Monday, 26 November 2012

School festivals, part 3: Doujo and Kyoudai

Doujo is awfully swank.

Having already visited my own school's festival and that of Kyoujo, I'm not quite satiated. It turns out that Doushisha Daigaku's own girls-only branch has yet to have its festival, and so I enlist a couple friends of a friend to make an expedition together. Doushisha itself, by the way, is quite an interesting campus, having been founded in the Meiji Jidai (by a former samurai!) and declared a cultural landmark, thus the majority of its buildings are the same uniform red brick. What's more, the founder of the Joshi section of Doushisha actually fought in the revolution herself. That's kind of cool, right? Doujo was a little bit disappointing in comparison to the previous festivals, especially Kyoujo, which benefited from a space that was not only larger but also more conducive to this sort of event. I wondered, if I were a girl, and I were to choose between Kyoujo and Doujo, which would I go for? Well, answer is, Kyoujo has a much higher campus and much stronger cachet, but if I were a lesbian, there is no jo but Doujo.
Men's bathrooms do exist at Doujo. Although this was inside the chapel.
Have I shown this stuff before? School festivals commonly have student-made billboards showing you what's in store if you'll come in. This is from Kyoudai. It had a lot. And I mean a lot. Like a lot.
Kyoudai. Big campus. Stuff all over the place.
Baseball field. Check the stage in the background, there.
Following this we cut through the grounds of the Japanese Emperor's erstwhile residence, which I was supposed to have visited earlier but ended up sleeping through. Funny enough, around this area I run into the doppelganger of former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro. Had I been drunk at the time I am sure I would have addressed him by that name and asked how he was enjoying his retirement. Finally we arrive at Kyouto Daigaku, the biggest and bestest daigaku in Kansai and the second-best nationwide. I'd like to tell you that we had some crazy adventures but we did not. The bane of blogging is that I usually only really have anything to say when things go wrong. When expeditions unfold per my intentions, there often isn't a lot to talk about.
Elite dinnertime: Subway. Seriously, just imagine Western Subway trying to dress stuff up like this. 
I part with my comrades and decide to take a stroll through Kawaramachi in search of Yokomitsu Riichi's Shanghai, which I've desired for a while now but been unable to obtain. I search for two hours but never do find the store I'm looking for. I explore some of the Sanjou-Shijou side-streets, determined not to get lost as dicks the next time a Japanese friend takes me somewhere. I stumble upon a huge carabet club district, am mostly ignored by the staff, and am overjoyed when a customer recruiter tries to lure me into Girls Club AKB. As always, I reward her kindness by pretending she doesn't exist. The suited men around Kiyamachi-Sanjoudoori always ignore me, too, maybe because they assume I don't speak Japanese, or because they think I'm a tourist, or because I'm young.

All this wakamono fun'iki has put me in the mood for a beer, so I decide I'll enjoy one by Sanjoubashi and then take the train home. As I pass a police box I slide my beer to the far side of my leg. I needn't have bothered, because, as I learn later in the night, drinking in the street is completely ok, or at least nothing the police are going to nail you for unless they need an excuse. I proceed to my usual spot. Just as I'm about to call it, some random guy sits down next to me and strikes up a conversation. He's from Fukuoka, travelling Keihanshin with a view to moving here, and he's actually pretty cool. My beer quickly empties and I tell him I'll buy another and return. He's startled when I actually do, and moreover, he's chatting with a couple of guys from my university. Friend get! Some other university is having some kind of celebration and we decide to go ask what they're all about.

“I'm Chinese,” he tells me. Shy, apparently. I honour his request.

And, holy shit, they're not only from their school's English Club but they know a friend of mine from Kanbase! This whole talking to random people is turning out pretty well. Now I need to piss, so Chinese waits for me outside Lawson. I chat and joke with a couple guys waiting in line and nobody feels the need to point out that I'm foreign. The trains are stopping soon, but when I get back Chinese has become wrapped up in the exploits of two 32-year-olds. The one guy explains that he is married so he doesn't often have a chance to drink and pick up girls. In fact, although his work is not spiritually satisfying he claims it pays very well, and so treats us to a couple rounds at Ace Cafe, which is not a cafe in any sense of the word. It's a little out of my own pay grade, but I quite like the staff, who, in opposition to usual Kyouto decorum, are totally willing to chit-chat during and between orders.

The old man spends most of the time before, during and after the bar experience trying to lure girls into our company, but money alone proves insufficient. I half-expect him to suggest a brothel next. Oddly enough I am probably actually the most attractive out of the four of us, which I think might be the first time this has ever happened in my entire life. Hilariously, he actually ends up cock-blocked by Ace Bar's bouncer. Eventually the two of them leave, the one apologizing profusely for his failure to pick anybody up for us. He has, however, given me a number of tips on how to cheat on your wife, such as alleviate suspicion by never locking your cellphone and leaving it out in the open, but hiding your bitches' e-mails in a folder that looks like office stuff.

Chinese and I head back to Lawson and have ourselves some noodles and more beer. I'm in no mood for sleeping outside tonight and begin to contemplate how best to negotiate costs with a taxi driver. Just then, however, the night start to get exciting.

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