A Year in the Life

Ha Long BayTomorrow marks one year since I embarked on this journey. Well, it would be if it was a leap year and February 29th existed. But rather than dwelling on the mysteries of the Gregorian calendar, let me take a moment to highlight some of my favorite parts of this journey.  Continue reading

Sapporo’s Famous Snow Festival (雪祭)

Side viewEvery February, Sapporo holds it’s biggest event: the Snow Festival. Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost prefecture, and is famous for two things: snow and open space. It’s no wonder artists from around the world spend a whole month working on these massive masterpieces of snow. The main stretch of the park had huge snow carvings, one of them was even a life-size replication of a Thai building. Every year the festival attracts millions from around the world to see the amazing creations, then go skiing and enjoy famous Hokkaido food.  Continue reading

Kurisumasu in Sapporo

Christmas Town 2I flew all the way to Hokkaido for one very important thing: to have a white Christmas. And that’s exactly what it was.

Carolyn and I got a 4 day head-start on the group by arriving in Sapporo on the 22nd. Typical Japan, there were plenty of Christmas activities going on. The park and tower were all dressed up for the occasion with special lights and music. The middle of the park had the most amazing “Christmas Town” set up with German food and Russian goods.  Continue reading

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

Couch Surfing with Friends

Stupid me forgot to take a picture of our hosts. So here is a picture of cake!

Stupid me forgot to take a picture of our hosts. So here is a picture of cake!

When trying to book hostels for Christmas in Hokkaido, we ran into a glaring problem: everything in our price-range was booked. After much panicking and researching 24-hour McDonald’s, Carolyn and I decided to give couchsurfing.org a try.

For those who don’t know, you basically get to crash on the couch of someone you don’t know on the good faith that their recommendations are truthful. It’s actually a very well organized, thorough site. So far, everyone we’ve met through there has been nothing shy of amazing.  Continue reading

And She’s Back!

The "Florida girl" playing with snow

The “Florida girl” playing with snow

After two weeks of Christmas, New Years, Hokkaido, Tokyo, Shirakawa, snow, skiing, ramen, world heritage sites, fancy hotels, and making progress on that bucket list, I’m finally back where I started: good ole’ Ibaraki, Japan.

As if my lack of posting doesn’t tell you how much fun I’ve had, I’ll be sure to show you pictures from the whole journey. Apparently, I was pretty good a skiing back in the day! Apparently snowboarding isn’t like riding a bike! Apparently, I don’t know any French! Ok, well I already knew the last one. But still! Hope you’re ready for a week of catching up.

Akemashite omedetou! Happy New Year!

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