My name is Jenna Demore, class of 2019. So far, this trip has been very interesting. Today we had our last wake up and breakfast at the Olympic Center where we were staying. We had to ride several trains and the Shinkansen (bullet train) to get to our next destination. It was amazing how fast and comfortable the bullet train was. We bought bento (boxed lunches) to eat on the train.
Once we got to Kyoto, our next stop was Ritsumeikan High School. This week, we are going to be staying with Japanese families while going to school like normal Japanese students. On the way to Ritsumeikan, we road a city bus and a nice, older Japanese man started talking to us. He was so old and cute and desperately tried to speak English with us. It made us feel better about trying to communicate in Japanese.
After we got off the bus, students met us at the stop. Since you can't wear outdoor shoes inside school, the students brought us slippers to wear (though most of us had feet twice as large as their biggest pair). We broke up into pairs and the students gave us a tour of the school. It is a beautiful school with amazing facilities. After the tour, we had to wait for our host families to pick us up, and while waiting the students played a card game with us. It was similar to Uno but each card had an animal on it and you had to make the noise of the animal on each card you put down. It was very different but fun.
Next our host families came to pick us up. My host mother is very nice and has a great sense of humor. Both Kiley and I are staying with her, and she tries her best to communicate with us. We went to a supermarket which was so different from America and it was amazing. We bought sashimi for dinner, and went back to her apartment where we talked and watched tv with our host mother before dinner. Japanese tv is oddly very entertaining even though we don't understand a lot.
After dinner, we played with Louis, her pet cat, and tried on yukata from her collection. A yukata is a Japanese summer kimono, and she has a whole collection of them. We went to bed, which is actually a Japanese style futon. It's essentially a mat on the floor, but more comfortable than that sounds!
Getting ready for the bullet train
On the Shinkansen
On a tour of the school
Meeting some of our host families
Matt with his new "brother"
Jenna trying on a yukata