My second day in Kyoto was packed with a myriad of activities too – I wore a kimono, visited some temples, visited Kyoto University and went for a party organized by some university students. Chizuru has a teacher who teaches her and some other students how to wear kimonos. The teacher was really kind to have me over. 🙂 Coming from a country where people put on clothes quickly, wearing a kimono is as good as a culture shock for me. There are so many layers of clothes and they tied a complicated “obi” at the back of the kimono too. I think it took the teacher around 30 minutes to dress me up! After putting on the kimono, I found it quite difficult to walk, I could only take small steps. The kimono probably makes Japanese women feminine relatively speaking.
After the kimono wearing activity, I visited Kitano Tenmangu – the temple that is very popular for students to pray for success in the examinations. The temple compound was huge and I was not sure which deity was the one that students usually pray to. I actually like Kitano Tenmangu’s architecture quite a bit. I like how unpretentious it looks. I also like the moss-covered roofs which is made from the bark of cypress tree.
Next, I visited Kyoto University (or Kyodai) which is one of the more highly ranked universities in Asia. There are so many bicycles and relatively cheap restaurants in that area. Comparatively, Kyodai is a lot smaller than NUS. Different from NUS and other universities, Kyodai does not make their students wear academic gowns for their graduation ceremonies. Instead, the students do cosplay and they attend their graduation ceremonies in their own costumes. Some are really creative: http://cosplay.kotaku.com/cosplay-makes-this-the-best-graduation-ceremony-in-japa-1550967911 . Apparently, the media coverage for the graduation ceremony is quite strong. And I don’t see why not. On a more normal school day, the clock tower and the tree in front of the clock tower remain as the icons of the university.
From Kyoto University, Chizuru and I went to attend a party organized by some university students. Coming from Singapore, I must say the Japanese seem a lot better at socializing and making new friends at parties as compared to us. I remember I always feel bored at my Singaporean friends’ parties because different “cliques” just stay in their own group and talk among themselves and that makes the parties feel so segregated. In the Japanese party that I went to, random people just sat down on our table and made small talks, it feels so much more like a party. 🙂 We had quite a few drinks there and got a bit high, that was quite some fun.