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. Continue reading

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Long time, no update?!

Hisashiburi! That pretty much means “long time no see.” I’ve been hearing a lot of that lately from my students and teachers alike.

That’s because earlier this week, Trevor and I arrived back to the village after being away for a month to be in the States- specifically, our hometown in Minnesota. Suffice to say, that trip back home was amazing. It felt so great to be back home after almost two years in mountain land.

There’s been quite a bit going on after my last post which was… back in early March? Dang. Slackin’ much.

But for the time being, I wanted to do a very quick and brief update- on this blog’s “About” page, I added a link to a… YouTube page!!!

***My husband Trevor is currently making videos here and there, documenting some of the things we are doing during our time here in Japan. If you are at all curious about some of the shenanigans we do, check out his page here! And be sure to subscribe for more videos in the future!***

Trevor’s currently working on a lot of clips he took while we were back in Minnesota. But last night, he put together a quick video of us making Umeshu, or Japanese plum liquor. Check it out!

What would you like to see in future videos? If it’s anything about Japanese school life… Unfortunately because of privacy reasons, it’s highly unlikely that we can get any clips or recording involving students.

Let us know!! Particular things around the Kansai area would work best 😉

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Here’s a random picture of cherry blossoms Trevor took while we were in Kashihara to make up for not having a post about spring… ;_;

My First Year of Flower Arrangement (Part 3: Winter 2017)

I have officially finished a full school year of flower arrangement courses! 😀

This school year felt like it came and went as quickly as cherry blossom season- incredibly quick yet memorable. I know I always say this, but I am so grateful to be a part of an amazing club. The girls are wonderful, and my teacher is always so sweet and helpful.

Winter semester of flower arrangement felt short. We only did four pieces starting from when the students came back from their winter breaks in January. We ended early February since a messy schedule of testing, high school entrance exams, and preparation for graduation was approaching.

A small amount compared with first and second semester, but nonetheless, had a lot of fun doing each one. Here they are!
Continue reading

Happy New Year 2017!

明けましておめでとうございます!

Happy New Year everyone! How is your 2017 going so far?

Do you have any New Years goals you want to accomplish? Though I didn’t start some of these at New Years, some of the things I still want to continue are…

  • jogging at least 3-4 times a week
  • eating less than 1500 calories everyday
  • follow a strict budget and meal plan
  • study, study more Japanese
  • write at least two blog posts every month

Thankfully I had a six day vacation from work a little before the New Year break. Unfortunately, Trevor and I had no where particularly special to go… but that’s okay because we (and especially me) had a very relaxing and quiet time at home. I admit I had a hard time forcing myself to go back to work on the Wednesday after break ended…

While we couldn’t go to Adventure World as we were intending to, we ended up deciding to go to Hongu, the closest town to Totsukawa on New Year’s day. My principal, hearing that I wasn’t really doing anything for New Year’s, told me that we can drop by Hongu since there will be some food stalls. Well… can’t say no to that right?

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

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

JET Program 20 Questions

It’s already October! Halloween will be here shortly. Then Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years… Time seems to go by quicker and quicker with each year…

Since the school year has started, classes have kept me busy! Not that I’m complaining- I love spending time with the students and seeing them learn new things and enjoying the games we play.

This week however is midterms for the high school kids. So with the free time I had today, I figured I would do a quick blog post. I saw this around on other blogs and figured since I’ve been here for more than a year now, I can fill this out and have it up on the blog for any readers out there curious about the JET Program (since it also looks like  the application window for JET has opened once again). Continue reading

ShinTotsukawa Limited Edition Goods

A couple weeks into August is the start of Obon, a holiday for many Japanese who return home to their hometowns for about a week or so. During Obon, it is believed that ancestors who have already passed on return for the duration of the holiday. Thus, many go home to visit their families and clean the graves of their loved ones, and overall spend time with those they haven’t seen in a while. Festivals are held in abundance around this time, and at many of them, bon odori (a special type of dance) can take place.

Totsukawa is pretty special in that it has a unique history surrounding the people of this village. Many years ago, Totsukawa was once so badly flooded, that many of its inhabitants ended up relocating to an area in Northern Hokkaido. They decided to call their new environment, ShinTotsukawa, (lit. “New Totsukawa”) as a homage to their original home in the Kansai area. Continue reading