Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 4 : The awesomeness of the campus, a fantastic concert in Osaka and a terrible night in a capsule hotel

This day was absolutely unbelievable.

Going to Japan has always been my dream, but I had never thought I could once be a part of this world on its own. On this day, I realized that this stay in Japan would be more than a simple university semester.

My monday was "split" in 2 parts : The course orientation and my short trip to Osaka for a concert.

It was the first day during which I had to go to the Kyoto Sangyo University campus.

At first, we had to come for a Japanese test to see in what language group we were going to be (regarding our writing skills). On the way, I couldn't help watching around me and inspecting every detail of the landscape : everything was so beautiful ! All the students were in class at this time, so I thought it was a nice occasion to take pictures !

Picture from the 3 floor of one of the various buildings of the campus

When we entered the class, we have been introduced to Paul Churton, the responsible for the International Students Program. He gave us some information about the campus, the I house, the different facilities of the KSU, the courses... but I'll give you more information about it another article.

He also introduced one of our Japanese teachers. Both of them were speaking in Japanese, and then in English. It seems some people here are better at Japanese than at English, as they only understood what was told to them in Japanese, which is quite unexpected to me !

After that, we had to do our test, and it was..... impossible to do with my Japanese level. I was not prepared enough AT ALL. The only thing I could do at the moment was surviving, asking where to go, introducing myself... that is to say the basics of the basics.

Next, it was time to visit the university campus with everybody. The campus is... huge ! It took about 2 hours to see everything.

The map of the campus... just to show you how big it is, my university in France is as big as the buildings 8 and 9 ! There are even restaurants and shops in this campus !
Everything is so beautiful there ! I wonder how people can fail at their exams and miss courses in such a peaceful and magnificent background ! Judge by yourself :

View of the north of the surroundings and a bit of the campus buildings

Just a random place in the campus... beautiful, isn't it ?

In one week, all of those trees will be in bloom ! I can't wait to see that !

On the way, Paul also warned us about some weird stuff : the animals ! It seems that there are a lot of dangerous species in the surroundings of the I house, including snakes, dears and monkeys... I knew Japan was a dangerous country because of the earthquakes and the typhoons, but not because of that ! Although that was quite funny, It's also a bit scary !

Then, it was time for lunch... but before we could of to one of the campus restaurants to eat, we saw what I would call an amazing show, from the stairs of a building : all the Japanese students going out of their classes to go to eat ! There were thousands and thousands of them walking in the same place !

An example of what we saw at that moment... and it was only the beginning !

Because of that, it was quite difficult to reach a restaurant and find a seat, so with a part of our group, went to the closest we saw while the others wanted to go back to the I House or eat somewhere else. All the restaurants work the same in the university : fake replicas of the available meals are displayed behind a window.


You have to put money in a machine to get the ticket that matches the meal you want, and then, you have to give the ticket to the waitress, who will give you your meal in the following ten seconds. Here is my first university meal !

Panned chicken, rice, caramel = おいしい !

After that, we had to come back to our class to get some more information about the campus and how our class days will be organized. At 14:30, he finally put an end to that day's orientation class.

Then... It was time for me to go to Osaka for a concert ! I ran to the closest train station, and waited for the first train to the Demachiyanagi station, which is located at the center of Kyoto.

A picture of the small train station
When I entered the train, I didn't know what to do : there was nowhere to buy tickets before entering the it ! I took a seat and asked (in Japanese) to my neighbour how I had to do to pay my ticket. It was a bit hard to discuss in Japanese because of my poor level, but in the end, I understood everything ! I just had to put the amount matching my destination in a small machine when I would get off the train. Also, fortunately for me, there was always an English translation of all the vocal messages told in the train, including the train stations and safety advice.

Here, you can see, at the top, the machine displaying the different fares for each destination

Inside the train...

The trip to Demachiyanagi was quite short, but in less than 10 minutes, I've been able to see so many different views of Kyoto. This city is outstanding ! It's as big as Lyon (the city where I live in France), its population has almost the same size, but it's so different ! I have the impression of living in a village more than a metropolis.

random picture I took during the trip

Spring is here !
a river, a road, cars, house...

Do you believe this was taken near the centre of Kyoto ?

When I got off the train, I rushed to the national rail station of Demachiyanagi, bought my ticket, and catched a train to Osaka as quickly as I could ! I've been so lucky to get a train directly, because otherwise, I would have been very late at the concert. The journey lasted about 1 hour, but I tried not to take a lot of photos because of the battery of my camera. I was able to see so many different landscaped, inclunding country landscapes, small towns, but also the very tall buildings of Osaka and the Outstanding Osaka castle. 

The last ordeal I had to overcome to reach the live house was taking the subway. It reminded me of the subway in London : everybody is calm and stand in line to buy tickets or to get in the coaches. 

After that, I easily found the live house thanks to the plan I put on my cell phone, and got in. It was a concert with 6 bands who played turn by turn. 

The poster of the event, with a total of 10 bands for 3 concerts in Japan. None of them are famous in Japan !

A lot of people only came to see one of them and were waiting in the entrance. Personally, I came to see three of my favourite Japanese bands (D, Versailles and 凛) but I was still curious about the other bands, so I stayed in the luve house from the beginning. I expected the Japanese people in the crowd to be quiet and calm, as it was possible to see on various videos I have seen, but... I didn't expect "that" ! The people that were in the first rows were all doing choregraphies according to the tone of the song (if they were calm songs, they just waved their hands, and if they were violent songs, people were doing violent head bangs), the people that was at the back was just... standing still... all the time ! I chose to go at the front because in my opinion, if somebody wants to listen to music and stay still, well... it's an error to go to a live show. Anyway, the full show lasted about 3 hours for 6 bands. It was a littlebit short to me, since every band only played for 30 mins approximately, but it was still one of the best moments in my life. Also, I met other gaikokujin at the show, in Japan for the same reason as me, so I was able to talk a littlebit in English and discuss with them after and between two performances. 

When everything was finished, I bought some picture sets of 2 bands as a souvenir, and left the live house to go to the Capsule Hotel for what I would call, a "special" night... 

For 2800yen, I was able to get a "capsule" in this hotel.  It is, I think, a very nice price for a hotel room in a big city. Here is a picture of the "capsules". Moreover, the concept is quite weird, so I wanted to try it at least once ! 

One of the various corridors of the hotel, full of capsules to sleep in, even though the majority was still free that night

It had quite nice features available, such as public baths, game center, manga room, spa, free TV, free Wi-Fi...but the most important thing was missing : COMFORT ! It was impossible to sleep properly ! Even if the bed and the capsule were OK, there was a guy watching porn movies in the capsule on my left from like 10pm to 3am, another one snoring all the night on my right, and an American guy calling his girlfriend every 10 min in the capsule on top of me. In the end, I only slept 2 hours... Next time, even though it was quite practical to have somewhere to go just after a concert, I think I'll try to go back to Kyoto instead of sleeping in Osaka !

Anyway, sorry for writing such a long post, but this day was one of the most amazing in my life, and it's quite hard to write a decent article without missing the details !

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