Monday, March 4, 2013

Kamakura and School

Hey everyone! It's been a while. As such, my apologies! I think I covered my homesickness and language fatigue previously. I was as prepared for that as I could be, but you can never be one hundred percent prepared. First off though, I want to jump a couple of weeks back.

So about a week and a half ago or so I went out to Kamakura for a field trip. I LOVE field trips. I think they should be required in college. :p

Compared to Tokyo I think everything is small now, but Kamakura seemed to be a pretty rural place to me. And the train was so adorably old fashioned.

So we rode the train and did some walking and eventually made it to our first stop. The 大仏 (dai butsu) or The Great Buddha. As per usual there is the little purification area. I loved that the dipping cups were a very beat up bronze and not so new and maintained looking. It really added to the overall effect for me.

From there you walk towards the Great Buddha. It stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it. Even from a ways back. I've studied this statue, I knew it was big (Come on it's got 大 - big in it's name!), but I wasn't prepared for just how large it is. It was amazing and my friend and I now call it the 大大仏 or the big, big Buddha.

The 大仏 (The Great Buddha) in Kamakura.
While unfortunately I don't have a picture of it yet, we did have our pictures taken with a bunch of random students at the 大仏. We also had a stranger take our picture. The far left is Tanabe Sensei. 

After visiting and going inside the 大仏 (I think it was a 10円 charge) we headed back out the front gates where we proceeded to eat some of the best candy ever. The only way I can describe it is like rock candy. And if you've ever seen the movie Spirited Away I'm pretty sure this is the exact same candy. So if you see it, try it! Not to mention the one we got was arranged like a hydrangea! So cute!

After that we headed over to the beach! The beach (or coast as we call it in Oregon) is always, always cold except the rare few summer days. Even then you can't swim at the Oregon Coast, the water feels like it's been chilled in a freezer to the point of almost freezing over. Not to mention the Oregon Coast is windy all the time! But the small beach in Kamakura we went to was really pretty that day. I'm told you can't swim there, but the water wasn't freezing to touch! I was sad that there wasn't that "coast" smell I'm used to though. It just smelled slightly fishy.

Oh right, that was our photo bomber of the day in there. We see you.

So then I broke one of my rules in that very emo one month update. Rules were meant to be broken as they say though, and these people looked amazing!

We also went to a temple/shrine area, again, so sorry I don't have the specifics. We didn't have an itinerary and  I never saw a sign, but I thought you'd be interested in seeing the following. The first is a wall with little wooden boards where people make their wishes and hang them for the gods to read.

Also, they had these little fortune cards. If you get a bad luck fortune you are supposed to tie it up and leave it behind in order to bring good luck. 

Also, I bought a kokeshi doll! I love kokeshi dolls and I have a couple back home. They range in price and can start around $15 though the one I bought was about 2500円 if I remember right (or somewhat close to $25).

Kokeshi doll
Changing directions here, let's talk a little bit about school. Right now I'm not super impressed with our classes. We have two a day lasting 1 1/2 hours each. While we had a "placement" test at the beginning of our sessions I feel like that was just to judge if we should be placed in first year or not and then I feel like they stuck us in a 1st year review session anyways.

They say that our classes starting in April (which is when the Japanese school year begins) will be customized to our level and what we want to study. As such I'm currently trying to talk with my senseis back home in order to continue taking 4th year level material.

There also seems to be a surprising lack of communication between teachers at the moment, but I think that may be because we are technically in the middle of spring break. I'll let you know how things change come April.

Also, next month will be exciting! After a fail experience with not putting through our reservation but claiming they did, we cancelled our hotel reservation and used a Japanese site called Jalan ( in order to book our hotel. The cool thing about this was it gives us the option to pay when we arrive at the hotel and after our experience we jumped on it. We also booked a ryokan in Yokohama for the last day of our trip.

We have decided that our method of transportation will be by yokou bus (or night bus). It looks like it's going to run us about 4,000円 each way, but I'll let you know the outcome soon. We wanted to take the shinkansen, but it's about 13,000円 one way.

So next month, Kyoto, Osaka and awesome temple stuff!


qwacksalot said...

Huggs from home looks like so much fun and I really love the great buddah and the pretty cand so cool

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