From Tokyo to Kyoto

This post is by Katie Sukhomlynova, a student in the International Education program.

My blog post is about Friday, May 23, the day many of us were looking forward to the most-our trip to Kyoto! I learned through our trip from Tokyo to Kyoto that bullet trains are AWESOME. Roomy seats that recline-all the way back, and plenty of legroom. They even have a food cart that goes by so you can buy snacks or drinks if you need to.  If only airplane rides could be this comfortable.

Our Bullet Train to Kyoto

Our Bullet Train to Kyoto

My first impression of Kyoto was that it was smaller, greener and more peaceful than Tokyo.  It seemed like a very livable city and bike friendly, too. There were so many people riding on bikes along the streets and lots of tourists walking around-many more than in Tokyo.

Lots of bikes parked at Kyoto University

Lots of bikes parked at Kyoto University

Our first meeting here in Kyoto was so wonderful that it really set a positive tone for the rest of the visit. We had the chance to meet with professors and graduate students at Kyoto University and exchange ideas about several higher education and international education issues. They were wonderful hosts and clearly dedicated a lot of time in preparing for our visit. The discussions we had with them were the highlight of the visit so far and hopefully we can keep the dialogue going once we get back to DC.  I think it is safe to say that our impressions of places we visit are formed mostly based on the kind of interactions we have with the people there.  Because of the warm welcome we received from the Kyoto University, I’ll certainly remember this part of our trip and Kyoto for a long time.

Group picture at Kyoto University

Group picture at Kyoto University

Japanese people overall are incredibly hospitable.  Despite the language barriers, the locals always seem willing to lend a hand when we are looking confused, need directions or just can’t figure out how to order that sushi roll that looks so good. The front desk agent in Kyoto even gave us a tutorial on how to open our room doors, just to make sure we knew what to do!

Our key tutorial, courtesy of the front desk

Our key tutorial, courtesy of the front desk

All in all, it has been a wonderful trip so far and I’m looking forward to what the rest of our travels will bring!

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