Tag Archives: Study in Kyoto Program

kelseydo Arashiyama

I went to Arashiyama today. The views and fresh air were breathtaking! The Japanese maples are looking really vibrant around this time of year and for some reason everyone celebrates by hiking around, taking pictures, eating and drinking (Why don’t we do this in Canada? The maple leaf is on our damn flag!). I need to make a couple more trips here because 1) It’s beautiful when it’s lit up at night 2) There is a Monkey park I need to see 3) There are tonnes of shops with amazing omiyage (souvenirs only classier). Anyways, I’m tired so I’m going to let the pictures do the talking for this post:

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kelseydo Thanksgiving in Kyoto

The last piece of pie!

I have really missed my family over this last weekend, because usually it is a time that we get to spend together. This year, however, we had to do the skype thing, as I am in Kyoto!

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that everyone thinks is just an excuse to eat turkey. Don’t get me wrong, in my family we eat that turkey like it ain’t no thang. At the same time, being away around this holiday made me realize that Thanksgiving is about a lot more than just food. There are many moments that I get to share with my family during the whole process that is Thanksgiving that have little to do with food and a lot to do with communication, connection, and yeah… wine! But in all seriousness, I have cherished this Thanksgiving more than others because it really made me thankful for my family. I am so lucky to have such wonderful and amazing people in my life that love and support me, and best of all -make me laugh! Thank you!

Luckily, I have met some amazing people while on exchange in Kyoto, especially the people who live in my dorm. 3 other students in my dorm are from Canada, and were equally eager to have a Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner! (There are a few Americans in the dorm, and their Thanksgiving is late November). We were happy to have people from other countries contribute some dishes and join in on the festivities!

There are quite a few things associated with traditional Thanksgiving dinner that are a little tricky to find at our local grocery store. The major thing being turkey! But, Amanda outdid herself and made chicken breast, wrapped in bacon and stuffed with soft cheese and spinach. Better than turkey in my personal opinion! Sherry made some delicious spiced carrots and Vivien made some really incredible potatoes with onions and some other mystery ingredients that took me to mash potato heaven! We also had basil pasta and kimchi rice- yum!

I took on a special task for our dinner- pumpkin pie. I have never made a pumpkin pie before in my life. I never really even liked pumpkin pie. Don’t be mad.

First of all I’m just going to come out and say it- I ACED it! That pumpkin pie was delicious, even for a non-pumpkin pie liker like me.

There were a few hurdles, like making my own pastry shell from scratch and the fact that pumpkins here are a little different from pumpkins at home. Oh yeah, no Tenderflake or pumpkin puree either. Eat your heart out Martha.

Overall, Thanksgiving was a great success. There is still a large hole in my heart, but there are certain special moments like this one where that hole is less noticeable. We were all thankful for our new friends, and for their effort to make our dorm a new home.

Shoddy Baking Equipment…First World Problems

My buddies: Jack-o-Lantern + Wine

Amanda on the grill

Vivien handling the knife

Happy Thanksgiving! My “hand-made” turkey bird napkins.

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kelseydo Kinkaku-Ji Temple

Yesterday I visited the glorious Kinkaku-Ji temple in Kyoto. It was very busy with lots of school field trips and other tourists but it was still epic-ly gorgeous and a must-see!

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I bought a couple charms (I’m really not sure what they’re called) from the temple. One is for Longevity and Good Health for Nick and I and the other is to protect and provide good fortune for my family! Miss you!

xoxo Kelsey

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kelseydo Ryoanji + Ninnaji Temples

Today I ventured out with Jacob from Sweden and Kenny from Florida to see a few of the temples within walking distance from our dorm. The first temple we went to was called Ryoanji. It is famous for its simple yet beautiful zen rock garden.

Kyoyochi Pond

I’m not sure what this is for….sketchy ladder?

Kenny + Jacob

Muromachi Period (Around 1500)

Tsukubai, the stone wash basin for the tea room. The inscription says “I learn only to be contented” aka those who learn to be contented are spiritually rich. This concept is important to the zen spirit.

Rock Garden- no trees, only 15 rocks and white gravel

Afterwards we went to Ninna-ji which is only 15 minutes from our dorm. We stayed in the ‘free’ area which had many beautiful buildings but we didn’t venture into the ‘paid’ area where theĀ emperorĀ and his sons once resided- another day maybe!

Ninna-ji was built in 842 and is a Buddhist temple. The five-storey pagoda is from the 17th century. I am looking forward to going back to both of these temples in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom!

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kelseydo Dorm Room at Ritsumeikan I-House 1

It’s been a while since I lived in a dorm room (8 years). The Ritsumeikan University dorm I live in now, called I-House 1, has 3 floors with washrooms, laundry and kitchens on every floor with a common area and communal showers+bath on the bottom floor. The dorms are singles, which has definite positives, although I have always loved having roommates. The dorm rooms are much bigger than I expected with nice large windows and a teeny tiny single bed. I can’t wait to see how comfortable it is with Nick and I in it together! My room is still in need of some serious decoration, but I’ve only been here four days, so I’m doing alright.

I got a beautiful used bicycle from I-House for about $50 which has been super fun to ride around Kyoto. No one wears helmets here so they aren’t easy to find. I have to go to a sporting goods store downtown to see if I can find one.

I got caught in the rain on my bike yesterday and these women came running out of their shop with large plastic bags to put our purses/purchases in so they wouldn’t get wet. I have experienced so many random acts of kindness in the past four days I am starting to realize it’s not random to be spontaneously kind to strangers here… or maybe I am just lucky to meet kind people! Either way I am loving it!

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