October 26, Sunday
I had such an enjoyable time at ICU that I wish I decided to study abroad there!
International Christian University is located in Mitaka City, which is still in Tokyo, but about an hour ride away from Hiyoshi. Had to transfer twice, at Shinjuku and Shibuya, to get the Musashi Sakai, which is a bus ride away from ICU. Mitaka is also where the Ghibli Museum is located, but I haven’t made a reservation to go yet (you have to book at least a month or so in advance).
I wanted to go to the festival as soon as it opened at 10 am, so I met Ching at Hiyoshi at 9 a.m. at Hiyoshi, and we took a train to Shinjuku. She was sleeping on the train ﾌﾞ━｡:+((*´艸`))+:｡━ッ
At Shibuya, the train to Musashi Sakai was late by 5 minutes! I was pretty surprised, since trains are usually never late in Japan. But we safely made it to Mitaka (I heard a horror story from my Japanese teacher that one train tried to make up 5 minutes of being late by going faster, which caused the train to be unable to make a turn and crash into a building) and took a bus to campus.
Use your pasmo for the bus, since it’s cheaper. I made the mistake of not charging my card, so had to pay full price.
On the bus ride, I kept thinking how pretty it was in Mitaka. There’s a lot of trees and scenery and it seems so peaceful and relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, I like Yokohama’s atmosphere, too, but Yokohama’s like an advanced by-the-bay city with a bunch of skyscrapers. Mitaka has more of a small-town-yet-still-a-city vibe. It kind of reminded me of my actual home in America.
Everyone on the bus seemed to be there for the festival, since the bulk of the passengers got off at the last stop, too. There weren’t too many people, since it just started, but there were a lot of students advertising their wares. Everything outside was basically food. They sold yakisoba, churros, takoyaki, taiyaki, etc. But it was pretty expensive stuff. There was also bubble tea, but, if you looked at their preparation tables, you could see they used kirin 1500ml bottles of milk
tea to make the bubble tea! It was funny. Brandon, one of my home university students, was helping man one of the tapioca booths. We stopped by to say hi, then explored the main building, which held cafes, a planetarium, and various workshops, a lot of which were kid friendly. I stopped by all of the cafes to find Sachi, an ICU student who studied abroad at my university last year, but I couldn’t find her! Eventually, I asked Ching what the kanji Sachi sent me meant, and funnily enough – it was for tea ceremony, not for cafe. Oops.
So we headed there, and I asked the front desk people if they knew Sachi. And to my surprise, I heard
them say Sachi-senpai. I haven’t heard anyone use senpai…..and that was my first time. I forget that she’s actually older than me! >.< Ching didn’t want to watch the tea ceremony, so I was on my own. Everyone else seemed pretty knowledgeable as to how the ceremony customs, so I just followed their example. However, during the third performance, Sachi wasn’t the one making the tea in front of the guests! But she did help serve the tea, so I got to see her surprised face when she saw me (*ﾉ∀｀)ﾟo｡ｱﾋｬｬ
The wagashi was yummy, too, even though it was anko! But we weren’t allowed to take photos, so I don’t have any…
I sat in seiza the whole 20 minutes or so and ooooohhhh my god my legs were dying at the end. They were totally numb, I was surprised I could even leave the building! But Sachi came out and we talked a bit before she had to go back for her shift. She was so pretty in her kimono! ヽ(*≧ω≦)ﾉ
I met Ching back at the main campus, where taiko was playing. I took some pictures before I found out that we weren’t actually allowed to haha. It was cool, though! They had a ton of energy and a lot of the
members were smiling an having fun. Some of it looked painful, though – they have such wide stances that require a lot of leg strength to stay in. There were also a couple of foreign students in the group, and I heard some of the people in front of me commenting about that.
After the taiko performance, made a stop at the Irish Cafe that Grace recommended me see. Fiddlers are so energetic and I did feel like dancing, but no one was >.<. Ended up buying a slice of Guinness Cake, which was a thick cake with
figs in it. Then Ching and I headed to the try-on-a-kimono booth! It’s so nice how ICU offers that to foreign students. But I didn’t realize we had to make an appointment for it! Luckily, they just happened to have two kimonos currently in stock, so they set out on dressing us. Once again, my super long hair was called too super long by staff haha. I had to hold it up a lot of the time they were wrapping the multitude of fabrics around me. I was surprised at just how many pieces have to be put on you when you dress in a kimono…And the end result is that it becomes a bit hard to breathe. It’s also very difficult to walk and go up stairs. I tripped once. But kimono are so pretty and they do make you sit and stand straight, which was a plus. I have such bad posture. The shoes, though, were very tiny, yet apparently, it doesn’t matter if it fits or not…
I was put into a long red kimono, while Ching had on a light seafoam colored kimono. Going out was
somewhat embarrassing, so we went to watch the planetarium show first. I don’t think anyone really commented on what we were wearing or noticed, except for some little kids and a parent to said yes, we looked pretty lol. And outside, I showed Brandon the kimono, and he took pictures haha. Then Ching and I met up with Sachi, who also took pictures! Sadly, I had wanted a picture with Sachi in her kimono, but she already took it off. We just went around for a bit, then had to hurry back for the photo shoot at 3:40. The staff who held the event wanted pictures and we had to go outside while they took a group photo of us in
various poses and also took a picture of our backs. There were so many cameras, it was hilarious. Ching
had to leave quickly to head over to her friend’s place two hours away, so she left first. I was the last to change out of my kimono, since I wanted to watch Smooth Stepper, the dance team at ICU, perform at 3:45. I ended up having to skip some of the performance to change out, though. Then I hurried back to watch the rest. I missed the more traditional performances, but got to watch hip-hop, which was, thankfully, at the end. But there were like five foreigners in Smooth Steppers, and I felt quite jealous of them. Sigh. If
only Revolve was more like Smooth Steppers. It looked so fun and energetic, it makes me miss dance so much…
Smooth Stepper performance was maybe 40 minutes long, since they have so many genres. Dance clubs in Japan seems to be a whole group of dancers, but split into smaller groups that do a specific genre. So the name is essentially like the umbrella terms for all the dance groups.
Once they finished, Sachi and I headed back to Musashi Sakai to take the trains home. Made a stop at Mister Donut first, where I finally had my first pon de ring, which is made from tapioca flour! It’s chewy
goodness! I loved the texture, but the honey taste was a bit off-putting to me. I liked the angel cream filled donut I got, though. It was the same shape as a jelly donut at home, but filled with whipped cream. Mister Donut recently released a line of New York cupcakes, and Sachi had never had one before, so decided on a lemon one. We just talked for a bit and then took the train back to Shibuya together. Then we had to separate (though we’ll be seeing each other again soon!) as I went to transfer to Shinjuku. Got so lost, since Shinjuku has two stations, and I had to switch to the other one. And when I did take the train, I was so busy playing on my cell phone that I missed my stop! Had to take a train from Tsunashima back to Hiyoshi (one stop away). Then I went home.
And did laundry. Then I fell asleep by accident, as I usually tend to do.
But to any of you future study abroaders, I definitely recommend ICU’s school festival! It’s a lot of fun, and I recommend taiko, kimono dress up, and the Smooth Steppers! Just try to make sure you do the kimono event like way before Smooth Stepper so you can watch the whole show!!!
Bonus photos and things:
I finally ate euglena and aloe yogurt, and it tasted…..like muscat. It wasn’t that great, but considering the health properties of euglena, I just might go and buy another one…