Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Every student of GTS from Japan arrived in CHicago safely!

All Nippon Airways brought every student back to Chicago safely and now everyone is facing THE routine with some missing feeling!

Life goes on and Japan will never go away from us, so let's go back to Japan in one way or another!

Fall semester is approaching and all Japanese classes listed on the schedule look good.

I hope more people register next couple of weeks right before the beginning of another great academic year 2014-2015!

Spring Trip to Japan is waiting for you between 3/27/2015-4/5/2015.

Summer Study Abroad is waiting for you between 6/25/2015-7/30/2015.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Commencement and Farewell Party Done!

2014 COD Summer Study Abroad Program has officially come to the end with the commencement and farewell party with host families!!

The hot and humid weather continue and students will maximize their experience until the very last minute of the day after tomorrow!

No major injury and sickness is now proving our great success of the program in the 16th summer!

Hope everyone continues to study Japanese and come back to Japan some day!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tenjin Festival with the fireworks!

The final day for the schooling is the 25th of the month when Tenmangu Shrine's monthly cerebration and a flea market be held!

The annual Tenjin Festival in Osaka is today and we went to Osaka to enjoy some venders and
sacred boats, venders, etc.

People people people.  All over but good weather and good festive atmosphere!

The final project performance and commencement and the party will be tomorrow!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Buddhist Scripture Writing in Daikakuji!

At the Daikakuji temple which is located off the Arashiyama area, everyone had an experience of calligraphy (scripture writing).

It was quite hot and humid but this temple area towards bamboo walk sites have been a lot better.

Small path after small path, we were walking through bamboo forest and get to the Hozu river in Arashiyama.

Our final trip will be tomorrow at Tenjin Festival in Osaka!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Deer and the Huge great Buddha in hot and humid Nara!

As the rainy season has gone, we are now having very hot and humid day.

32-34 degree Celsius (90-95F) will get us tired soon, yet our afternoon endeavor continues.

Deer were expecting us to give some food and the giant Buddha Image was just smiling on sweaty us.

We, though we lost some on the way, could manage ourselves to get to Kasuga Grand Shrine after Todaiji Temple before heading back to Kyoto!

A couple more days left and we are now wrapping up our extraordinary study abroad trip!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kamigamo Shrine--THE GTS AREA!

We went to Kamigamo Shrine and enjoyed some water in the little stream yet the heat had never gone away.

We walked down to the Kamigamo Elementary School where GTS was graduated from and walking around many small paths that GTS was so familiar with!

We stopped by a couple of public parks where GTS was playing around some 40 years ago!

I was happy to share with my childhood life with students!

We will be heading to Nara tomorrow to greet some deer and the giant Buddha!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Phoenix Pavilion re-opened!

There have been for about a year or two, the Phoenix Pavilion was under re-finishing the structure.  So the entire pavilion building was covered last year but this year it is stunning!

The entire structure was just like the design of Japanese ten yen coin!

Stream of the Uji river was very swift and looked dangerous as usual but the scenery was just gorgeous!

The three-day long weekend is ahead and it seems that everyone has already solid plan during this period.!

Another hot and humid productive day was over!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gion Festival Parade and Shimogamo Shrine!

After getting together at school, students were led by the KIA teachers to see the Gion Festival Float/Portable Shrine Parade.  Many wore Japanese summer cotton kimono and enjoy the atmosphere.

The Japanese SAKE museum was closed so after taking a group photo we left for Kitaoji Town for lunch break!

From the Kitaoji Town bus terminal, a city bus took us to the Shimogamo Shrine and famous Kamo River Park!

Another great day has passed.  10 days to go!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kurama Temple through Kifune Shrine!

The Eizan Train took us to the foot of the Mt.Kurama and we climbed up to the main hall of Kurama Temple from which we got into the Mt. Kurama and followed the way Minamoto Yoshitsune took.

This mountain route led us to the other side of the mountain where we could visit Kifune Shrine which is famous for water deity.

From the shrine the long walk took us back to the train track where we could catch the train back to the Demachiyanagi Station.

Main parade for the Gion Fetival will be tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Meiji Confectionery Factory Tour

In the middle of the schooling in the morning, we ended the class a bit earlier so that we could visit the Meiji Confectionery Factory located in Osaka (Takatsuki-city).

After having lunch at Saiin station area, Hankyu train took us to Takatsuki.

We (I) forgot getting off the train in Takatsuki city to change the local train so we skipped the designated train station. lol

We made it on time and enjoy some snack gift as well as factory line of producing the main snacks!

Very steamy day but better day than a rainy day!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Osaka Castle welcomed us!

Due to the possible rain, we changed a plan a little bit and went to Osaka Castle which everyone could compare with one in Hiroshima which was way smaller than Osaka one.

Many students got together to enjoy watching World Cup Soccer Game and looked sleepier but the young blood would not let them take a rest!

We had a little rain but it was a good rain in terms of creating a cooler breeze!

Our trip has two weeks to go but everyone continues to maximize his or her experience!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tiring Hiroshima trip but meaningful!

Round trip between Kyoto and Hiroshima was terribly tiring but it was meaningful in a sense that everyone could hear directly the story from A-Bomb victim in Hiroshima who is still bravely alive.

Hour in Hiroshima was shorter than hours in a bus yet everyone tried to maximize his or her experience of long ride of the bus as well as one visiting spot of Hiroshima Castle.

When we visit Osaka Castle, everyone can compare with some castles as well.

We are just in half way through the program!

Friday, July 11, 2014

No typhoon and playing with monkeys!

The anticipated typhoon avoided us and fled to northeast where quite a few people suffer!

Instead we had a very sunny sticky muggy day with some sudden shower on the way to get the monkey park on top of the Mt. Iwata.

Monkeys were having fun, chasing with each other, jumping into the pond, swimming, etc.

The weather has been actually very cooperative and we are basically on schedule.

We are heading to Hiroshima tomorrow!  Yes, 5 hours one way on the bus!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The typhoon seems to avoid challenging us!

Although the typhoon made a lot of problems and did kill a man in the southern area of Japan, it seems avoiding us!

This morning did begin with slight rain but almost no rain during the day which was lucky for us to have the afternoon excursion.

We visited the Nishijin Textile Center where everyone enjoyed some shopping as well as KIMONO Fashion SHOW!

It is expected that the typhoon will pass near us over night and we will have a good day tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tanukidani Mountain

This afternoon we went to Tanukidani Fudo-in where my sempai works as a head monk.  Long up hill road and 250 steps challenged us and some even pass through the temple and went into the Hiking course.

We got s precious talk from the Head monk, Ryokai, and got really close to Fudomyoou (the Immovable)

Heavy pouring rain attacked us while we were at the temple so we waited for a while until the rain stopped.

Though the typhoon is approaching but we had another meaningful day!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fushimi Grand Shrine to Tofukuji Temple

Right after the class we took a bus to Demachiyanagi Keihan Station where we had a lunch break before heading to Fushjimi by train.

Because of the exceptionally early typhoon directly hitting the southern part of Japan, the warm front was stimulated and we had an exceptionally warm day (about 95F, or 34C).

We walk up through thousands of Torii-gates to get to the top of the shrine mountain where I lost everyone but one student, which was much expected!!

Everyone took their own way back instead of waiting for my instruction to go to another beautiful temple!

Well, we had a good day!

Monday, July 7, 2014

1001 statues of mercy buddha greeted my students!

It has been a slight raining from the morning but by the time we finish schooling and lunch it stopped!

We had a couple more students joining us from France and Russia!  We are all mingled and having a lot of fun!

Typhoon seems to be approaching us but so far not much problems, even better not to have heating days!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Martial Arts Dojo Experience!

Some students joined the special weekend opportunity of Martial Arts Practice.

Learning various self-defense techniques as well as observing different kinds of Martial Arts Performance.

Though it was pouring rain outside, those who joined today had a great and unique experience.

I hope they will remember the technique that they learned today in a possible critical moment in future.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Silver Pavilion or Ginkakuji Temple!

After lunch we visited the Silver Pavilion, Ginkakuji-temple whose neighborhood enjoyed GTS birth some half a century ago!

Where is the silver?  No such things!

Well, To ponder this issue, students could stroll along the Philosopher's Trail!

Once deviated from the Trail, we got to the main street where we could enjoy the ATM machine and the bus ride.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Heian Jingu Shrine under the rain!

Unfortunately or fortunately, it was raining all day long but it was in a sense the best day to visit Heian Jingu Shrine garden which is the largest garden in Kyoto city!

Everyone was annoyed by raining but enjoying hopping stones and feeding carp and snappers!

After observing Heian Jingu Shrine, we were headed to Kyoto Handicraft Center which was recently innovated!

It seems that the rain will continue tomorrow then we can go to Sanjusangen-do!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nijo Castle and its garden!

After having lunch in the school area, the bus No.50 took us to the right in front of the main gate of the Nijo Castle.

The main hall has been famous for it squeaking Nightingale corridor.  This particular hall was used for the last Shogun of Tokugawa to return its power to the emperor in 1868 known as Meiji Restoration.

The main hall gate has just re-roofed and now is a shining brass.   After walking around its garden students were dismissed and went to wherever they like.

Since Kyoto Manga Museum is famous and very close to the Nijo Castle, quite a few went to the museum where they can freely go in and out with their Kyoto School ID!!!

Another gorgeous day!  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Kiyomizu-dera Temple to Yasaka Shrine!

Under the nice steamy weather we walked from Kiyomizu-dera Temple on top of the hill to Yasaka Shrine through Maruyama Park which is famous for Cherry Blossoms in Spring.

So many shops from Kiyomizu Temple through Kiyomizu-zaka, Sannen-zaka, Ninen-zaka to Kodaiji Temple!

On the way the huge image of Buddha for Mersy (Kannon) was watching down us!

Nice walk under the sun hopefully made everyone refreshed! 

Everyone looks good and our speedy adventure will continue!