Money: ¥23.907

I overslept today which was bound to happen because I was really dead tired. Lack of sleep is not well for you. Somehow Japanese people can go on without much sleep. Most stores are open 24/7 and unlike in the Netherlands, all shops are OPEN on Sundays. That is nice, as I wanted to check out the surroundings tomorrow.

So, I got lots of different kinds of bread to eat. It is delicious, even though it is just bread. As bento for today’s trip I got even more bread. But with iced tea. Ah, thank god there is Lipton in Japan. Also, the milk in Japan is also quite nice…I prefer it over tea and water.

Arriving at JR Takatsuki after riding the bus and an express train for half an hour, we met up with the other YFU-students who were in Japan at the time. Most people here were Americans and Japanese people who want to go to Japan. Max could not be here because his school did not allow him to. A whole year means you are not a guest anymore, I think. Well, I got no school today anyway.

To be honest, I am quite against such a meeting myself. 10% of the conversations I have heard was in Japanese. Yeah, I felt the feeling of ‘tourist’ for a moment now, as people were just chitchatting in English. I did not really like it. Luckily there were still people there who I do know, like Stefan and Maaya. I also met other new people, but they will add me on Facebook later.

So, we arrived here at Kabusan-ji in Takatsuki, it is one of the countryside places in Osaka. It looked very nice, but it was very hot and we had to walk up a hill, hilariously called Ponponyama, so we could not really enjoy the view. The temple looks amazing, just as your imaginations goes, so to say. Very cultural and complex.

In the large tatami hall we met up and the chief priest had a word about Buddhism. He can speak English which was of good quality as well. Unfortunately I have heard about becoming a Buddha before in our Dutch religion class so I do not think I have to explain it to you all. But the first step in becoming on with a perfect clear mind, is by doing “zazen” (zen meditation).

You can see me sit like you have to with zazen: crossed legs, loosened arms, hands like you hold a bowl, closed eyes, straight back. Like this, you breath in and out really deep. Focus on counting a number every time you breath out. If you lose concentration, you ask for help by holding your hands as if you are doing a prayer. The priest will ask you to bow down and will slap your shoulder with a stick. Then you can have a moment of rest. Basically, you have to sit still for around thirty minutes. Believe me, it is hard.

Afterward we hand lunch where I talk a lot to a Japanese girl who was born in America. Poor her. (Just kidding of course) But yeah, she wanted to know the European culture, rather than hearing American blabber all the time. But it was inevitable. A really small number were from Europe; four in total. Out of 22 I believe.

So yeah, I wanted to go home but we were a bit lost. Luckily Japanese pedestrians are nice enough to tell us the way. Stefan had less luck though. He could not get in contact with his host family and he did not have the key to his house. You see, apparently he is not just going to two different host families, but currently he is going to a third family and most likely this number will increase as well. He is not happy himself too.

So we let him in our house for tonight. He could finally contact his family for once, by using my host mom’s old laptop. Meanwhile I was busy mailing four of my Japanese classmates and probably that will increase as well. I just made a daily schedule and saw a small conflict I have to fix. Nara cycling and Tenjin-matsuri at the same time. But Sunday I think Masaharu wants to go to the “onsen” (hot spring bath). So many plans that can only be done in the weekends!

As dinner we ate KFC, which is apparently not that rare in Japan. McDonalds is also not so rare but apparently Mos is more delicious. For tonight I do not really have any plans so I think I am going to rest for tomorrow. I saw some interesting places on my way home, so I will be going to roam in the neighbourhood. It actually sounds pretty fun…Even if I get lost.

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