Wednesday, August 5
We awoke at promptly 6:46 AM, 1 minute past the deadline for picking up our boxed breakfast for the Symposium's group excursion to Kyoto. Luke and I dragged ourselves from the room and oozed downstairs to pick up the "meal" of bread and fruit, along with what seemed to be a large contingent of the symposium, who had also mistakenly had faith in their "snoozing" discipline. So it was that the two of us boarded the bus with the rest of the choir, and many of us experienced the comfortable pillow that was the bus window for the hour long trip. We arrived at the Heian Jingu Shrine, a wide open area with gardens and places to roam, where we all once again experienced the renowned heat and humidity of Japan. We walked around for a while and enjoyed the fresh atmosphere of the gardens before returning to the more aggressive aroma of the exhaust-filled parking lot to board the bus once more. We rode for a short period of time to arrive at Rokuonji Temple, a Buddhist pavilion. This area was littered with good photography backgrounds, and we made our way through in a similar fashion as before.
When we returned to the hotel, we hurried to an outdoor plaza to take the elusive group photo. We stood in a circle around our friends from Kanto Gakuin, and after hearing "MOVE BACK!" and "LOOK UP, HE'S TAKING THE PICTURE!!" and many Japanese versions of the sort, we finally successfully documented our appearance at the event. (I'm happy to say my outrageous facial poses likely ruined several of the copies.)
We then returned to the normal schedule of the symposium, and attended a third solo concert, in which our friends, the Kanto Gakuin choir, played. Suffice it to say, they nailed it to an extent that I have not seen handbells nailed before. We made sure their ovation was long and loud, and they were also a favorite because they were the smallest handbell choir to play at the symposium, and were still able to perform as well as they did.
At the conclusion of the concert, we assembled once more in the event hall for a massed rehearsal. This one went along very smoothly, and before we knew it we were eating dinner. Food was food. We ended the night at one last solo concert, the last one of the symposium.
It was certainly a long and eventful day. I hope all you guys reading this back home are having a good time keeping up with us.
Eric and Luke