Japan Photo Set 5 – End of Program

I suppose by now this is more so that I have a record of what I did before I forget, but if anybody’s still reading this (aside from those I’ve told about this update), have fun!
I completed this program in mid-July, so it’s been about 3 months. I might be fuzzy on some things.

This update spans the end of the KIT trip and also covers Kobe (only a couple pictures there).
What we did for the end of the program: SGE party, Bridge tests, Yakiniku, a bit of wandering. The “Bridge test” is where we tested our project for the semester, a balsa-wood bridge. I’m not very good at doing things with my hands (aside from the occasional video game), so ours didn’t do so well, but it’s certainly no fault of my partner.

Of course I have to show off my Three Kingdoms acquisition. TK is my main interest, so of course I had to look for stuff. I found this figurine of Zhao Yun in a bookstore far from campus (incidentally, the first place I encountered the “foreigner fear” of the Japanese). I ended up purchasing (I’d guess) 9 TK manga, from 4 separate series (i.e. different illustrator).

This is (sadly) our bridge for the project. If it doesn’t look sturdy, that’s because it’s not. The thing held 500 grams (double what my first did), which was by 500 grams the worst showing in the finals. But I had fun making it, which is the important thing.

The bridge presentation was really crowded – the room was filled with posters, bridges, and people in formal clothes. The poster Miki and I did is closest (as is our bridge).

This is what I like to call a “vending machine colony”. It’s sort of a drive-in vending machine loop. This one had 13 vending machines, 6 of which sold alcohol ranging from beer to hard liquor.

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The inside of the yakiniku place. It’s sort of a self-serve barbeque – you get a plate of meat, and you cook and eat it. Not especially healthy.
You might also notice the multicolored drinks (the original reason I took the picture!). We got free drinks as well, and most people got alcohol but I had the melon soda instead.

The “idle countryside” of Japan rarely is. The only land I saw that could’ve been called “untouched” was usually left that way for a reason (see Shiroyama shrine, where it was intended to be left alone).
Incidentally, this is probably halfway to Kobe, which was the first city we visited.

Electricity drives Japan. There’s no real way around it – The United States is not much different, only less dense. I heard most of the power in Japan is nuclear – that might explain why the air was still clean, despite the dense population.

Now in Kobe, we’ve travelled about 2 hours by train and 40 minutes on foot (we lost our way, and had to impose upon an all-too-nice bookstore manager to help us find our way – he led us to the hotel). This was by far the clearest place I saw in the city.
And, on the other side…

An outlet mall, similar what you’d see in the States. In fact, there’s nothing in this picture to indicate it came from Japan! Incidentally, this place is called “Porto Bazar”. It contained mostly stores that were themed to have come from Europe. It also contained the most efficient McDonald’s that I have ever seen, and I doubt I shall ever see one such again.

Imagine our surprise when we saw this, shortly after getting off on a random stop. Not only did we find a pretty neat mall-type area, but (more importantly) we found Himeji Castle, one of the largest / best-preserved castles in Japan.
Next update will include a lot more pictures of Himeji Castle. I have way too many.

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