I am a one-year-old

My passport is stamped for arrival at Kansai International Airport on January 8th.  I arrived early in the morning after leaving Hong Kong around 1AM, took a very long train from the airport to Kyoto, then walked from the train station to my hostel.  I arrived in Kyoto at about 10AM on a cold, clear morning and walked west along Shijo Street, then north at Horikawa.  I walked past Nijo Castle, then took a right and a left and found my hostel, which was very close to Nijo.

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At 10AM on a cold January morning, Shijo (which is a main shopping district) was almost abandoned, so my introduction to Kyoto was very surreal, but walking past Nijo Castle made me realise I had arrived in Japan, this country I had dreamed about. After checking into my hostel, my first act in Kyoto was to go to Mugenjuku’s old Kojinguchi dojo location on Kawaramachi Street.  You had to ride to the back side of a building and then climb a long flight of steep stairs and open a heavy steel door. I remember hearing yelling from inside and opening that door just a little bit to peak inside.  But I was too intimidated to go in, so I silently closed it again and left.  Then I returned the next morning for 7AM training, when I met Payet-sensei, Nakaema-san, and Izzy for the first time and went to Mister Donuts doughnut shop after. When Nick heard about my first day of training, he said, “Well, he’s met Payet-sensei, been to the dojo, and gone to Mister Donuts… he’s practically done the whole course!” My first month or so in Kyoto, I lived in Hostel Chiquito Mundo and trained at Kojinguchi.  It was a real dream.  At Hostel Chiquito, I had my own cubby to sleep in, but there was no heat, so getting out of bed was freezing cold.  But!  But they had a gas stove in the common room, so it was always warm and sunny in there.

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Every night I stayed at Hostel Chiquito Mundo, they had a dinner party with lots of Japanese hot pot, beer, and sake.

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Sometimes, I drank too much…

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One time, kenshusei Yannick even came to have a party with us…

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It was so much fun because of the nice staff such as Rena and Yuko… 2013hostelchiquitomundo_yuko2b   I have fond memories of Kyoto from before the Kenshusei course.  I hope you do, too!

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