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.
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.
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.
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~
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.