Last Week in Japan

This post is long overdue. Now that I’m back in Canada I’m feeling particularly nostalgic about my time abroad and found a few moments to post about my last week in Japan.

I have to admit, I think I saw more new movies at the theatre in Japan than I do in a year in Canada. It’s so expensive in both places though so I’m not sure what my excuse is haha. Anyhow I love them so it was fun in my last week in Tokyo. On opening day I saw the Attack on Titan or Shingeki no Kyojin movie with my lovely friends. Afterwards we waited for H to get to the station from work I bought us peaches which we ate on a rooftop overlooking the city. On other days I also saw Jurassic World and Bakemono no Ko, or Monster’s Child. Really good.

On August 3 my friends invited me out for a night together. So until then H and I debated between going to a pool and the ocean. Of course we decided to go to the ocean while on the train. It turned out to be an awesome decision. The weather was incredibly nice and Kamakura has a great clean spot where you can swim. We left with the smell of salt and sea in our hair and that’s how we met up with friends for a night drinking at an Izakaya. No one complained. We had so much fun. I even saw a friend coming from Canada to live in Japan on our way home.

The next day was hot and sunny again and I just couldn’t stand the idea of staying indoors so I went to Yomiyuri Land. It’s quite far from Shinjuku and you can even take a gondola from the station once you get there! The place itself was huge and there was tons of people. Despite going by myself I actually had a really nice day. Although I have to say you’re better off going to the ocean than a pool if you can. It costs about the same to get to the ocean as to go in this pool haha. On the way home I had a nice watermelon ice, it’s so perfect for a hot day.

I think the on 5th I was packing I think? xD (Accidentally threw out my schedule pages)

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The last day in Japan was so lovely. Instead of just packing, a friend of mine invited me to go with her and another girl to visit the ocean again. It was so hot and nice out. Me and O ran to the ocean and swam out in deep waters. It was incredibly relaxing until.. ZAP! There are DEFS jellyfish in the ocean! I didn’t get zapped too badly but my friend O had red welts on her legs. Suntanning on the beach gave us time to relax but it wasn’t long before we were out in the ocean again. I heard some guys commenting that people shouldn’t suntan, ESPECIALLY girls. Well Japanese boys, kiss my sun tanned butt.

I had a great day and then looked for books with O in Shinjuku before heading home to meet up with my beloved H. It was our last night in Japan together.

The next day H took me to the airport (for a second time in knowing each other). We rode the bus to the airport and gathered my things on a trolley so I could complete last minute shopping. Note to self, buy WAY more candy and food on the way home next time. You never know who you could give it too haha. Then we had lunch together at a Japanese place. It seemed like we had a lot of time together but yet not. We stole a few moments to rest together and talk while he stroked me and said it would be alright. All too soon I had to head through security and see my beloved for the last time in Japan. As I headed out, we both smiled at each other, but I could feel that heavy sadness pressing on my chest. This time I didn’t cry in public at least. It took 22 hours to return home to Canada but I was super happy that on the longest flight I met a couple of very nice Japanese youth on their way to study English. We spoke in Japanese the whole way and I got a few hours of sleep.

When we landed in Vancouver the girl wanted to take a picture with me but I felt like death warmed over and declined. (I was so so sick) One more flight later I arrived in Calgary. Japan returned to the future.

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Weird Things in Japan

In Canada, I took things that were normal to me for granted. Now coming to Japan I keep coming across silly things that I wonder about. For example:

Waiting seats outside a restaurant that are shaped like burgers. What a great idea!

Waiting seats outside a restaurant that are shaped like burgers. What a great idea!

Bringing your own paper to print. In Canada I only ever had to worry if I had money to print something at my university. Now in Japan I have to buy and bring paper to school instead. It just baffles me and I suppose I miss not having to worry if I had paper to print my homework or not. If you go to the ‘combini’ (convenience store) though, you just pay for what you print, no paper bringing required. BTW, the paper here is HUGE and the size(s) have names. I often use A4 but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. People from other countries are surprised that we don’t use that system in Canada. Do you?

Being asked if I am ‘half’. I can decently speak conversational Japanese but I am nowhere near pro. I find it interesting when people ask me if I am half because I don’t look like it at all! Okay dark hair yeah, but green eyes don’t fit haha. I think it’s supposed to be a compliment? But man, I need to study WAY more to become fluent.

Corn. No, not that I think corn is a weird food, it’s in Canada too. But I find the use of corn in Japan so weird. The other day I bought a pizza from my school cafeteria thinking it was cheese and some kind of meat. I sat outside and as I bit into it I noticed there was corn on it. Corn. Why? It just makes me laugh. Corn get’s put onto many things here but I can’t think of them all now. That example has to be the weirdest so far though. I like corn, but I’m not used to it on things.

Over time, I think I’ll get used to life in Japan, but I love noticing the things that I find different from Canada. Ah Canada, I miss you, my family and friends.. but definitely not the snow! Take care!

Highlights of October

How do you summarize a month of your life into a neat little blog post? When it comes to living in Japan, I feel like time has gone by so fast, I don’t know where to begin. Nevertheless I have to post. When even your boyfriend notices you haven’t posted, it’s time to write something. Haha thanks H. ❤

So here it goes.

A month of my life in Japan : Highlights of October.

Homework.
Howly sweet baby green goodness I have so much homework! I had it so good in Canada and I didn’t even notice. TuT Canada was so relaxed!
When I’m not doing homework, I’m probably dreaming about it. When I’m not posting, I’m probably studying.. or.. you guessed it, doing homework! I think that I’m definitely learning a lot, but I will never stop being surprised me how much I have.
I do other things when I have free time, IF I have free time, but oh my goodness this had to be at the top of the list. 10 classes vs me is really hard some days. Fight! If I survive this semester I’m treating myself to chocolate or something haha.

New Experiences
First Time – Haircut!
I usually cut my hair in Canada by myself. Partly because I’m too cheap to spend so much, but also because I can also cut my hair anytime and exactly how I want. (Bangs grow fast!) Because it’s been so long, I was nervous, but also kind of excited to get my hair cut in Japan. (I wasn’t sure if I could properly explain what I wanted and walk out without sporting some new short green hair!)
Luckily I was able to explain what I wanted. I was also given some magazines to read and had reassuring glances while she cut my hair.
In the end, it turned out to be a good experience and she did my hair exactly as I asked so I was super happy. I would go again.
November Update: I have resorted to cutting my own bangs again. Haha. It’s just so convenient. I made a big mess but that’s nothing new.

I”ve been lucky to go to new places too! Lion Musical and Tokyo Tower for example.

Another highlight of Japan has to be Boyfriend Time.
When it’s hard to balance everything, H keeps me grounded and sane.
Now that we don’t have to skype date, we can go on fun dates and spend time together. It’s so exciting and I look forward to it! I love to go to new places together and just recently we went to a festival. He lives mega far from me but at least we are in the same country after a year of long distance! Oh my god, the same city even! Hahaha. It’s definitely a perk to studying Japanese in the same city as him.

Shopping and Friends
Shopping. I love the endless shopping in Tokyo. I’ve been able to get things that I needed and now my room looks like it belongs to me.
Friends! I realized after I came here that I actually don’t know a lot of people in the Tokyo area. Even so I am so grateful for the people I do know. You guys make my life awesome.

Halloween parties x 3.
I didn’t bring my Halloween costume from Canada because I didn’t think that Halloween was a big event in Japan. WRONG. There were so many events going on that I ended up going to three different parties! I got a matching costume (for the first time ever) with H for the occasion. It was so much fun.

This really isn’t an exhaustive list but it’s an update of sorts. I hope you are all doing well back home. Time flies by so I’m going to enjoy as much as I can and see you all next year. Take care!

Start to Life in Japan!

My life in Japan has begun!

The Okinawa trip was great and I returned to Tokyo with H to rest again for a few days. Then it was time to start my student life! I was so lucky to have H with me to guide me. It was quite an adventure and we actually managed to go all the way around the place until we found it. H was able to help me with my bag and then we went out to each lunch and wander around together. I was so happy being with him that it was kind of sudden when we were separated. Thankfully I will be able to see him a lot more often however since we are in the same city. I’m so excited for more dates! That and school of course!

Anyways, it took at least three days for me to unpack and settle into my room. Now that I have my bearings it’s a lot better and it looks like I’ve been living here for ages. For Japan, this room is pretty massive. It used to be made for two people and now it’s just me. I love it. I have a tiny fridge and even a toilet so I almost never need to leave haha. The day after I got here I went to a day long orientation that was a little boring but necessary. We received a ton of paperwork and that was only the beginning.

Since that time, I’ve already been to all night karaoke, more school orientation and other things. Just yesterday I went to register my address at the city office. After that I also received my Inkan (or Japanese signature with a wooden block!). I have to open a bank account soon, choose my classes for the upcoming semester and things like that so it’s very busy right now.

I decided I had to finally post what’s been going on so it’s getting late here and I’m so sleepy. I woke up so early for my crazy long day. I will choose classes tomorrow and I’m not sure what else but so far I am safe and happy. Oh! I experienced my first real earthquake (I had experienced a few small ones before) and I was in my room! It was a little scary since I was using video chat on line with a friend and it happened so suddenly!

Ah, I’m so tired. My post might be a little boring but I really enjoy my life now. I made my first meal and it was pretty fun. I even have enough for leftovers tomorrow! I hope to enjoy more of Tokyo and find new places to go! I’ve seen so much of it already that I can’t wait to create my own trips. That and go to hot yoga which I will probably do on Saturday! Hoo! Cheers to student life!

Hurry Up and Wait

It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting. – Elizabeth Taylor

   

    I truly believe that if you want something and work hard, anything is possible. Even so, I still can’t believe that I’m going to Japan for a year. A whole year. I feel like I won’t fully realize it until I’m there (talking to my boyfriend and feeling the humid air on my skin). Since this is my third time to Japan, the third time is the charm right? The stress I feel now will be worth it in the end. No matter how this goes I want to see it through and I wish more than anything, for all that is good and green, that it all works out in the end.

    Up until now, I have been chipping away at my to do list. As someone said to me it’s a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’. There are some things that need to be done ASAP and others I have nothing more to do than wait. Perhaps this part is the hardest only because I know the trip is so close, yet still so far away. Friends and family are encouraging me and I really appreciate everyone’s support. Especially when it comes to finances. I rounded up my savings and am sitting on them like a hen on a nest of eggs. If any one of those little things hatch I will chase it down and put it right back under my butt. What I mean to say, is save save save.

    The other day my dorm information came in! Yay! The only thing is that the expenses to stay are crazy high. My mom said ‘how do they expect a student to be able to afford that’? And my answer? I have no idea. I’m just hoping for all that is good and green that somehow it works out. Especially since I have so many good things to look forward to!

     These are my ‘Top Five Things I Am Looking Forward To’:

    ONE. 24/7 Study of Japanese! I will be surrounded by the language and I’m ready to learn as much as I can from my experiences.
    TWO. Tokyo – we’ve all seen the movies. Vibrant, bright and exciting city filled with amazing things. Bunny cafe? Yeah I want to go. Anything and everything you need is here.
    THREE. Travel – I am super lucky to go to mainland Japan (Honshu) because many places are easy to get to from there by plane, train or car. I can’t wait to visit new places!
    FOUR. I get to see friends and my boyfriend! I would lie if I said I wasn’t excited to see him too. The last time we saw each other in person was nearly one year ago. I miss him so much. Skype doesn’t do his handsome face justice.
    FIVE. Food – I can honestly say I did not enjoy seafood before I went to Japan in 2012. Now that I’ve had fresh seafood I can’t get enough. The other day I made sushi with friends and it was so, so delicious. The taste is incredible when it’s so fresh. (I wonder if your taste changes as you get older?)

The presentation of Japanese food is amazing. I don't usually take food photos but... look how yummy it is!

The presentation of Japanese food is amazing. I don’t usually take food photos but… look how yummy it is!

    When I went to an orientation at my university (one of many) I asked some previous study abroad students what I should expect on my trip. One unexpected thing that I heard was that I should ‘prepare for home sickness’. I thought it was a good point. The last time I went to Japan was the longest (two months) but it wasn’t so long that I was overcome by extreme homesickness. Even so, a year is a long time. So I thought of keeping in contact with friends and family by skype, email and what not. Perhaps make a video of my home and friends, or just be nostalgic and look at pictures when I feel I miss home. Anyone have any good ideas to beat homesickness abroad?

    I had someone say that they would like to know how I’m going to pack for Japan, so I plan on doing a post about it when I get closer to it. So far, I have no plan. I am going to stuff all the things in a bag. Haha. Yes. All the things.

    Blog posts will probably be more exciting once I leave. At least I think so haha.

    Only 49 days to go! When it gets to 40 days prior I am planning to begin fundraising for my study abroad! Stay tuned!

 

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