A Little Mexico in Tokyo

Mexican in Japan

Props to Taiki for always remembering to take pictures!

After a long day of on-going training on Saturday, a group of us decided to stay to play in Tokyo for a little bit. We shopped in Ginza and quickly visited the Apple store, then headed to Tokyo station to try out a Mexican restaurant and celebrate Taiki’s 21st!

I’ve eaten Mexican food in Japan before and it’s all been less than impressive. I realize now that it’s a very American thing. Well, for obvious reasons, it’s Mexican too. You know what I mean.

So, my hopes were high, but my fears were that it would be same old “Japan mexican.”  Continue reading

The Foreseeable Plan

With a six day work week and a slew of “big girl” documents that need to be taken care of, I’ve been nothing shy of busy. To add to the pile, it’s 8 weeks left here in Ibaraki meaning it’s time to take a look at that Life Plan. So far, I’m still not 100% sure what is going on, but I’ve bought a few plane tickets so I know at least that much. So here it is, my current, temporary, tentative, foreseeable plan.
Continue reading

My Magical Mira

MiraAs many of you read, I crashed my car last Monday in the big snow storm. Thankfully, I’ve been given a substitute car while my little Suzuki is in the shop. Another ALT in town, Lauren, has her car in the shop. She now has a substitute car, too. I got to see her car before seeing mine.

To give you an idea, it’s a really modern, light-weight car with blue dash lights, round handles, and one of those fancy keys that isn’t a key but it starts the car anyways. Needless to say, I was under the impression I too would get a nice, sleek car.

Wrong.  Continue reading

Just One of Those Days

DrivingYesterday, a group of friends and I decided to take a trip two hours north to our nearest ski slope, Hunter Mountain. As we drove, we noticed bad weather was moving in, but decided to give it a try regardless. Up in the mountain pass, my little car wasn’t cutting it, so we took a cab the rest of the way. This should have been our first sign.

We had an awesome time skiing, despite the bad visibility and somewhat icy slopes. Around lunchtime we saw friends posting pictures of our home towns further south covered in snow. Our second sign.  Continue reading

Kurisumasu in Sapporo

Christmas Town 2I flew all the way to Hokkaido for one very important thing: to have a white Christmas. And that’s exactly what it was.

Carolyn and I got a 4 day head-start on the group by arriving in Sapporo on the 22nd. Typical Japan, there were plenty of Christmas activities going on. The park and tower were all dressed up for the occasion with special lights and music. The middle of the park had the most amazing “Christmas Town” set up with German food and Russian goods.  Continue reading

The Mystery of Snow

What is this stuff?

What is this stuff?

I can honestly say, after about 10 days of serious snow, it’s no longer a mystery. It is, in fact, lovely to look at, and miserable to exist in. A few days in winter wonderland and the memories of falling off my bike in the snow of Colorado came rushing back. Verdict- snow is good for three things: winter sports, snow ball fights, and making everything look all pretty and wintery.

That’s about it.

Then it’s pretty cold and wet.  Continue reading

Couch Surfing with Friends

Stupid me forgot to take a picture of our hosts. So here is a picture of cake!

Stupid me forgot to take a picture of our hosts. So here is a picture of cake!

When trying to book hostels for Christmas in Hokkaido, we ran into a glaring problem: everything in our price-range was booked. After much panicking and researching 24-hour McDonald’s, Carolyn and I decided to give couchsurfing.org a try.

For those who don’t know, you basically get to crash on the couch of someone you don’t know on the good faith that their recommendations are truthful. It’s actually a very well organized, thorough site. So far, everyone we’ve met through there has been nothing shy of amazing.  Continue reading

Bucket List Accomplishments

The Slopes of TeineOver my two-week break, I managed to tick two items off my bucket list:

[x] Skiing/Snowboarding in Hokkaido
[x] See the hotel from Lost in Translation

These have been on that list since long before arriving here. Granted, it’s an impressively long list that is always getting added to, but I’m glad to have at least made somewhat of a dent in it!

Here’s a few pictures from those accomplishments!  Continue reading

And She’s Back!

The "Florida girl" playing with snow

The “Florida girl” playing with snow

After two weeks of Christmas, New Years, Hokkaido, Tokyo, Shirakawa, snow, skiing, ramen, world heritage sites, fancy hotels, and making progress on that bucket list, I’m finally back where I started: good ole’ Ibaraki, Japan.

As if my lack of posting doesn’t tell you how much fun I’ve had, I’ll be sure to show you pictures from the whole journey. Apparently, I was pretty good a skiing back in the day! Apparently snowboarding isn’t like riding a bike! Apparently, I don’t know any French! Ok, well I already knew the last one. But still! Hope you’re ready for a week of catching up.

Akemashite omedetou! Happy New Year!