Travel

Blue Lakes and Fireflies

Lake Aokiko is nestled just south of Hakuba and is by far one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. What makes this lake so amazing is the rich, teal color of the water. It’s a snow-melt fed lake that is one of the purist lakes in all of Japan. Nothing with a motor is allowed out on this lake, preserving it’s crystal clear state. The locals also believe that the water is so cold it will stop your heart. Although, in the summer time, it’s the perfect temperature for swimming, so don’t let that deter you.  Continue reading

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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

Golden Week: Second Half

At Yokohama Chinatown

After a rather disappointing day of lessons on Wednesday, I was really looking forward to Golden Week part 2. Carolyn and I were off to an early start on Thursday morning to head into Chiba-ken. The plan was to meet our friends coming from Mito-shi (the capital of Ibaraki-ken) and spend the day seeing some of the historic cities in Chiba-ken. As it turned out, the weather had other plans in mind. It was raining, a lot. About half way there, we get a call to meet in a different city and end up loosing an hour of driving time. We stopped through Moriya-shi to grab our friend Becky (remember Becky?). After a long, rainy drive, we ended up in Kamagaya-shi where we met up with our friends. Thus begins the story of Golden week, part 2.

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