So I haven’t posted anything here in well over a month, in fact since before I left home to come once again to Kyoto. In short, here is what has been going on:
Came to Kyoto University as an auditing “research student” on Japanese government scholarship in the History of Education division of the Faculty of Education, with Prof. Komagome Takeshi, who specializes in Japanese colonialism, as advisor. In theory, I should be going into a MA course next year. As an auditing student I participate in a couple of seminars (“zemi”) and am taking one language class for foreign students, on how to read Meiji era Japanese (“bungobun”) but so far nothing else, although I will probably start sitting in on a couple of undergraduate courses just to get better background.
I spent the entire month of April staying in a friend’s spare room at his apartment down in Fushimi, which is about a 20 minute train ride on the Keihan line to Demachiyanagi Station, and then a 10 minute walk to campus before I moved to a place about a 15 minute walk from school. I dislike living in the super-cramped Japanese style one room single person apartment so I am considering trying to share a house with a friend of mine from the Ritsumeikan study abroad days who should be coming back to Kyoto in 3-4 months to do some sort of program at Doshisha, but for the time being I’ve found a very good temporary place, which is somewhat small and decrepit, but very cheap and very close to campus, and has no reikin or anything else to prevent me from moving immediately should I find something better. More about the apartment another day, once I have a way to upload photos again.
Both my friend’s place I stayed at in April and the place I’m staying have no internet, and so I’ve been online very sparingly. I’m the sort who prefers his main computer to be a desktop, so my plan was to just take with me the hard drives and video card from my computer at home and build a new one when I have a place to live and a Net connection, but since a: I still only have the first of those and b: moved in so recently I don’t even have a fridge or desk yet, it’s going to have to wait. I did bring my venerable 7-year old slow, heavy and gigantic Dell laptop, which I bought before my very first stay in Japan, but unfortunately it has now completely died, and so I am reduced to using the public computers at school, which means I have no way whatsoever of doing things like uploading photos, and really can’t be motivated to do much more than the occassional email, much less blogging, until I get a better setup. I did order DSL, but (I think because of NTT’s monopoly over the physical circuits) in Japan it takes an entire month wait from time of order to installation, I won’t get a hookup until the end of May/beginning of June.
And basically, that’s it. Living in Fushimi for a brief period was not particularly interesting, as the region seems to have fairly little of interest aside from the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine and the very attractive Chushojima historical district, which includes some very nice Meiji era architecture, such as the Gekkeikan brewery (Fushimi actually has Nihonshu (sake) breweries everywhere, but most of them are merely ugly modern industrial structures). Now that I’ve moved from down there back into Kyoto proper I feel a little better, but lack of such things as furniture, a computer, a bicycle (which I maybe shouldn’t get until I have my increasingly painful right knee examined) still needs to be remedied before I can really say I’m settled.