We had our last IES Abroad trip ever (so sad!) recently, which was also the best one - Kyoto! I've been hyping myself up for this all semester because I've always wanted to go to Kyoto, and it didn't disappoint.
The trip was over the weekend, as per usual for our IES Abroad trips, and on the first day we got to dye fabric! How it's done, essentially, is as such: you dip a brush in melted max and paint what you want (in our case we traced over other people's drawings, lol), wait for the wax to dry, and then put the wax in vats of dye. The fabric is then put into a pot of boiling water, and it melts the wax off. The fabrics are then rinsed, dried, ironed, and folded into little bags for us to take home. :-) Here's a picture of mine!
The kanji to the side is my name in Chinese!
After that we were taken to a ryokan (Japanese inn), where we ate our usual traditional Japanese meal. How weird that this stuff is "normal" to me now! But this meal was pretty exciting (and EXTREMELY stressful) because two maiko (girls in training to become geisha) came to perform for us during dinner, and we got the chance to talk with them afterwards. It was so realize that these girls were the same age as me and were real, actual people. One of the maiko said that she envied us for knowing so many languages - how could she say that when she's one of the most beautiful people in the world??? I'm the one who's envious of her???
After they left I immediately knocked out (another cool thing about Japan is that I've gotten used to going to bed at 10 PM now. Don't know how I'm going to survive the rest of my undergrad experience!). We woke up to rain the next morning, which is always horrible if you only own cloth shoes (R.I.P., Millie's Converse shoes). We didn't have to stomp around much though, since we got to go on a rickshaw ride! When we were first told this I thought it would be a 5 minute-ish ride since someone has to actively run around carrying ~300 pounds, but the ride was actually around 40 minutes, and we went all the way around Arashiyama. Our driver was one of the funniest people I've ever talked to. :-) He was a Kyoto native, so he told us all about the surrounding area, gave us reccomendations on where to go hang out, and introduced his girlfriend to us (because we ran into her coincidentally, but still). It always surprises me that I'm able to carry full conversations in Japanese now; I love it! Here's a picture of Rachel and I in the rickshaw. :-)
You can't tell in this picture, but it was absolutely POURING. So grateful to not have had to walk!
After this we had a few hours to ourselves in Arashiyama, so we went to the Yojiya cafe on the rickshaw driver's recommendation. I didn't recognize the name, but Rachel got this latte with the restaurant mascot on it, and it turns out that I'd actually read about this cafe in my textbook here!
If anyone who gets placed into the 500 level sees this, this is the latte from the green textbook in the second to last chapter!
Rachel and I got lost after this, so we killed a bunch of time trying to find our way back. We didn't have any time left before we had to leave, but if any of you have extra time and are in Arashiyama, please go to the Orgel museum for me! It's this museum filled with old music boxes and it has the cutest storefront ever; I want to go so badly. :-( But that's it, basically! What a time.
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<p>Hi, I'm Millie! I'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>