Today was a unique day indeed! For those students who failed to set their alarms, there was another sort of wake up call today. A 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit south of our location gently rocking many (but not all!) of us from sleep at around 5:30am. Students greeted the day excitedly as for many it was their first seismic experience! We set out from the hotel not anticipating that the morning rumble would have any further effect on our day… but we were mistaken! Upon arriving at Kyoto station we discovered that most trains were running fine… except for the train to Osaka! With our train cancelled, the chaperones huddled to try and come up with a solution. Heading back to the hotel, we went to check and see if bus transport was an option. With no luck finding an available bus, we opted to take a detour for the morning. Luckily the chaperones knew about a few secret spots the group had not yet seen! So hopping back on the trains, we headed to the nearby Fushimi Inari Shrine and the famous rows of Torii gates. It was a location no other Handsworth group had the privilege of traveling to before! We spent an hour here hoping that in the meantime the trains would sort themselves out. We then doubled back to Kyoto, back into the busy madness of the packed station. It appeared as though at that time the trains were just starting again, so we went down to wait patiently with the throngs for the first of the trains to depart again to Osaka. 20 minutes later we squeezed onto a train with a thousand others also hopeful of getting to Osaka just 15 stops away. 3 stops into our progress towards Osaka and we were again thrown a roadblock. The train ground to a halt at a random station and there it sat for over 2 hours! Slowly many of the Japanese became impatient and filtered out of the station to find other means of transport. We were told there was no timetable for the train to start again. Eventually there were few Japanese left on the train with us and we were actually able to find seats. Just as we decided we’d waited enough and were going to try to find taxis, or an alternative train line, the announcer came on again to tell us we would shortly depart. Finally, we were off! Arriving in Osaka we quickly changed trains and found ourselves at the Universal Studios Hotel just before 3pm. A long and winding road indeed, and quite the experience. Students are now enjoying their afternoon / evening in Universal Studios where the park is, thankfully, open until 8pm. Tonight we’ll reconvene at 9pm after dinner to unwind and journal about our day… a long one indeed! ….And, of course, we’re all thankful to hear that all reports about the quake indicate there were no damages anywhere, or anyone hurt!