(Okay, I was technically supposed to write and post this yesterday, but I was just way too dead and kept on nodding off while writing this so I just gave up and am writing and posting this today instead. Pretend it’s yesterday.)
September 6th. The big day. The day of my flight to Japan and the beginning of a new, exciting adventure. My parents and I left Düsseldorf early in the morning so that I would be at Frankfurt Airport on time for my flight at 1:20pm. Turns out we would be way too early and stressing way too much because my flight actually got delayed to 2:30pm. The aircraft I was supposed to fly in broke down or whatever shortly before the flight, so they had to organize a new plane and unload the luggage from the broken plane onto the new one and prepare the meals again and blabla, all these technical and difficult things. So yeah, it kind of sucked a little because we had to wait an extra hour for the plane … but oh well, better than not having to wait but ending up crashing and burning mid-air in the old plane … right? If that makes sense? *me trying to be positive*
View over Frankfurt!
Dirtiest plane window in the history of plane windows.
The flight was generally okay. I had a window seat (unfortunately right where the wing was located, so I didn’t have the best of views, but that’s okay) and the seat next to me was empty, so more space, yay. I only watched two movies – the 2011 Captain America, and the 2014 one. I actually really, really wanted to sleep during the flight, and I swear I tried to for, like, 4 hours … but I failed, as usual. I don’t know why I can never ever fall asleep on airplanes. I have tried everything, seriously, including pulling an all-nighter the night before or taking some medicine to make me sleepy … and nothing ever worked. SOMEBODY TELL ME THE SECRET TO FALLING ASLEEP ON PLANES. PLZ11!1!!1!!
Okay, stop, Simone, control yourself.
Anyway, since we left a little more than an hour late, we only arrived at Kansai Airport at around quarter to 9 in the morning the next day (Japan time) instead of half past 7. After landing and getting off the plane –
and realizing that it still is so effing hot in Japan, wtf, I thought summer was over – there was a lot of waiting at immigration to get my residence card. Apparently there were lots of exchange students on my flight and on others that arrived shortly before or after mine, so the line was pretty long. But it was totally okay as I ended up meeting other people who are also going to be studying at Doshisha University in line. One of the girls I met ended up taking the same train as me to Kyoto – the JR Haruka express train (it costs a little under 3000 yen, like 2890 or something around that if I remember correctly, and it takes you from Kansai Airport to Kyoto in around an hour; for whoever’s interested, you can read more here). The other girl said bye to us at the airport because she wanted to take the shuttle to Kyoto instead.
Kansai Airport -> Kyoto
We somehow managed to arrive at Kyoto station in one piece – despite being sleep deprived and half dead and having so much luggage to move around. There, we ran into three class mates of the girl I was taking the train who are also going to be studying at Doshisha University. Two of them are even staying at the same dormitory as I am (which I will write more about in a separate blog post, I think).
Anyway, Doshisha University arranges a pick-up service for foreign students. This service consists of a pick-up volunteer meeting you at Kyoto Station and taking you to your dormitory and helping you with settling in and everything. I actually didn’t apply for the pick-up service,
because I am unorganized and forgot to inform the international office about my flight information on time, meaning that they couldn’t assign me a pick-up volunteer anymore. But the other two girls that are staying in the same dorm as me applied for a pick-up volunteer, so I just followed one of them and asked her pick-up volunteer if I could just go along with them if it weren’t too much of a bother. The volunteer – Maki, a super cute Japanese girl that studies English Literature and French at Doshisha University – said it was totally okay and so, together with the girl I followed and two other French girls, we began our long journey to our dormitory – Richard’s House.
maybe I’m exaggerating. Richard’s house is actually just a 10-minute subway ride (Karasuma Line, five stops, 260 yen) and then a 15-minute walk away from Kyoto station. But with our luggage, it took, like, three times as long (or at least it felt like that). Once we arrived at the dorm, the caretaker – Kuroko-san, an older lady, very friendly but also kind of strict and maybe just a little scary, told us about the rules at the dormitory (no boys allowed, separate your garbage, clean your room, blabla) and gave us our room keys. Maki, the pick-up volunteer, helped me settle in and explained some things about the room to me that I didn’t understand earlier when Kuroko-san explained everything in her Kansai dialect. And then I was left on my own. I unpacked most of my stuff and washed up and everything before going out again to explore the neighbourhood, find a supermarket … and to stay awake and keep myself from falling asleep on my chair or my bed and make my jetlag even worse.
Well, after getting lost in my neighbourhood
(I thought Kyoto was supposed to be easy to navigate because the streets form a grid pattern?!?! Well, not for me. LIES, lies everywhere) I somehow found a supermarket and also somehow ended up in the city centre where I just went to Starbucks and tried the Golden Maple Frappuccino (no whip, soy milk, and then it’s vegan, I think) … SO GOOD. This is why I love Japan. Their flavours game is on point. Man, seriously, it was so delicious that even just thinking about it right now makes me want to get another one … but tall size is, like, almost 700 yen already. So yeah, no more frapps for me because I really need to save money.
Heaven on Earth. Also, how professional is this photo? Why am I not a famous food blogger yet? *sarcasm*
My first day ended with me trying to figure out how to work a futon
for, like, half an hour … and then just crashing at around 9pm. Oh, and it ended with a lot of rain on my way back to the dormitory. But not just, like, a light shower … but a full-on raging taifun, with lightning and thunder and everything. I should have taken a video or a picture or something, but I was too busy trying not to drown. It was horrible. I hope it won’t be like this all the time.
Anyway, that is all for day one. As I’m writing this on the second day, I’m thinking that today won’t be too exciting, so I probably won’t have a lot to blog about. But I am also going to write a little post on my vegan plane food (because I didn’t find a lot of information on the internet when I tried to research about it in advance) and another one on my dormitory, so there’ll be more stuff coming soon for sure. But yeah, that’s all for today. If you’ve read this far, thank you very mucho, and until next time~
(ew, I can’t believe I used that little wave-y thing).