So, to begin, allow me to explain. Electronic dictionaries cost around $200 dollars and they only do a limited amount. Also, they don’t have a touch pad, usually. So, to fill my need for a dictionary, and take advantage of the favorable exchange rate right now, I bought a Nintendo DS and a dictionary program. Now I have a dictionary with wireless that has a touch screen and I can buy other software for. And at a lower than average price since Nintendo probably sells the units at bellow cost to make a profit on the games. Probably the most expensive thing I will buy in
Then, Tuesday night, we had a party for Mori-mori, who seems to be one of the most senior of the tutors. Unfortunately the party started at 7, and he wasn’t supposed to arrive until 10. We made takoyaki, a Kansai regional dish, shown here.
Here is what it looks like when finished. If you pop this whole thing in your mouth right off the grill it can be quite hot. It does taste good though. Anyway, by 8:30 we had all eaten, by 9 o’clock 50% of us were totally smashed due to the small amount of food we had been given (I didn’t drink). By 10 the dorm father had to be walked home because he was too drunk to stand. At Mori-mori arrived and had cake thrown in his face. The party got strange from there. Two Ryukoku baseball players showed up. One of the guys was pretty funny, and I would have thought he was hilarious if he hadn’t kept pretending to trip and then grabbing my crotch. That was more than a little awkward. I don’t know if it is just the baseball team or Japanese culture in general, but there seems to be much greater tolerance for behavior that Americans would consider “gay”. Although there is probably another layer to this. Anyway, he spoke no English, but we discovered he was the closing pitcher for the university team. He then proposed an American vs. Japanese arm wrestling contest. We grabbed Adam (whose sport is fencing), who had no idea what was going on and made him arm wrestle. The match went on for 5 minutes, and was close on both sides. It astonished us greatly when in the end Adam won. I told him later that he beat the second string pitcher, probably one of the strongest members of the baseball team. After this, the pitcher was not in such a good mood, but we made our best efforts to cheer him up.
The next day after class I decided to go to
We took a train to something-yama (as I will call it since I have totally forgotten the name). We then disembarked and walked for 15 minutes until we got to this area. The signs are for temples, and there was an entire city block that was nothing but temples. Also, great lotus ponds.
And in the middle of the temples was this shrine.
Sadly, the temple charged a high admission price, and the Zen rock garden also charged a high separate admission, so we did not go into either. Instead, we just hung around the front and took pictures of these rocks.
We left the temples and ventured over to the monkey park, which we were pleased actually existed, but not pleased that you had to pay a high admission fee, hike to the top of a mountain and had no guarantee of seeing monkeys. But we took this picture anyway.
We then discovered this sign farther along the path. If I had known that the monkeys shoot flame out of their butt I would have definitely paid for admission. Maybe some other time I can see the majestic fire-butt monkey in the wild.
So, monkeys having not been seen, I fulfilled my promise.
We searched the area for
We returned to
The main wooden structure, however, was being refurbished, so it had been encased in a warehouse to keep it safe.
We went in. The main hall was silent, since we found out later it was past closing time. It was dark, with the smell of wood. Very creepy.
After visiting the temple we returned to
All in all, great two days.