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.

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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

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

Japanese Fall Festivals

Between late September and mid-November, at schools all over Japan, Culture Festivals are held. Each school has their own spin on festivals, some doing bazaars, others (like mine) doing chorus contests.

At one school, the agenda was all singing, with a morning of competition (I’ll explain that in a minute) and the afternoon as an open mic sort of thing. Students put together dance routines, preformed as bands, or just did abstract performances. It was entertaining to say the least. The last number, was a band comprised entirely of teachers, with the head English teacher as singer. Naturally, he sang all 80’s rock music.  Continue reading

A Note on Translation

I’ve found that, here in Japan among my ALT friends, “finding yourself” is a reoccurring theme. I’m not sure how much closer I am to that goal, but I’ve already learned so much in the 6 months I’ve been here. I’ve also learned a lot from what others have figured out in their time here. Probably the biggest lesson learned so far is how to live in the now. I realize this is a bit of a cliché, but I find it a rather rare trait. So many people are too pre-occupied with tomorrow and yesterday, they are missing things happening right in front of them. I know I’m guilty of this, regularly.  Continue reading

A Night in a Temple at Koyasan (高野山)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when signing up for a night high in the mountains near Osaka in a traditional Buddhist Temple. Kris and Becky had both expressed an interest in doing this, and I’m never one to turn down a new experience, so here we are. 

At the door we are greeted by a monk. I wish I could say he was all dressed in traditional orange monk robes, giving off an ethereal peace and reminding me what dedication truly is. In all actuality, he seemed like a completely normal, everyday dude. His non-conforming plain grey t-shirt and brown sandals simply state that this man enjoys being comfortable in his time off. He greets us kindly and shows us in.   Continue reading

Tokyo Disneyland vs. Florida’s Magic Kingdom

In this picture, it almost looks the same as Magic Kingdom!

Last Thursday, a few local friends and I decided to go out for drinks in Koga. Three glasses of wine and one Melon/vodka mix later I found myself agreeing to go to Tokyo Disneyland the following Saturday. Saying that I am a fan of Disney is quite the understatement. Give me some liquor, and apparently my love for Disney knows no bounds (to my wallet’s dismay).

Drinking parties aside, I have a long history with Disney World. You see, being from Orlando, Florida, I’ve been there more times than I can count. Nearly every weekend, in fact. By the time I was eight or nine, I actually complained about going to Disney. Today, I’m a huge fan and regular Disney goer. This was my first visit to Tokyo Disneyland. Continue reading

Ping Pang Pong

Last weekend was probably one of the best weekends I’ve had here in Japan, and I didn’t even have to go very far! Kris’ birthday was earlier in June, but his party was last Saturday. He invited many of his ALT friends and Japanese friends. It was a really great mix of cultures with plenty of food and open space to run around in. I have the injuries to prove it.  Continue reading

Apartment Tour

Alright, this is a video of my (tiny) apartment here in Koga! It’s pretty short and quite informative. It was shot when I first got here, so my room looks a bit more complete now, with decorations, flowers and the like. Either way, you get the idea. Please don’t mind the mess!
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Final Destination: Koga, Japan (古河)

Finally! I’m home~!

What a journey it’s been. Between 1 bus, 2 trains, 4 cities, 4 planes, and 5 homes, it’s good to be settled in. What feels really nice is unpacking my suitcase. I can’t stress how great the last one feels. Most of the last three days have been spent in limbo between boredom and excitement. Sunday was the official moving day, yesterday I was trapped, and today I’ve been out and about.

Sunday was an odd day. Between splitting up with all the ALTs (assistant language teachers) and getting into Koga and finally being left alone to my own devices, it was quite the emotional roller coaster. If there is one thing I’ve yet to learn in life, it’s how to enjoy being on my own. You see, I’m really a social butterfly who can’t sit still and thinks too much. Being on my own with no one to talk to for 3 days has taught me so much already. I’ve learned that I am far too restless. I’ve also learned that I sleep to pass time. Continue reading