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History is Alive and Well/ I Officially Start PII

Ryo and I began our second day of touring Kanazawa with breakfast in a small cafe. I had toast with butter and anko (red-bean) topping. Then we took a bus to a district called Tera-machi, which literally means "temple area" because the whole neighborhood is one temple or shrine after another; there's upwards of 70 there! One in particular is called Myoryuji, or "Ninja-dera".

We weren't allowed to take photos inside the temple, but it really was an architectural masterpiece. There were two pitfall traps if you removed boards from the floor. There were several hidden staircases, and though the building looks like a two-story construction (which was mandated by law) there are actually seven levels within it. There's even a small room specifically for seppuku (ritualized suicide)! The temple has nothing to do with ninjas: it was actually built by Maeda Toshitsune for his samurai to stand by for battle.

From there we went to a neighborhood which is full of completely preserved chaya: teahouses and geisha entertainment venues.

It was just a nice, traditional area to walk around in. It was also close to the river:

In the afternoon I went and checked in to the hotel PII designated I should meet in. Ryo left for Tokyo. I was the first one to arrive in my 3-person room, but the room next door had some of my friends from Yale. So we hung out and eventually a large group of us went out for udon at a nearby shopping mall (which I WILL be returning to because the clothes are FANTASTIC).

The next day we met with our host families. I'm staying with a couple, Ryuichi and Nobuko Kosugi. He is an interior designer, and she works at a nursery school. They live in a house and have an adorable dog named Cocoa (HAH MOM I GET A DOG AT LAST).

And I get my own room:

I take a bus to school in the morning, which will take about half an hour. I'll have school from 9-12 Mon-Fri, and sometimes afterwards there are designated activities. There's other extracurriculars I can sign up for, like gold-leafing, pottery, and other traditional arts. Should be fun. Tomorrow I finish taking my placement exam, however, so wish me luck!


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100K Announcement


Thanks to everyone who has read and followed my journeys in Japan from 2011 to 2017. Your support of my adventures and observations means the world to me.

In celebration of Riceandramen finally hitting 100k views, I am pleased to announce that I will be running a giveaway!

I will send one lucky person a custom box of goodies from Japan that could include (but isn't limited to): snacks, stationary, character goods, traditional Japanese crafts and more. The only limits are weight and size and your imagination (I'll be keeping everything small and light to keep the shipping costs down).

Without further ado, the details and rules of the giveaway are as follows:


The giveaway will run from today, February 25 2018 JST/ February 24 CST to March 11, 2018 JST/ March 10 CST.You don't have to be in Japan to enter: since almost all of my readers are international, this giveaway will be, too. The winner will be picked at random and notified via p…