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Kyoto, the Modern and Traditional City

Although arriving yesterday morning, I’ve had already a stressful but wonderful time in my 36 hours in Japan already. If you don’t know, Kyoto is considered the traditional capital of Japan, but it is also a very modern city, juxtaposing these two cultures.

Despite it being a very touristy city, nearly all the shop staff and people here will exclusively use Japanese to reply to you, even if you do try to say only English, making such an interesting experience trying to buy some food or finding which bus will take us to the university.

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The street outside the apartment I live in

Out of all the other exchange students I’ve met, about 30% are Italian, 40% are Americans and the rest are from all around the world, so fortunately I do have someone else to talk to in and are also just as keen as me to experience the culture.

The apartment I have to reside in for the rest of my 5 month exchange is a small little condo in a side street next to a station (which is convenient) with tons of vending machines littered across the area. The room is actually quite spacious but very lacking in equipment like pans and plates so if you like cooking, you’ll have to spend a bit on cooking appliances.

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An entrance to the subway, hidden among the bike racks

Despite being here for 36 hours, I’ve already had so much of the Japanese cuisine like actual sushi trains, okonomiyaki, onigiri, sake, karaage (fried chicken) and katsu don, all that I’d highly recommend.

One of the downsides is that I wasn’t expecting it to be that humid, because within 10 minutes of walking, I was already covered in sweat of just trying to find a temple. However since their summer has ended, the cold winter will be coming which I hope, won’t be as bad.

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One of the nearby temples which is about a 10 min walk from the apartment

But all the upsides do outweigh the downsides like the great food, lots of temples around the area, vending machines everywhere, on time transportation, helpful locals and just a clean city.

So if any of you do ever consider coming to Japan and want to experience some of the traditional areas of Japan, I’d definitely recommend Kyoto.

Jake Houston, 11988072, Science

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