On with Japan!

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So a beautiful miracle happened. I have access to a computer again which means my Japan stories can continue!

Day 3 of the Osaka Trip

I woke up fine but then had a metaphorical thorn in my side for most of the morning. Even so me and H went to Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Osaka. There weren’t many people to my surprise and the area was very quiet in the heat. I loved a small portion that was sectioned off so you could get no more than your hands into a pile of rocks. Why? Power stones. If you found all three it was.. well pretty awesome. On our way out I took a nice snapshot of the bridge above.

But my favourite part of the day was yet to come.

Osaka Spa World is absolutely amazing and was probably one of my favourite parts of the trip next to the coffee museum and waterfalls. I swam in a lazy river and went down a slide that was currently themed with Shingeki no Kyojin which made me unbelievably happy and all of a sudden I felt better. Then it got better. The spa part of it had themed baths! I took a tour in Greece and Finland to name a few. I wish I had more time because it was so beautiful and relaxing. And yes, you’re naked in there but with same sex only. (The pool was co-ed so I wore a bathing suit. ) I must also mention that you had to take an elevator to the co-ed pool from your genders changing room. I was amazed to no end that a pool could be situated on the rooftop.

We left the spa and went down to get kushi-katsu. (Kush meaning stick like a skewer and katsu refers to the meat) I had been to the area 2 years prior and claimed to remember a very famous restaurant that my friends took me too. With our stomachs rumbling incessantly we gave up quickly and went into a place called Daikichi ( 大吉 ) that was next to empty. And I couldn’t believe it. Our food was delicious!! There should have been way more people. We left so happy. I really recommend it. 5/5

The end of the night was quiet shopping and then made our way back to the hotel.

Every day in Osaka was wonderful.

It’s April

Live from Japan.

My two month long winter break is finally over. That means it’s back to school in Japan where the semester starts in April and ends in July. I’m happy to be studying again because this time my class selection and schedule is MUCH better. I didn’t write much about it, but last semester I felt overwhelmed at times with the workload. Even though I passed everything, I think more balance and less stress is key. So yeah, I’m excited for this semester.

I’m even taking Korean (in Japanese) so that’s something.

But anyways March, I didn’t post at all haha. I was enjoying Tokyo and was able to meet with good friends including people that came all the way from Canada!

Then, at the end of March, one of my dreams finally came true. I saw sakura flowers for the first time! (When the sakura bloom, it’s popular to break out the picnic blanket and cozy under some sakura trees with your friends. And alcohol/food if you are so inclined. This is called hanami, or flower viewing.) I am so happy I finally saw sakura at so many different places like;Showa Kinen Koen in Tachikawa (riding bikes with H <3), Nakameguro, Inokashira Koen and Chiyoda. My favorite place though was Baji Koen. There were horses, a Japanese style garden with a pond, swans and beautiful cherry trees all around.

These pictures don’t do justice (I took waayyyy more than this), but enjoy (Nakameguro, Baji Koenx3, park)

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I also re-united with my host family (from a couple years back). They were so sweet and not only took me around but we made tempura together.

Ahh, what else.

I watched a Japanese movie called Strobe Edge with a hot lead male. I love practicing my Japanese haha and the movie was actually fantastic. Oh, and I finally visited Japan Ikea! (It’s fantastic TuT) I also went to an English conversation circle with some pretty cool people. Me and H visited the National Art Centre of Tokyo again to see the Louvre exhibit. And then I topped it all off with skype and Night at the Museum 3.

I have class again tomorrow so I should bounce, but I’ll say I’m really lucky and happy to be in Japan. I’ll try and procrastinate a bit less with my posting. Maybe short stories are better than cramming my life into blobs of text desperately trying to remember what all happened haha. I shall be less lazy! But that means I have to go and experience the world too. If my laptop survives this trip I’ll be posting again soon.

Hope everyone back home in Canada is doing well. Take care.

  • K

End of Feb. Plum Blossoms, Monologues and Skiing

The end of February was amazing. I saw plum blossoms, Vagina Monologues and went skiing with the love of my life.

I’m so lucky to live in Tokyo.

Before I went plum blossom viewing, I just had to go to a cafe called Shirohige. A friend recommended it to me because they make adorable cream puffs shaped like Totoro! When I arrived with my sweetheart they were quite busy so we sat outside. It was a bit chilly but we had a blanket for our legs and a heater beside us. Since we arrived at lunch hour we ordered pasta as well and sweet baby green goodness it was DELICIOUS. Next we had the super cute Totoro cream puff. It was delicious too except my stomach did not agree later haha. Totally recommended.

After that we walked to see the plum blossoms just one station away. Hanegi Park was where I saw plum blossoms for the first time.They were lovely and smelled like honey to me! Even though the park was not very big it was really nice.

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The next day I went to go and see the play(s) called the Vagina Monologues. A collection of different women’s stories that celebrate the beauty of being a woman, all parts included. Not all stories were happy, but it was a fantastic experience to listen and enjoy. Not to mention there was an all-you-can-eat buffet of Mexican food after. TuT

Best part of the month has to be the end though.

I went on a three day ski trip in Nagano with my love H. It was so fun that it’s hard to summarize how happy I felt in words. Those three days were so amazing. First we took a bus out to Nagano and then it was all fun. We basically taught ourselves to how to ski since it was my first time. On the first day we went right to the top of the hill. We also stayed in a traditional Japanese inn with delicious food and an onsen. And we were also able spend so much fun time together. That was definitely the best. H treated me so kindly. He even tried out snowboarding which I thought was pretty cool.

On the last day I had a pretty stellar fall half-way down the hill where my ski came right off my boot! I tried to put it on but it was hard as I kept sliding down the hill. My sweet H came and helped me put it back on like a snowy Cinderella.

It was an amazing trip and I can’t wait to go somewhere with him again.
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And now it’s March! I’ve already been here for six months. I can’t believe it.

– K

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!

 

  • K