Sunday has been one of our more relaxed days yet. We started off the morning attending an LDS church for sacrament meeting and Sunday school. It was a very interesting experience that was very enlightening. Hearing everyone sing the hymns in Japanese was so cool! Even though I couldn't really understand fully what everyone was saying, it was an experience I will definitely remember.
After church was done, we said farewell to our first host families, and left Osaka for Kyoto! We are staying in BYU housing while in Kyoto the rest of this week until we head out to Gifu! Once we all settled in we took a look around our neighborhood, stopping to get groceries as well. There was a little ramen shop near our house that we tried out and it was very good! The best places to eat seem to be the restaurants you so happen to stumble by. Though we didn't do too much, it was nice to take a day to relax for a bit and prepare for the week ahead (aka tons of walking).
This morning it felt like we woke up extremely early, probably because we are still recovering from our lag. Once we met up with the group and made our way to our separate cars in order to go to the area where the cable car is, we compared and discussed what each of our host families were like. Unfortunately, the GPS in the cars seemed to take us to another area instead of where we were supposed to get on to the cable car. While waiting in the car, our conversations seem to center around k-pop and j-pop with Makayla and Nicole in the center. Luckily, we were able to figure out where to go to get to Koyasan! The little, secluded mountain town was very busy with many visitors and tourists! Although it was very busy, Kenna still described it as a (quote) "Little and cozy town despite many tourists." After a delicious meal with Fullmer Sensei, Nicole, Kenna, and Makayla consisting of udon, orange juice, tempura, and other delicious foods we were able to meet back together again as a big group. We were able to enjoy the perfect weather, about 60 degrees with a slight breeze, as we hiked through the boichi. We learned why the people were buried in such a rich and historical (1200 years old!) graveyard. The people who were extremely rich or people who have worked for a lifetime in a wealthy company usually are buried there. I'm sure that everyone in my group was stunned by the beauty that surrounded us because I sure was! With the combination of moss, flowers, and historical structures it created the perfect picture! We were able to visit the wooden temples where the monks would recite prayers. As soon as I stepped up to the temple I entered a place where you can only hear the monk's chant and smell only the burning incense. This world heritage site is more than 1,000 years old with its old teaching and meditation sites. It was quite the experience. In the basement level of the main temple, there was a room with hundreds of lanterns that led up to where Kobo Daishi (the founder of this particular sect of Buddhim) was enshrined, and thought by some to still be alive (Again, 1200 or so years old).
On the way home, we were able to visit a convenient store to buy some snacks and then make our way to the cable car. The feeling of going down the cable car was sensational! After catching our train and car ride we were able to make our way to Sayama City to watch a group of school students dance. Their dancing was spectacular! We enjoyed playing the games with them and we had the opportunity to high-five them all! Soon after that, we were able to enjoy meeting new families and people at Spa Hills (an onsen). After another stunning performance from the dancers, we all had to give our long introductions. None of us realized that we would have to give them so we tried our best! Between the power point not working and short notice I think that we did a very good job. We got to enjoy more games including one with assembling a dice and then one with blowing a paper bag up with fans. After enjoying the rest of the party we got to enjoy the onsen! Although everyone was very reluctant at first to try it everyone did enjoy the cultural experience! I can't wait to see what other experiences are waiting for us in the future!
Kaiten sushi is conveyor belt sushi and it was soooooooo good! We ate a lot and had a delicious frozen orange for dessert, then we walked over to the Mister Donut, had some super light and delicious donuts, and finally we met our host families! They were really nice and kind.
Hope you enjoy the actually slightly shortened version of my experience that day!
July 4th 2019
I cant believe we are all in japan, even though its only the second day it still hasn't hit me, it really all just feels like a dream. Today was an adventure of its own and such a fun day. We started off the day talking about japan and some Useful Japanese Phrases, We even practiced for an earthquake and reviewed what to do if one hits while we are here. After that we had lunch that was made by our own group- it was very tasty. Next we set off to the nearby shrine it was very cool to walk in and see all the wonderful stuff in it. I have noticed that even though we are in a city there are little older parts just randomly anywhere to see (ex: A little shrine smooshed in between two stores at kitchenware street.) Some super interesting things that we all got to see was a Toys R Us store!! (We were all very surprised because they had closed all the stores in America) And a manga/music/video store. It was cool to see the little different things that those stores had, as well as many other stores in kitchenware street. After all this we set off to an arcade seeing very interesting yet exciting games to play, we even found many purikura ( Japanese photo booths) we all got to take very fun pictures together. Then it was free time so we all set off on our ways in little groups and explored many different areas and things. I for one enjoyed it very much. It was super cool my group saw a street comedian and even some people racing in cool little go carts!! Once we all arrived back home, we got to light some very spectacular fireworks. For me it was a very good way to end the night off. I'm so happy to be here in japan it really has been way better then I had ever imagined, and its only the second day. We all still have many days to go and with each filled day is a new adventure just waiting for us. ^_^
By: Adriana Paulino Liriano
Hello from halfway across the world!
Your first travel log is brought to you by Brianna Lambert, who is, in fact, extremely tired after a long... long day of travel!
On July 2nd at 6:30 AM, the Boken crew assembled together at the Salt Lake City Airport, and embarked on our first flight to Seattle. We got through it all without too much trouble (other than Dowdle-Sensei forgetting to take his Nintendo Switch out of his bag, and being thoroughly questioned by TSA agents. No, we're not letting him live it down).
Personally, Seattle was exactly what I expected: cold, clouds, and coffee. We were all feeling pretty confident after a breezy two-hour flight, and were raring to go onto the next one. We were advised to try to sleep for the first part of the journey in an attempt to better align ourselves with the Japanese timezone. However, sleeping on a plane is an art that many attempt but few can master. The flight crew gave their every effort to make it a more comfortable experience for us; the service was quite different than what you'd get in the States. Hot towels and disposable slippers are pretty uncommon domestically.
After eleven (ELEVEN) hours of snoozing and binge watching, we touched down at Kansai at last. As we stepped off the plane, we were instantly blasted by a wave of humidity. As most of us are Utahns, the change was dramatic to say the least. Going through Customs was a sinch (other than Dowdle-Sensei, who was, once again, pulled aside for some reason or another. We suspect he has a criminal record). After picking up our SIM cards and Pocket WiFi, we took off on a fancy train to head into the heart of Osaka.
Travelling into the city gave us our first real taste of Japan. It's the rainy season right now, so it's overcast and, well, rainy. And yet, still very hot. Another thing I noted is how small everything is. Everything seems to have shrunk! The cars, the apartments, the doors. Like, anything you can think of, it's way smaller than in America. Maybe we just make things too big in the US.
Anyway we got off the train at Namba and walked a good ways through the drizzle to our AirBNB. We settled in, then quickly took off to go to the supermarket to get dinner and some ingredients for future meals. We got to explore aisles of overpriced fruit, infinite brands of curry, and wonderful premade sushi and bento. We also got to experience paying for stuff with yen! It's not all that confusing. For those who don't know, one yen is about one cent. So 1,000 yen is around ten dollars. I keep thinking in terms of USD and it will take a while to adapt.
Finally we returned home to eat our grocery store dinners, and despite their cheap-sounding quality, it was heavenly. Everyone then got ready for bed and had a chance to call their families, write in their journals, etc. (Except me because I get to write today's blog,, yee-haw).
We're all very jetlagged, but we're very excited for the adventures that await us in the upcoming weeks!
Today, we first went to the asakusa shrine with a really big lantern hanging from the front gate. We had about an hour of free time at the shrine. The gap between the gate and the pagoda had a lot of stores. A few people got melon bread with ice cream in it, and the girls got shaved ice made out of strawberries; along with some chocolate strawberries. After we finished up our time at the shrine, we made our way to the edo-Tokyo museum. There were artifacts, recreations, and models from the edo period of Tokyo. For lunch, we ate tempura (breaded shrimp and vegetables. KFseafood). After lunch, we had more free time. Everyone but Shandon, Jackson, and Jacob just walked around visiting different stores. We found a Game Center and stayed there for a while. Edwardo won a snoopy plush, and Annie and Melina (along with everyone else) tried out a taiko drum game. We all had a good time at the Game Center. When the time came, everyone made there way home. Tokyo is a really big city and we won't be able to visit everywhere, but everyone is still having a really fun time here.
Posted by Brandon Osgan
Family, Jackson here. The moment that everything has been building towards; the bustling super city that never sleeps: Tokyo.
Hi Its Larissa! Today we left super early to get to Gifu prefecture where we could meet our host families and get to know them better. My host family is the 川上 kawaue family and they have two daughters Natsumi and Haruna夏海 と春菜 they are soo much fun! I love them Natsumi is 18 like me and is in her senior year of highschool. Haruna is in her last year of junior high. They are both amazing and really fun! They have a pet hedgehog he is super cute! Mom is really great her cooking is the best and she is super nice. We went out for Japanese shaved ice mine had icecream it was super yummy! She also took us shopping and we did purikura and also played taiko drums. I met up with Annie there as well. We helped out with dinner and we had a stew pot for vegetables and meat ( basically bacon) it was super awesome and yummy.After that we just hung out in Natsumi's room and watched some of good morning call because they had not seen it. We also took really cute pictures and did fireworks outside because it is a holiday. They are celebrating the ocean today ^-^ it is unfortunately time to go to sleep but I hope my host enjoyed this experience as much as I have.
After church today, everyone just mostly lazed around for awhile, until around three pm for the girls. We started getting ready for the festival that we were leaving for at six by doing our hair and taking an hour (I think…) to figure out how to put on our yukata. As soon as we were done, we all grabbed our wallets and headed to the bus stop to wait for our bus.
When we arrived at the matsuri, it was packed with people everywhere. There were some floats with lanterns that some people were in them playing traditional music. There were food and game stands lining the streets everywhere. We got free time for a bit once we were in the matsuri, so we all went off in groups until it was time to meet up to head back home.
As my group started heading for our bus stop, we got a message from the senseis saying to meet up somewhere else because the bus we were supposed to go on was taking a different route. Then the same thing happened again after that. My group finally ended up running into Bellini Sensei and her daughter, so we followed her all the way to the bus stop that was actually running its normal stops even though the festival was occurring, were we met up with Fullmer Sensei. Some of the kids weren't with us, but luckily caught one of the next buses and arrived home shortly afterwards.
It was a very fun, slightly stressful and tiring evening for us all. Once we got into our house, we all went to bed to get ready for our journey to Gifu.
Today was the monkey mountain day, which was also the Onsen day! A very relaxing day to say the least. We barrelled up a mountain in Western Kyoto due to the park closing in 30 minutes, and managed to make it up in double the estimated time it took to walk up there. Once we reached the top we were offered Peanuts, Apples, and Bananas we could buy for 100 yen to feed said monkeys. It was interesting finding out that each monkey had it’s own personal tastes. It was going well and the monkeys were being very nice until two of them started fighting, which ended with one of the monkeys shoving another monkey off the top of the mountain. Afterwards we went to a sprawling forest of bamboo to stroll around in, and it was a unique experience to see. After that came the best part of the day: Onsen. Onsen is the Japanese public bath, and though it was kind of weird at first, it was still super relaxing. Afterwards I had Fish Therapy, which was awesome. A bunch of little fish eat the dead skin off your feet and it’s just really tickly. I might have harassed/promoted everybody else into trying it. In the end, Me, Melina, Eduardo, Shandon, were able to keep their feet in the water while keeping their cool. Larissa and Maddie and Jacob kept their feet in but about died doing it, and Aaron and Jackson couldn’t even put theirs in for more than 10 seconds at a time.