Last week was Kansai Gaidai’s Cultural Festival. There were no lessons Thursday (so I went out to do some karaoke on Wednesday night with my much-loved Japanese class, and had a great time too), but the international part of the festival is on Sunday, so there’s one less day off. Actually, I was on campus every day except Friday, as without the university there is nowt to do in Hirakata. It was pretty fun. The student clubs and circles put up stalls selling food to raise money, do performances, that kind of thing. I saw some amateur rock bands, a terrifyingly well-organised cheerleading display, and more hip-hop dancing than I could ever want or need. Walking around campus, I saw groups of dancers in different costumes practicing in their carefully defined bits of territory. To my sleep-deprived brain, it looked like a Run DMC music video, or possibly some East Asian remake of The Warriors.
Saturday I went to Osaka with some friends to see the castle. It was a lovely warm evening, and we walked around it as the sun set and bathed the walls in soft light. I hadn’t brought my camera, so only have a few pictures on my mobile phone as souvenirs of that beautiful evening. Sunday was pretty fun, as I went to the CIE to see the international students’ country booths. I volunteered to help out at the UK stall, and spent an hour or so talking to Japanese visitors about where to go in Britain (Cambridge, of course. When you live in a tourist destination, you gots to represent – although Leeds isn’t half bad either). Sitting across from the amazingly well-equipped Colombia booth put me in the mood to go there. Ah well, there’s always next year.
I met up with Yukari, the Kansai Gaidai graduate who did her year abroad at Leeds who I met helping out at the British Council Education Fair a month or so ago. She’s very nice, friendly and mature, but she works long hours at a hotel so she doesn’t have a lot of free time. At the moment, I’m trying to make plans for the winter holiday. As this is only the second time I’ve travelled outside Europe, and I don’t know when I’ll be back in this part of the world, it makes sense to see as much as I can.