[Japan Report] Cruising ’round Kansai

Hey all, Lancen here.  I’ve been in Sapporo getting orientated for the exchange program, so I finally have some downtime to write up a post.  I’ll be summarizing my experiences in the Kansai area (Kyoto, Fushimi, an Osaka).

On June 21, Roy and I went to Fushimi Inari.  If you had a chance to read my blogs from January, I wrote about my first visit to the famous shrine.  However, unlike last time, I had enough time to hike all the way up to the top.  We arrived at the station after a good downpour, so the air was heavy and humid.  However, that didn’t stop us from making our way up to the top.

We got there a little before midday, so the place was crowded.


This gentleman hand-carved numerous foxes out of wood as souvenirs to commemorate reaching the top.


Amazake, Sweet Sake (non-alcoholic)
This nice lady is the one who makes home-made Amazake for the hikers at Fushimi Inari. Her effort is found in the taste of her work. It was really good.

The street food at Fushimi Inari is really good too.


On Friday, we took the time to go to Kyoto, where I revisited the Manga Museum.  Just like last time, pictures are not allowed, but I highly recommend visiting the place at least once.  You really learn about just how much manga has impacted the world.

After the Manga Museum, we met up with Dr. Jayson Chun again.  This time we were joined by his colleague, Professor Furmanovsky from Ryukoku University in Fushimi, and Chris, one of Dr. Chun’s former students.  We ate and talked about life and how Roy and I were feeling before the program.  All the while, the professors were discussing their presentation the next day.


After eating dinner, we said goodbye to Professor Furmanovsky and decided that it would be a good experience for Roy and I to check out the Kansai Bar scene.  Dr. Chun and Chris took us to one of their favorite places, Bar Joker.  This place was a lot of fun.  Japanese bars are a great place to meet people and chill.  The drinks are there to soften the barriers, and there’s no pressure to try pick someone up.  You’re just there to talk.


The bartender, Pauline, was a young, 18-year-old woman from France.  She came to Japan to study Japanese 8 months ago, but she’s already light years ahead of Roy and I.  Why come to learn Japanese?  Because she loves manga! I’m definitely gonna go back after the exchange program.


Right-to-Left: The Master, Dr. Jayson Chun, Pauline-san, ME, Roy, and Miho-san

Oh, we also got asked to show off some of our art skills, and we drew the other  bartender.  Now our drawings are up on the wall, and we scored huge favor with the bar’s owner, simply known as the Master.  I highly recommend this place if you find yourself in Kyoto at night.

On our final day in Osaka, Roy and I went to the famous Kaiyukan Aquarium.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking for me.


I don’t know how often I’ll be updating during the program, but please look forward to it.  There’s probably gonna be stuff I can only experience because I’m on the program.  Till next time!