Crossing the Threshold 

By Zak Pham
Today, I took a total of about 15 hours of flight time, changing from Houston to San Francisco then to Osaka, where we traveled by bus to the city of Kyoto. After the exhausting plane ride, I was truly ready to experience the exciting new culture and overall design/look of Kyoto and the results were not exactly up to my expectations. I, myself have traveled abroad many times, in and out of the country, but customs were a bit different when I was presented with a fingerprint scan while checking my passport for entry.  
Outside the airport, we took a tour bus passing throughout the city, the airport was really the only place that showed vibrant colors and interesting differences from America. Overall, the city looks most like Houston itself though with some exceptions with design and population size. It is more realistic in how much industry there is in the city than what we expect yet the city nightlife is beautiful. The small shops and buildings lighting up during the night really helps you appreciate where we actually are and how far we’ve gone.
It was then time for dinner once we got acquainted in our hotel, where we experienced our first bento box in Japan, which was presented to us with different meats, flavors, types of food, utensils, and etiquette. After dinner, we went to a 7/11 near the hotel. What we found was an unexpected surprise of a convenience store. Unlike an American convenience store, there was actual quality food and meals prepared along with different flavors/snacks or variations of the foods we have here in Houston. An example of what we saw, was packaged octopus, Melon Fanta, and green tea Pocky.

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