UGAYA Guest House, Nara

I got off to a rocky start this morning. First I forgot my jacket, then my toiletries. I made it just in time to the interviews.

Yumi (the coordinator of the program from Tokyo), Terajima (the director of the Nagoya office), and I interviewed six applicants for the North America year-long high school exchange. It was remarkably similar to the interviews I did for this internship, only I was on the other side of the table. All six of the applicants were pretty good, luckily I don't have to be the one make any final decisions.

After the interviews finished at about six, I hurried over to the train station to begin my weekend journey. I went to Nagoya station and took took the Kintetsu Urban Liner Limited Express, transferring at Yagi and Sandaiji. The express was really nice, and although it was dark out, what I could make out was really pretty. The moon was just past full and was peering through wispy clouds, in the way you would see in nice paintings.

I arrived in Kintetsu-Nara at about 9:30...

whup, my roommate is going to sleep, I'm gonna be nice and finish tomorrow


Let's see... after I arrived at the station, I followed the directions to the hostel. I checked in and the dude showed me around. It's a pretty quaint place, with a great atmosphere. All the bunks are full, so I get to sleep in the tatami room for bunk price. Yay.

It occurred to me that I might need my own little soap and shampoo for the shower, so I asked if there was a place nearby I could get some. They pointed me to a convenience store nearby. I walked through the neighborhood, it was after ten by now. Nara isn't exactly rural, but it feels pretty antique. There are the low buildings you see in museums, with the stylized roofs, and the streets are really narrow. From what I can tell, this place must have avoided the WWII firebombings that "reset" most other cities, architecturally.

I picked up some dinner at the store as well, and headed back. There's a community area in the lobby of the hostel, and I hung out with a few cool Japanese dudes while I ate. One of them had walked around the island of Shikoku dressed as a monk, another had biked around the largest lake in Japan (took him 26 hours). We talked about a whole bunch of stuff, me practicing my Japanese and them practicing their English. There was a big poster board map of the world on the wall, they had me stick a pin where I was from. There were pins all over the place, but only two in the SF area and one in Sacramento (none in KC). I stuck mine in Davis.

I went to bed, I'm sharing the room with a girl from France, Amy. She's doing the rush tour of Japan, she's got a big backpack and a tight schedule.

Anyway, yeah met some cool people here. I like this hostel thing.