I’m Alive!

March 30, 2010

Okay, it’s definitely been a while since my last post. Tons have happened since then though! This is just an update on what I’ve been up to.

  • Christmas with Yukari at her church. Met some JETs from Shiojiri and American missionaries.
  • Skiing at Gala Yuzawa with Isaac and friends. Most convenient ski resort I’d ever been to followed by first Onsen experience. Very relaxing.
  • New Years in Tokyo with Megumi and Yuuka. Went to a Shinto shrine for wishes and fortunes. New years shopping in Shibuya and Harajuku (Crazy Madness!). Of course no trip with them is complete without at least one night on the town in Roppongi.
  • Tokyo Disney Land and Disney Sea with Aoyagi-san and her family. Made me feel like a kid again. It was so much fun! I LOVE Disney!
  • Skiing around Nagano-ken with Aoyagi-san and her family. Watching kids ski is the cutest thing ever!
  • Skiing in Niseko, Hokkaido and a bit of the Snow festival. Back country and tree skiing in the best powder ever. Skiing followed by outdoor Onsen is blissful.
  • Skiing in Hakuba. More relaxing, more nice weather.
  • Sake Festival in Niigata. Drank so much sake and met english teachers from Niigata. Partied with them until around 2 in the morning, then woke up and drank more sake the next day. I bought a grape flavoured sake and Amazake infused with Sakura. They are both delicious.
  • More trips to Tokyo, this time with new English teaching friends, Andy and Rachel. Stayed at a strange friend’s place. Went to cool art show where I met a Torontonian who used to draw for Marvel (secretly admired him) and another Torontonian who used to dance on Electric Circus (Who remembers that?). Saw a closed Tsukiji Market (Boo).

Work is chugging along. Only 2 months left and it feels like there’s still so much to do. Not just finishing up things here and taking care of logistic things, but also so many festivals and things to do! My weekends are booked for April and probably May.

  • April 2-3: Onbashira bringing down of the log (Yamadashi). This is where crazy Japanese people ride logs down a mountain. There are reports of people dying and many people getting injured in the past. This festival only happens once every 6 years. So I’m so excited!
  • April 10-17: Osaka, Himeji, and Hiroshima with Jen. It’s going to be fun times and lots of eating.
  • April 24-25: Clam picking in Nagoya with Aoyagi-san, her family, and her family friends. That’s going to be interesting.

As of yet, I have no plans for Golden Week. Not many vacation days, so probably can’t go too far. Maybe Tokyo, or Nagoya. This is also the time for the second part of Onbashira, Satobiki, which is the raising of the pillars at the shrines. Definitely must see the Cherry Blossoms in the Kiso Valley. It’s supposed to be famous. I’m going to try and see if I can arrange to go to Shiga-ken to see Akina (my Japanese exchange partner from high school).

I hope I can survive the rest of the craziness here in Japan. It’s going to be a busy couple of months.


A Whole New Christmas

December 2, 2009

December is upon us and so comes Christmas. I’m not a religious person, but I always enjoyed the holiday season. Sure it’s incredibly over commercialized but I still think that people are put in a more giving mood than usual. At any rate, I decided to start the Christmas music in my apartment. Grooveshark is awesome for putting on random music at the drop of a hat. So I was listening to music and doing some laundry. While hanging up my clothes I felt like I should be putting up Christmas decorations. The thought was mostly just to make my apartment more homely (though we don’t decorate much back at home). I probably won’t though.

For my entire life I’ve always been with family for Christmas. My parents may not have been there every year, but with the large family that I had, it was always lots of fun with lots of noise. My aunt and uncle would graciously host Christmas dinner for upwards of 40 people (at least 15 being kiddies) in their modest home. Recently the number grows since we’re all growing up and bringing home our girlfriends and boyfriends. In the end, it’s just always a good company, good food, and good conversation. When I started working, I got to buy presents! I loved that! Trying to find a reasonably priced gift that was useful. That can’t be stressed enough. My family is all about getting useful things. When my parents finally moved home. I got to buy them presents. This was always hard. What do you buy the two people who have everything they ever wanted? They didn’t like knowing that my siblings and I spent money on them. They would rather us save it. I don’t think they realize that we know we don’t have to, but we want to. Well I do anyways.

Last year I had 2 families for Christmas. This year I’m halfway around the earth. Number of families: 0. This won’t stop me from buying gifts for my family back home though. (Going shopping on Sunday after my test.) They probably won’t be very extravagant, but something small for everyone. In all honesty though, I’m not sure how this Christmas is going to be. I’ll probably stay in Matsumoto and work that day. I’m going to find people to spend Christmas dinner with though. There is NO way I’m spending it alone in my apartment. I probably be busy with work and whatnot.

For now I’ll just worry about what I need to send home. Just made my list. 33 gifts to send home. Now that that’s done, I’m excited to go shopping. I wonder what I’m going to get them. ; )