Not much exciting to discuss about this morning. Talks were again informative. The one i think was particularly good was just too fast. I couldn't digest enough information and keep up with him so I derailed and worked a random physics problem for a bit.
Anyway, the interesting part of today was it was our excursion day to Himeji. Which I believe to be quite distinct from Kyoto. Anyhow, we had two hours to kill and wait around before were to meet at the train station and someone would escort everyone to the castle for the tour. I couldn't sit still for two hours so I decided to venture out on my own and find something else to do there and meet up with the group later. The plan started out fine, I correctly negotiated the trains to Himeji, and had a tourist brochure with several sites to see. I set my eyes on Shoshazan Engyoji which was a big training ground for the Tendei sect. (don't' know much about them).
Anyway, it's up on a mountain and is where "The Last Samurai" was filmed. I remember that being particularly beautiful so I started walking. As it turns out the B2 I started walking to was actually A-B2. I was supposed to walk to B-B2 which was a different map altogether and significantly zoomed out! So, walking was not an option. It stayed open until 6pm, but I couldn't squeeze it in before the tour group and the Castle closes at 4pm anyway.
I decided to tour the castle myself so I would have time to make it to the other temple, and the castle was beautiful. It feels more appropriate wandering around on my own then being baby sat anyway. So, I spent about an hour touring. Right before I left an elderly Japanese man started talking with me and we made small talk for at least 15 minutes. It was simple, he knew a little English, but it was really neat to just strike up a conversation in Japanese. While I was talking was when the actual tour group came up behind me so I felt a little weird chit chatting with this older gentlemen while everyone else came up to the castle, but it was really neat.
Then I find out that to go to the other temple it's a 30 minute bus ride and then a something like 15-20 minute rope care up the mountain... and the bus wouldn't leave until 40 minutes after I arrived at the station. So long story short, by the time I would've made it up there I may or may not have been let in anyway. Sigh.
Instead I walked the shopping district and thought I'd treat myself to some sushi. I couldn't find sushi anywhere! I must of walked around aimlessly expecting to see a sushi place for over 2 hours. I finally stop and ask the people in the police station and they pull out the phone book and draw me a map to a relatively nearby sushi place... guess what? It was closed!
Fortunately I walked no more than 5 more minutes before finding this tiny hole in the wall Okonomiyaki place. It was barely visible, on the second floor, had about 4 tables, and one woman tending the place. It was fantastic though. It helps that I was starving but I could definitely eat okonomiyaki occasionally.
Anyways, all the wandering made me pretty tired so I think for what's left of the evening I'm just relaxing in the hotel. Some of us hung out fairly late in a hotel room but it was pretty mellow. 4 Lectures tomorrow so I'll need my strength. More to come....