Week Five: Keio

October 20, Monday

No class. Decided not to go out at all.

October 21, Tuesday

Japanese class in the morning, conversation class in the afternoon. Made friends with one of the girls in conversation class who also loves Sanrio. Rilakkuma is super popular everywhere. I think he’s taking over Hello Kitty’s spot.

I decided not to go and buy lunch before 3rd period, which was a big mistake. I was dying of hunger the whole time. After class, I went straight to the 7/11 and bought three snacks (oh gosh, how I will miss convenience stores once I go back home and their lovely $1 breads): cheese bread, caramel steam cake, and stick chocochip melon pan. I also bought Fanta melon soda, which was in a super fancy aluminum bottle. Melon soda is popular in Japan, and they usually serve it at family restaurants and in ice cream floats, but it’s always usually ¥105~¥150. I have to say, the taste was only okay. It was very artificial.

Melon soda, cheese pan, caramel mushi cake, and melon pan sticks

Melon soda, cheese pan, caramel mushi cake, and melon pan sticks

I have bad things to say about the caramel steam cake, too. It was good at first – much thicker than the regular egg or cheese steam cakes, but the aftertaste was way too strong. The caramel just made me want to throw up. I was chugging down that artificial soda just to get rid of the taste.

But the cheese bread is 100/100 sooooo good. Surprisingly, it was less calories, too…Considering it’s cheese. I guess it’s really meant to be like. Bread. With some cheese on it. And melon pan is always good, but for the price of the five stick variety WITH chocolate chips, I’d say this was a steal. The regular melon pan are usually ¥100 or more, but ones with fillings or chocolate in them cost more.

I was eating and doing homework to waste the time while I waited for one of my friends to finish her 4th period class so we could check out the Kyudo Team afterwards. We both emailed the team, but never received a reply, but Estelle found out that they listed their practice location on their website, so we attempted to find the location. We kept walking around in circles and were extremely confused, since we were walking in an urban jungle. Tokyo’s buildings all pretty much look the same, and buildings are everywhere, so it’s hard to tell where a kyudo dojo could be. There weren’t pictures of the buildings on the website, so we were just looking for whatever we could. Tried using Google Maps, too, but it wasn’t that helpful. We even left forty minutes before their practice time, yet we ended up getting there six minutes late. We had to ask one of the security guards (there are cameras and a security guard posted up at all the schools and the Keio middle school and high school were nearby) where the kyudo club practiced. Turns out the building with the Keio logo was the kyudo dojo. If any of ya’ll future Keio students want to know where girls kyudo practices, it’s right next to the baseball field.

Inside, we asked a girl who was also headed that way if we were allowed to watch. I think she was a part of the high school team, since she had a uniform on, but the university team also practiced there. She went to the back and called out some of the fourth years, who talked to us and allowed us to watch their practice.

Kyudo

Kyudo

They even brought out cushions for us! One of the third years, Haruka, spoke to us most of the time, since she had lived in England for a while and knew English the best, but she and we still spoke in Japanese the whole time.

It was a really amazing experience. We weren’t actually doing the sport ourselves, but we felt the intensity and focus that was needed for kyudo. It was completely quiet in the room, except for moments where the members would yell out for points to be recorded and when they were going to get the arrows. The kyudo bows were taller than all of the girls (some of them were my height or taller – I’m about 5’5″) and the girls very deliberately and slowly pulled the string. Some of the girls looked like they were struggling pulling it back, since their arms were shaking. The stance for kyudo also seems pretty wide. We got to touch one of the bows later (the lighter ones) and Haruka taught us – more me than Estelle, since Estelle has done it before – how to properly hold and pull the string. It’s different from archery, since you pull the string from the inside – your palm faces away from you, as opposed to the fingers of a fist facing you in archery.

The members of the club were very nice and let me take pictures, as well. Sadly, I had my regular Nikon with me and not my DSLR, so the colors didn’t turn out so good.

End meeting

End meeting

In the dojo, there was a recorder that played a delayed feed of the members who were shooting. This is how they judged their stances and how well they did.

When the other kyudo students finished (the high school and middle school divisions), they came into the room, bowed toward the camera (I’m guessing to the bow or the epitaphs? laid in that direction) and went to the door, yelling 「先に失礼します」.

The girl kyudo team did five rounds of four arrows, then had a team meeting on how to improve their skills in the future. Lastly, they stretched their arms out twice for about five minutes or so, then they had free time to do what they wanted to. Essentially, practice ended there, but everyone really stayed until 9pm for practice. So nearly four hours of practice from Tuesday to Saturday, with matches on Sundays. That’s pretty intense, but I suppose, since they are the actual competing team, that’s normal.

We were basically deterred from joining, since it was late in the season (new school years start in Spring/March/April ish) and everyone was focusing on how to improve themselves and couldn’t spare time on teaching beginners. However, there is a class in the same building on Tuesdays during 1st and 2nd period, but I unfortunately have class during those times.

The rest of the time was spent talking to Haruka and Estelle. Then we left for the train, barely making it to the grocery store in time for closing at 10. Most of the half-price stuff was sold out, but I bought a bunch of

Pikachu world cup snack

Pikachu world cup snack

snacks, including an on-sale, but still ¥112 World Cup Pikachu chocolate snack. On sale because the World Cup was quite a long time ago, and the tops of the snack cups were dusty….but it was still edible. The expiration date was a year in the future.

October 22, Wednesday

Free day, no class. I woke up at about 11am and went to OK Discount Mart. I ended up buying a lot. If you live in Hiyoshi International House like me, don’t make that same mistake. It takes maybe 20 minutes or more to get back to the dorm, and carrying heavy groceries really kills your arms. I bought 2000mls of Oolong tea, an 18-pack of toilet paper (it’s so convenient here – the toilet paper comes attached with handles, so you don’t need to put it in a bag or anything), and a bunch of breads and yogurts and other food items. I had four bags of stuff to bring back and it was heavy, heavy, heavy. I nearly called a friend to come help me. I thought I learned my lesson last time I went and bought the 2000ml tea, but I really didn’t. ¥90 is just a good price, since it’s normally about ¥132 in grocery stores. I need to start using my backpack. I did, however, find out that OK Mart has a lot of discounted items. Look for stickers with numbers on them that show things like 5%, 20%, and 30%. I bought a lot of breads that had this discount. I thought it was because the expiration dates were soon, but that didn’t seem to be the reason, since some of the other breads that had the same expiration date didn’t have a further discount sticker on them. Anyways, got a great deal of 30% two Pokemon steam cakes~

The next time I went out was for Revolve practice. I never knew they actually stretched before practice, since I was usually always late. But they do! Really short, though, but essentially the same thing the dance crews at home do. And they went over already-finished sets, so there really was no need to come. I attempted to make friends with this girl who wore a BAP shirt, but that failed.

lol, Revolve, sigh. I cannot get into it.

Since the Tokyu Department store was on the way back home, I went into Yamada Denki and bought a portable battery for my phone. I highly recommend you bring one with you or buy one asap, since there’s a lot of times when you won’t have an outlet, but it’s important to have a phone with you to check train times and Google Maps.

Colors of portable phone chargers

Colors of portable phone chargers

I spent about 30 minutes figuring out which color to get, though. Red or mint. I love mint, but the red matched my case better. I ended up asking four people through LINE, and they all liked the mint color, so I ended up going with that. Then I bought a couple of things at Daiso and made a stop at 7/11 to buy a Mont Blanc GariGari kun ice pop (highly recommended) and went home. Sadly, I totally forgot to buy Euglena-Aloe Yogurt. I’ve been wanting to try it ever since I found out about it.

October 23, Thursday

I forgot to mention before, but there was a pep rally in the middle of the day last week. Today, there was another one, even though it was raining. Generally, the band and cheering squad (in uniform) cheers in front of the South (?) gate of the school, performing a routine and singing the Keio song.

Ate dinner with Tammy today! It was completely spontaneous, since we were going home together and she

Omurice

Omurice

spotted Marimo selling omurice. Even though I knew I needed to save money, I decided to get it, too. And it was so good! Omurice is delicious, but super expensive! But it was my first one in Japan. It also came with a drink and soup, so I think it was worth it. I had a full belly afterwards, and it was all for about ¥830.

Tammy told me about taiyaki being sold in Tokyu, and since she needed to

Now this is real taiyaki

Now this is real taiyaki

head there anyways, we decided to go and buy one. The store had a special Halloween-fall pumpkin cream taiyaki for sale, so we both chose to buy that flavor. The taiyaki batter was also different from normal, since it was chewy – not unlike mochi. Maybe they used tapioca flour? It was delicious, but you couldn’t really taste the pumpkin.

October 24, Friday

Estelle (one of my friends from Australia) and I were supposed to go check out kyudo again, but she was feeling sick and decided to head home. So I cancelled and went to dinner with George and his two Globalization class friends, Masa and Eugene. They were both Keio students, one my grade, the other, a fourth year. It was a little hard to talk, since I am such an introvert, but their chatter was interesting and funny. It was guy talk, but it was basically gossip. It’s kind of amusing how guys also talk about girls and relationships when in a group.

Katsu dinner set!

Katsu dinner set!

I had the same thing George had for dinner – the katsu dinner set, which was pretty good. Eugene got the kaki fry (mussels/oyster) and Masa didn’t recommend what he got. Not sure what it was, though.

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