- Went to Kyoto at night with Vicky: I would not suggest this. Not going with Vicky, but going at night. It was cool in a way, but it's not the best time for taking pictures of the temples (as you can probably see from the slide show). However, something really cool and unexpected did happen. There was this random water show on the top of the Kyoto train station entrance. It was really pretty and reminded me of something they would play at Disney world :D
- Went to our friend Yuuki's "special spot": Ok so Yuuki is a really cool guy, and he speaks great English but he is a little (read: VERY) shady. But then again he is cute...yes, I know, that should NOT be a judge of character. But anyways, the night turned out to be a lot of fun :) He took us to this really fancy restaurant place and we went on the top of the roof (which has a bunch of cool canopy places to sit, and you could see the the city from up there. At night it looks really pretty :D
- Vicky's birthday: On Vicky's birthday, my Okaasan brought a plain cake and told me to decorate it. Now I did work at a bakery before, but they didn't let me near the cakes, let alone decorate them (I was on box making duty...with the occasional cupcake thrown in there), so I was a little skeptical. However, I managed to spell "Vicky" but cutting up kiwis, so I was quite proud of myself ^0^ Maybe I should become a baker...ok, let's not get ahead of ourselves ;)
- Another Kyoto Trip, but this time with Okaasan: Since our last trip didn't work out so well our Okaasan took me and Vicky to Kyoto during the day. This time we went to view the leaves, which were BEAUTIFUL!!! The leaves do change colors in America, but I've never seen any so vibrant and rich before (and also the Japanese seem to appreciate leaves and nature more than Americans, so I might have been brought in by the "hype"). After we got there we preceded to climb a mountain (this host family is OBSESSEDDDD; monkey mountain, killer mountain, tengou mountain, bird mountain, mountain mountain. I've got some serious calf muscles going on right now). Once we got to the top we stepped inside of this giant circle thing to make a wish. It was a lot of fun, but we were all totally beat by the end of the day.
- Yakitori Restaurant: Yaki means "barbeque" and "tori" means chicken. Usually you go to Yakiniku (niku meaning "meat") restaurants, but Vicky doesn't like meat so the family went to the Chicken version. Since it was a whole restaurant based off of the chicken, they had to get...creative. Aka: chicken hearts, livers, spleens gull bladders (well not quite gull bladders, but you get the idea). If I hadn't known what I was eating I would have been fine, but whenever I picked something up my Okaasan would put out to me (using her body as a diagram) what I was eating and then my little brother would act out what sound it made. For example, if I picked up a piece of heart, my host mom would put to her chest and say "see??? right here!" and then my host brother would yell "DOKI DOKI DOKI DOKI!!! (the equivalent of "bathump bathump" in Japanese)", not very appetizing....
- Mountain in Nara: This time we drove up, so my calves got a break :) It was some very intense driving indeed though. There were a bunch of sharp turns and bumps, and even 100s of people going down the mountain to hike. Add pitch darkness, and then you got yourself quite the exhilarating drive. It was totally worth it though, when we got to the top it was like this shopping complex thing, but then when you walked out onto the patio/viewfinder area it was BREATHTAKING. I had never been up that high before and there were so so so so many lights so it was just...wow. And the gift shop was pretty cool too, it had a bunch of turtle stuff. I think this mountain was "Kameyama" (literally means: Turtle Mountain"). I was gonna buy a trinket for my friend whose name is Kameyama (me and Vicky had a laughing fit), but they were too expensive. And the one thing I thought would be perfect for my dad turned out not to be on sale :(( But oh wells, I got a lot of other good stuff.
- Saying Goodbyes: Ok this was the hardest thing. Especially with my school teachers. They presented me with this BEAUTIFUL certificate and went around a circle saying how amazing I was and how they all want to visit me in America. They were all so nice and helpful to me during my stay, I am forever grateful to them, and it made my heartache to think that I might never see them again :(( When I had to say goodbye to my best friends, Chibi and Misato, it was really heartbreaking too. They even told me that they loved me, something the Japanese NEVER do, because they are all so shy. It was so touching and it made me want to stay forever :((
- Seeing the Leaves: The day before my departure, Vicky's school friends took us to go see the leaves in a town (I forget the name, but it's famous for leaf viewing). It was the definition of bittersweet...
I put in a slideshow of all my pictures, but just in case the slideshows decide not to work in the future, here's a link to my pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/jjamison923