Kyoto Arrival and Introduction to Gomibear

July 21, 2009 § Leave a comment

Sorry I haven’t updated much.  My Internet access and time is very limited so I will have to submit multiple posts at random times during the trip.

I mentioned that I was staying with a high school friend who is studying in Kyoto but I wanted to talk a little more about my friend.  Gomi (her nickname) and I have known each other since her freshman year in high school (oh my gosh, that was 7 years ago!!) because of our overlapping activities and mutual close friends.  She is one year younger than me and was a consistent part of my high school life.  We were on ASB (student council) together and she even held two of my previous positions.  The last time I saw her was four years ago when she visited Berkeley to see if she wanted to attend school there.  I took her around the campus, dorms, and lecture halls, and tried to show her why she should go to Berkeley.  In the end she chose to go to the east coast but it was fun showing her around and hearing about how her senior year was going.

Throughout the years we kept in contact through Facebook and mutual friends but never really hung out after the time she came to Berkeley.  Fast forward three years.  I started planning this trip and somehow (probably Facebook) found out that she was going to be in Kyoto.  I think I originally contacted her for suggestions on places to visit since I knew she had spent a summer working in Japan the previous year but it ended up that she was going again this summer, although for different reasons.  Because of her, I decided to visit Kyoto instead of just staying in Tokyo and am so glad that I did.

During the planning stages of the Japan leg of my trip I was filled with some anxiety.  I didn’t want to overstay my welcome at any one place and so had to move around like a gypsy.  I was originally going to stay in a hostel but the language barrier and unfamiliar culture seemed so daunting that I decided to do home stays.

Seeing Gomi again at the Kyoto train station was strangely comforting.  I was exhausted from traveling the whole day and didn’t know what to expect but it was so nicely unsettling how unchanged we both were.  Although our high school experiences seemed like a lifetime ago, we were still the same people and had the same relationship from when we left off three years ago.  She is one of those people who I feel comfortable being really silly with, but also know that she will pay attention when I am serious.  While catching up with her, I was so happy to discover how much we had both grown.  She and I both learned a new language during our college years and it was so inspiring to see her use her Japanese to guide me around town.  It was also nice being able to help her through sharing some of my experiences regarding college and writing my senior thesis.  I do have to admit though, that it was really weird hearing her talk about applying to graduate programs, doing research, and writing her senior thesis.  To me, she is still a baby!  She will always be the really cool and often lame freshman in colorguard and ASB.


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