I know I said I went to Kyoto to see my Taiwanese friend, but I forgot to post the pictures, not that I have many. In any case, here they are:
Also, a friend and I went to Maibara by bike last week sometime in search of yet another resale shop (and let me tell you, this one is huge and has so many great things--if you like anime and things like that, though they also have cheap clothes). We got a little lost and it was one of those incredibly windy days that we tend to get here (we're on the lake, a big lake at that, and there are mountains with chilly mountain winds to come swooping across the lake only to pick up speed before reaching us), but we did find it. From JCMU, you head towards Nagahama along the lake, but at one point you turn right into a town and head for Route 8 (a big, expressway-like road, probably the only one around) and follow it a little farther towards Nagahama, and then you'll see a big sign with the kanji for "book" and "sell" (本、売）, which is where you want to go. Just, it's not a straight shot there, at least not the way we ended up going. But we got to see those back areas tourists aren't supposed to see, and I felt like I was in a Ghibli film, specifically Spirited Away, actually. Well, here are some pictures:
The last thing is, on another day when it was blizzarding, happened to be the day a friend and I went to meet his friend who was only stopping for a couple days in Japan before heading to China for his job again, and so we hung out that day.