10 Things from July

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!  Continue reading

Valentine’s Day 2017

Happy Post-Valentine’s Day!

Whether you spent it alone, with friends, or with a special someone, I think one of the best things about Valentine’s Day… is chocolate. I love chocolate. I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, but I do like having an excuse to binge on chocolate treats and goodies. GIMME ALL THE CHOCOLATe.

I tried to do Valentine’s themed activities with my some of my classes… didn’t go so well. 😦 Oh well, now I know not to do it next year… Continue reading

2017 Totsukawa Ekiden!

It’s the start of the new school semester!!

It felt like my winter break was too short… After I came back to work, I immediately felt the stresses of some upcoming events: the 63rd annual Totsukawa Ekiden, and a 10-minute speech that I was to prepare and present in Japanese in front of the entire school. I spent my entire first day back dedicating myself to typing up my speech in English and then translating the best I could to Japanese before passing it off to a very good friend who edited my crummy translations into a speech worthy of presenting. (Thank you so much again Eri!!) I then spent the rest of the week waiting for the inevitable… the Totsukawa Ekiden. Continue reading

Cardcaptor Sakura Cafe in Tennoji, Osaka!!

When I was in elementary school, I loved Cardcaptors. Before I found out how horribly the dubbed version butchered the original Japanese series, I was always super excited to get home from school to watch whatever re-run episode aired on KidsWB (was that the channel or Toonami?) I remember as a child making my mom buy me the Cardcaptor Clow Cards set from Target, and reading the entire manga series on multiple occasions at my family friend, Christina’s house. Ahh… memories ❤

At the moment I saw that there was a Cardcaptor Sakura cafe opened in Osaka, I knew immediately, I needed to go. However, I also knew that I needed to be patient. We live almost 3 hours away from the central Osaka area, so I wasn’t going to be going anytime soon. Thankfully, I had a business trip up in Nara and Trevor told me that once work was done, we would go to the cafe. YAY!!! It was pretty good timing too, seeing as that the cafe was only going to be open for a certain amount of time. Double yay because since we went on a weekday, the place wasn’t as packed as what you would imagine it to be on a weekend. Continue reading

Halloween in Osaka 2016!!

It’s way past Halloween, I know, but I didn’t want to forget writing about how much fun Trevor and I had in Osaka. To be honest, this was our first time in a long time having a mini-vacation to ourselves. Every other time we’ve had to come up north and stay at a hotel it was always for something work-related. So this was a much needed break and time away from our quaint village life. We looove Osaka anyways, so we didn’t mind spending a couple nights in a bustling and entertaining city! Continue reading

Totsukawa Culture Festival 2016

It’s November already?!

The trees here are starting to change colors… Whenever I go out on my morning jog, I notice patches of yellow, orange, and red hues all along the mountain sides. It’s really pretty… Hopefully we’ll be able to get some pictures of the kouyou (autumn foliage) before they disappear.

There are two national holidays this month: the first being Culture Day and the second being Kinrou Kansha no Hi, or Labor Thanksgiving Day. Today, I’ll be talking about Culture Day which occurred earlier this month. Continue reading

Totsukawa Summer Festival: Furusato Monogatari (A Hometown Tale)

On the last day of Obon week, a very special event was held at Hotel Subaru, a 10 minute drive away from our apartment. If you remember my post from last year, Trevor and I had to walk to Hotel Subaru to attend our very first summer festival. This year however, was a little different. Now that I have a car (and am finally licensed!), we were able to drive 10 minutes as opposed to the hour and a half walk. What was perhaps the most exciting thing for me was that I got to wear a yukata for the first time! Continue reading

McDonald’s Limited Time Olympics and Moon Viewing Special Promotion

In my opinion, McDonald’s in Japan is far more superior than McDonald’s back home in the States. There are some menu items here that are the same, such as the Big Mac and Double Cheeseburger, but even then, somehow, it tastes… not as artery clogging as their American counterparts. Japan may not have a big McCafe menu or M&M McFlurries (cries), but their limited time promotions make up for that and much more. It gives the well-known fast food chain a nice change from the norm.

Trevor and I have seen some of the special promotions during our time here. During cherry blossom season, we saw shaka-shaka fries with a special plum seasoning and for a while, they did a Hawaiian special. However, the promotion they did only recently was the one that blew us away. The Olympics Special is by far our favorite promotion that McDonald’s has done. Continue reading

Celebrating Bridges: Tanize Bridge Festival!

Summer in Japan is brutal. It’s always hotter than it needs to be, the humidity makes me feel like I’ve just left a sauna, and when it’s not making me produce endless beads of sweat, it’s raining. Hard. However, not all is horrible in 90 plus degree Fahrenheit weather. Summer in Japan just doesn’t mean “hot”- it also means… FESTIVALS!

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Trevor and I attended our first summer festival last year, a couple weeks after he arrived to Totsukawa. This year, we were able to attend the Bridge Festival, hosted up in the northern part of the village in Uenoji, home of one of the largest suspension bridges in Japan: Tanize. Continue reading