Hi, friends! Long time no see 🙂
First off, I’d like to let you know that you can connect with me on my Facebook page if you’d like to hear from me more regularly! I am posting on there a lot more often than here these days. I am currently dealing with some health issues that are making it a little difficult for me to be posting on here as much as I’d like to. I’m seeing a specialist next week and hoping to get things back on track, but until then, feel free to keep in touch on FB as well.
Second – happy 2018! How is it here already?? I spent the holidays staying at home. Unfortunately a massive bill for my car (we have to have a big all-over inspection every two years that is very expensive) meant my dreams of Christmas and New Years on the beach were crushed. I managed to have a really relaxing break just hanging out at home though, and I’m looking forward to spring break in a couple months to get my travel itch scratched.
I haven’t done a roundup since August, so this one is going to cover all the way from September 2017 to December 2017! Whew, that’s a lot. Here goes…
What I’ve Been Doing Since the Last Roundup
September: back to school (work) after my fantastic month-long trip back to Roatan. It was VERY difficult to get in the swing of things… can you blame me? I’d much rather be on vacation on Roatan than pretty much any other option. (Duhhh?) I just ate a lot of ramen to feel better.
October: trucking along with work. My friends and I joined an Awa Odori team and began learning the steps to this famous local dance. We aren’t very good at it yet, but we’re working on it! If you happen to be in Japan next August, Awa Odori is the place to be, and you can see me dancing with my team! I also went to the Sake Festival in Hiroshima with the other ALTs in my town and we had a drunken blast at the festival, and then a chill day exploring Miyajima before heading home.
November: my first visitors in Japan – my dad and little brother came to visit for a week! My schools were very kind and gave me an exception to take some school days off (usually a huge no-no at my schools) so that I could spend time with my dad and brother. We explored Tokushima, went to Takamatsu in Kagawa, and went up to Osaka and Kyoto as well. We had a lot of fun. My Awa Odori team also let me dress up and perform with them at a small show at a hotel! It was really nerve-wracking since I had only gone to three practices at that point in time, but I did it anyway and it was fun. I don’t think I messed it up too badly. It was great that my dad and brother got a chance to see me in the full get-up and doing the dance. I also went on a trip at the end of the month with some teachers. We went to Nagoya to see a stage production of “The Little Mermaid”, then we went to Shizuoka to view Mt. Fuji from some famous sites.
December: I spent most of December counting down the days to winter break. I was really burned out from school. I had a massive demonstration lesson at junior high at the very end of October, and preparing for that took my stress through the roof. After it was over, I had almost non-stop elementary school during November because I had missed so many days while preparing for the demo lesson. At elementary school you’re basically expected to be a dancing monkey with 1000% energy at all times, and having 4-6 classes a day of that every day left me with no energy for myself in my off-time. My health also started to really deteriorate in December, and to top it off, I tore a ligament in my ankle right before the break, so I spent winter break limping around in an ankle brace. Could have been worse timing though – I ended up being glad I hadn’t booked a trip because it would have been really difficult with my ankle! I did make it to Osaka for a weekend before I hurt my ankle, and spent a super fun weekend with a friend there. We went to annual Ramen Expo, explored Bampakukoen (the Expo ’70 park grounds) where we rode a whale paddleboat and climbed a canopy walk after dark, rode the tallest Ferris wheel in Japan, visited a famous izakaya, and prowled around late-night haunts to find a top-secret submarine bar (half success – we found it but it was full so we couldn’t get in for a drink!). Best weekend in ages!
My Most-Liked Instagram Photos
My regular Instagram side note: my personal policy is that Instagram is a give and take platform. My profile is private and if you don’t have any photos on yours or you’re selling crap, I won’t accept your request! There’s just too many scam/spam profiles out there, so I don’t accept anyone who doesn’t look like a legit user.
In Case You Missed It
I only wrote one post in these four months, an ode to my beloved Shodoshima. This island checks all the boxes for me, and I can’t wait to visit again.
1 Second Every Day
I use the 1 Second Everyday app to quickly chronicle my time here in Japan by taking a one second video every day. At the end of each month the app puts it together, and you end up with a 30-second video each month. It’s cool because it shows what I’m actually doing/seeing each day, not just all the highlights of super fun stuff once in a while that end up on social media. (Not sponsored! I just like this app!)
You get a whopping FOUR of these this time! Enjoy!
- Definitely my dad and brother coming to visit! Being “forced” to be the translator for them was eye-opening for me. I’m still garbage at Japanese, but I spend most of my time here either with Japanese people or the other ALTs in my town (who are all much better at Japanese than me)… so sometimes I’m not really pushed into trying to use Japanese. With my dad and brother, they couldn’t read or understand or say anything, so I was the defacto translator. I surprised myself at how much I could do by myself! I knew a lot more than I thought I did.
- I took a lot of weekend trips to Osaka, and saw my friends, and ate all the things, and bought clothes that actually fit, and just generally soaked up the big city vibes. Osaka always charges my batteries when I feel like I’ve been stuck in the countryside too long.
- Medical and financial issues were unfortunately front and center for me in this last part of 2017. Here’s hoping 2018 brings better health for both me and my wallet!
I’m taking an extra-long weekend next week to visit Kagoshima! I’ve never been to this part of southern Japan, so I’m looking forward to ticking off another prefecture (this trip will bring me up to 14 out of 47!) and region (up to 6 out of 9!), and seeing the beautiful landscapes and coastal areas. I’m not sure what to expect as I haven’t planned anything – a friend and I are going to visit another friend who lives there and I guess we’re just assuming she’ll take us around and show us whatever is cool.
I’m also starting to plan for spring break in March. I’ll have two weeks off and I need to get the hell out of my town! With my recent giant car bill, I might not get as far away as I’d like, but I’m definitely going somewhere. Any suggestions?
So, that’s it for this roundup! You can see all my monthly roundups here.
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