Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arriving in Chicago a bit later than scheduled!

All Nippon Airways having students arrived at O'Hare in Chicago at about 10am which is 1.5 hours later than scheduled. Now the challenge is to recover from the Jetlag to be ready for work and school! GTS will get to Chicago next week after his Dad's cineration on Sunday (8/1)! Regular GTS/JCC dinner is coming up on Friday (8/6)! 26 seats for GTS class are left!

Leaving Japan in the rain!

Everyone met at the train station at 5am while raining and having at least two suitcases per person! GTS got a fever of 102F but tried his best to take everyone to the airport on time. Due to the technical problems instead of severe weather, the flight from Narita delayed for about 2 hours!! GTS is wrapping up the program but could not do much because of the sickness! Ahhhh!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Commencement and Student Performances went well!

2010 COD Study Abroad has just concluded with commencement at which everyone received the Certificate of Merit and the Grade. Regardless of the grade, it was most important for them to experience JAPAN. Everyone will meet at 5am tomorrow and the train and the monorail will take them to the Osaka Airport (ITM). The struggle will be the doubled suitcases they have to carry! Hope we can make it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Final afternoon excursion to OSAKA Castle!

2010 COD Summer Study Abroad Japan is about to conclude its program and we visited Osaka Castle as a final location for the last afternoon excursion. Hot clear weather made everyone be able to look at the entire OSAKA from the Tower top of the castle! There will be the commencement and a party with host families tomorrow!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Walking in Area where GTS was growing up!

City bus took us to Kamigamo Shrine which is one of the most famous and important shrines during the Aoi Festival on May! As GTS was graduated from Kamigamo Elementary School, it was his familiar place though most streets are now paved! Some classmate's houses are still there and the children's play grounds and parks were still there with the same equipments! The little time travel was very interesting especially with my students! Tomorrow will be the last excursion day and finish up with OSAKA Castle!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Osaka Tenjin Festival swallowed us!

One week after Gion Festival is the OSAKA Tenjin Festival in which so many big float were really floating on the river and finished with the memorable fireworks! There were originally 8 students and 1 host mother followed with GTS and we lost among others. 4 students with 1 host mother were with GTS on the same train heading back from Tenma to Kyoto! There will be exam tomorrow for students and we are really wrapping up the program soon! GTS's 1101 has 41 students and 2201 has 10 students so far! Oh, yes, regular GTS/JCC dinner will resume in August and we will meet on the first friday of August (8/6)!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Movie Village to take a rest!

Past three days, everyone had to go up to the great hill to visit a shrine and temples. So their resting place today was Toei Movie Village where some shows and actual filming were taking place. Some went to the Hollywood film later in the early evening to watch "Inception" whose cast includes Ken Watanabe! Wow, GTS bumped into students at the theater!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One more temple on top of the mountain waited for us!

Three days in a row, we climb up the mountain under the sweaty heat! Tanukidani Fudo-son (狸谷不動尊) welcomed us on top of the mountain. It is located at so-called evil gate (鬼門) of the Kyoto city to protect everyone in the city. The head monk who is GTS's college-time sempai, gave us icy chilled Oshibori and fan (うちわ) then invite us into the main hall to meet Fudo-myo-o (The Immovable). 250 steps with long winding slope road tired us but fortunately we had a chance to cool down at the top! Survived!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feeling a bit cool in Kurama-temple in the mountain!

In the over 95F weather, we went up to Kurama temple in the mountain to feel a bit cooler! At least 5,6 degree cooler up in the temple though climbing up to the temple gave us enough sweat! We went over the Mt. Kurama to went down to Kibune Shrine which is famous for its sacred water and realization of love! Walking 1.5 miles to get to the train station and headed back to the green'less' city from greenful nature!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fushimi Grand Shrine heated us!

Finally we could visit Fushimi Grand Shrine where we should have visited before! Now Japan's rainy season was over and hot and humid days will continue! Many steps under the thousands of Torii gates gave more than enough sweat to everyone! Only one week is left! Time really flies! Our great adventure still continues!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hot and Humid Gion Parade with Students with Yukata!

Though we could not completely got together due to the huge crowd, some made it to meet together! Most students there wore nice 'Yukata' (summer light cotton kimono) and became celebrity among Japanese visitors to the festival! They observe the parade and went quickly into the shaded shopping street! Some plan to have a party under the blue sky tonight!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Monkeys welcomed us being trapped in the cage!

Finally fine weather visited us and we decided to go up to the Mt. Iwata in Arashiyama area to meet many monkeys at the Monkey Park! Everyone is in the small "cage" from which monkeys outside were fed. For monkeys, all human being seems to be trapped in! The scene from the top of the mountain was superb! As soon as hearing the sound of thunder, we quickly went down the mountain and took the train back to the city! Well, indeed, the rain began soon after getting to the middle of the city! Tomorrow is the day of the float parade! The temperture will go up to mid-90s!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Calligraphy practice at school and real writing at Daikaku-ji!

Students had a chance to practice Calligraphy (Shodo 書道) this morning and in the afternoon excursion, they really had an opportunity to write Han-nya-Shingyo(般若心経) at Daikaku-ji temple (大覚寺での写経). Also we found out that our group photo and interview will be on the next issue of Daikaku-ji magazine called "Chiku-man." It was very lucky today that we weren't really rained on! Oooops, it just began raining now at 5:30pm! Hope to clear up by tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Heavy Rain Warning with SAKE!

The entire Japan has been under the heavy rain warning! Pouring rain let GTS change the afternoon plan and we visited Horino Sake Museum where Kinshi-Masamune (original Kyoto Sake) was brewed during the Edo period and now local beer is brewed. Though heavy raining, everyone could learn the history of Kyoto Sake brewery as well as Kyoto Traditional House (Machi-ya style)! Several students began losing energy as we are getting into the last half of the program!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rainy weather led us to the Heian Jingu Shrine!

We haven't had a clear fine perfect day for a while and today again we had to alter the afternoon excursion plan. After lunch, we visited the Heian Jingu Shrine which was built in 1894 to celebrate 1100-year anniversary of Kyoto becoming capitol of Japan in 794! Though weather was not too good, the rain actually added a nice scene to its garden which is one of the largest shrine garden in Kyoto. After leaving Shrine we visited Kyoto Handicraft Center where everyone can get most inexpensive souvenir with Quality. It seems to be raining again tomorrow! Ahhhh!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eikando & Nanzenji-temple welcome us with slight rain!

Continuing rain prevent us from visiting the monkey park in Mt. Iwata today and we visited Eikando-temple instead. From their Pagoda, the entire Kyoto City from the eastern mountain became visible. Occasional rain caught us on and off but eventually the blue sky came out by the time we left Nanzen-ji temple! Everyone had a chance to meet GTS' mom! We will meet monkeys tomorrow!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rain Continues and GTS bumped into students again!

It was quite a nice day on Saturday but heavy rain is continuing today on Sunday! GTS and his daughter EMA went to "Kappa Sushi" while shopping some daily goods. My goodness, 4 students walked up to the table right behind GTS and Ema saying, "Shingo is here again" This must be very rare chance to meet with each other without any prior discussion! I was glad to see they are enjoying Sushi." We are longing for sunshine badly!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Phoenix Pavilion in the Rain!

Due to the weather, we had to alter the schedule and visited Phoenix Pavilion in the rain. Lotus in the rain was quite impressive with its water proof leaves! After walking through its museum and shopped some souvenirs, we headed back to Kyoto from Uji-city by Keihan Train. Majority of students will leave for Tokyo by highway night bus and get to Tokyo tomorrow morning. Then they will come back to Kyoto by the fastest bullet train on Sunday! Weather forecast for the next week continue to be unpleasant but hope to clear up! 37 seats out of 75 seats of Japanese 1101 of GTS as of today!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kimono Beauty welcomed us before getting to the castle!

Heat and sweat stalked us today! After lunch break we headed to Nishijin Textile Center where the history of special Nishijin textile history was exhibited. There was a Kimono show in which Kimono Fashion show attracted everyone! After the show we walk to Seimei Shrine which enshrines "Abe no Seimei," the most famous official exorcist some 1000 years ago! Then the group was led to Nijo Castle where everyone could enjoy(?) its famous Nightingale squeaking floor and the garden.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oooops! Rain caught us to alter the plan!

Though we changed the plan yesterday, we had to alter the plan again today due to the weather! We visited Tofuku-ji temple which is scheduled to be visited this Friday! Climbing up the mountain behind the Fushimi Grand Shrine seemed to be a little too dangerous with pouring rain though by the time we left Tofuku-ji temple, it cleared up! Tomorrow's plan stay as scheduled and we will enjoy Kimono-show and Nijo Castle!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

1001 Buddha for Mercy (Kannon) welcomed us!

The weather report told us in the morning that we might have rain in the afternoon. So I have changed the plan a bit, switching the daily plan with tomorrow. Instead of visiting the Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine and climbing up the Higashiyama mountain, we visited the famous "Sanjusan gendo-temple (Rengeo-in)" to meet 1001 statues of Mercy Buddha which some students do need to meet! Though not raining there, it could have rained on the mountain! We will certainly visit the Fushimi Inari Grand Shrine tomorrow! GTS high school friend is running for the senetor now and hopefully re-elected this weekend and resume his duty as "Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (官房副長官)! Well, GTS visited his election office today to say hello!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Visiting Tenryu-ji temple and went through the bamboo path quickly!

After having lunch before getting on Randen Train at the Kitano Hakubaicho, we got to TENRYU-ji temple where we could get into the main hall as well as its magnificent garden. We entered the main gate from the temple and left from North gate which directly led us to the bamboo trail climbing up the small hilltop from which we could see beautiful scene of mountains and rivers! The hHankyu train took us back to the city! It was one of the most hot and humid day today! Well, no rain is good at least! Cannot complain!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

GTS with Ema bumped into students!

After heavy rainy day on Saturday, the weather improved a bit on Sunday when GTS went to Aeon Mall Hana in Nishioji-Gojo to get some clothing for Ema. After shopping Ema wanted to try again in "Kappa Sushi" (Revolving Sushi Restaurant) because she has been just tuned into Tekka-maki (Tuna roll)! While waiting for the table, 6 students came in!! "Oh, Shingo is here!" Well, they seemed to enjoy the mechanism of really inexpensive sushi restaurant. Hope to have a nice day on Monday!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Giant Buddha stared at us!

Though unstable weather made us worry a bit, the group managed to get to Nara a little late due to the previous train accident messing up our train schedule! As usual GTS walked to the Giant Buddha Hall fast and everyone could successfully meet with Him. Some students beautifully went through the Buddha's Nose Hall created in one of the huge columns to be blessed! After saying good-by to Buddha, the group lost a few members though getting re-united at the Kintetsu Nara Train Station! Students made some plans getting together for the first weekend in Kyoto!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Walking with sweat from Kiyomizu to Yasaka!

After having lunch in Hyakumanben area where Kyoto University is located, we all went down to Gojo-zaka to walk up to Kiyomizu Temple with much sweat! Usually we lose several students during this excursion, but none this time! Amazing or everyone was a bit more conscious about how "Evil" Shingo would disappear! Hot and Humid and Hot and Humid and Sweat and Hot!!