Kyoto, Kinkakuji and Combinis!

Hello everybody. I hope you are well and life is treating you fine as we head towards the end of the year.

Well, today is my last day in Japan. I have been in Kyoto for the last 5 days where I participated in a Kyougi Karuta tournament at the 26th Japan National Cultural Festival. This was the first time in the history of Kyougi Karuta that there were foreign teams playing in this competition. I was in the North America/Oceania team representing New Zealand.

It’s been a fantastic 5 days and being back in Japan has really reminded me why I have always been so fascinated with Japan, its amazing culture, history and all those little things that you can’t really explain to other people unless they’ve spent time here!

When I was an exchange student in Japan in 1995 my school’s “Shuugakuryokou” was to the Kansai area and it was particuarly nice to go back to Kinkakuji and wander around some of the other famous historical areas in Kyoto. See the photos below.

Yesterday I took the interestingly named “Thunderbird” train across to Kanazawa on Japan’s West Coast and had a friend show me around. Kanazawa is famous for many things, one of them being the place where Kinpaku or “Gold Leaf” is made. I had some gold leaf flakes on my sashimi for lunch and gold flaked green tea afterwards! A visit to Kanazawa is well worth it.

Some members of our Auckland JET community have been attending the Japan New Zealand Business Council conference in Osaka which is great to see the youth voice being represented there.

With just a hour or so to go before I head to Sydney for the 2011 JETAA Oceania conference, I need to make one final stop at a combini to buy myself a couple of onigiris! I’m going to miss you Japan but I will be back soon!

My next post will be from Sydney.

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