Spending Time with Osaka Gakuin University (OGU) Housemates
Some of my Japanese OGU housemates invited me to the mountains, where we’d planned to hike to the Hoshi no Blanco Bridge, but it was too rainy. They said we could come back in the fall when the red leaves would make the forest even more beautiful. Instead of hiking, we went to a café called Grandfather’s Clock, which was a very charming wooden cabin complete with fiddle music and lots of old, lovely clocks! It reminded me of the American nostalgia for the frontier, and it smelled and looked like Yosemite.
We went to one of the OGU housemate’s houses, where she performed a tea ceremony for us. The room was tatami (a type of mat used as flooring in traditional Japanese-style rooms) and had pictures of her deceased relatives. We were given some sweet wagashi candy and then drank it down with some green tea that we mixed by hand.
Shokuhin Sampuru Workshop
The CET program held an event to make food samples except plastic. Plastic food displays are often used in Japan to show off the exact product you will receive at the restaurant before ordering. Making them was a bit difficult. There were many pieces of plastic left on my hands and clothes afterward, but it was interesting.
Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
The CET program also had a tour of old Osaka, where a group of us international students went to the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living and were introduced to local and old parts of Osaka. The museum had a hunt to find animals throughout the recreation of old Osaka they had within their building, and it was really cool! You should be able to see some cats off to the side. On the right is a photo of the doll shop in the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, as it would have looked in old Osaka. I thought it was super pretty and made me think about why and when people would be buying them all those years ago.
A Day in Kyoto
The CET program also had a day trip to Kyoto, where we spent time around Arishiyama and walked the famous Togetsu-kyo bridge. The view was very pretty, being in the city has made me miss the views of green! The Bamboo Forest of Arishiyama was lovely, though very crowded, and the extremely tall and thick bamboo was truly impressive. On a less tourist-filled day, it would be serene and easier to take good pictures!
We also went to Tenryu-ji Temple, which was super beautiful! And we had a Buddhist vegetarian meal in one of the buildings in the area. It was super tasty. I’ve never thought that I could be vegetarian just because I’ve never had amazing vegetarian food, but it was really awesome. There were many different foods prepared, and I had a good time eating them, though I didn’t know what all of them were at the time. I plan to seek them out again in the future!
After going to Arishiyama, we went to Toei Kyoto Studio Park. It was a recreation of the Edo period in Japan and contained a ton of other fun activities like the Evangelion photo opportunity, a Kamen Rider, and the Super Sentai exhibition. There was a haunted house with a creepy doll theme that I thought was awful and scary, with a lot of dead and bloody mannequins, but other people enjoyed it! Overall, it was super fun to take pictures on the same grounds that were used as film sets, and the buildings were incredibly pretty.
There was also a ninja and samurai show at Toei Kyoto Studio Park that was very entertaining! Though I couldn’t understand exactly what was happening due to the language barrier, the shows were great. I recognized the actors’ dedication and the technical aspects. 10/10 would recommend!