The Return (お帰り)

I distinctly remember the rain on my last day in Japan, May 13th, 2013. After a few weeks of lounging around Kris’ spacious Kamigaya apartment, it was time to finally say a sad farewell. It wasn’t all terrible; I was Malaysia bound, with 8 weeks of travel ahead of me. Nonetheless, I will never forget saying “Goodbye” for the last time at Haneda airport.

In June of 2016 I finally returned. After years of dreaming I would someday return and practicing my Japanese, I made it back.

Continue reading

Kurisumasu 2

Tokyu PlazaLast night, while shopping for survival clothes (a.k.a. sweaters for my Florida wardrobe) I got to see Harajuku officially all lit up for Christmas. The top of Tokyu Plaza, at my favorite Starbucks in Tokyo, is a huge Disney-themed light display out on the deck! It’s an amazing addition to an already amazing location! There were little disney characters everywhere too, so I hunted for Stitch, the Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan. (Success)  Continue reading

Shopping Spree in Tokyo

We finally got paid. What was the first thing we did? Karaoke, then shopping in Harajuku and Shibuya. Obviously.

I bought some much needed work clothes… and some play clothes too. Our friend Kris (remember him?) showed us the back alleys of Harajuku. It’s off the beaten path, with plenty of affordable, often more fashionable shops. Some of them carry second-hand items, but you would never know it. The Japanese are known for a) shopping a lot and b) taking really good care of their clothes. Most of the second-hand stores had items I would still consider new. Continue reading

Golden Week: Second Half

At Yokohama Chinatown

After a rather disappointing day of lessons on Wednesday, I was really looking forward to Golden Week part 2. Carolyn and I were off to an early start on Thursday morning to head into Chiba-ken. The plan was to meet our friends coming from Mito-shi (the capital of Ibaraki-ken) and spend the day seeing some of the historic cities in Chiba-ken. As it turned out, the weather had other plans in mind. It was raining, a lot. About half way there, we get a call to meet in a different city and end up loosing an hour of driving time. We stopped through Moriya-shi to grab our friend Becky (remember Becky?). After a long, rainy drive, we ended up in Kamagaya-shi where we met up with our friends. Thus begins the story of Golden week, part 2.

Continue reading

New City: Yokohama, Japan

Shoppers!

While I only have one day left here in Yokohama, it still feels like home already. Yoko-san has been so wonderful by taking care of me. She treats me like family and we have fun together. Not to mention, she is hysterical! I also practice my Japanese with her, and it has improved immensely since arriving. A lot of what I learned in college is returning and I am learning some other useful things (like jishin meaning earthquake). Speaking of! My first earthquake! I was asleep during the 4.0 in San Francisco last week, so this was the first earthquake I was aware of. It was kind of terrifying for this Florida girl. Mostly because it woke me up in the middle of the night and I could hear the entire structure moving. Continue reading