Well, what a wonderful surprise. Despite the original forecasts for rain starting early last week, the weather is still gorgeous. And it looks like it may remain that way for another week. Keep your fingers crossed for me that the bad season gets pushed back as much as possible, because I’ll tell ya – it doesn’t get much better than this! 🙂
Another nice surprise recently was that I got to see Dean again this weekend. I know I’ve mentioned him on here before, but for those new visitors Dean is a geological surveyor who lived and worked in Japan for around ten years, and although he’s now moved to California, still has a huge number of contacts over here. In fact, he’s quite a player in his field and is regularly invited to give speeches at meetings all over the world. Dean has been absolutely fantastic at looking out for me whenever he comes around to Japan, trying to make me as many contacts as possible to help locate some possible future programming work (something which I’d always just deemed as impossible because of how closed the Japanese professional world is to foreigners).
So, this weekend he invited me to join him at a meeting and reception for the Japanese Archeological Society held at Tenri University (near Nara). It was nice to get out and see a new place for the first time in awhile, even if much of the day was spent indoors. Even the meetings, though, were quite interesting, as I’m always up for new forms of listening comprehension practice. And the dinner reception was the nicest meal I’ve had in a looooong time, consisting of everything from fresh fruit (very expensive here) to lobster (very expensive everywhere) to…uh, other deliciousness.
On top of that, Dean showed off the latest version of the software I wrote for him and it got some really good responses. This is even more encouraging for me in terms of getting my hands on some more programming work here in Japan.
After the dinner reception he invited me to go to an izakaya with him and two of his friends, resulting in my missing the last train back to Kyoto (I really should start looking into these train schedules more carefully, don’t you think?). Luckily, one of his friends (a professor at Tenri) was kind enough to let me crash at his place for the night, so I headed back the next morning (Sunday).
Sunday I spent most of the day laze-ing around until about 4:00pm, when I finally decided “OK, it’s time to get out and DO SOMETHING.” I left with the full intention of going straight to Starbuck’s to study, but at some point I stopped, looked up, and thought “man, this is really way too nice of a day to spend the rest of it indoors.” So I headed to Kinkakuji instead. Yes, I did two things this weekend that I haven’t done it quite awhile – left the city of Kyoto, and went sight-seeing in Kyoto!
After Kinkakuji I thought “Well, I wonder what’s up that way? I’ve never ridden my bike up there before.” Two hours and a few sight-seeing stops later, I’d ridden all the way up into the mountain town of Kurama, very beautiful and traditional I might add. Turning around I followed the Kamogawa all the way down out of the mountains and right to the Sanjo Starbuck’s, having inserted nothing more than a short three-hour distraction…and I studied until they kicked me out at 11:00pm.
And now it’s time for the one crucial part of everyday life that I left out of this weekend entirely: the gym!