So the semester has started at Ritsumeikan University, and it started with full force indeed. As mentioned before we have at least 8 courses and you get A Lot of readings, homework and presentations everyday. So after being away for a couple of weeks, it was lets say, refreshing to get back to reality 🙂
Well even though the workload is heavy, it is actually fun to go to campus every day. Mainly because you always interact with new people from all over the world, and you always have lively discussions in class, especially between USA & Europe, and China / rest of Asia & Japan. I must say, after already spent a semester here at Ritsumeikan, we European people might come from different countries and cultures, but we do have a lot in common. One can argue that the language, and,-or cultural barriers can never connect us hundred percent, but when being exposed into such complex society as Japan, and being mixed with so many different nationals, you kind of realize that you share some common things with other Europeans.
Except for classes, we have of course “late night socialized a lot”. I mentioned Kamogawa in my last blog, and we have spent a couple of nights their pre – “gameing” and then went to nightclubs…. BUT in Japan, nightclubs always close really early because of noise problems, neighbors and so on. So at 1, or if you are lucky it will close by 2 o clock AM. The majority of us are reaching our peak at that time. So it is a little bit annoying not being able to dance anymore. However, in Japan you sing Karaoke the whole night instead….. and OMG I LOVE KARAOKE!!!. For those who know me, I can’t sing at all, but no one can sing karaoke during late hours, well maybe the Asians cause the all have beautiful voices. But the rest of us, yes us foreigners, we are just screaming to all different national famous songs, and American famous songs….. and yes it sounds terrible but we have so much fun. ABBA is a classic choice for many Germans / Frenchies, but personally I prefer Buffalo Soldier… You can either go to a Bar who has a karaoke set up, or you rent a karaoke room (different sizes available) for a couple of hours. I know it sounds weird, but it is so much fun!!!!!! So another thing you have to try when in Japan.
The weather is still really nice and warm here so we have been to the beach a couple of times. Or it is a lake named Biwako, but honestly there is no end on that lake, it looks exactly the same as a normal ocean / beach. We also have been to Osaka, which is kind of famous city and it is really big and has a good night life. The annoying part is….. that the train home stops at 23.30, so you have to pull a so called “all nighter” which means you are taking the first train in the morning, around 5.30 AM and you will be back home in Kyoto, in you room around eight o clock in the morning! So therefore, going to Osaka happens one time each semester, but it is worth it!
I also have during these two weeks been visiting some temples and shrines. I also went to a flea market and bought a Kimono and Yokatta ( summer version of Kimono).
I don’t know if I mentioned it before but if you are being sick or having a cold or whatever, you need to wear a mask. So the reason for wearing a mask is to protect others from your sickness. If you are a public transport, any kind and coughing without any mask, people will take action a move as far away as possible from you. They even give you most awful stir, like they think you have Ebola. I’m actually just waiting for the Japanese government to say that everyone must wear a mask because of the ebola outbreak, cause they love their masks. Reason why I’m bringing it up, is because I am at the moment sick, and walking around with a mask 24/7, and it is kind of a struggle.