As I mentioned in my previous post, during my first week here I had the opportunity to go on a tour in Kyoto. It was my first adventure outside of the school, and happened to be a great "cultural" icebreaker to get my feet wet. I was put into a group with five other international students like me, and eight freshman English-majors from Kansai Gaidai.
After a long train ride, my group arrived at the last station on the Keihan line. We had to make a short walk before we got to any of the temples we were there to see. During the trek, we all exchanged names and tried to make smalltalk. Between everybody's meager second language skills, the group communicated pretty well (except for the Latvian, who seems to be godly in every language).
The temples were amazing! At the entrance was an odd fountain-like apparatus, where incoming people cleansed their hands before entering the grounds. My group joined in, even with it being 40 degrees out! We all munched on local snacks and took loads of pictures.
The main temple complex has many famous sightseeing spots. I got to try my luck out on the Lover's Rocks, where anybody who can make a blind journey from one rock to its partner, 15 feet away, will have their love realized. I, uhhh, didn't quite make it. Near the rocks is a giant stage which, for whatever reason, coined a phrase in Japan "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu". It's similar in meaning to "taking a great risk". Apparently, many people actually jumped off the stage and survived the 40 ft drop. But nobody's allowed to anymore.
The sun had set by the time we made our way back to campus, but all and all, I had a great time on the trip. I can't wait to experience more of what Japan has to offer. Thanks for reading! See ya'll in the next post.