interesting colors

Interesting colors

Another shrine

Another shrine

The eagles like to sit up there

The eagles like to sit up there


Sneaking a pic of the manga magazines

Sneaking a pic of the manga magazines

The stationary grab of today - I love the classic manuscript paper!

The stationary grab of today – I love the classic manuscript paper!

There were still some things I needed so I decided to check out another 100 yen store I found before, when I was walking from home to KyoDai. While I was walking there, I noticed the Gakusei Recycle second had shop our guide papers mentioned but without address. I was in a dire need of a rice cooker, so I checked out what they had. They had small rice cookers, and while I still wanted to check out other stores, I was quite keen on buying the rice cooker there. Later at the other 100 yen shop I found what I was looking for: a sponge for showering~ I was already a few train stops away, but I decided to go back to Demachiyanagi, check out the eagles and maybe the shopping arcade on the other side of the river. I saw some new roads and landscapes, and even found another (well, probably not so) hidden shrine on the way. I did some shoppings at the 100 yen shop at the other side too, and after the long walk I finally got home…

Turned out to be quite grassy for me, but interesting

Turned out to be quite grassy for me, but interesting

Maccha choco with cookie

Maccha choco with cookie

…only to find most of my freshly washed clothes on the ground >< That rope just couldn't hold the weight :/ Most of them weren't even dry yet, so I decided to hang them up on the gas pipe that's running along the ceiling in the kitchen and the bathroom – I didn't want to have any more humidity in the room itself. I was very disappointed with my first washing, but yeah, part of it was my own fault for not checking the machine beforehand and not securing the rope. Well, I translated the courses of the machine in the evening and I had a softener, so I knew it could only be better ^^

My peeler is magnetic! And above is my small town~

My peeler is magnetic! And above is my small town~

Jar and toothbrush

Jar and toothbrush

Say hello to my new dust cleaner XD

Say hello to my new dust cleaner XD

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04. 17. (Wednesday)

Mayo, corn and a 100% fruit juice

Mayo, corn and a 100% fruit juice

Yumm~

Yumm~

04/17 Wednesday
On Wednesday I had free, so I went shopping so I could cook up some lunch. I went to the Fresco at the next station in the south, Shuugakuin, and at the same time I wanted to test the bakery there. At Fresco I decided to make one of my most fave and most easy meals, egg pörkölt? Uhm… I’m not sure how to say it in English, but it’s a basic Hungarian stew, just with eggs instead of meat, and instead of noodles with bread and mayo corn salad – my own variation. I got the ingredients, only bread was missing, but I wanted to try my luck at the bakery. And you know what, they had whole-weat bread! Sure, it was the same square type and too fluffy compared to our bread, but it was whole-weat at least! A got two pastries as well, I don’t really remember about the first one, but the green thing might have been green tea powder in the there, though it didn’t taste any grassy, and after the taiyaki I was eager to taste anpan as well. There were two versions, one with white, one with black sesam on the top – this time I got the white one. Needless to say, everything was very yummy, and it was even cheaper than the other bakery. Of course I was all over the red bean paste, so I knew it wouldn’t be my last anpan XD What I really like about this bakery, that they have small plates in front of the pastries, where they note what the pasties contains – very useful for me. Oh, and both pastries were freshly baked and still warm :D~~~~

Discount apples, as one had a brown spot ^^; Not sure what issue the grapes had...

Discount apples, as one had a brown spot ^^; Not sure what issue the grapes had…

There was another grocery shop there that seemed to have a lot of vegetables and fruits, so I decided to check it out, but in the end it turned out to be just like a regular shop and the price of the fruits and stuff was like everywhere else. On the other hand I got some discounted fruits here, and I found here my smoked cheese from before, which is great, because I don’t need to wander to the other shop if I want to eat cheese. The other ones were all Camembert and more expensive, so I just bought this smoked loveliness again <3


Tojáspörkölt~~~

Tojáspörkölt~~~

The power of the Hungarian paprika!

The power of the Hungarian paprika!

When I got home I cooked my egg pörkölt, and I have to say, it was heavenly *___* I like the eggs here btw, they are all clean, big and the color of the yolk is pretty too. The mayo corn was a bit different than at home, but I guess the mayo does taste a bit differently. But it’s also true that I didn’t put any onion in it, because I was planning to go out later XD Btw the canned corns are quite small here, but oh well… After lunch I wanted to go to the Kyoto Station, because I got the tip that at the Bic Camera there I could find a filter jar for my water needs. To save money I went to Demachiyanagi with my pass, and then walked to the subway station near there. On the way I saw the gorgeous eagles at Demachiyanagi, but it’s very hard to take a picture of them. Not to mention my batteries ran out and somehow the other one wasn’t charged by the charger, but fortunately there was a 100 yen shop there, so I could quickly get some batteries there.

The futuristic Kyoto Station

The futuristic Kyoto Station

Awesome inner structure

Awesome inner structure

The subway was comfortable again, and soon I arrived at the Kyoto Station. Well, it was quite overwhelming and I didn’t even see much of it yet. There are a lot of people, lot of tourists, and it was hard to know where to go at all. Generally I can get anywhere with a map, but here I was going quite some unnecessary rounds all day, because it just wasn’t clear where I was. There is actually the Kyoto Tower, that could serve as a guide, but the buildings there are huge, so most of the time it wasn’t even visible ^^; Somehow I did find the Bic Camera, which is like a 6-storey electric shop. First I went to the kitchen goods, I found rice cookers and ovens that would be great for me, but the cheapest were like 3000 yen, and it’s not like I could have carried them home, so it was just for my reference. I found the jars too, and OMG there were so many! It took me like 30 minutes to figure out which to buy, because they aren’t really cheap, and after the price of the jar you even need to consider the price of the filter. In the end I got one, only hoping it would be good.

Bic Camera - very big

Bic Camera – very big

Kyoto Tower... one day...

Kyoto Tower… one day…

After that I checked out the tablets, so I could get a real life testing of the ones I considered getting, the Acer Iconia Tab A700-S32B and the ASUS Pad TF300T TF300-BL32. I still couldn’t decide, but in the end the Full HD made me pick the Acer one. The Asus one felt a bit slimmer and slightly bigger, though they should be nearly the same, but yeah, in the end the pixels count. I decided to check out the electronic toothbrushes as well, since I couldn’t bring mine here. I found my Oral-B brush there, and considered buying it too, but then I thought about how I wouldn’t be able to bring that one back to Hungary either, and how it just wasn’t worth the money. And there I saw the solution: a toothbrush with batteries! It’s working with two AA batteries, so you can bring it everywhere, and I have rechargeable ones too, so it’s all great – and it was much cheaper than the others with a plug. I spent quite a lot of time at the store, but I was satisfied with my shoppings – and hungry, so the anpan saved my life and was delicious~~~

An all-direction crossing - my first time seeing such a thing here

An all-direction crossing – my first time seeing such a thing here

Toji Temple... one day...

Toji Temple… one day…

Other than that I wanted to check out two more things here: the Animate and another Book Off. I followed the map, but it was still hard to figure out where to go and how, so in the end I made a huge detour under the blazing sun getting there. I seriously need an umbrella against the sun or I will die here in summer >< On the way I passed by the Toji Temple, but I was already too tired to go in – next time. The Book Off was a pleasant surprise as well, because it seems they have a separate pricing that others don't: 250 yen – which sounds much better than 350! Great, I seriously need to come back here as soon as possible~ After that I wanted to check out the Animate (strictly viewing only, not buying), and somehow I even found the department store where it's located. Avanti, the department store could be useful in future for other things as well, like clothes, shoes, though I'm kind of sick of the overly cute and way too feminine fashion they have here, so I'm afraid I won't really find things when needed. Anyway, the Animate was kinda small, but full of great and tempting merchandise. Still, other than that I was more impressed by the Daiso 100 yen shop there, because they seemed to have some very pretty stuff – and most of all, I finally got here a peeler for my potatoes! There were like three different sorts for different purposes (like tomato and such), so I was really impressed. I need to go back there too, because I saw there some great western-type plates, and I need some, or I will go mad with the little bowls here. At the ground floor of Avanti there is a grocery shop with some imported stuff as well, which might be useful later.

Pretty tree

Pretty tree

By the time I got out of Avanti, I was already dead tired and my feet hurt like hell. I was doing my best to get back to the subway, but it didn’t really work out – I did another detour orz Then I realized I don’t have the energy to walk 10-15 minutes from the subway, so I wanted to go to the Keihan station near there, which would directly bring me to Demachiyanagi. The road there turned out to be longer than expected, so I was basically running the same amount as with the subway, but at least I got over with it before the trains and once again I saw a part of the town I didn’t yet. And yeah, I was just happy to get home after this long day.

04. 15-16. (Monday to Tuesday)

Pastries and vitamin drink

Pastries and vitamin drink

Sorry for the huge delay – again -_-; Let’s try to continue where I left off. On Monday last week I had my first Monday classes. Monday is pretty heavy, because I start at 8:45 and my classes end at 16:15 with only a one-hour lunch break in between. As the day is starting so early I can’t have “breakfast” at home, because I’m unable to eat early in the morning. Generally I eat a little something like yogurt and like a Kinder Penguin around 09:30 (well, in Hungary) and that keeps me going till lunch at… 11:00 XD Well, it doesn’t work like this here, so I had to get something. I saw a bakery on the way to the uni, and since I was still curious about the rye bread situation, I went there and got two pieces of pastries. I forgot to check the rye bread, because I was in a hurry, but in the evening I think I saw something like that from outside of the shop. The pastries were okay, but I felt they were too pricey, so I wasn’t sure I would got back there. They had small cards about the pastries, but it wasn’t easy to figure out if they had anything dangerous for me, so yeah. But okay, other than the price, they were okay and yummy~

Lunch with onigiri and potato salad

Lunch with onigiri and potato salad


The classes themselves are… well. Let’s not talk about it. But actually we will have the most homework for Monday every time, so it’s not that fun :/ Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to do about lunch. I wanted to got to Sujata, but because of my slowness I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back in time with all the walking. With this I went for the road at Hyakumanben that leads home, because I remembered there was a supermarket – meaning: potato salad! In the end I didn’t have to go that far, because I saw a conbini that seemed to be full of ready-to-go food. I checked it out and decided to try the onigiri, and of course I got potato salad as well XD It was hard to pick the onigiri, because most of them have fish or other animals in them, but I managed to find two safe sort: sekihan and wakame onigiri. The sekihan one was great – actually I think I love everything with red beans in it -, but after opening the wakame onigiri I was greeted by a strong smell of the sea. First I thought I made a mistake and there was fish in it, but actually it was the same like with algae pills, which have a strong smell of the sea as well – since these things come from the sea, it’s impossible to get rid of the smell. I can say after a few tries, that I’m already kinda used to it, and since things like wakame are healthy as well, all the better ^^

Sakura in the sunset

Sakura in the sunset


The afternoon was uneventful, and I felt like it was dragging along… After the classes our little group of Intermediate II was supposed to meet our tutor – we received one from KyoDai. Well, I won’t go into details, but yeah, he wants to help us, but I feel like I have gotten more infos and more help from the other students there. My main questions that time were the water filtering jar, because I’m unable to drink the water from the tap, transferring money for like paying the rent, and the cell phone. Some of them still aren’t solved, but yeah, our tutor can’t really help there ^^;

The Water Gel with my vitamins in the background

The Water Gel with my vitamins in the background

I'm not sure if you can see from the pic, but it has a watery consistence

I’m not sure if you can see from the pic, but it has a watery consistence

The day was long, but I needed to check out the drug store and the 100 yen shop at Hyakumanben. After some research on the net I figured out the sun blocker issue. Previously I have seen Nivea Water Gels for an okay price, but I wasn’t sure what water gels were. Later I found out they are indeed sun blockers, but more moisture, which could be good for my dry skin – my skin is still dry in this humid weather, who would have thought… I got a 50 factor PA+++ water gel and I’m very satisfied with it and my skin doesn’t break out anymore. Still, I’m considering getting a sun blocking umbrella as well, because the sun is very strong here, and despite using my blocker from home almost from the start, I have more freckles on my skin than ever. Anyway, my other mission was Vitamin C, and also upon researching on the net I found out that I don’t need to look for 1000 mg versions, because there aren’t any.

Sesame cookie from egg white - not bad, but I would have preferred it without the sugar layer

Sesame cookie from egg white – not bad, but I would have preferred it without the sugar layer


The drug store here had a great selection of Vitamin Cs, and I found one for a good price too, I just need to take three pills a day. At the 100 yen shop above I got some clothespins and such as I was preparing to wash my clothes one of those days. I think this was the time when I realized that this 100 yen shop is indeed a 100 yen shop and not 105 like all the others, which is great, and that they have a great selection of sweets for 100 – also with some I got for 128 at a regular supermarket. And with that my long day finally ended.

Beautiful garden

Beautiful garden

Just waiting for the bus

Just waiting for the bus

04/16 Tuesday
My Tuesday was quite uneventful, I had a boring grammar class in the morning, and now with my commuter pass I could easily come home for lunch, and leave for Seika after a short break. At the shuttle bus I met another student from the class, so I could somehow practice Japanese a bit again, but I didn’t do that well this time either :( For the class itself we had to read an essay in Japanese, which was quite a task. Fortunately I was somehow familiar with the topic (it was gekiga with a new aspect to look at the genre and the works), but of course I couldn’t understand 100% of the text. There were discussions again, but it was still early to voice my opinion – though the others mostly mentioned what I wanted to say so yeah. After that there was another presentation, so we finished quite late, and the line for the bus was even longer than before.

Two more day coming in a few minutes, it just seems like WordPress doesn’t like long posts as it’s always eating half of it in the editor…

04. 11-14. (Thursday to Sunday)

UPDATED with parts that disappeared somehow when I copied the text here o_o

Juice with berries - it was okay

Juice with berries – it was okay

Somehow I feel like I will never catch up with this diary, because I’m unable to write every night. I guess it was a mistake to wait more than a week to start with it. Anyway, let’s continue. On Thursday I only had two classes in the afternoon, so I decided to do the compulsory health check. I wasn’t really happy when it turned out at the orientation that we need to have one, because except for taking blood the same things were needed than before applying for the scholarship – x-ray and urine test included – eh… :/ Well, okay, at least no blood was drawn.

There is a temple at Hyakumanben, I should check it out one day

There is a temple at Hyakumanben, I should check it out one day

I had a slow start in the morning and just when I thought they would have the exams for women till 11:00, it turned out it was just till 10:00, so I was almost running to KyoDai. This was when I had my record time reaching there: under 30 minutes XD; But due to that I was quite out of breath and stressed, not to mention it was a bit hard to know where to go first and how. I got into the room, and it was full of separate machines for the different exams. There were a lot of people at the exam as well, and we were going from machine to machine. Blood pressure was the first one, and it was completely self-service with a machine I have never ever seen in my life – I had to ask a guy there how to actually use the machine ^^; My stress level was already very high, so my result wasn’t that great: generally I’m at 120/something, but now it was like 137/something >< After that there was a machine for weight and height measures and of course I wasn’t sure how to use them either ^^; Although I have eaten less in the first week here and feel lighter, my weight didn’t change that much – I guess all the cakes before I left home did their job on me XD The eye exam was completely automatic as well, but the thing is, I completely didn’t understand the result… Well, I just had 3 eye examinations over the past six months at home, so not that it matters. After that only the x-ray exam was left, fortunately it was fast. I’m not sure when the results will be done, but I will apply for a more office certificate, because it costs 100 yen only, but later it can even cost 10 000 at a regular hospital.

Sujata from the outside

Sujata from the outside

Today's lunch set

Today’s lunch set

The whole exam took only 30 minutes, so I still had plenty of time on my hands. I went to the Kyoto University Co-op shop near the campus to buy the books we had to. There is the possibility to apply for a membership, and with that you can get a little discount on the books. The fee is 4000 yen, but the good thing is that you get it back when you cancel the membership. So I applied and bought the four compulsory books and one of the kanji books. Even with the 10% discount they cost almost 10 000 yen, which is just… orz The kanji book was especially expensive, and since I took the Basic Kajin II class as well, I had to buy two more of those >< After the disheartening shopping I went to Sujata once more for lunch. This time the main dish was something else, a block of tofu on some kind of a sauce. The tofu had some jelly on the outside but the inside was very soft, for it was impossible for me to eat it with chopsticks – fortunately they gave me a spoon ^^; From the consistence and how the inside had no taste as it was, I didn't really like the tofu, but the sauce was very good – and the rest as well, of course. After lunch I went to my classes. The second ended after 16:00, and I wanted to take it easy for once, so I just went home after that – this time by bus so I hardy needed to walk. By the time I got home I have found the notice about the registered mail with my cash card from the mail man. It was hard to decipher what to do, but I saw I could call them for a rescheduled delivery – well, phoning in Japanese is still impossible for me, not to mention I don't even have a phone, so I decided to drop by the post on Friday and maybe get the letter. That day I also got a mail from Seika that they will have an event for the new international students from 18:00, so the next day promised to be quite busy again.

Just for the sake of the pretty colors

Just for the sake of the pretty colors

The same temple as yesterday, just another entrance

The same temple as yesterday, just another entrance

On Friday I also had afternoon classes so after lunch I dropped by the post office to ask about the registered mail. I was guided to the right window and there it turned out that the mail needs to be re-scheduled for delivery. I had to write my name and address on the paper and we agreed on Saturday morning. If I hadn't been there, the mail man would have left another type of note and with that I could have collected the mail at the post. After researching a bit I found out that the re-schedule can be organized via internet as well, so I won't need to go to the post for that. To get to the post I was walking almost three stations from my apartment, which took like 20-25 minutes only, and looking at the map I decided it would be shorter to just go the same road till KyoDai, instead of getting on the train and then walk a lot again. The whole trip to KyoDai took like 50 minutes walking, and while you can't do that every day, it does save money. The trip was useful too, because (other than seeing more of the town) on the way I have seen a few shops I didn't know about: like a Fresco supermarket with a bakery in front of it, and they are even closer than the one near the Seika shuttle bus! Good for daily shoppings. After my classes I decided to walk back home to save some money and to take a better look at everything along the way. Now I dropped by the Fresco and got some sweets as I didn't really need anything. You can also buy ready-to-go food in such places, and I decided to try the dango XD Well, in won't be my favorite food here, but it was a nice experience, and my breakfast was solved for a few days.

The pedestrian roads are hard to walk on at times

The pedestrian roads are hard to walk on at times

Todays yummies: coconut biscuits, whole-wheat choco biscuits (called digestive biscuits here) and dango

Todays yummies: coconut biscuits, whole-wheat choco biscuits (called digestive biscuits here) and dango

After I got home I didn't have much more time left, so after a short food break I left for Seika. The event itself turned out to be a bit different from what I expected, but not in a bad way of course. So there we were, the foreign students, and there were a lot of Japanese students as well. The purpose of the event was to mix the foreign and Japanese students, and the concept was that they came up to us and asked us basically the same questions starting with the name, where we were from, what we study and such. We would talk a bit and then they would go up to another one. It also seemed like they were told to speak in English? Or they thought they needed to speak English, I don't know, but they were generally trying to practice their English. Me, on the other hand, wanted to practice my Japanese on them, so we were kinda speaking both XD We foreigners were kinda of a spectacle to the Japanese kids (well, for me they were kinda like kids), and we had to pose for photos too ^^; They were also pretty interested in our ages, which I was kind of embarrassed to say, as I'm so much older than the rest, but in the end it gave me a good feeling because they were pretty shocked at the number, and told me how I don't look like it – well, if the ever so young-looking Japanese think so then there has to be some truth in it XD Btw there was some food at the event as well and even I could eat something because they had salad and fried potatoes – yay for potatoes! The event ended around 20:00 and of course there was a long line at the shuttle bus. While waiting another Japanese guy came up to me, who was at the event before as well, so we were chatting while waiting and on the bus. I was already pretty tired, so my Japanese wasn't that great anymore, but the event was good for practice. The Dutch girl and some others went to a bar after this, but I was so tired from all the walking around and the event was mentally exhausting as well, that I didn't go with them. I was happy to be at home again.

The wall of a kindergarten, good idea to use such things as decoration

The wall of a kindergarten, good idea to use such things as decoration

On Saturday I wasn't sure what to do, but in the end I decided to walk once more to Kyodai to buy the two missing kanji books and check out the electronic dictionaries as I felt it's a real necessity when living and studying in Japan. The ones at the university store were around 24-33 000, which I thought was too much, but the newer types do indeed cost that much. After lamenting the question and looking around a bit on the net I decided to buy a tablet for the same price instead, as you can use it for more than just a dictionary, and I would need to read 160+ pages of essays in digital form, which my laptop is not that great for, not to mention I can't read on the train with that for example. In the store I finally found a 10 m LAN cable for a good price (651 yen), so I was delighted to finally have one, though on the other hand the two kanji book were almost 5000 yen, which is just :/

A very pretty garden, though my photo didn't really capture it

A very pretty garden, though my photo didn’t really capture it

My feet hurt from the walking the day before, so I decided to use the train home, and finally got myself to ask the staff about the commuter passes. In the end I could get the one I saw on the net – one month for 7700, which is pretty much worth the money, as one trip to the uni and back cost me 520 yen, and I need to go there almost every day. The pass is great, because you can use it as much as you want, and while it's only valid between two specific stations, I think you can get on and off at any station between them as well. Okay, I didn't try the getting-off thing yet, but I did get on at a different station – though it was unmanned ^^; So I still need to figure this out, but after a week I can say it's great to have a commuter pass~

I wanted to take some photos on the way to the Seika shuttle bus, so I thought I would go shopping there too. The last time I saw there a confectionery as well, and while I wanted to avoid it to save money, in the end I went there and bought two pieces of cakes. Actually they were all looking so pretty that it was hard to pick one, but well, I can go back later as well. Okay, not that much, because the cakes are indeed very expensive, but you can't not discover the cakes of another country XD It surprised me that you can't site down in the store to eat, it's take-away only, which is unknown in Hungary, but here I have only seen such confectioneries so far. Well, the packing and everything is very tasteful and pretty, just how it's supposed to be for the more expensive kind of food. As for the taste, they were both very sweet, and I liked the one with kiwi more. I got the basket-type because I wanted to compare it to ours, but it's just totally different. Based on these two cakes I can say they are using much less cream and different types of dough in the cakes, which was a bit strange for me, but it's not bad. The fruits on top were all very sweet and tasty, and all in all a nice discovery.

A box of cakes

A box of cakes

Cakes in the box

Cakes in the box

Cakes out of the box

Cakes out of the box



Potato salad~~~

Potato salad~~~

After that I went to Fresco to figure out what to cook on Sunday and get the ingredients. Just the other night I saw a TV show where they were trying to make food with p-man for people who hate it. I was already resigning myself to the fact that I wouldn't be able to eat "lecsó" here, because there is no paprika, the main ingredient here, but seeing how cheap p-man was, I decided to try and see how it was – and well, to figure out why many Japanese are hating it. There were good discounts, so I got shiitake and potatoes at a very cheap price. What really surprised me, how cheap bean spouts are! At home they are very expensive, but here you can get a big bag for just 29-39 yen o_o Great and healthy as well~ Since I didn't have a rice cooker yet, I got some ready-to-go rice, and finally dared to buy potato salad, as it didn't seem to have any meat or derived products. For all these things (adding a C.C Lemon and yogurt to the list) I paid like 761 yen only, which is great. Of course it would have been more expensive if I bought fruits, but I was very satisfied.

Taiyaki from the outside...

Taiyaki from the outside…

...and from the inside

…and from the inside

Outside of the store there was a taiyaki stall. At first I didn't want to buy any, because I just got some expensive cakes, but in the end I couldn't resist – and I didn't regret it! There were anko and choco taiyaki, and I got an anko one, because I wanted to know how it tastes. Oh, I just loved it, it was crispy on the outside and the red bean paste was very yummy! This was probably the first typical Japanese food I really enjoyed, and I knew I would try more stuff with anko in future :D

The vegetables are done

The vegetables are done

The ingredients

The ingredients

My Sunday was pretty uneventful, but I needed a rest already. I was cooking lunch: fried some onions, the p-man and some sprouts, while I fried the mushrooms separately and added the otherwise tasteless rice to that and fried them together. The end result was very yummy, and the p-man turned out to be plain paprika, just like in my country. I thought the skin would be thick or the taste would be strange, but it's just… paprika. Coming from a paprika-loving country it's a mystery for me, how the Japanese don't like it XD; Since p-man is so cheap, I can have lecsó in future as well – yay~ Actually p-man is interesting, because it's small, the shape is like of the California paprika sort, and with this strong green color the paprika would be very hot in Hungary, but here it's just regular paprika. A great discovery for my cooking~

Rice with mushrooms

Rice with mushrooms

Lunch time~

Lunch time~



That's all for now, I'm still very behind on posting, but I will do my best ^^

This is actually my apartment house

This is actually my apartment house

Look at the little trespasser!

Look at the little trespasser!

04. 08-10. (Monday-Wednesday)

By the time I remembered to take a pic I've already eaten half of the food

By the time I remembered to take a pic I’ve already eaten half of the food

I just had to skip a few days, because I’m alway writing in the evening, and either I was too tired, or had to do something for my studies. So last week on Monday we had the opening ceremony at the Kyoto University, an orientation, lectures and such. The ceremony wasn’t that formal, first the teachers were introducing themselves, and then we did. There were more than 40 MEXT students from all over the world! Next to me was an Indonesian girl, and we ended up in the same group, so it was interesting ^^ After this we got some lectures about safety on the streets, but it was more for the bikers, and a short one about what to do in case of fire or earthquake. We had one hour free for lunch, and since the German girl was vegetarian too, we went to look for some food together. I knew there were two vegetarian restaurants near the campus, but one of them is closed on Mondays, so we tried the other one, Sujata. It’s a small little restaurant run by an older lady and helpers. We got the lunch set and it had all kinds of interesting food with boiled and raw vegetables, tofu, soup, rice and such. Although it seemed a lot, the food is not really heavy so it’s best too eat everything up. After my experience at the Seika cafeteria the week before I didn’t have much hope here, but everything was nicely seasoned and very yummy! The lunch set costs 850 yen, so it’s not for every day, but I will go back there more for sure.

Grape juice, I loved it

Grape juice, I loved it

A gorgeous tree at KyoDai where you can sit around

A gorgeous tree at KyoDai where you can sit around

After the lunch we had to write the placement tests. The first one was really simple with hiragana, katakana and basic particles, though I have to confess I did somewhat have trouble with some katakana, because you just don’t use them that much ^^; After this we got the more complicated test which had separate parts for N3, N2 and N1 in all problem types. There was multiple choice, reading and even writing, and well, there I really felt how much I neglected writing due to work the past year. I didn’t feel the test went well and it was indeed like that, I ended up in the Intermediate II group, which is basically N3 level. We had to pick our classes, and I took almost all Intermediate II ones and a Basic Kanji II just for the sake of practice, because I can read them, but can’t write them at all. It turned out that I will have four classes on Monday, so I can’t attend the seminars at Seika, so I wanted to at least go to the class on Tuesday. For that I didn’t take the Conversation class, so I’m hoping my skills will get better in the Japanese environment just with that. Fortunately I don’t have any classes on Wednesday, which is useful for doing other things. Now after a week in classes I can already say that all of them are very didactic, and some of them are not really how I thought they would be. For example in the kanji classes we learn everything else from the lessons in the class, practice reading in the Basic Kanji II as well, which is just boring for me, and we don’t practice writing at all. We have to do that alone at home, which is just… The reason I didn’t get rid of these classes is, that like this I will be forced to practice the kanji, otherwise I might skip it altogether. Many of the classes aren’t fulfilling their purpose, but I don’t really want to complain much more. I guess I will have to do more self-study or I won’t get anywhere. The test and then the wait till we had the results was very long, so it was already half past six by the time we finished, and so the day was already over as well.

Cooking~~~

Cooking~~~

Despite the lateness I had to wash my hair, because I couldn’t on Sunday, and my hair are long, so while I generally don’t use the dryer, this time I was forced to as it was too late already (and cold too). In addition to that I had to prepare the egg plants in my fridge, otherwise they would have died in there. Somehow the fridge was set too high in the beginning and the egg plants didn’t like it, so I just pealed them, that way they would be soft much sooner as well. I made my fave egg plants in tomato sauce with basil, and it was delicious! Generally I put them on rice and strew some cheese on them and put it in the oven for the cheese to melt, but well, it’s impossible here. I put the sauce away for later and planned to eat them with ramen noodles – well, it was an emergency case.

Lunch again, though it's still missing the soup

Lunch again, though it’s still missing the soup

Such pretty blossoms~

Such pretty blossoms~

On Tuesday we had the our first class, Grammar, which it totally boring for me, but what to do. The class ends at 12:00, and the seminar at Seika starts at 14:40, so I decided to eat at Sujata once more. They had the same lunch as the day before, but I totally didn’t mind, because I loved the tofu in that. One side dish was different, but everything was really great again. By the time I finished (since I’m still clumsy with chopsticks it takes 30-35 minutes for me to eat everything up) there was nobody at the restaurant, so we were chatting a bit with the lady running the shop. She was very nice, and my Japanese was also a bit better than before, so it was a good experience :)

Look at this fellow I found! And disregard the garbage in the background...

Look at this fellow I found! And disregard the garbage in the background…

After that I decided to take the bus to Takaragaike or even further depending where the bus would go. It was my first time riding this type of a bus, I mean one that’s leaving the central part and costs more after a while, so you have to put your pre-paid card in the machine when you ride and leave the bus. All in all it was a different experience than the train, because here we would go through smaller streets as well. The trip was cheaper than the train, the only problem is that the bus is running quite rarely, once every hour or so, though there are two buses, so twice every hour. Since I didn’t want to walk I was riding the bus till the final station of the subway. There was still some time, so I decided to check out the Life supermarket (and successfully withstood the urge to go to the Book Off there). I wanted to buy honey, which I did, though the taste isn’t that great compared to the Hungarian one, I guess. I was also checking out the alcoholic drinks because generally I don’t drink alcohol often, but sometimes I just crave some good brandy. They were only carrying one by a local maker, Suntory and like that it wasn’t even that expensive, so I might try it later.

Peach water, loved it

Peach water, loved it

Indeed full of raisin and the dough is soft

Indeed full of raisin and the dough is soft

Then I had the first class at Seika. It’s one for doctoral students and the level is pretty high, basically too high for me at this time. Sometimes I do understand like 80%, sometimes just 30-40%, and generally it’s around 60%, which is obviously not enough. There were two presentations and the class was discussing the works, but it was hard enough for me to understand the presentations and take notes. I really have to work hard on my Japanese if I want to grow up to that level. Otherwise it’s very interesting, and it’s good to be there. The class was very long, we finished almost at half past 6, so I was dead tired and there was a long line for the shuttle bus as well. Despite that I did some shoppings on the way home at Fresco, though I totally can’t remember what I bought there. Maybe that was the time I got some Red Globe grapes – they were to a good price and very yummy. Anyway, that day was very exhausting and I just wanted to sleep.

Egg plant tomato sauce with ramen noodles

Egg plant tomato sauce with ramen noodles

The main building of Seika with the shuttle bus station and the smaller bus

The main building of Seika with the shuttle bus station and the smaller bus

On Wednesday I was taking it easy because I was still feeling quite tired. I spent the morning in my room, and then I could finally eat my egg plants tomato sauce. Actually the ramen noodle doesn’t really go well with such food, but for me it was like heaven :D After eating I got ready to go to Seika for paying some kind of a fee. On the way I met the German girl and she meant our student cards were ready, so I decided to drop by the International Office too. She just got her cell from Docomo, a basic one with hardly any fees and a plan concentrating on mails. I’m really considering to get the same as her, because generally I don’t use the phone much, and for net and such I’m planning to get a tablet anyway. Actually I still couldn’t decide, maybe also because the plans and discounts are all in Japanese on the websites orz Anyway I payed the fee and when to went for my student card, there was some more paperwork to do, but it should have been the last one XD I was also taken to apply for my wifi access around the campus, which is great. It’s already done too, I just didn’t have the chance to get it.

On the way home I stopped by the Book Off. Actually I wanted to look if the books for KyoDai would be available there, but they weren’t. In the end I got another huge batch on manga – don’t say anything, I know ^^; I was also checking out the drug store on the way (it was quite big and okay, though since then I’ve found an even better and bigger one). I got some necessities and took a look at the Vitamin C offers and the sun cremes. Actually I still couldn’t figure them out, so it took some surfing on the net, and the issue is solved already, but that time I didn’t buy any. Same for the Vitamin C – they seemed too pricey and one of them even had nicotine o_O The issue was solved yesterday as well, but here it was just like… heh? It turned out (yay, internet) in Japan there are no 1000 mg tablets, you have to take more pills a day to get the same amount – confusing… Actually some drinks here are very high on Vitamin C, like C.C. Lemon (over 1000 mg a bottle), so I got that till I solved this question.

That’s how my day ended, and I will close the diary for today as well. Have some more pics of a really small part of Seika.

The building where my class is held

The building where my class is held

The other entrance of the same building

The other entrance of the same building


Looks good

Looks good

This one felt here really good with the water the stairs made of wood

This one felt here really good with the water the stairs made of wood

Day 4-6, (04/05-07, from Friday to Sunday)

The post office at the Hyakumanben

The post office at the Hyakumanben

Sorry for the delay, yesterday I was just walking too much, had classes and then an event in the evening at Seika, so I was just too tired when I got home. So tired, that I accidentally shut down my laptop while skyping with home ^^; So let’s continue from where I left off. On Friday I didn’t have any official appointments, so I was planning to go to the town and do some shoppings and such. I went to the post at Hyakumanben again, and put most of my savings into the bank. This time I managed to pull my Japanese together a bit better than the day before, so it went quite smoothly. The only problem was, that I needed some help in translating the amount into “man” etc, because my mind just can’t get used to this unique Japanese numbering ^^;

The Clock Tower of KyoDai

The Clock Tower of KyoDai

The outside of KyoDai is always like that

The outside of KyoDai is always like this

After that I went to KyoDai for the last part of the registration – giving them my bank account information, so I could get the scholarship. That time I got my student and library card for their university and signed for the first scholarship that should be transfered at the end of April. Yep, the thing is, you mustn’t forget to sign every month, or you won’t get a scholarship for that month at all! Strange system, if you ask me. Actually the uni was very crowded, I guess they had the opening ceremony, as the students were all dressed nicely accompanied by proud parents. Btw, it was very hot that day, the sun was extremely strong, so this was the day my skin broke out due to the allergy >< Well, I did that to myself, because I was running outside a lot, and there was hardly any shadow.

Sakura in the garden

Sakura in the garden

The front gate of the Heian Jingu

The front gate of the Heian Jingu

My  plan was to check out another Book Off store for manga, this time the one at the Sanjo station, as it looked bigger than the other one. Since I didn’t want to spend on the train and wanted to see more of the city as well, I thought I would just walk down there. First I took the route along the river, but since there was no shadow, I went back to an inner street. While looking at the map I discovered the Heian Jingu was close by, so I decided I should take a look at it. The road there was also full of blooming sakura, it was very beautiful! The shrine itself was of course full of tourists – mainly Japanese, but there were some foreigners as well. First I just wanted to take a few photos as there was still a long way to my destination, but I knew the sakura season would end soon, so I decided to take a look at the famous garden, and I didn’t regret it. The garden is beautiful with a lot of sakura, ponds with fishes and just… nature.

Prettiness in the lake

Prettiness in the lake

The pond

The pond

Halfway there is a little shop for the tired tourists, and since it was hot I decided to eat an ice cream. The road ended at the lake with a small covered bridge on it, it looked very great. My parents are always pestering me for photos about me, but generally you can’t just ask people going there way in the middle of the city. Even here it was hard for me to ask, and in the end I managed to find foreigners to help me there ^^; Anyway, the garden is great, I can recommend it to everyone.

Just pretty

Just pretty

The shopping district has such arcades

The shopping district has such arcades

Continuing my walk I just took some water from a vending machine, and then I discovered a crepe shop next to it. Actually I wanted to visit the same restaurant as on the first night for a late lunch, but I was hungry and I wanted to try the Japanese crepe, so I decided to have some. I got a maroon one and it was really yummy with small maroon pieces in it. I really hope I will find such a shop elsewhere too, or I will have to just go back there to try some more ^^ After more walking and more sakura I finally for to the Sanjo store of Book Off. It didn’t seem as big on the inside, but later I thought that maybe there was one more floor with comics – well, I was already a bit exhausted. I got some books and a discount paper with that, so I will have to go back there once more anyway ^^ If I got this far already, I thought I could walk down to Gion-Shijo to make the pics I missed on the first night, and I knew there was a Fresco near the station as well – another supermarket which carries fruits and vegetables. This part of the town is very busy and crowded, well, it is indeed a shopping district. I just went by the first Book Off to take a closer look than on the first night, and I ended up with 16 volumes altogether from the two stores XD;

Sakura at Gion-Shijo

Sakura at Gion-Shijo

My bags were really heavy and my legs hurt, so I just did some shoppings at the Fresco mentioned above. I forgot to buy salt before, which would be necessary if I wanted to cook, and I found some strawberry there for a relatively good price – yummy~ And here I though I wouldn’t be able to eat strawberries this year. I was happy to find diced tomatoes and peanuts, latter is important in the evenings – I like to eat some later after dinner, and the ones here are quite okay as well. I like them salted, but not too much, and the amount of salt is just right here. I decided to make plain fried eggs with mushrooms for lunch the next day and I needed to get some bread for that. I haven’t eaten plain white bread for like years, and I don’t even want to, so I was desperately trying to find some rye or whole wheat bread. I was already tired and wanted to go home so I just took what looked brown from the outside, without even looking at what it really is. Basically, it wasn’t rye bread, so you could say it was a huge mistake, on the other hand it was an interesting experience, as well. The brown bread turned out to be choco bread, and was more like choco kalács (like brioche or so) XD It didn’t go well with the eggs, but otherwise it made a great addition to my yogurt breakfast – choco bread is very fluffy, but too sweet, just like our kalács. After the shopping I just went home with the train, my feet had enough of walking already, and the bags were heavy.

Hungary in my TV!!!!

Hungary in my TV!!!!

The next day, Saturday didn’t start that good, because it was raining and it didn’t stop all day after that. On the other hand I made a fun discovery while just surfing the channels in the morning: I was just clicking around and suddenly I was like, isn’t that the Buda Castle in the background?! Actually it was, I found a travel show, and they were just presenting Hungary! I was like, OMG, hoooooooome! I’m not really homesick, and I talk to my family every day, but it was still such a great feeling to see something Hungarian – and actually hear! It was nice to hear Hungarian words from a Japanese channel :D They were showing different tourist locations of Budapest, and they said next week they would show another part about Hungary.

First self-cooked lunch here

First self-cooked lunch here

After this I started cooking lunch – just some basic stuff, fried eggs with mushrooms and onions, but it was so great to eat something with Hungarian seasoning :D~~~ I made the discovery about the bread just before eating, but oh well, it was great anyway. After this I went to Demachiyanagi to do some shoppings. I’ve read that there should be a Daiso there – a bigger (not just) 100 yen shop, but I just didn’t recognize were I should go, and went off to a street below my goal. After a while I noticed that something wasn’t right, and decided to use the small streets to go back to the river with a small detour. I saw the north entry of the garden of the Imperial Palace and another shrine, so I have to go back there later as well. Actually if it didn’t rain, it would have been the best detour of my life.

One of the hidden temples

One of the hidden temples

The Demachiyanagi shopping district

The Demachiyanagi shopping district

In a small street there were shrines/temples one after another, and it’s not even marked on the map – it was awesome. Somehow I got back to my original goal, and discovered an arcade – in the end it turned out to be my original goal! Although I still didn’t find the Daiso there, here’s a shop with vegetables, so I got one more place where I could shop if needed – since I go by Demachiyanagi every weekday, it might be a good solution for one. I was checking out the sun blockers in a drug store, and while I was shocked at how expensive they are, I discovered I forgot to put more money into my pursue – a big mistake with the pricey public transport ^^;;;; I had 1000 something yen, so in the end I went to the 100 yen shop to at least get some things I needed, so that the trip here wouldn’t be all in vain. I got some stuff for the kitchen that was still missing and a mechanical pencil, eraser and such I forgot to bring from home.

The mountains were all cloudy too

The mountains were all cloudy too

With that I went home for some money, and decided to look elsewhere. I decided to go to the Kuramaguchi station by subway, as I saw there would be a Daiso. I wanted to walk to the subway station Matsugasaki, which is just 15-20 minutes away from my home, but there was a problem. Just 100 meters away from home the strong wind killed my umbrella ;__; I have noticed, there are often winds in Kyoto, this is also the reason why the warm weather doesn’t feel that warm yet. That time the wind was so strong and constantly changing directions that I and my umbrella couldn’t withstand it anymore. For umbrellas you only need a conbini, but in the direction I went there just wasn’t any in sight. Now I know there was be some in the other direction at Shougakuin, but oh well. The combini was just at the station, so I quickly got a new umbrella (though I was already drenched), this time only a cheap plastic one, if it would be killed soon anyway. I tried to repair my first umbrella, but it seems hopeless ;__;

I was riding the subway the first time and it’s great too~ I got to my destination, and found the store – at the top of a small department store. Here I discovered that you don’t always need to leave your umbrella at the front of the stores when it’s raining, at some places they provide plastic bags you can cover the umbrella with, and just throw it away in the end. The Daiso shop didn’t look much different from the other 100 yen shops I’ve seen so far, but they have some stuff others don’t. Originally I wanted a longer LAN cable, but they only had them up to 5 meters, and I knew it just would be enough. I got some spoons among others and a bigger scissor, and you know what, I got a left-handed scissor for the first time in my life for just 105 yen!!! Left-handed stuff are very expensive in Hungary, so I just never bothered, but when I have the choice for the same price, of course I will take the left-handed one. That being said my first time cutting with it was a strange experience, because I was looking at the other side of the tool while cutting like with right-handed scissors, and that didn’t work out here anymore XD I’m still not completely used to it, but now I know just how easy it is for right-handed people to cut with the scissors.

I though I should check out the food department of the store and well, and you know what, I found cheese here – a smoked one on top of it! The only cheese in other stores are processed cheese to spread over the bread or expensive Camembert, and it just wasn’t enough. Sure it was expensive, well, it came from the Netherlands, but I just need my cheese every now and then! I don’t eat any animals, so cheese was always an important source for protein for me. I will look elsewhere too, but if nothing else, I have to come back here later for more.

I got back with the subway – by the time I was nearly dry already as well. Near the station there is a Tsutaya store with books and such, so I just decided to drop by to see a comic store that’s actually not second hand. Their manga section wasn’t all that big, but I got two recent volumes that wouldn’t show up in Book Offs any time soon. Actually my other objective was an electric store, because I needed a dryer for my hair and a battery charger. I didn’t notice any before, but while I was getting drenched in the rain I saw something that seemed to have washing machines, so I thought I should check it out. It was indeed and electric store, and I got both things there. I looked at the LAN cables, but the 10 m one was like 1800, and I didn’t want to pay that much money for that – a good decision, as it turned out (well, today). The charger had two more batteries, which is great, because now I have spares for my camera. As for the dryer, actually I almost never used a dryer at home for the past few years, and I don’t even like it, because it damages the hair, but here in the humid room my hair won’t be dry ever, so yeah. I got an ion dryer in the end, which is supposed to dry faster and damage the hair less. Since it was still raining and sometimes I had to close my umbrella due to the rain I could already test it at home too. The only thing I forgot to check was the rice cooker, but either I will go back or look somewhere else later – it’s not that urgent yet. With that my big shopping tour ended as well, and I was glad to be finally at home.

Crossing the river once again

Crossing the river once again

Let's take a closer look at the mountains

Let’s take a closer look at the mountains

On Sunday I decided to take a walk the other way round, so I headed to the north. On the map we got at Seika about the surroundings of the uni I found some other supermarkets for shopping and I just wanted to check out the distance – and yeah, there was supposed to be another Book Off ^^; It turned out the shops aren’t even that far, pretty suitable for shopping. There is a Fresco, and further away a Life if needed.

Hot coffee from the machine

Hot coffee from the machine

I walked past the final station of the subway, and next to that is the station for the free Seika shuttle bus, so it turned out it would be good for me for commuting as well. I was afraid I couldn’t get away from the pricey public transport, but now I can manage it to Seika for free~~~ Even if I move away, I will move close to the station, because the shuttle bus is very convenient. It was very windy and cold, so I got a warm drink from the vending machine for the first time :D It was nicely warming me outside and inside as well – the milk coffee was too sweet for my taste, but it felt good.

Pretty crow *__*

Pretty crow *__*

The Book Off

The Book Off

On the way I saw a crow – well, there are a lot of crows here, but this one was pretty used to people, so I could get quite close to it to take photos. You know, I love crows, and the ones here have such shiny feathers, like it was satin or so~ The Book Off here turned out to be the best so far – the space is wider, there are less people and due to that the books less worn out. People do read a lot in Book Offs, and after a while the books just get thorn and worn out – and that’s not great for buying. Here I found books in great conditions, also quite recent stuff as well. Will go there more often if my finances allow ^^ Finally I went to Fresco for my shoppings, got some apples, tangerine and I decided to try the biscuits and sweets here :D~ Oh, and I wanted to get some fruit tea for a while, and here I have found some, but there were like two sorts only, and now even that cheap :/ I got Lipton Strawberry, but I’m not that fond of it, maybe I will find others somewhere else.

Pretty sakura here too

Pretty sakura here too

Yummies all over

Yummies all over

That was basically all for Sunday. Actually I wanted to wash my hair, but there were some problems with the water supply starting Saturday night. It was still raining heavily, so first I though it had something to do with that, and the water was even back for short times, but it turned out there was a problem in the house. Fortunately it was fixed in the evening, but it was just to later for hair washing. It was actually here that I met the German girl again as she came to ask if I had the same issue. It was nice to speak German again, though it was bit hard to switch my brain from English and Japanese to German. I have noticed since then that it can be even harder sometimes – like today, so I hope we will talk later more, or I will just forget my German and I don’t want that.

With that I’m closing today’s diary time – I hope I will catch up soon, and then it will be easier ^^

Day 2-3

My station, Takaragaike

My station, Takaragaike

Kyoto is surrounded by such mountains/hills

Kyoto is surrounded by such mountains/hills

So, let’s continue from yesterday. Before arriving I was already informed about the orientations I needed to attend. I had an appointment at Seika for Thursday while I could pick any time for the registration at the Kyoto University, so I decided to go to KyoDai on Wednesday. It took me very long to get up, get ready (it’s still taking much more time than at home), so I got there early in the afternoon. There was some paperwork for the registration, and I was told what else I would need to do to complete all the procedures, like registering my current address at the City Hall and enter the National Health Insurance, and finally, opening a bank account. Sure, I was give some guidance and examples of the forms I would need to fill, but I didn’t think I would need to go alone to handle all these things. But okay, I thought let’s get over with it and somehow it would work out anyway. I took the recommended bus and it was another new experience as I have only ridden the train before. It’s always exciting, because at first you just never know how you need to pay the fare, how to use the card, you extra pay attention to the stations and sometimes you’re not even sure what’s the basic etiquette.

The sakura outside of the City Hall

The sakura outside of the City Hall

Anyway, I got there fine, and thanks to that I made an exciting discovery. I forgot to write yesterday, but during our shopping tour on the first night my biggest worry was that I couldn’t find a shop that carries fruits and vegetable and other ingredients for cooking. I concluded you just can’t find those in the convenience stores, but then the question was, where to find them? I wasn’t exactly lazy when I spent the morning at my room, I was actually looking for all kinds of information. There I realized there’s a difference between convenience stores and supermarkets, so I would need the latter for my daily shoppings. I found some supermarket lines on the net, but it’s not always easy to locate the actual shops even with the shop finders on the websites. Luckily there was just one such supermarket, a Kyoto Coop where I got off the bus, so I decided to stop by after getting over the City Hall stuff. All the paperwork is actually quite troublesome, but I guess around this time many foreigners come in to register, so they decided to make it a bit more simple. They spoke some English, but not too much, while, to tell the truth, my readiness and ability to speak Japanese are still lacking, so it was fun – well, it’s still quite hard when I have some official things to do. But then a group of students arrived from Seika with the Dutch girl among them to do the same registration as me! That was some coincidence! It turned out that after the Seika orientation the students were brought here in a group for all the registration accompanied by a member of the international office at Seika. My registration was also done together with the others, and luckily everything went smoothly.

Tiny egg plants

Tiny egg plants

Cute mushrooms

Cute mushrooms

After that I guided the Dutch girl to the bus that would take her to KyoDai for the registration I did before, and then I was checking out the supermarket. Finally I got some ingredients here, fruits and vegetable, and I just felt my life was saved~ I got eggplant, they are really small here in Japan, very cheap, cute mushrooms, onions (they are huge here), apples, tangerine, yogurt, olive oil for cooking, eggs and such. Now I was sure I wouldn’t die of hunger XD The only problem was, I didn’t bring any bags and this is probably the only shop in Japan that doesn’t provide bags, so I was probably looking quite funny with all my stuff in my bag and hands ^^;

The riverside. It was cloudy and cold btw.

The riverside. It was cloudy and cold btw.

Then I went back to Hyakumanben, the crossing near the Kyoto Univ where I was told I could open a bank account – registered residence and a health insurance card are necessary for that. I found the post office (for the MEXT scholarship is compulsory to use the post bank), but I was probably late as they told me I should come back the next day between 9:00-16:00. Like that I just went to the 100 yen shop at the other side of the crossing to get a bag for my shoppings and headed home.

More sakura...

More sakura…

Ever since then I’m using the railway from Demachiyanagi to Takaragaike and back when I need to go to the uni or just to town. Although it’s 10 minutes walk from the station, it’s the best solution. There are two buses that could be better and even cheaper, but then go rarely, and I just didn’t manage to catch any of them. Actually the time to get to the uni from home is less than 30 minutes, so it’s all fine. I just have to figure out if I could buy a commuter pass, because it’s just too expensive with a simple pre-paid card when you have to pay for every trip. I guess I will need to ask at the station, though I’m afraid there will be some language problems. After a week I can say my language skills are slowly but surely getting better, though I make many mistakes of course, and the words just don’t come to my mind when needed. But well, I’m in a Japanese environment non-stop, so it has to get better.

Day 3 was also meant for orientations and registrations. This time I went to Seika at 10, where I got through the paperwork with other new students. They are all so young btw, or rather, I’m just too old compared to them. In Japan many official papers use the old calendar based on the rule of the emperors, so we were using it a lot as well. The turning year was 1989, and most of the kids there were all born in Heisei, the current era, while I was born in Showa ^^;;;;; Btw I’m Showa 56, it’s fun, because my parents were born in 1956 :D Anyway, I was thought to be German by some French guys there, because it seems I have a German accent when speaking English – well yeah, I like German better anyway. After the paperwork we got a guide tour around the campus. It’s really great, I will post some pics and shoot some more when I feel more comfortable about making pics at the uni ^^;;; There are many separate buildings designed by the architecture students there, it’s all in the green already, and very calm. The media center and the library are amazing! They have the most recent manga magazines, a small collection of manga (most of them are at the Manga Museum though, but we have free entrance with our student cards), many videos and anime, huge monitors and separate cubes with big TVs to watch them – just amazing! I guess I will spend more time at the campus than expected :D

Lunch at the cafeteria

Lunch at the cafeteria

Then we went to eat at the school cafeteria. Fortunately our guide was kinda vegetarian himself (not so strict though), so he recommended some stuff I could actually eat there. It wasn’t bad, and first of all, it was cheap, so I guess I have to battle it sometimes, but this menu made me realize that I probably won’t like Japanese food. It’s just… lacking seasoning, and my family’s and my cooking is quite spicy with a lot of seasoning. Or I will bring some spices… All in all this food wasn’t really good for my body. Anyway, while we were eating I met a German girl, who is also living in the same apartment as me, and was also a research student at Seika registered for the same language course as me and the Dutch girl. After the meal I said good-bye to the group as they were heading to the City Hall, but this wasn’t the last time I met the German girl either ^^

Pretty sakura

Pretty sakura

Sakura by the riverside

Sakura by the riverside

As for myself, I headed to the post office to get my bank account. Although there are tons of foreign students going there for a bank account the staff couldn’t really speak English, but they were nice and helpful. It was quite a battle, but I got my account with the typical Japanese bank book. My cash card would take a week they said, and indeed, I’ve just found a notice from the post in my mailbox about a registered mail. I will try to get it tomorrow from the post, but I’m afraid another battle is awaiting me. I could ask for a re-delivery via phone (phoning in Japanese – nooooo! Not to mention I don’t even have a phone), but I’m rather walking down to the post.

With this all said and done I hurried back to Seika for the orientation of the Manga Faculty. Here I met my professor again, who introduced me to people from the Manga Museum, who also had some similar research interests. The professors of the faculty held some presentations about themselves and their courses, and it was really interesting. Btw, Takemiya Keiko did so too, and after the orientation ended, my professor quickly introduced me to her as well, since my research is related to the time she started out as a mangaka – you can imagine that I was nearly dying there with my clumsy Japanese orz After a short break we had a welcome party for the Manga Faculty. First we had a short introduction with everyone – wah, it was hard to pull my Japanese together for that! And then there was a lot of food, but yeah, all Japanese with fish and meat so at first I didn’t think I could eat anything. But then some cakes arrived, and I finally tasted the famous strawberry shortcake. It was very yummy, fluffy and fruity <3 The fun part of the story, we had to eat the cakes with chopsticks as well, and I’m still learning how to eat with them, so it was quite adventurous XD;;; Currently I’m trying to save money, but I can’t wait to go to a cake shop and try more of the cakes in Japan~ And then pizza was delivered too!!! You know, pizza is very expensive in Japan, so I just gave up that I will be able to eat any here, so it was a pleasant surprise and totally saved my day, because there was Margherita – yay for veggie pizza~~~ Here we could socialize with others and I met some people with similar research interests. It was time to speak more Japanese and by the second time I was already tired as well, so I had my worst experience trying to speak Japanese >< I hope I can make it up to the other party later… It was a long day for me, so I didn’t even wait for the party to end, I just had to get home. It was an intense day, and it became clear that I would somewhat be part of Seika during the first 6 month already as well. My professor suggested that I should visit some classes, but since I didn’t know my KyoDai schedule yet, it wasn’t clear until this week if I could.

Okay, it’s getting late again, so let’s just stop here, and I will continue tomorrow on Saturday.

First day

Sorry for the long wait! The past week was so busy for me, that every night I was just falling dead tired into my bed and wasn’t able to do anything else. So, where should I start… The flight was okay, I guess. Actually my suitcase was way below the weight limit, only 17 kg, so now after a week here I really feel like we should have packed more ^^; Anyway, all scholarship students left Budapest at the same time, so at least we weren’t alone – three of us were also sitting together on both planes. The flight to Frankfurt, where the we had a transfer, was quite quick and uneventful. We got a yummy sandwich, fortunately suitable for my ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, rye bread, cheese, eggs and salad – healthy and very-very tasty. I have to say I’m afraid this may have been my last time seeing rye bread for a long while, but I will come to that later. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos on the flights (I’m just not used to having a camera with me and using it), so no pics of the food. Strangely we had a delay, so after we arrived to Frankfurt we were picked up with a bus and driven to passport control and then directly to the plane for Osaka/Kansai. It was fun, there were only five of us, four Hungarian MEXT students (myself included) and a Japanese guy. The second flight was my first intercontinental flight ever. The plane was very crowded, the place very small, you could bear it, but I won’t like 10-hour flights for sure – but yeah, who does. I ordered my vegetarian meal beforehand, so there was no problem, and I always got my food before everybody else. The lunch/dinner was some kind of a pasta with sauce and vegetables – if you mixed everything together, it was okay. There was also a small roll pan with some veggie cream and fruits! I was the most happy about the fruits and the others didn’t even get any, just some compote, while I had pieces of strawberry, water melon, orange, kiwi and such. After that it was just about to somehow spend the 10 hours of the flight. There was a small screen on the back of the seats in front of us and we could choose from the latest movies. There was something wrong with the remote control in my seat and first I couldn’t increase the volume, so I was watching a docu with animals first, where I didn’t feel the need to hear what they say. Just when I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to watch anything, suddenly I managed to increase the volume, so I was watching some movies where I slept through in the past weeks at home, like Cloud Atlas, Skyfall and Django Unchained. As we got to the night time part of the globe the plane was set up for sleeping as well, but I couldn’t really. Also I left with a cold (I’m still not completely over it due to the weather in Kyoto) and the dry air in the plane wasn’t really good for me, but the staff was nice and I could get water additionally when I needed it. We arrived at Osaka at 7:10 instead of 7:30, which was great. Before that we got a hot breakfast as well, but since my body was still set to the Hungarian time there was just no way I could eat anything around midnight. So I just passed the hot meal to my neighbor as theirs was eggs and he didn’t like that, and I forced down the small roll with jam and the fruits – yay for fruits!

Despite the early landing the immigration procedures took very long as there were tons of people! With the new system as long-time residents we got our resident cards at the airport, and by the time we got through the customs and everything it was already half past eight. At the airport I had my fist Japanese vending machine experience as I needed some water XD After saying good-bye to the others I went to the counter for the shuttle bus I reserved beforehand. It was a good decision and I will use them in future as well. The trip took two hours as there was too much traffic in the city, but we got here fine. A Dutch girl was riding the taxi to the same accommodation that time, who turned out to be another MEXT research student at Seika, just another faculty.

It's just impossible to keep this place tidy...

It’s just impossible to keep this place tidy…

I got the keys, we did the paper work, and I could start packing. Well, I knew how the room would look like from photos, but in reality it was even smaller ^^; It was a bit of a shock, because it seemed like there’s not enough space for everything – well, it’s still like that, but I’m already used to it. The kitchen and the bathroom are the worst, because there’s no place to put the bathroom stuff, there’s not even a mirror in there, as for cooking, there’s no place to prepare the ingredients, no place to store the spices and other necessary stuff.

The one who thought of this has never cooked in his life...

The one who thought of this has never cooked in his life…

How should everything fit on this small stand?!

How should everything fit on this small stand?!

Btw, I need to wash my teeth in the kitchen sink and there’s only cold water too – not fun ^^; There is internet, but the port is at the entrance, so the cable I brought is only reaching till the bed, but well, the chair is so small at the table that I’m not even sure where it would hurt more to sit, and at least the bed it’s warm. Well yeah, the temperature in the room wasn’t that high in the first week, so I was using the aircon’s heater function, and my biggest problem, due to the cold and the humidity due to the rain we had here, the room tends to be quite moist as well. That’s a big problem for me, because I’ve bought a lot of manga already and I will get even more, and they get kinda waves due to the humidity. Because of that I put the book away in the most secure part of the room and I was using the dehumidifier function of the air con a lot too, but yeah, it will be a battle. As things stand, I will stay here till the end of July, so for the duration of the language course, as it’s quite accessible from here, but after that I will move for sure. The university can introduce me to a real estate agent, and it can be really easy to find a new home without the key money ordeal – the Dutch girl I previously mentioned already found a new stay like that.

The unique water saving method here: you can wash you hands with the water that will fill the tank. though there's hardly any space for the soap. Oh, and my towels are hanging on the unused hangers of the curtain that should be in the shower.

The unique water saving method here: you can wash you hands with the water that will fill the tank. though there’s hardly any space for the soap. Oh, and my towels are hanging on the unused hangers of the curtain that should be in the shower.

The shower part. Btw the body washes here all have caps you need to push like liquid soap.

The shower part. Btw the body washes here all have caps you need to push like liquid soap.

So back to the first day, as I got ready in the room, the Dutch girl came and invited me to go downtown to check things out and shop for some things. She has already spent some time in Kyoto already, and was a bit more familiar with things. We went to the shopping district near the Gion-Shijo station. It’s full of shops and very crowded with small, hidden arcades and everything you can imagine – at least in Japan. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera, so no photos from this trip. I got a few necessary things, like a mirror, alarm clock at a 100 yen shop, as I didn’t have a cell phone yet (well, I still don’t), body wash – latter was quite hard to find, I only got it at a bigger drug store. We accidentally found a Book Off as well, so I got a few manga volumes on the first day already XD And I saw that there was an Animate, but I still didn’t get back there so far – kinda saving money, but if you look at my Book Off shoppings over the past week… not much ^^; After the shopping we went to the Café Matsuontoko, a vegetarian restaurant to eat. It was one of the places on my Google Map, but the Dutch girl has found it that evening for us. I ate a spicy vegetarian curry, and it was great. I need to go back to that place some time. When we got out, first we were pretty lost despite having the map we got at the accommodation, not really knowing how to get back (we were going around quite a bit). A foreign guy came to our rescue and guided us back to the station and even helped us to get Kansai Cards from the ticket machine – a pre-paid card for the public transport.

Just a bit I forgot already. When we left Gion-Shijo, it started to rain a bit, and by the time we got home it was raining heavily. Nevertheless I wanted to check out the conbini near here, as I had to get water and coffee for tomorrow. I really should have brought a coffee maker, because it seems I will live on instant now, and it’s not that tasty. Anyway, by the time I got to the shop it was raining very heavily already, so I bought an umbrella as well – I got a pretty black one, and it wasn’t even cheap, but it looked like it could last some years with me. In the end that umbrella is already dead, but I will tell you later, how that happened ^^; Anyway, the conbini here became my main source for mineral water. I tried to drink the water from the tap, but it tastes like chemicals, so a no-go. But like this, it will be quite expensive with the amount I generally drink, so I will have to see if there’s another option… That was the first day, and I was literally falling dead asleep after I got back to my room. Well, I didn’t really sleep ever since I left home, and even there, the last night wasn’t really that great either. But maybe it’s thanks to this, that I got over the jet lag quite easily – I didn’t have trouble sleeping at all, and my biorhythm adjusted itself immediately too – yay~

A little preview of Kyoto till tomorrow

A little preview of Kyoto till tomorrow

The weather hasn’t been all too warm so far. The first day it was already cloudy and windy, though it was still warmer than the frozen Hungary I left. We had some heavy rain as well, and the wind can blow here very strongly, so I’m still running around with a scarf and a cardigan under my coat. In the mornings it can go below 10°C and in the afternoon there can be 17-19°C under the sun, so it’s quite a difference. The sun is very strong too: I was prepared with a strong sun creme of 30 factor, even used it, but the strong sun still triggered my sun allergy >< Since then I’m using even more creme and I wear clothes that cover my skin even more, but I will buy a 50+ blocker – though like other cosmetics, sun blockers are quite different here as well, so at first I was a bit lost, what to get.

Although I wanted to write some more and post some photos, it’s getting a bit late here, so I guess I will stop now, and I promise I will dutifully continue tomorrow.