Tag Archives: Go Global Exchange

kelseydo Gion Matsuri

Last week I got a chance to visit Kyoto’s biggest and oldest festival, Gion Matsuri! It is a month long event but the most popular evenings are the nights of the 15th, 16th and the day of the 17th for the parade.

This is the only event where I felt like as a foreigner I was encouraged to wear the Yukata, the light-knit cotton/linen robe that is more casual than the Kimono. It was really fun to wear out on the town. I felt like I was wearing my bathrobe outside. My friend Chika told me that a long time ago the Yukata was only for use in the home for bathing so I was right to feel this way!

Beautiful Bow

Beautiful Bow

Getting dolled up

Getting dolled up

Yukata on!

Yukata on!

Luckily we had Yuko-san to help us get our Yukatas on properly and to tie the Obi into a perfect bow!

Alex wearing my 'drinking jacket'

Alex wearing my ‘drinking jacket’

Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi

Daniel showing off the artwork on his Happi

Alex, Haruna & I

Alex, Haruna & I

Daniel and Haruna

Daniel and Haruna

Waiting for the Randen

Waiting for the Randen

Escalator shot

Escalator shot

Faces on the subway

Faces on the subway

It was really busy once we got downtown! There were people everywhere. Apparently tens-of-thousands of people go each night. All the main streets were closed down and there were a lot of food stalls, souvenir shops and the parade floats were all lit up with music playing.

Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma

Megumi & I at Shijo Karasuma

Food stalls

Food stalls

Dessert!

Dessert!

Marcus enjoying some snacks

Marcus enjoying some snacks

Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it's an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker

Haruna digging in- not too sure what this is called but it’s an egg with sauces on a giant squid cracker

As usual, the food was one of the main events for us- we had to try everything!

Streetside bar

Streetside bar

A lot of people were enjoying their beer in the street, there were even little cocktail shops set up on the side of the street like this.

We were lucky enough to get up close and personal to a few of the parade floats.

Lanterns

Lanterns

More Lanterns

More Lanterns

Giant float including full size tree

Giant float including full size tree

photo 1

Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren't allowed on this one

Marcus and Daniel enjoying the view from a float- the ladies weren’t allowed on this one

photo 4We got to take a tour of this one while they were playing drums and singing inside of it but of course- no photos!

And then more food…we were on a mission for frozen bananas! It was a very hot and humid night.

Candy apple

Candy apple

Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom's favorite!)

Takoyaki- fried octopus balls (Mom’s favorite!)

Lanterns everywhere!

Lanterns everywhere!

We found the mysterious frozen banana!

We found the mysterious frozen banana!

Banana Kanpai!

Banana Kanpai!

Beth loves waffles...on a stick!

Beth loves waffles…on a stick!

This guy...

This guy…

The gang!

The gang!

All in all it was an amazing night! I wish I could have gone again but unfortunately it was right in the middle of all my final exams for school.

Gion Matsuri can’t be missed!

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kelseydo Study In Kyoto Exchange

I’m in Kyoto!

I am spending a year on exchange at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto through UBC’s Go Global Exchange program. I got here a couple days ago and I’ll be here until August 2013.

The flight in was fairly uneventful…which is how I like my flights. I drugged myself with Gravol and managed to sleep 10 out of the 15 hours I was in the air. I did good! The other 5 hours I watched The Sopranos. I am in the midst of my yearly Sopranos marathon. If you love that show you’ll understand. If you don’t, I feel sorry for you a little bit.

Necessary for long flights:

-Drugs (ativan/gravol<that means dramamine in american>/valium….your choice)

-Water (to swallow drugs + stay hydrated)

-Travel Pillow

-Eye Mask

-Ear Plugs

-Tablet stacked with entertainment (aka iPad with Sopranos seasons 2-4)

-Ear buds

-Gum/mints

Don’t skimp out on any of these items. You can bring other stuff but I guarantee this is all you need to overcome the awfulness that is spending a whole day of your life in an airplane.

My friend Amber told me you should BY NO MEANS wear flip flops on the plane. She thinks that in the event of any kind of emergency landing your going to want your shoes to be securely fastened to your feet. I think she’s probably right but I still took off my shoes and put on wool socks and some complimentary slippers.

Oh yeah and that pillow they give you on the plane…PUT IT UNDER YOUR ASS! If you have a boney little tush like me your bum will start to hurt in about 4 hours. For the next 11 hours you will be doing the cross legged hip shuffle-NOT COOL.

I brought some gifts with me that I bought at Duty Free in the Vancouver Int’l Airport. Gifts are very special in Japanese culture (in my opinion). It seems that how much care you put into wrapping and preparing the gift is equally if not more important than the actual gift. Nick recommended I bring a gift to give to the Japanese couple that manage the dorm I live in in Kyoto. This was a great idea- I brought them smoked salmon in a wooden box painted with first nations art. They love smoked salmon…I am a hero! It’s that simple.

I also brought these items for gifts:

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup Cream Cookies

Maple Syrup and Rum Chocolates

I’m sure you can identify the theme here. I got a little hungry between flights (even though I managed to score two in-flight breakfasts) so I cracked open the Maple Cream Cookies. I’d never had them before and I wanted to see if there was anything to fuss about. They are like the cream-coloured Girl Guide Cookies only sweeter and MORE ADDICTIVE. That’s not possible you say. I say: I ate a whole row in 2.5 seconds. I wanted to bring some Okanagan Ice Wine with me as well, but I had a stop-over in Taiwan and they wouldn’t have let me on the plane with all that liquid. (Next time, in the suitcase.)

I just went and got one of those Maple Cream Cookies. The hair on my arms is standing up that’s how good they are. Or that could be because I set my airconditioning to deep freeze.

Kyoto is sunny and 32 degrees with 90% humidity. It’s so hot I bought an umbrella to use……………..

Sorry I had to get another Maple Cream Cookie. You can’t have just one. Holy shit this tastes amazing.

I always thought that people who used umbrellas on sunny days were crazy but now I understand. Yes, a hat would be more convenient (hands-free) but an umbrella prevents sweaty face. If you’ve seen me on a hot day, you know I have a huge problem with sweaty face. I didn’t get the nickname ‘shweaty lip’ for nothing. I also have a top-of-the-thigh sweat problem but we’ll have to talk about that some other day. Anyways, long story short: hats= face sweat, umbrella=no face sweat.

I just got the internet in my room thanks to Nick and AirMac Express so I had a lot to say in this post. I’m sorry there are no pictures, but my mom made a comment that I needed more writing in my post and you know, moms are always right.

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