Took the Shinkansen from Hiroshima to Kyoto. A very nice trip. I really like the convenience of the bullet-trains, you can get nearly anywhere in the country in half a day. Of course, the convenience for me was that it was free with my rail pass. If you pay for tickets, it’s a little more painful (usually $80-180 for a ticket).

When I got to the Utano Youth Hostel, my initial impression of the hostel was a little poor. Compared to Hiroshima and Yoyogi, Utano looked small, and a little run-down. After booking in, however, I found the rooms to be very comfortable. The baths at Utano are better than Hiroshima…

Took off to grab some noodles for dinner, then ended up chatting with a whole bunch of Japanese junior-highschool girls who were in Kyoto for an english speech project. We all sat around playing games and chatting for a while. Most of the girls were quite shy, however they tried their best, and that’s what counts! We played the card game “UNO” (where the rules change every game!), which actually turned out to be quite entertaining.

When I returned to my room, I found that all of my roommates were also young Japanese guys. In spite of the language barrier, it was guy talk, typical the world over (in other words, focused mainly on girls). They also christened me with my Kanji name (chinese characters). On a brief sidenote, one of the guys was so excited to be talking to a foreigner that he did the “spontaneous nosebleed” thing – I had thought it was just a roumer contrived from the Anime World – perhaps not.