Travel

Departure

DeparturesSo sorry for the lack of posting. I handed off my internet to a friend in my last two weeks at work, and I just couldn’t bring myself to post at dial-up speed.

Luckily, not a whole lot has happened. By that I mean the following:

A good friend of mine, Kate (from Across The Sea blog) was the parade queen in the Tokyo St. Patricks day parade! I know a real-life celebrity! The day before the parade was a fancy-pants lunch at the Park Hyatt Tokyo with the most amazing appetizer/dessert buffet I’ve seen in a long time. The view was breath-taking, as usual. After our snazzy lunch was a farewell party for those leaving at a local izakaya.  Continue reading

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Ramblings

Rant: Driving in Japan

It's dangerous to go alone! Take this GPS! Oh wait... it won't help you.

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this GPS! Oh wait… it won’t help you.

Driving in Japan is the stuff of nightmares. I like to imagine that Dante was mistaken when he said the 7th circle of hell is a river of boiling blood and fire. It’s definitely just continuous traffic on a highway in Japan surrounded by trucks. The Japanese people are so lovely and caring. They are considerate of one another and law-obeying (typically). This might actually be one of the problems. People get overly excited and want to let in that car waiting to turn left from 7-11.. and the car waiting behind them, and the next, and the– STOP! You’ve been nice to 3 cars now and really rude to the 15 of us waiting behind you! I appreciate the sentiment, but I want to get to work on time.  Continue reading

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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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Travel

My Time in ‘Nam

So far you’ve heard about my ride on a train, our trip to the hospital, and a snake-eating experience. These are great stories and all, but I thought you might like some insight into my thoughts about Vietnam. If I’m wrong, then stop while you’re ahead!

When Becky and I were looking for somewhere to travel over the summer, many destinations came up. We talked about Malaysia, South Korea, China, and many more. South Korea is actually near the top of my list for countries to visit in Asia, so needless to say, I was pushing hard for that one. In the end, Vietnam won out because the flights were the cheapest and we knew that while in ‘Nam, things would be even cheaper. When Becky said you can get beer for 80yen ($1) I was instantly sold. Grab your aviators, we’re going to Vietnam, baby.  Continue reading

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Travel

A Broken Train and a Lost Taxi

Photo cred: Juliana Mills

Getting to Koyasan takes about 2 hours from Osaka main. First you need to get to Namba station, then you have to transfer to the special Koyasan line that rattles along for about an hour through some very sleepy, remote towns. As if that wasn’t enough, once arriving at the final stop of the train, you get to take a nearly vertical trolley up the side of a mountain. Admittedly, it’s a beautiful trip through the rural mountains of Kansai, but if traveling by night, there isn’t much to see.

After a tiring day exploring Koyasan, we are working our way back to Osaka well past nightfall on one of the last trains down from the mountain. To pass the time, the topic of scary movies has come up and we are sharing the plots of our favorite horror flicks. Mind you, I’m fearless when it comes to extreme sports, but I’ll cry if forced to watch a scary movie of any calibre. Just as everyone is getting all worked up over Paranormal Activity, we realize the train has stopped. That’s when the fun begins.  Continue reading

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Around Koga

Koga, Japan vs. Orlando, Florida

I ate everything you see here.

Lately my life has been an endless list of more things I need to purchase. So, needless to say, I’ve done a lot of shopping. As much as I know you are dying to hear all about the toothbrush I bought last weekend, I’ve decided to save you from that triade. Today, I figured a topic might be appreciated. Koga is basically a suburb of Tokyo. Of course, Tokyo being the largest city in the world, the suburbs stretch wide and far. However, I was shocked at the amount of similarities between my hometown and my new town. Without further ado, here is some insight into what it’s like living in the ‘burbs of Tokyo.
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Around Koga

Discovering Koga

Sushi is arriving

The last few days have been spent doing one very important thing: getting lost. Often. While I’m lost, I’m usually quite worried, however, I have to admit that getting lost has taught me more than maps have. This week and next, I am under strict instruction to hang around town and wait to hear about the day that I am summoned upon by my company. This translates to: explore Koga with your phone handy. I think I can handle that.

Last night, a fellow ALT, Carolyn, and I grabbed dinner at a conveyer belt sushi restaurant (かっぱ寿司). This was actually my first experience at one of those! It was pretty cool, and quite reasonable. Some of the sushi was a little radical (hamburger nigiri) but I liked most of it. Desserts were on the belt, too. So dangerous for a girl like me!
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