Once again Nils has beat me to the post. This little photo session is from the day before yesterday's post where we found some great budget (free) accommodations in Kyoto. On May 1, we rode our bikes from Osaka to Kyoto (those photos will be up as soon as Nils makes a post on his site about it). Having spent a day earlier in the week walking through Kyoto, we weren't especially pressed to see any of the sites, and we had ridden our bikes for a couple hours longer than either of us were used to so our first goal upon arrival was to get a place to stay.
Tomoe had it in her crazy head to pay money to stay in the Youth Hostel. I did my best to resist, considering the fact that we had a tent (which I paid good money for a couple years ago) and public baths abound in Kyoto. After stalling just long enough to make it difficult to arrive at the youth hostel before they closed, I suggested we stay at the Kyoto University Dormitory. (Kyoto University is one of the most prestigious in Japan.. top quality students) We had been there the day before on our walking tour of Kyoto, and I loved it instantly. I think my attraction is due to the fact that it is the only place I have ever been where I can feel like a neat freak (comparatively speaking).
We pulled up to the office to ask the dorm director if it was OK, but instead met some students on their way to get boozed up. "Sure you can stay!" they say. "I think we can find an extra futon lying around somewhere under that pile of dirty toilet paper!". We decided to stay in the cafeteria in our own tent.
It was still early, so we decided to drop off the backpacks and ride into town for dinner. When we came back around 11 pm, we found "our room" occupied by an extremely bad rock and roll band, so grabbed our gear and set up camp out in the yard, just outside the cafeteria. The rock and roll band played until 2am, took a break, and resumed at 5 am.
The next day we took a tour of the building where the students actually live. I am not a real photographer, because I was too chicken to take a picture when I found someone with their door open. They have eight people per room here, with basically only enough room for eight futons, and most of their belongings went out in the hall.
In the backyard we found the skeletal remains of a large beast. In the hallway a missile.
The dorms are apparently a hotbed of controversy. The University wants to tear it down because it is a health hazard. The students claim that they want to tear it down to prevent politically active students from meeting and discussing how they can revolutionize society. I am not going to take sides, but what I saw when I was there was a collection of soiled toilet paper in a hole in the wall next to a urinal, and a student lying in a pile of empty sake bottles. I highly recommend stopping by cause it's free to wander around. If you want to stay just ask... I think the sake bottle bed is free most nights. If you a photographer, bring your camera... I could have spent all day there. I would love to see what someone with more experience and skill could come away with.