Travel

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.
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Around Koga

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

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Around the Tokyo area

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

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Travel

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

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Travel

Let it Snow

white christmasBright and early Saturday morning, I’ll rise to the first day of winter vacation. Actually, the plan is to pull an all-nighter at the airport, but let’s imagine, shall we? Regardless of starting position, I’m stoked. Somehow, I’m more excited about winter vacation that I was about summer vacation. This might be because this Florida girl is gonna have a white Christmas. Of course, I’ve lived in both Vermont and Colorado, but snow is still a magical thing to me.

(Those of you who grew up with snowy winters, I can hear you laughing)  Continue reading

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Around the Tokyo area

Kurisumasu 3 – Odaiba

写真 H.24-12-13 20 29 05Last Thursday, I hopped on over to Odaiba to see what sort of fun illuminations they’d set up. I really love Odaiba because it’s a completely man-made part of Tokyo and feels super futuristic. Not to mention, 10 minutes walking in any direction is something fun to do or see. It’s got everything from a full beach to an indoor theme park to a full-size gundam. No, seriously. Check out the pictures.

In my opinion, the ride on the Yurikame monorail is fun on it’s own. But, maybe that’s years of riding the People-Mover at Magic Kingdom over and over (it’s lame, go on, google it).

Anyways, here’s a few shots from the adventure.  Continue reading

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Ramblings, Travel

Jess, the Mountaineer

From the top, 360 view

From the top, 360 view

Having grown up in Florida, I’ve never in my life climbed as frequently as I do here. For obvious reasons. I’ve come to realize how much I really love it! Since coming here, I go hiking at least once a month, if not more. Who knew Japan would make a mountaineer out of this beach bum.  Continue reading

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Ramblings

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

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Ramblings

A Tiny Apartment and no Gym: Fitness in Japan

WorkoutI have this problem. I love to work out, but there isn’t a gym here (at least not one that works for my wallet or schedule) and I live on the second floor of a building made out of paper-mache. See, Japan loves sports clubs, biking, and walking. At least where I am. If I was farther north, we could add in hiking and winter sports. As it is, I live in the plains of Japan. My options are quite limited as I don’t feel accomplished about walking, my bike is pretty A to B, and I don’t have the time to commit to a club. For cardio I go running, but just running won’t cut it. I’ve learned how to become super creative with working out in a 8ft x 10 ft area.  Continue reading

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Around the Tokyo area, Ramblings

In Search of Snow

In Search of SnowSunday morning, after a night of battling with lanterns (I promise to write about it as soon as I get pictures and videos up), Kris and I were faced with our usual problem: what to explore. We talked about many great spots in Tokyo, a spontaneous road trip, or flying to China. Unfortunately the latter would require becoming mysteriously ill for a whole week, thus rendering both of us “unfit for work” temporarily. As generally honest people, we crossed China off the options list.

After debating over a fantastic homemade breakfast (admit it Kris) we landed on going for a random road trip in search of snow.  Continue reading

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