Blue Bamboo and a Not Santa

Sara Portesan


Okay, so I am about to attempt to describe the past (three, four?) weeks I haven’t been blogging with 12 pictures!  Here we go.

Fall Break in Japan


While a bunch of people went to Tokyo (jealous! I want to go spring break…), I stayed in Kyoto and went to these places: Ohara in Northern Kyoto has a lot of temples! We (two AKP friends and I) only made it to two, and we spent the whole day there. It was very cold, but that also meant the leaves had started to change. So it was really beautiful! Also, we got scolded for trying to eat bananas in one of the temple’s gardens.  D: I still don’t know why that isn’t okay…

A day or so later, I went to Osaka to visit Amanda. While she had a presentation, I went to the huge park (where a world Expo was held) right next to her university. This picture may not seem amazing to you, but I hadn’t seen wide open fields of grass in ages. Also, the kind man at the gate asked if I was there to see the changing color of the leaves and I said yeah, of course!  So he circled all the best places in the park to see fall colors. How nice! And how prepared! I like to think he walks around the entire park before his shift just to be sure.    

                       And the places he marked were spectacular! I mean, this can’t be for real, right? The red, the yellow, the gold, the water, the green! And to top it off, there were a bunch of old guys sitting around and painting.   Which is what I should have been doing too! Ah!


Later I made salmon  fettuccine  with Ayana and Amanda for my host family. We somehow managed to burn the noodles(but we picked the bad ones out) and by the time we got around to eating it, it was cold, but despite these facts it was delicious! (Well, at least I thought so…) It made me miss home. Also, after that we baked pumpkin bread, and I wrote my host sister’s name on it (because it was her birthday) only to discover later that she and my host brother (16 and 10, respectively) don’t like cinnamon (which of course is in  pumpkin  bread)! Ah! Fail! Oh well, we made 5 loaves and so that meant I got a whole loaf (or two…) to eat by myself. Which is a very good thing. (I recently wrote a paper in Japanese on why bread is my favorite thing).

Then on Monday I went with a few members of my science class to Yokkaichi (known for really bad air pollution  awhile  ago).  I wish I had gone before drawing that steampunk themed drawing of the elephant  for drawing class last year, because it was totally inspiring.




Recently I went to Arashiyama (a mountain!). Now is the season for Illuminations, which means lighting up really cool places! Because of the pwoer situation, some places are not doing it this year, but Arashiyama still is, and as you can see it was pretty impressive. Since it is lit from below and with a blue light, it felt like we were walking through a forest where the colors had all been inverted. Though crowded and cold, it was definitely worth the trip! Here is another picture from that night:



But sometimes the best adventures are even closer to home! Ayana and I went on a walk the other day around campus and found these beautiful yellow leaves! The yellow trees here are crazy yellow.  And they come out of nowhere! All the other trees around are green, and then you have these huge, tall, yellow trees (at least, right now they are yellow) that you run into at the most unexpected moments; you look up, and down, and all around and you are just surrounded by yellow. As yellow is my favorite color, I am a really big fan of these trees.

I’ll try to get another picture of the whole tree. Its pretty intense. Also on this journey, we came across a temple where we thought we saw what looks like a figure dressed up as Santa but I am pretty sure is actually  related  to a sect of Buddhism.


^Not santa


Speaking of Santa, stores here are playing a lot of Christmas music and I love it! Another thing I love is Baskin Robbins. Or “31” as it is known here. They have this flavor called “popping shower”. Do they have it in the states? Its so good… its light green and white with little green and red balls of deliciousness… slightly minty, but also like cookie dough or cake or something…. Mmmmm. They also have seasonal flavors. I wanted to get “Magical Mint Night” or “Apple Pie” but they were all out. D: Next time!


Speaking of Christmas, check out this Christmas tree. I was having a really good day already (since I was at this house eating sushi we made by hand after watching a movie with pandas in it with two three and two six year olds), but then I saw this tree and my day somehow got even better.


Phew! That is all I can pump out right now. Finals next week. The last one is on my birthday. Hurray! Buts its okay. There is also a big market on my birthday and an end of the year party, so that will make up for the test.