Ermergerd. I have officially started my third year as an ALT.
In some ways, it doesn’t even feel like that amount of time has already passed. By day, the hours seem to drag on (especially around this time of the year when classes aren’t in session) but overall, two years have passed since Trevor and I have left Minnesota.
I was looking through some of my older blog posts, in particular the one about our New Years in Hongu. I had written some goals that I hoped to achieve and looking back… well, let’s just say the whole goal thing fizzled miserably 😦 But I don’t want to wait again until January to “start again”- it would just feel like an endless cycle. I admit I’ve been slacking on exercising but have just recently started again, forcing myself to wake up early to go out on my morning jog when I can. I also haven’t been doing my “two blog posts a month” that I had originally intended on doing, but (hopefully) that’s going to change with this post.
There’s been tons of things (though mostly small) that Trevor and I have been up to that I’ve been neglecting to let my family and friends know. So from here on, I would like to introduce a sort of Monthly Update, beginning with this post. Just a short highlight, ten things we’ve been up to (big or small) in that month.
So without further ado… 10 things from July!
1) I took the JLPT earlier this month. N3 level. After finding out I passed N4, I started studying for the N3 since February. I think I made the mistake of focusing too much on grammar- the vocab and kanji portion of the test was a struggle… I’ll find out the results the end of next month… Nervous.
2) Trevor and I stayed up in Nara during my JLPT. I used vacation from June’s International Arts Festival work day so that we could spend a couple nights there. While we were walking around the area, everything was decorated in preparation for Tanabata, a holiday celebrating the reunion of the lovers Vega and Altair for one day on July 7th. During this time, you can write your wish on a colorful piece of paper and tie it onto a bamboo branch. It’s said that your wish will come true when you do so.
3) Speaking of Tanabata, even though Trevor and I got married July 6th in the States, it was technically July 7th in Japan… so I guess our anniversary is on Tanabata?!
4) Trevor and I drove up to Yoshino to see our friend Seth one last time before he leaves for South Korea! That was a very good weekend… I remember sea grapes, tequila shots, fireworks, and some pretty rad people. Thanks again Seth for having us up there! Now we have a reason to come and visit South Korea 🙂
5) I bought Trevor a guitar- an Ibanez GIO to be exact. An early birthday present. Guess how much it was? For the guitar itself, some new strings, a tuner, and a stand… 80 USD. Can you believe that?! The two of us were finally able to stop at a 2nd Street (think Japanese Goodwill) in Kashihara on our way home from Nara. It was in really good condition too! Still blown away by how affordable it was.
6) Some video games we’ve been playing: With the recent summer steam sale, I was able to buy several games that looked interesting. Figured if they were a good price now, buy it to play later! Some of the titles I bought… SOMA, which is a horror game by the creators of Amnesia The Dark Descent (Already finished! Good story), The Vanishing of Ethan Clark (tried playing it but my interest vanished haha), and Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter (waiting to play this in the future!) But our latest game obsession is… The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. At first this game reminded me of your typical medieval fantasy game and I thought it wouldn’t interest me, but somehow it drew me in to the point where Trevor and I actually split game time between eachother! One of Trevor’s favorite parts about the game is the card game Gwent. He’s pretty into it.
7) We had our friends Megan and Josh come down to Totsukawa during our three-day weekend. To celebrate Ocean Day (which was the reason for the three-day weekend), we took a day trip down to beautiful Shirahama in Wakayama! And oh my goodness, was it busy! The weather was so perfect, I wish I had brought a swimsuit! …But let’s just say that after leaving, we all decided we needed to hit the gym ;P
8) Trevor’s mom sent us a board game called “Forbidden Island.” Unlike a lot of the other board games we have, this game is based on team cooperation and working together to gather the four treasures of the island before it sinks into the abyss. During our first game play, Trevor and I failed- even after collecting all of the treasures! And it was on the noobest setting!! We’ve already played several times and have really been enjoying it!
9) Also, while we were bringing Megan and Josh down to Totsukawa, we stopped at a McDonalds… and guess what they had? PIKACHU MCFLURRY. If you aren’t familiar, apparently McDonalds Japan did some sort of poll out of a number of Pokemon to see what the next flavor would be. There were some pretty normal flavors, like sweet potato (represented by Gengar) and peach (Jigglypuff) and some really goofy flavors like habanero (Charmander) and brocolli (?!) (Bulbasaur). Pikachu’s flavor, chocolate banana won in the end! Seems only fitting. And there are different cups you can “collect!”
10) To top off July, my awesome queen of street fighter “cousin”/childhood friend Marine and her boyfriend Ben came to Japan!! They’re on vacation for three weeks, so Trevor and I spent the last weekend of July together with them in our favorite city, Osaka! Some of the things we did were feasted on delicious takoyaki, spent a day in Nara with owls and deer, visited the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, and stopped by to see Osaka Castle. It was awesome to see these two again ❤ We had so much fun and were so happy to spend time with you on a part of your guys’ vacation!