Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bobbing for Apples at Sogo Shien

On Monday I went back to work, after almost no sleep. But what. Had forgotten, was a costume, so I improvised, and decided to wear my fuzzy bear suit. I knew the kids would love it and I'd be warm too. At most schools, I get to do at least one Halloween lesson, but at my special needs school, the whole day is Halloween themed. The teachers had brought costumes for all of the kids, so everyone was dressed up. We did bobbing for apples in teams with the entire school, it was such great fun and the kids loved it. Then we searched around the school for Pumpkin man, A teacher dressed up, but who terrified the kids! They loved the candy I brought them too! All the teachers got involved, and it was just a great day. One teacher had gone to Costco and bought all American, fun sized candy bars. That for me, was really exciting and I know she also bought them little pumpkins to carve. It was really a great day and a nice way to start the Halloween season!

Shopping in Saitama

Another very expensive taxi ride, and I was back at the station. I grabbed an adorable Hello Kitty daruma doll bento and got to ride on the double decker Shinkansen to Omiya. Omiya is basically part of Saitama city, but apparently it's where the shinkansen stops, s I figured I would get off there. Originally I wanted t go somewhere else, but I saw it from the train on te way to Gunma, so I stopped on the way hme to shop. I enjoyed myself a lot, going in different shops, Jung earrings and such. And to top it off, they had a PAUL bakery, so I was in heaven!

The Daruma Temple, Takasaki, Gunma

On Sunday morning, Josh and I got up and tried to have an adventure in Tokyo Station. We really love the bakery Paul, but we couldn't find it in the Mitzukoshi to save our lives. I was pretty heartbroken, and next time, I'm just going t take him to Le Pain Quotidient. I took him to his train for the airport, in the old section of Tokyo station. After he left, I had a little cry. I missed him already, and it was hard for me. But I found an entire empty floor and it actually felt a little peaceful. After he left, I headed towards Takasaki, in Gunma. It was a bit of a stretch for me to do it in just one day, but I got to travel on the JR East shinaknsens as well as the cool double decker one! Takasaki was bigger than I thought and it reminded me a little bit of a small Kokura. I took a taxi ( an expensive one at that! ) and arrived at the temple. I saw this temple in a guide book and it looked fun. It was pretty small, but there were daruma dolls everywhere. I took lots of pictures of the different types and even one with me and a giant daruma tha was taller than I am! I went around the temple, took some photos, and then called a taxi. I was probably done in just half an hour, but it was a nice easy visit, and I had to visit Gunma eventually.

Back in my favourite room

We went on some more rides, got more popcorn, used our fast passes and went around and took sme pictures. Before long, it was getting cold, so Sam and I were quite grateful for our hats! I took them up to the castle, which was just beautiful at night, and would be perfect to go on a date. I showed them my favourite room, the Orrery, the giant solar system model. It is simply wonderful. I can't quite put my finger on it. The decor is lovely and rustic. The music is amazing, and I jus feel quite at peace there. I was really excited to show that room to Josh before we went home. It was a great way to end a lovely day.

Apple Cinnamon Popcorn

I love the popcorn at theme parks. It just goes hand in hand with movie theatres and theme parks, and it's great to munch on while waiting in lines. Disney here has really weird flavours, like black pepper, and curry flavour, strawberry, and milk tea....which are all pretty strange. In the Duffy area they just got Apple Cinnamon, which probably sounds weird, but is amazing! We waited in line for ages, but it was great, we got a cute Duffy head and Sam got caramel popcorn in a glow-in-the dark ghost which had Mickey ears! It was pretty amazing! Later we got sea salt too, which is still the best flavour, but I would kill to have apple cinnamon popcorn every day! And I was super lucky because Josh carried around the Duffy head all day, and wore his ears like a pro. I love this picture of him on the American Waterfront with his ears on, shades on, and eating out of a bears head!

Put your mask on...

One of the nices things about Disney Sea is just the amazing level of detail. When I visited with Daddy in May, we spent a lot of time in the Venice part, and it really is just like Venice. So in keeping with the theme, they had a Venetian mask party going on, with all the decorations with little masks with Mickey ears and even the characters in costumes sporting masks too. We had our lunch in the Venetian part, partita of course, and it even came with little masks on it. I didn't love the pasta, althought it was good, but the Pannacotta was to die for! It is such a lovely atmosphere in the Venice section and the decorations were really beautiful!

My boyfriend likes Camels

When I visited Disney Sea last, I discovered little alley ways all around the park. They just make for interesting ways to walk around, and aren't necessarily leading to a ride. It makes a good quiet spot to sit and chat, or eat, or whatever. I found some very cool alley ways in the Arabia part too, which is based on the
movie, and it looked just like it. The Arabia section is really good. Instead of flying Dumboes there are flying carpets, and I really love the photo of my dad and I infringing of the tiger statue there. There is also a very cool camel in the middle section. Of course, I made Josh go and pose there, I had to really. Then I joined him and had Sam take some photos of us. They were cute, and then we started being silly, acting like the camel was going too fast! I then attempted to get off the camel, and got my heel stuck, so I hung not the camels neck for dear life! The photos were hilarious, especially when we realised the camel had a sensor which makes it make a camel sound! Scared us a lot!

Mexico Disney

The lost river delta is a section that I don't often go to, when I'm at Disney. They don't really have any rides, but it's a good filler section and the decorations there are always amazing. With the Venice part of Disney Sea being all masquerade for Halloween, the Lost River Delta was all Day of the Dead, just like in Mexico.They had lots of skeletons everywhere, and even some which were like the birds from Donald Duck and his nephews, and Stitch, and lots of skeletons playing guitar and wearing sombreros! They also had these pretty painted skulls, which sound horrid, but we're actually very pretty. The effect was finished with all sorts of bright flowers, so it was really nice!

Sam and her Knight

Sam and I met in London and haven't seen each other in Japan since ....probably the British Embassy dinner at Tokyo Orientation, over a year ago. I was so excited to see her! Her prefecture is one of the few I haven't been to, so I want to visit her soon! All of Disney decorated for Halloween, and Disney Sea was decorated in a kind of Venitian Halloween mask way, so there were these cool knights at the entrance. Sam loved them and was convinced one was meant to be her husband, so we had to take a picture of her staing adoringly at him!

Josh and I go to Disney Sea

As much as I love weekends at home, and ring with my friends, it always makes me crave excitement. So the following Friday I headed up to Tokyo. This trip randomly came about because a friend of mine, Sam, was wanting to visit Disney while the Halloween decorations were up. I really wanted to go to, so Josh and I headed up there. He got to fly, and arrived quite early in the afternoon. I spent my Friday at Kencho and was lucky to getoff early to see him. We met n Akihabara, and had dinner before our super early arrival at Disney. Josh is always so good, because he gets up and goes to these early thngs with me. Once we met up with Sam, we had her take these cute photos of us by the giant globe outside the main entrance. We all bought ears quite early on, and as much as I wanted a giant fluffy ears hat, they don't look so good on me, so Sam and I got matching warm ones and Josh got cute Mickey ears with a Fantasia hat!

At the beach with the Girls

We had such fun at the beach, I just had to share the photos, because it really was a perfect day. The beach in Hagi is probably the nicest thing to show people in my opinion, because the rest of it is not paticularily touristy unless you are Japanese or can read Japanese. These three girls are so special to me, so I thought it was important to give them a real taste of Hagi, even if the weather wasn't warm enough for swimming. Julianne and I have been here the same amount of time, and is one of the few people who stayed from my first year that I was really close to. Sarah has been here a year longer than us, and is my friend from Bali, where we went in Golden Week. They live in the south of Yamaguchi, and so does Raashida, who is a private English teacher that I met through some of the other JETs. She will be going home soon, and I love chatting to her, and learning so much from here. She will be going home and I am going to miss her a lot, but I know that she is going home to her husband! It's not often that I am in Yamaguchi, or even Hagi for people to come and visit, so it was extra nice to get not just one friend, but three special friends to come and visit all at once! I know that often I go off on adventures, and don't get to see my friends, but it means a lot that once we are all together, we can act like no time has passed at all!

Giving the girls a tour around Hagi

After a nice long weekend in Kansai, it was time to spend some time in Yamaguchi. Cynthia and Sonja decided to hold a party of Saturday night and it was my job to collect people from the train stations and the bus centers. I first picked up Daragh and Elise, and we did purikura, and grabbed a snack, before I went and got Raashida and Sarah. Dinner was yummy and then we did Thai food, followed by three hours of Karaoke in a 30 person karaoke room! It was prety crazy! Julianne and Darlo joined us later that night too. So the next morning, Sunday,we all got up, and had some breakfast. It was nice just hanging out with my favourite people in Yamaguchi. I had Darlo, Julianne, Sarah and Raashida. Darlo headed home and then the girls and I rented bikes to explore the city a little. We visited the old town, and looked in a lot of the little pottery shops. We saw the Shoin statue, and went to the castle. We spent the time there watching the turtles and talking to a cute little Japanese baby. Then we headed to the beach, where Sarah dramatically laid down on this piece of driftwood, when suddenly a wave came and got her all wet! We had a good giggle over that! Then we took tons of pictures being silly. I really enjoyed that the most! We then had to say goodbye to Sarah, and put her on a bus. Raashida, Julianne and I got yaki niku, and then went to 31 (Baskin Robbins) for their Halloween flavours. We got the ice cream to go, and it was wrapped in about 6 different bags and took them about 15 minutes to prepare! Sometimes, wrapping in Japan is crazy. We somehow got the times mixed up for the girls, so they had to stay one more night. We put on the Disney movie "Enchanted", and had hot cocoa and a girly chat. It was the nicest night ever, and reminded me so much of being back at University. It was such a nice weekend with them!

Back in Arashiyama

After Fushimi Inari, we headed over to Arashiyama. Arashiyama is somewhere I went when my family was visiting me last October. It made me pretty nostalgic to be there...I really missed my sister all of a sudden, all the fun we had running there and taking photos in the sun. We had a nice time, Rachel and I walking around, and enjoying the cute touristy streets, but then I had to head back to the train station to head back to Yamaguchi, while she got to stay there and explore Kansai some more!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Back in Fushimi Inari

Rachel, one of the new JETs from America, was visiting Kyoto and Osaka on her trip, and so, after seeing her in the park, Josh and I went and did some more 2 person karaoke (which is the best, in my opinion). The next morning, Josh went to work and her and I headed to Fushimi Inari, but first, I got to have breakfast with Julianne and her in Kyoto Station. It had been exactly a year since I had spent any significant time in Kyoto and it felt great to be back. We headed to Fushimi Inari, and like always, it was such good fun, climbing it and seeing all the pretty red gates. It is seriously my favourite tourist site in Kansai. We made it to the top, very hot and sweaty, but it was so worth it!

A romantic row boat

Josh is so romantic, and so I was utterly thrilled and completely bessoted when he suggested that we go out on a boat. All I have ever wanted is to go out on a boat. The sun was at a really beautiful point in the sky, giving everything a nice orange glow. For starters, Josh rowed, and I was too paranoid to switch seats in case I ended up falling in....I wasn't scared so much of falling in, but of ruining my camera! Eventually we did switch, and I had a great time rowing, and tried to show these other girls how to row too! I enjoyed it because it was so peaceful, and it was nice to just sit with my Josh and relax!

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Pavillion

I've been to Nara Park hundreds of times, and quite often I see a picture of this pavillion, but I have never put two and two together, and made the assumption that it was somewhere in Nara Park. So, because we had never been, Brittany took us to see it! The sun was at that nice point in the sky right before sunset so everything was very orangy and it was so pretty to look over the lake! That's when I spotted a few couples out on row boats....I mentioned it in passing, and before I knew it, Josh was agreeing, and he was paying for us to have a boat to go out on the lake!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Josh and I in the Park

We made really good time getting back into Nara Park, and waited a little while Rachel found us. I felt pretty guilty as she had been going around all the sites alone, but she seemed to have been having fun. While we were waiting, I had Brittany take some photos of Josh and me, because...we really dont have that many, for me loving photos so much. So that's what we did for a while until Rachel came.
Then we fed more deer (my new favourite hobby), ate some ice cream and just wandered around the park a little. Then we wandered through my favourite part of the park, the woods part. It's not as touristy there, and I really enjoy how calm it is there. There are always little old ladies doing art classes and such too. I had to get a super cute photo on the bench!

Matching Henna Tatoos

After we watched the presentations at the festival, and wandering around a left, we discovered the little stalls. Before we left the festival, to head back into Nara, we stopped and got Henna tattoos. Josh just went along for support, but instead decided he needed to get one too. I tried talking him into a nice design, but instead, he had the lady copy his Homer Simpson badge onto his ankle. The lady did a really nice job, but I teased him because it was sooooo cheesy! He said it was payback for making him get one! He did seem very pleased with it though! I got a much bigger one, on my arm so that noone could see it at work. It was so pretty, and the lady was so talented that she drew it freethand! It took a long time to dry, so I had to walk around in a tank top, but it was a little cold, but I thought it was still so pretty!Josh origionally was going to head back home, and Brittany to meet some friends, but instead I convinced them both to come with me to meet Rachel in Nara Park. I was really excited to see her as I don't often see her as she lives so far away in Ube!

Sunday morning at an Indian Festival

Josh has a really cool Japanese teacher, who is also a traditional Indian dancer, and she was dancing at a festival on Sunday morning, so we got up and headed over to watch it. We went with another Nara JET, Brittany, and we watched a fashion show of beautiful saris, and watched lots of dancing and listened to some traditional music. I think I enjoyed eating the yummy curry the best! It was a nice vegetarian, bean thing, with yummy green sauce! It was a small festival, but lots of fun regardless!

A date in the deer park

For the long weekend, I headed up to Kansai to see Josh, and my JET friend Rachel who was in Kansai on a vactation. Usually she lives in Yamaguchi with me! So after Friday night, we headed into Nara on Saturday, to spend date day in the park. First we did some shopping - I got some new boots, and Josh picked up a cool ninja Halloween costume. We had such a nice time shopping, I always enjoy picking stuff out for him, and they have a really nice mall there. We got some lunch, and then headed over to the park to feed the deer. Feeding the deer in Nara Park is one of my favourite things. I bought lots of biscuits and we went around and fed them. I love how tame they are and they are really very cute! We chilled in the park, on a nice bench, and then fed more deer before heading over to Karaoke. I love Karaoke, but I had never done it with just 2 people until now, and it was so much more fun than with a group! We sang lots of fun songs, and I got to practice a lot! When we got home, Josh made me was a perfect date, all day! I am so lucky!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Walking the Akashi Bridge

Months and Months ago, our little group from Tokushima (and then Kobe) applied to walk across the Akashi bridge.because someone invited us to apply. So applied as our little group of five, never expecting to be successful. A whole bunch of other foreigner and Japanese English speakers also applied too...and we didn't hear anything for quite a long while!So it turned out that our group was the only successful group in the end, so the last weekend in September, we all got to meet up again! It was me and Josh, Jake and Risa (his work friend) and Kent. We hadn't seen Kent since our Tokushima trip about 4 months ago, so it was nice to catch up with him. So we all met up at Akashi, which is in Hyogo station, and where Jake lives. We had a nice lunch at a ramen shop, and then headed over the bridge. It is about 4kilometers in the middle, which is the longest suspension central span in the entire world. It's pretty cool when I think about it! We went to the bottom, and listened to a super, super long safety lecture that we couldn't understand. We got fitted with super......ugly (that's the only word for it!) safety helmets, and off we went. We stuck to the back, so that we could take lots of photos, walk in silly ways, and generally just goof around.We spend the entire time chatting and talking, and walking, until finally we made it to the end, with a giant hurrah, and had to listen to yet another lecture (on what, we aren't sure!) After that, we visited the gift shop and had a snack and wandered a little around Awaji Island which is where the bridge ended. It was pretty rainy, so we headed back and Josh and I spent Sunday in Osaka, shopping and hanging out. It was so fun, and such a nice relaxed weekend together!

Sitting with my Josh

I was so excited to have Josh staying with me, getting him to see my house, and my town, and my beach, and just spending time with him, with no worrying about which train to catch, and what time we have to get and such. I was really glad he got to meet Sonja, so he knows I have some friends down here! I love him so much, and we are so adorable!

Building Castles

Josh and I sat for a while on the beach, and also took a walk along the beach, but we also made a cool castle, using a bucket and our hands. I never behave carefree enough to build castles, but when I do something like that, I always have just so much fun! And it was even better because I was having fun with my Josh! Someone commented that our castle looked like a Lego block, but that wasn't the intention! Either way, it was a beautiful and fun day for building castles!

My little slice of Paradise

Josh came down to spend some time in Hagi, for the first time! I was super, super excited that he was finally coming to my little town! I went and picked him up at the station, and I pracically leaped into his arms! We had ramen on the Friday night, and then spent Saturday biking around Hagi, going to the museum, and then in the evening, we went out with Sonja, and did batting, arcade games and lots and lots of karaoke! We got a cute little man to come collect us and drive Sonja's car. He was super cute, wore white gloves and was SUPER SUPER polite! The next day, we headed out to the beach, and it was such a lovely day! The beach at Kikugahama is super beautiful, and we are so lucky to live here!


Sunday morning, I got up really early and met Risa to go to Puroland. We were going to meet at the final station, but at one station where I had to change, she came up to me and found me! We headed back to the station where Sanrio Puroland was, and the whole station area had changed since I was last there! I guess it has been 20 years, but still! Some of it was just how I remembered it still! We had a really great time at Puroland,meeting Hello Kitty (who was in a Union Jack dress), and trying all sorts of Hello Kitty shaped food and such. I had an adorable bento which was in a Cinnamonroll! I loved it so much! We watched the parade, with all of the nice characters, and met lots of other characters. I think my favourite was Cinnamon, because it was so cute and it's hands were super short! I couldnt help but go "kawaii!!!!!" like everyone else. The entire place was probably made for little kids, but I saw a few teenagers there, and Risa and I didn't feel out of place at all, instead we just saw Japan's Cuteness at it's finest! You really couldnt get any cuter!

Pretty, pretty Sky Tree

Last time I went to Sky Tree, and I walked all the way across Tokyo (it seemed), it was lit up in purple and yellowy white. The night I went, it was all blue and white. I prefer the blue and white, but I learnt that they change the colours between them each night! It seemed like there were a lot of people just milling around, and going into the shopping mall, and into the nice restaurants, and not actually going up Sky Tree, but taking lots of photos. I was really happy that I had finally got to go up the Sky Tree, after so long!