10 Things from August

Begone August and your unbearable heat!! Let’s make room for FALL (because HALLOWEEN!! and KOUYOU). July was an eventful month for Trevor and I, and actually maybe the busiest period of time we’ve ever had in Japan. (Asides from getting my drivers license) So the month of August here may be not as exciting as last month.

10 Things from August

1. The annual bridge festival held at Tanize Suspension Bridge was held on a Friday this year! August 4th is marked as Bridge Day so it’s only appropriate that the village throws a festival on that designated day. To be honest, the festival was pretty much the same as last year, hench the lack of a blog post. I tried Hokkaido milk soft cream up at the restaurant next to the suspension bridge. It was… interesting. I didn’t like it. I know ice cream is made of milk but this particular flavor really did taste like I was eating milk. For some reason I just assumed it would taste like vanilla but how wrong I was…

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If you look closely, you can see the performers on the bridge!

2. Have you heard of GISHWHES? Trevor introduced this to me early August and suggested we should do it. It’s an acronym for “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.” It’s not just any ordinary scavenger hunt too. The items get SPECIFIC, and most of them are for a good cause. Things like acts of kindness like “Get a local bakery to donate still-edible items to a women’s shelter” to artsy stuff like “Spicy Art! Use the spices in your spice cupboard to make a picture of your favorite comic book cover or cartoon character.” Throw in a strict timeline of one week for you and your team (of 15) to complete as many items as you can and you get a crazy but fufilling time of your life.

3. We had a typhoon earlier this month :O Not crazy big, I mean I still had to go to work. (Even though there weren’t any students but okay, Japan, okay…) There were quite a bit of road closures but nothing that blocked the main road that runs through the village. Eventually it dwindled into a tropical storm so really, there wasn’t any damage. Just a lot of rain and wind.

4. I had a day off because it was “Mountain Day” so Trevor and I decided to go to the beach LOL. To be fair, we live in the mountains, so we celebrate mountains every day… We drove to Tanabe, a shoreside city in Wakayama and then drove down to nearby Shirahama beach so that we could work on a couple of our GISHWHES items. Like Ocean Day, the beach was just as busy, if not more so.

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Item #75: They told me I couldn’t, so I did. Pose in front of a sign declaring a rule. Break that rule. A few notes: It must be safe (what you are doing), and it MUST NOT be a law or illegal where you are. It must only be a “rule”. For example, you might find a sign that says, “collared shirts only.” You would pose in front of that sign wearing a tank top. – Inspired by Emily Shulman

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Item #1: Do you live near (or within a fun road trip’s length of) some sand dunes or a beach? If so, the time has come to fulfill your destiny. Make a massive portrait (must be larger than 20 square meters – the larger the better) of either someone who inspires you, or a message of hope beautifully written in sand. Use a drone to capture footage, if helpful. Make sure you are not working on protected or ecologically sensitive dunes.

5. McDonalds promotion: KANTO vs KANSAI. (If you weren’t aware, Kanto refers to the Greater Tokyo area, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa preferctures in Eastern Japan whereas Kansai refers to Osaka, Wakayama, Nara, Kyoto, Hyogo, and Shiga prefectures in Western Japan) We have tried six out of all eight promotional items that pitted each region against one another. Our rankings are as followed:

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  1. Tokyo Lemon Basil Mayo Sauce (Kanto)
  2. Wakayama Unshu Mikan fizz (Kansai)
  3. Osaka Katsu Beef Burger (Kansai)
  4. Yamanashi La France (pear flavored) fizz (Kanto)
  5. Tokyo Roast Beef Burger (Kanto)
  6. Osaka Okonomi Mayo Sauce (Kansai)

6. Totsukawa Summer Festival 2017!!! The yearly festival that occurs every summer at Hotel Subaru.

7. The day after the summer festival, we hung out with fellow Totsukawa ALT Yas, a Unicorn (nickname given to those who stay on the JET Program the full five year term) who this month finished his final year in the village. Yas brought us to a restaurant Trevor and I have never been to (Dekoi) which he recommends for their Indian curry. (But Trevor and I had normal Japanese curry LOL) Thanks for that Yas, and we wish you all the best back in Canada! 😀

8. I received my JLPT results for the test I took earlier last month… and I have officially passed N3 level!!! I’m doing my best to work my way up to N2, and I’ll definitely attempt to take it in December..!

9. After I got my test results, the next day I had to go on a business trip up to the Nara Prefectural Office to sign my yearly contract as an ALT. Now it’s set in stone, I will be teaching in Japan for a third year! Trevor and I stayed the night before my business trip at our friends Megan and Josh’s (thanks again for letting us stay!!), so while Megan and I were off doing work-stuff, the guys ventured around the Kashihara area. Here are some pics Trevor took from around Kashihara Shrine!

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10. I bought my very first DSLR camera!!! With some birthday money I had saved up since being back home in May, I finally got myself a well-deserved (?) late birthday gift! The camera I got is a Nikon D5600; it also came with a 18-55mm lens. Needless to say, I’m super excited to start taking photos and learning as much as I can to take some really cool shots.

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Tested out my new camera on a cookie LOL. Also got Photoshop and Lightroom- PUMPED.

Next month will be the start of the new school semester- and come October, Trevor’s mom and stepdad will be coming to visit!! Can’t wait! 😀

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