Right now, I’m working on some stuff I have to finish before Friday. My internship officially ends on the 24th and I’d like to have my report finished by then, even though the official (well, sorta official) deadline is “before September 1st”. Saturday, I went to my office to work. It’s a bit Japanese, I know. I would have stayed at home and worked at the computer room, but the air conditioning there has broken down, which is about the worst that can happen to you with the heat and humidity here.
I can’t spend too much time on this update, but it’s been a while, so I’ll jot down some thoughts and remarks, and photo’s of course.
Monday, I picked up my bike. They had cut my lock 🙁 And I had to pay the full fine, after all. I had mentioned before that the lock on my bike was flimsy, which must be due to the low crime rate in Japan, but also means that the police can easily cut your lock when you’re wrongly parked. Business-plan in Japan: Sell those thick bike chains that can only be opened by specialist tools or heavy (electric powered) equipment. 8) Friday evening, I told some people about the adventure and then someone told me and Wim that whenever he gets stopped by the police, he starts taking pictures of them. Apparently, police have no privacy what-so-ever and if you take pictures of them they will leave, because they – obviously – don’t like it but can’t do anything about it.
Edit: When I picked up my bike, we had to go all the way to South Kyoto (that’s quite far without a bike 😛 well, not farther than with a bike, but you know what I mean) to some big parking lot as you can see on the pictures. When we got there, there were three Japanese men, two to take our money and one to guide us to our bikes. We walked up to the windows to the two men and had to fill out forms, only guided by the men’s fingers pointing to the spots on the document and saying “Nemu!”, “Addoressu!”, etc to make clear what they wanted us to fill out. Then, they wanted to see my alien registration card (affectionately called Gaijin Card by most foreigners), so I gave it. It was very, very quiet for a moment. Then he said “oh”. I dreaded what was about to happen next. He looked up with a big grin and said “Oranda. Waldo cappu. Secando”, which was his way of trying to strike up conversation about the fact that the Dutch team had lost the finals of the World Cup to Spain the day before. Yes, I KNOW we lost, thank you. Can I just get my bike back without having to endure some sort of revenge for the fact that “Orange” beat Japan in the group phase? 😛
Thursday evening I went to Gion Matsuri with Anne-Fleur and Máiréid. Gion Matsuri is apparently the biggest festival Kyoto has. Walking around together was fun, but frankly I think the festival itself was quite boring. There were just lots of people in kimono’s, walking around buying food and drinks and looking at some festival floats with Japanese lamps hanging from them. Parades during Carnaval back home are a lot more interesting, at least there’s music >:O I intended to go back Saturday, to check out the parade, but I decided to spend some time on my report instead, mainly because everyone I talked to confirmed my suspicion that the parade isn’t that interesting either.
Sunday and Monday I joined Wim and Meika to Omimaiko, a camping near Lake Biwa where quite some people go to have a barbecue. Yes, you read that correctly, I went to a beach and camping… It’s the combination of bugs, lack of clean water, dirty toilets and sand in your clothes that usually keeps me far, far away from places like this, but even I can’t always avoid it, because you can’t always stay at home and sulk 😉 In case you were wondering: Yes, I had fun and No, I won’t go to the beach with you, unless you gather at least ten people and peer pressure me into it 😛
Some other stuff:
- Last week was the last week of heavy rain, apparently. You can see some photos of the chocolate milk colored substance that now flows through the Kamo river instead of water.
- Kyoto has its very own mini-vuvuzela’s at this time of the year. You can hear them HERE. It may not sound that interesting, but you’ll understand what I mean if I tell you to turn up the volume of your speakers/headphones as far as they will go…
- On Friday I said goodbye to the bento lady :'( That was the last day of the semester they were selling the bento’s. I said goodbye to her and gave her a dictionary that I, in turn, had been allowed to keep when I stumbled upon it at a restaurant. She was happily surprised 🙂 Edit: They are still selling the bento’s, but she’s not there. I guess she meant she was going on holiday? I’m not sure, there’s only so much you can convey with four word sentences, smiles and gestures.
- Taking pictures of oneself and others is a national sport here and everyone will happily line up, as you can see below from the Omimaiko pictures. Of course, there’s always somebody who thinks that making a peace sign is something no good picture can do without, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve succumbed to the peer pressure a couple of times as well.