This post ended up being a walk down nostalgia road, which is fitting, as that's pretty much what it was like visiting Gary. So, a lot of the photos are from a few years ago, but hey, pretty is pretty.
The last leg of my holiday play was to meet up with my great good fantabulous friend Gary in Osaka. He and I met in the summer of 2009 when we were both in the same trip to Japan. Of all the people who went, I think we're the only people who ended up coming back, let alone living here.

Gary and Matt, sitting in a tree

We had our share of crazy nights when we got back to Laramie, some of which are best not spoken of. However, nights where you don chainmail and hold a sword threateningly at a camera definitely don't fall into the "best-not-spoken-of" category!

So, Gary and I met in Japan, fell in love, and didn't see each other for quite a while when he graduated and moved to Japan to be with his fiance, Mona, who we had also met on our first trip to Japan. I went back to Japan this summer and wasn't too far from Osaka, so we got together a few times over the summer.

Kobe College Past

Now, since I was back in Kyoto visiting my host family, Gary and I had set up another date. I stayed at his place for a night or two, had a great crab dinner at his fiance's folk's place (where I was sure to talk myself into a hole), went to a manga museum, met up with other friends from the area, and all sorts of things.

The thing that really sticks out in my mind was going back to where it all started, Kobe College. Going to this place changed my life - I started studying a language, which might not sound like much, but is actually a huge chunk of my time. I'm also living in a foreign country and will be for another eight months. I had no such ambitions before going to Japan that summer of 2009. Gary can say the same - he's engaged to a student of the school, Mona, that he met back in that summer.

So, we hopped on the train. The first wave of nostalgia struck just getting off at Mondoyakujin station (門戸厄神駅). The old neighborhood, though I'd only lived there for just over a month, was still fresh somewhere in my mind, and I had no problems navigating back to the college.

Kobu-chan

Along the way though, I ran into an old friend and local celebrity.

Whoops, wait, not that frog. How'd that happen? I meant to show you this guy:

Errr, maybe I should share a less compromising photo of him. Don't want this going on the tabloids!

Anyways, Kobu was outside with his owner when we went by on our way to Kobe College again. I also chatted with her just a little bit, and it was neat to know that she remembered me from two and a half years ago.

Kobe College Present

Kobe College was as I remembered it, but the hot and humid summer had been replaced with a chill wind and weak snow.

Gary, Mona and I went back to the old house that he and I had stayed in and posed for some lovely photos which I'm happy to share with you here.

It was definitely very neat to go back there and think about how things have gone since then.

After going to the College, we met up with an old troublemaker for dinner and then crashed at Gary's. Breakfast was a delish American-ish toast, egg, bacon sort of thing, and then Gary and I split ways at the station.

I went back to Kyoto, where I had one last day to pass with the family before heading back home to Sendai. That means there's just one more post to finish off this holiday series.