What an eventful week it has been in Japan!

Programs for this blog post

January in Kyoto

Authored By:

CIEE Kyoto

Week 1 in Japan!

Authored by Swapomti Surampudi 

Flight Crazy Moments

I flew in from San Antonio to San Francisco and then San Francisco to Osaka, Japan KIX airport. The total flight time was about 17 hours. I landed in Japan apparently after a lot of intense earthquakes and other events occurred. Thankfully this happened before I had landed and it was more on the other side of Japan, but if I had flown into Japan through Tokyo I would've been affected by the aftermath more. I took a shuttle to Kyoto where we would be staying in a hotel for the duration of the J-Term. We're near Kyoto tower which I hope to visit and also conveniently across from a 7/11 ( the convenient stores here are actually convenient like if you buy a meal, you can ask them to heat it up for you and they will give you utensils to eat with ).

Highlights from the Week

Scavenger Hunt

We did a scavenger hunt where we went to the Pokémon Center, Nishiki Market (aka Kyoto's Kitchen), Kabuki theater, Hanamikoji Street, and Yasaka Jinja Shrine. Also Bonus we saw a really small Tori gate which was adorable!

Pokémon Center


Nishiki Market ( Snoopy Red Bean Buns )


Kabuki Theater Creator Statue


Yasaka Jinja Shrine


Small Tori Gate <3


Sweets Making

We got to make a Yatsuhashi sweet which are composed of rice flower, cinnamon, white seasame, sugar, and a small portion of water. It's a rectangular sweet that is so delicious and honestly really fun to make!


Philosopher's Walk

On Saturday Morning we went on a walk down the philosopher's walk path. This path is so peaceful as it's a trail near a small stream. The stream has a lot of koi fish and ducks and there was a kind gentleman who was having us drop bamboo boats into the stream to tell our fortune for the year of the dragon (this year). Turns out this might be my year!


I went to Osaka on my first free day and me and my roommate. We mainly wandered around the city and just explored some of the malls and shops. I saw a huge burger and a cool robot! I also got to eat at a nice cafe but more on that in a bit.

Being Vegetarian in Japan

The biggest compromise I thought I had to make was that I wouldn't be able to have traditional Japanese food since I was vegetarian. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how accommodating some restaurants had become due to the rise in vegan and vegetarianism. I had a really yummy bowl of udon noodles that was vegetarian and a full Japanese lunch at a cafe in Osaka that was vegan! They were super yummy and light! Most foods in Japan aren't super fatty so the meals feel light and I don't feel heavy but energized which is good considering how much I walk everyday.


Culture Shock

The biggest culture shocks I've had so far are no one is on their phone on the subway or train (like taking phone calls), it's very quiet and if people do have conversations they're often whispering. The streets and most public places are so clean because everyone is very conscious about their trash. In fact people are so conscious about their trash that I know a lot of people will take their trash home with them because there are a lack of public trash cans. I asked my professors and the CIEE staff about that and they had said it was due to at one point people would put things in public trashcans that when punctured would release gas and it was terrible. So due to this and some other reasons, Japan has a lack of public trashcans. Another interesting culture shock was the lack of water fountains, vending machine culture is huge here so people often get drinks but they do not refill water bottles.