North Island, New Zealand

Back in August, my mom came to visit my partner and me in Australia! It was an amazing visit and of course we did all the expected Sydney-tourism things. That said, my mom is a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan (as am I) so we decided to hop over to New Zealand for a road trip. For some reason Aussies really get annoyed by the American mentality of “Well I’ll be in Australia so I may as well visit New Zealand.” After visiting New Zealand I have comfortably decided that it’s because they are jealous their country has to be the size of America just to have as much terrain variation as New Zealand 😛 I’m sorry to my Australian friends but I couldn’t resist the jab. Also Kiwis are, as expected, very nice.

What better way to see Northern New Zealand than by driving the entire island.

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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

Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク)- First Half

More vibrant fish

I didn’t realize that it’s been more than a week since my last post! I am so sorry! I normally try to keep it at a steady two per week. Not only did I fail last week, but I will fail again this week! It’s Golden Week all over Japan. Basically, it’s a bunch of national holidays that happen to fall within a week of each other. The good part is you get a bunch of paid holidays. The bad part is you have to go to work on the days that aren’t holidays. For me that was Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Fortunately, I went into school on Tuesday and they said it was a School district-wide holiday. Then they said to please go home. I didn’t argue. The first half of Golden Week (last weekend) was spent in Mito! For the full adventure, read on.  Continue reading

Discovering Koga

Sushi is arriving

The last few days have been spent doing one very important thing: getting lost. Often. While I’m lost, I’m usually quite worried, however, I have to admit that getting lost has taught me more than maps have. This week and next, I am under strict instruction to hang around town and wait to hear about the day that I am summoned upon by my company. This translates to: explore Koga with your phone handy. I think I can handle that.

Last night, a fellow ALT, Carolyn, and I grabbed dinner at a conveyer belt sushi restaurant (かっぱ寿司). This was actually my first experience at one of those! It was pretty cool, and quite reasonable. Some of the sushi was a little radical (hamburger nigiri) but I liked most of it. Desserts were on the belt, too. So dangerous for a girl like me!
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