Eating Dirt (And also Gold)

Millie Koong
September 30, 2016

It’s been a while since my last blog post, but I think I’m finally starting to get used to school. We had final registration on Friday, and I caught up on all the work I put off last week, so everything’s coming up Mil(lie)house!



School has been fine, and is actually much like it is at home. Each of my professors has said a disclaimer in the first class that class will be harder and stricter than classes in America, which was a bit intimidating at first, but it hasn’t been that bad. Of course it’s still challenging - having to think in a different language takes a lot of effort, but it’s been doable so far. And all the people in my class are great! We finally finished all of our placement tests and have finalized sections now, so seeing people often enough to become friends is much easier. I love all my IES Abroad friends a lot, but it’s nice to be able to meet people from other countries - I’ve met people from Bulgaria, Scotland, France, etc. so far.


Outside of school, I’ve been trying to take the train to nearby cities often to get used to the train system. Last weekend we had our first IES Abroad field trip to Kanazawa, which we were bused to, but we all had to take the subway by ourselves to get to the meeting spot at Nagoya Station. I didn’t think I could do it at first, but I did it!! I’ve never actually taken public transportation before coming to Japan since I’m from southern California, so the idea of sitting next to strangers is still strange to me, but at least I know I can do it now. :-)


In any case, Kanazawa was absolutely beautiful!! Like Inuyama, Kanazawa is also an old city with a historic castle. The castle's called Hikone Castle, and the mascot is a cat called Hikonyan, which I think is the cutest thing ever. I don't have any pictures of the castle since we went all the way to the top and I'm deathly afraid of heights, but attached at the bottom are some pictures of the castle garden. It was so beautiful I'm actually still in disbelief I actually went there. (A side note: BRING SHOES WITH TREAD!! It rained a bit and I slipped and faceplanted a bunch (hence the title), so please... learn from me)


Aside from the castle, Kanazawa is also well known for its gold production. Everything we ate had gold on it, be it this gold topped tea ceremony sweet, or this gold covered ice cream we got.




For the curious, gold doesn't taste like much. I got to feel like I wasn't being crushed by student debt for the short minute I spent eating though, so that was nice! We had to opportunity to gold and silver leaf our own plates as well, so I'm now literally eating off gold every meal.


(My plate somehow looks like the Super Smash Bros smash ball, but it's still real gold and silver, so it's ok.)
We only had the weekend to stay in Kanazawa before we had to go back to classes again, so that's about it! We went to a bunch of tea houses for tea ceremony as well - some pictures of that are attached at the bottom as well. There's a truly astonishing amount of things to do here which I hadn't even heard of (gold leafing plates??? Who does that?), so I'll be off now to do some more cool stuff. :-) See you all soon!

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Millie Koong

<p>Hi, I&#39;m Millie! I&#39;m a Southern California native currently studying Critical Social Thought and Asian Pacific American Studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. I love film, art history, and the Food Network - join me as I eat my way across Japan (and hopefully learn some things along the way).</p>

2016 Fall
Home University:
Mount Holyoke College
Asian Studies
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