Day 1: The Little Things

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

I would like to first start off by saying that I am jet lagged! However, I still managed to complete my first full day here in Kyoto on roughly 4 hours of sleep. And despite being exhausted from traveling to get here, and my body taking a toll with the intense humidity; I can still say that I am already excited for the next upcoming days!

Despite being here for only 24 hours, I have already noticed so many differences. To start off, the first thing I noticed was when I was on my bus going from the airport to my guesthouse. I noticed that the drivers side is on the right side of the vehicle! Now I was expecting to see this, however, it still surprises whenever I do see cars driving by. I guess it’s the little things that tend to throw me off guard and keeping surprising me even though I knew ahead of time to expect such things.

Another little thing I was already expecting to see, but still catches me off guard is just the sheer amount of vending machines I keep seeing. It appears that there’s a vending machine on every corner, which is actually pretty pleasant. Especially with how hot and humid it is outside! I keep thinking I have enough water with me, but I’m always wrong and end up having to resort to using a vending machine to stay hydrated. A vending machine item that I keep purchasing is called Pocari Sweat. Pocari Sweat is very similar to Gatoraid, but in my opinion is better. It supplies your body with ions to help keep you hydrated in the Japan summer heat. I love this beverage so much that I already know I’m going to miss it when it comes time for me to return to the United States.

Another small thing that I noticed is that restaurants have plastic food replicas of items that are on their menu on displayed outside. One of these replicas is what drew me into a restaurant to order a great dinner that consisted of raw egg, pork, and kimchi!

I also can’t help but to notice just how many people are dressed so nicely every where they go despite the intense heat. Today I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt; while meanwhile I saw men in suits on motorcycles, and women dressed in tulle skirts with long sleeved shirts. They also appeared to hold a very relaxed and level-headed demeanor while going about life in the intense ~70% humidity while dressed so nicely. I have so much respect for these locals because I could barely handle being outside in the humidity while wearing shorts and a t-shirt! I feel like the stereotypical American tourist! Oh well, least I am not alone with my fellow classmates; whom I got to get to know a bit better.

I really enjoy my classmates. They’re all very friendly and also all seem to love food as much as I do. In fact, we love food so much, everyone in the whole program got together to go grocery shopping. We walked to the grocery store, which took us about 30 minutes, and we all purchased groceries. Which by the way, groceries are expensive in Japan! I was not expecting to spend approximately $4 USD for a jar of pasta sauce. Oh well, I guess that means I have more of an excuse to go out and explore the local restaurants! Which I am very excited for.

All in all, I would say today was a good day, except for one thing… I think I got an eye infection, so I am feeling quite concerned about that and am also feeling discomfort in my eye. I already contacted my program leader regarding this issue, so I guess I might be posting a blog post about my experience seeing a doctor in a different country! I am actually kind of curious to see how much different doctor appointments are like in Japan compared to the States, but I also do wish I wasn’t able to find out because that means I’d have to have a reason to be there. Oh well.

Until next time! And hopefully next time will have photos once I find a better wifi connection that will upload photos.