Jul 28, 2017

First half of 2017

It's been almost 5 months since my last post, and not a lot in my life has changed. I'm still in Kobe, still working at the same schools, and life has just continued on fairly normally. I figured I should update though, as some fun things have happened over the past half a year. I want to get better at posting more regularly, but I'm really bad at the blogging thing.


**If you do want to stay more up to date with my life in Japan, I highly suggest you check out my links on the side bar for my instagram and twitter, where I post much more regularly. (There is also tumblr and youtube links but I don't post much there at the moment)**

Anyway, check out below to get caught up with my 2017 so far!



January

Nothing that exciting happened in January aside from New Years. Post New Years I spent the last few days of the holidays just hanging out with friends, then it was back to work... lame, I know.

February

February was a bit more exciting. One day at Elementary school I was invited to make grilled mochi and oranges with the grade 4 students. It was really fun and a cool experience!

Grilling...

And eating!

My Junior High School co-teachers for my year group also went on a trip to Kanazawa - so I was able to cross another prefecture off my bucket-list! It was just an overnight trip, but we did so much. Ate delicious crab and gold leaf ice cream, stayed at a great onsen, and seen some cool gardens and museums.

Lunch in Kanazawa

Higashi-chaya district

Kenroku-en gardens, and Japan's oldest fountain

February is also my boyfriends birthday. It was pretty simple - we had a nice dinner and cake, and the next day we also had a date to the observatory. We don't get a ton of time for dates like that so I was really glad he could have the time to enjoy his Birthday.

on the train to our date (hes sleeping as always...)

Happy Birthday!

March

In March it was starting to feel like spring finally, and more events were popping up all month. I got to join my grade 7s on their field trip to explore Kobe city, which was really fun. Seeing them outside of English class is always a treat - and helping the other teachers with check-points earns brownie points.

Kobe's foreign district

Pretty manhole covers - Kobe ver.

Students. Exploring n' stuff.

March is the end of the school year here, and during down time me and the other ALT at my school got to put on the schools uniforms. Not a particularly special event but it was fun haha.

Way to much fun...

At the end of March and into April my friend from back home also came to visit. She stayed with me for a few days which I was able to take off work. We hit up Kyoto, Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, Nara and Universal Studios. It was a great chance for me too as I hadn't been to Nara or the aquarium yet! 

In Kyoto

Pretty jellyfish at the aquarium!

Todai-ji in Nara

Giant Buddha in Nara

Hogwarts house scarves and minion Banana churros at USJ!

and of course, purikura

April

When I think April in Japan cherry blossoms immediately come to mind. This year they were a bit delayed and the rain took them away pretty quickly, so I never got to have a good Hanami party. I was able to check some out at Oji Zoo one day with the boyfriend though. Of course I saw them every day they were in bloom while walking to or from work, but I wish I could have attended one of the Hanami parties that were happening... oh well.

so pretty!

At the end of April the weather was perfect. I spent one day down by Meriken park here in Kobe, which had just opened back up after renovations. It's the 150th anniversary of the Port of Kobe, so they updated the park. It's super beautiful and a great space for big events, festivals and tourists. It's an instagram photo haven too!


  

May

May includes golden week - I stayed in Kobe this year so I was finally able to attend the Danjiri-matsuri in the neighborhood of my schools. The Danjiri-matsuri is a big festival, where teams display and pull their danjiri around the area and eventually to the local shrine where they are blessed for the year. Many of my students participate in the event, and it was mind-blowing to watch the amazing displays of these huge carts.




For golden week I also joined the boyfriend and his family on their annual day trip to Awaji Island. We walked around the shoreline, bought souvenirs, and had a delicious lunch together. I'm really lucky his family are so kind to include me in their family events, and they always make me feel so welcome.

In the car to go meet his family

Akashi Kaikyou Bridge
Lunch!

boyfriend walking around the shore

Near the end of May Kobe also had its annual festival, especially big this year because of the 150th anniversary. The best part was that they invited AKB to lead the parade through the city... so I was able to get up close to see many members, including Mayuyu!!!!! Sadly I wasn't able to attend the concert of theirs that was held at Meriken park.


Sashihara Rino

L to R: Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki, Minegishi Minami, and Kizaki Yuria

June

June didn't have too much going on, but I joined a gym and tried to focus a lot on my health and fitness. I went to a Hata Motohiro cafe in Osaka with the boyfriend.


The AKB election also happened in June - and Mayuyu announced her graduation... I legit cried, way more than I thought I would, even though I was pretty sure it was going to happen if she didn't win #1 (she got #2 again this year).

Oh, I also got a hamster in June! His name is Apollo and hes already a year old. I got him from a JET who was leaving as she obviously couldn't take him with her back to her home country. He's super cute, though a bit of a lazy grump haha.


July

This month has been.... rough. Very rough. Near the beginning I got word from my cousin that my grandma wasn't doing well at all. She had a serious stroke that left her brain filled with blood. They eventually did surgery and she was doing a lot better, but a week later she had slipped into a coma.

She died on the 14th.

It really threw my whole month off. I mostly stopped going to the gym from about when I heard about the stroke until this week. I missed a few days of work both before and after she passed. I was just constantly exhausted, from both not sleeping well and intentionally staying up almost all night to chat and keep in touch with family back home who were by her side. I didn't want to eat much and of course I was crying a lot.

After she passed I tried my best to keep busy. A friend gave me tickets to see Ayumi Hamasaki, as she suddenly couldn't go. I went, and it helped take my mind off the 'real world' for a night.




As always her show was amazing - it was my first time to see a real tour of hers live, though I've seen every one of her tour DVDs. The concert I went to in 2015 was a fan club concert, so a lot more toned down than this was. 

The last few weeks since her passing have been ok. I'm still in a bit of a daze about it, but keeping busy which is helping. Every couple nights I still have a moment where I just suddenly can't help myself from crying about it, but I've been able to pick myself back up by the next morning.

Now I am full swing in summer holidays. First batch of new JETs arrived a few days ago and the next group comes next week. I've been keeping busy helping them, as well as preparing for Summer School and Job Training that both happen in August, which I am running a room and doing a seminar at. It's going to be a busy summer, but that's probably for the best at the moment.

Wish me luck!