Travel

Hakuba in The Off-Season: Summer

Summer vacation has finally began! It was a long time coming, with many days of hard work, but it’s such a relief to have some time off! What does one do with time off? Well, this girl gets in her car and drives, drives, drives.

I drove about 6 hours northeast to Hakuba, famous for hosting the downhill ski event in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Hakuba means “white horse” as those who first came saw the mountains and thought of a white horse. It’s a small village that for most of the year is fairly quiet. However, come winter it is normally crawling with ski and snowboard enthusiasts from all over the world. My travel buddy, Kris, and I decided to try out this winter wonderland in the summer to see what we could see.  Continue reading

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Travel

Matsushima- Still Afloat

If you’re staying in Sendai, a quick day trip could be to Matsushima. It’s definitely worth the small change and 30 minutes it takes to get there. Matsushima (meaning “pine island”) is coveted as one of the top 3 scenic views in Japan. Kris and I were slightly concerned as we knew that this area had been affected by the tsunami. To our great relief, it was still (mostly) in tact.  Continue reading

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Travel

3 Mistakes and 3 Successes in Sendai

If you’re planning to visit Sendai, this might be worth a look. First off, it should be known that my method of travel is anything but relaxing. I like getting up early, and moving a lot. Mind you, there is nothing more I enjoy than sitting in a coffee shop and people watching in a new town. That said, I try to avoid “stagnating.”  I usually just start going, and see where the day takes me. I like my days to be organic with small goals in mind.

Granted, a word of advice: don’t move too quickly or you’ll miss getting a feel for the city and it’s culture. As much as I like packing my days with activity, I still try to take the time to wander through neighborhoods and back alleys to see what I can find. It’s fine to try and hit all the “big stuff” but also remember to take a moment to chill out and blend into the city life. That’s where the real magic of traveling hides.
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Travel

Sendai: Down But Not Out

3D map of Sendai City

On (mostly) a whim, I decided to spend more money than I probably should’ve to grab a shinkansen up to Sendai this weekend with Kris, Joey and her siblings. Thanks to a lucky turn of events, I didn’t have school on Friday. So, bright and early, I was off.

Once Kris and I arrived in Sendai, we essentially grabbed some maps of the area and began walking. This is my favorite style of travel. I call it “that-way-looks-good” style. Our feet carried us all over Sendai, most notably down the two famous tree-lined roads, to the castle ruins, and the mausoleum. Continue reading

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