My Tiny Apartment a Year Later

From the doorThis post is more for pictures, but perhaps you read my post from about a year ago when I arrived in Japan. Now, I’ve definitely collected more… things. It’s going to be hard to decide what to take and what to leave. Clearly, there is a lot to choose from. I may have bought a few too many books, also. I better start getting picky!

Despite being a really small apartment, for my brief duration here, it definitely felt like home and I made it my own. I’ll be sad to leave all it’s crafty strorage spaces and easiness to clean. It’s been fun, Leo Palace. If only you were wired for fiber-optics, we could have been better friends.

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The Moriya Half Marathon

Group poseTwo weekends ago, I dropped by Moriya to cheer on the ALTs running in the Moriya Half Marathon. Being a runner myself, it was really fun to check out the running scene in Japan and, for the first time, be on the sidelines! Just watching them made me tired, but I managed to snap a few cute pictures of the crew giving it their all. Paul ran the fastest (of the group) at 1 hour 27 minutes… wow. Second place to Greg, third to Becky the Banana. Good work guys!

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I Got Paid, And It Felt So Good

urlSorry for the lonely island pun, I had to.

After what feels like 5 months, I finally got paid. We get paid 1 month delayed from the last day of the month (does that make sense?). So, I get paid for December work at the end of January. Basically, it’s a long. time.

After having a bit too much fun during winter vacation, I found myself eating eggs and protein bars for three weeks straight.  Continue reading

Japanglish

Local hair salon

Local hair salon

Learning Japanese and living in it’s country of origin makes it practically impossible to avoid using Japanglish in your everyday speech. There are just some words in Japanese that don’t have an English translation. Probably the best known word is genki- meaning lively, healthy, spirited, etc. That’s as close of an explanation we’ve come up with. For anyone living in Japan, this word is definitely part of daily speech as it holds it’s own meaning and is among the most common of Japanese words. “How are you?” is “Genki desu ka.” 

Another good example is mendokusai meaning “I can’t be bothered.” Granted, mendokusai can be conjugated and used in a variety of ways. But, it’s just mendokusai to say it in English.  Continue reading

The Constant Coffee Conundrum

Ever since moving to Japan, I have this new problem. Coffee. You see, “conbini’s” (convenience stores) carry coffee. And when I say they carry coffee, I mean they have an overwhelming amount of options. You can choose between hot or cold, but that’s only the beginning. Coffee is also sold in vending machines all over Japan (and that’s something like 1 vending machine to every 5 people…. imagine it).

Then there are the flavors. Black coffee? No brainer. Milk? Got it. Sweetened/unsweetened? Take your pick. How about caramel? Want some coffee jelly in there? Cafe Latte? Light? Cappuccino? Almond? Honey? Banana? Cream? Hokkaido cream? Brazilian blend? I’ve got it, you want the “relaxed, evening” coffee. Wait, what does that even mean?! Continue reading

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Kurisumasu

Japan does Kurisumasu (Christmas) very similarly to the west. Most importantly, they decorate for it. Of course, houses won’t put up Christmas lights (typically) but most major shopping/sightseeing areas put up special decorations.

All the shops are decorated and sell special Christmas merchandise, to boot. If you can imagine the fine, adorable quality of Japanese stuff, it’s like a Christmas shop-a-holic’s heaven.

All over Tokyo, special “illumination festivals” are held during December, and Disney goes all out, too. I’ve taken it upon myself to personally find all of them in the greater Tokyo area. Continue reading

Giving Thanks in Japan

Last Thursday, after nearly a month of prep and organization, we finally had our big, ALT Thanksgiving. Naturally, anyone was welcome, and by the looks of it, our Japanese friends really enjoyed the cultural experience.

Especially the part when I had to carve a rotisserie chicken (they were sold out of turkey at CostCo). Apparently, this is something not many get to witness in Japan, so many ooo’s, aah’s, and pictures as I cut the chicken. For me, I was instantly transported back to my high school days working at Boston Market. It was a glamorous job.  Continue reading

6,000 Miles of Thanks

I woke up this morning in one frame of mind: today is Thanksgiving.

This is obvious for those in the states but from 6,000 miles away, I have to work at remembering it/ feeling it. So, in an effort to embody the true spirit of Thanksgiving, here’s my list of things I’m thankful for. I promise to throw a few sidewinders in.
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Mixing it up

So in an effort to keep myself motivated, I’m changing the pace of this blog. You can still look forward to my verbose “insights on Japan.” But from here on out, the plan is to write more often, write shorter posts, and show more. You’re also going to get to know me a lot better.

Did you know:

  • I’m a fitness enthusiast. Not to be mistaken for someone who is actually fit. I just enjoy learning about fitness and trying new workouts.
  • I’m really into photography and art. You may have guessed this already, but I’m going to let it show more than ever.
  • I have an inner fat-kid. I’m a foodie who loves sweets. Be prepared to hear about amazing food/recipe discoveries.

So, it’s going to turn into more of a “daily-life” blog, with some longer posts about culture and the like sprinkled around.

This is also an attempt to motivate myself to look for inspiration and positives in my daily routine. Hopefully you enjoy some of my findings as well!

 Yoroshiku!

Lone Explorer

In an effort for a change of pace and lone exploring, I decided to hop in my car on Sunday and head up to Gunma prefecture to see what’s up. My original goal was to explore Oze National Park, which spans 4 prefectures and is famous for sporting some fantastic fall colors. Earlier in the week, I checked to see what was going on in Oze and there were already reports of snowfall. But, never deterred, I decided to go anyways. Needless to say, both roads up into the mountains were already closed for the season. Not to mention, it seemed a winter storm was on the horizon, bringing in little snow flurries.  Continue reading