Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I've been cooking almost everyday. I usually cook only on the weekdays and eat out on the weekends, but recently I've been trying to cook everyday. Here are a few reasons:

1) I love food.
2) It's healthier than eating out--and you save money.
3) I just inherited a new oven & grill!
4) It's fun!

A couple of things that I've whipped up lately are: miso katsu and adobo. Tomorrow I'm making brownies from scratch, eek! I've never done that before. I usually buy the brownie mixes that come in the boxes at the store (and they are so yummy), but I figured I should learn how to make things from scratch. Wish me luck tomorrow!

After my third attempt with adobo, I think I've got it down. The sauce has been perfected as well, which was my biggest struggle.

I also have to thank my host mom in Okazaki for buying me miso paste! I love hacho miso, which is the red, sweet miso that Aichi-ken is known for. As a good-bye present, she bought me these:

This weekend I'm going to BBQ! I already have a few ideas in mind of what I'm going to grill...shrimp kabobs, salmon, chicken burgers with caramelized onions and avocado, steak... Must take advantage of the warm weather before it's gone!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Japanese Food = Oishi!

Konbanwa! I am pretty sleepy but I've decided to update my blog before I go to bed. High five to myself because I studied Japanese for two hours straight without any breaks. So, on to my blog topic: food. These past four days, I've been eating amazing food. Even my host family has been preparing the most delicious food, and I have no complaints. Tonight, for example, we had shumai for dinner, along with some other side dishes, and I love shumai! This past weekend, I went to Nagoya to meet up with Alex. We ate at our favorite misokatsu restaurant in the Sakae area of Nagoya. This area is the prime shopping area in Nagoya. I got the restaurant's recommendation, which was hire, the more tender pork cut with zero fat. It was divine. I'm never getting anything else again! Afterwards, we indulged in some yummy ice cream from Tully's. We then proceeded to go on the huge ferris wheel. If you know me, I'm terrified of heights. It's not really so much the height part I am scared of--I think it's the possibility of falling that scares me. Anyway, yes, I am a chicken, but I did it. And I think I actually enjoyed the ferris wheel 75% of the time. It's worse going up than going down again...The view from the ferris wheel is spectacular. It's best when you go at night because you can see the entire city lit up.
Alex left for the airport the following morning, and then I met up with Shizuka, my friend from Nagano-ken. I was really excited to see her. We ate lunch at the same misokatsu place, but this time I ordered something slightly different. We ordered the same set that included the hire misokatsu, but I was really shocked because it only came with two pieces! Shinjirarenakatta! Oh well, it was still good but I was disappointed that they only gave us two pieces. Saturday was extremely hot and sticky so we opted to stay in cool areas, a.k.a. stores and restaurants, which were guaranteed to have air conditioning. We found a nice New York bagel place and I had a blueberry bagel with some blueberry cream cheese. It wasn't bad for a "New York" bagel attempt. After Shizuka left to go back to Matsumoto, I went home and slept for ten hours, naturally...
Today was Japanese cooking day! I enjoy cooking so I was looking forward to our cooking session as a class. We were split into two groups and I was put into a three-person group with my two friends: Alex and Morgan. Our cooking sensei (I don't know her name) went over food vocabulary before we started cooking. Then we started making the dessert that we would eat later which was fruits & coffee jelly. Now, I hate Japanese "jelly" in general, but the coffee jelly that we made was alright. After we finished making dessert, we moved on to making Kansai style sukiyaki. Our sensei taught us how to cut the vegetables and meat correctly so that it was pretty for presentation purposes. One of the biggest differences between Kansai and Kanto region sukiyaki is that Kansai sukiyaki doesn't use soup broth. Their sukiyaki is almost like a stir-fry, I guess. Our sukiyaki turned out delicious. It was so much fun preparing and making sukiyaki with my classmates, especially my group. As corny as it sounds, I felt like it was a bonding experience for us, especially since everyone in my group really loves food. Alright, off to bed now...There is a typhoon passing through Japan so school may be cancelled tomorrow so I need to get some rest since I need to wake up early to check in with Yamasa. Oyasumi!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Volleyball & Taiko!

It has officially been one week since I started the Yamasa Institute JLCP program. The first few days seemed to go by slow, but I am already going into my second week! The next two weeks are sure to fly by fast. Next week we are going to Tokyo for a three day "field trip", but us students get to choose the places we would like to visit. I would like to go to the Ghibli Museum if we have a chance. There was talk of going to Tokyo Tower, Asakusa, and the "Ninja" restaurant, so we'll see what ends up happening. A few of us were also thinking of staying in Tokyo during the weekend and I'm sure that will probably happen.
Last night, my host otousan and I went to volleyball practice. He is on a volleyball team, and all of the players are probably in their late 30s to 50s. There were four women there, including myself, and the rest were men. I think there is even one member that is probably in his late 50s or even early 60s! He is really good, that is what I learned from watching him. I think he was my favorite player on the team, apart from the "coach", because he looks much older yet he has the movement of a twenty year old. Talk about being fit. Good for him! I hope when I am that age, I will still be able to get my groove on...It had been so long since the last time I had played volleyball with an actual team. I used to be on the volleyball team in junior high school. Being at the practice brought back so many memories of my my short-lived stint as an "athlete." For our warm up, we ran some laps, did some stretches, and practiced volleying, attacking, receiving, etc. Afterwards, we did janken to form two teams. I was on the same team as my host dad. Everyone was really encouraging throughout our games. I had a few good saves, which I was proud about. My host dad is amazing at volleyball. He had so much stamina while playing! For me, it was a great experience to play volleyball again, and also to practice my Japanese conversational skills. I'm glad that I went, and as we were leaving, someone told me, "Mata Mokuyobi!"
Today was probably the best day I'd had in a while. The JLCP group had the chance to do Taiko drumming. We had a professional Taiko drummer, Miho, teach us an entire song, and by the end of our lesson, we were rocking out! Miho explained to us how to hold the drumsticks, bachi, which is with three fingers (sans the pinky finger). Your thumb should also be straight along the drumstick. The big drum is called miyadaiko, while the smaller drum is called shimeidaiko. We received a paper with a type of music "score" written on it, which was the song we were going to learn. There were four sections to the song and we had to practice each section's rhythm before actually playing the drums. She made us practice each section several times so that we had the hang of it. Each section had a different and distinct beat to it. I can only imagine how much practice real Taiko drummers have to do to perfect each song. After learning each section, we then proceeded to play two different beats at the same time (one side played one type of beat, while the other played another type of beat). It got trickier and trickier as we progressed, yet I loved the challenge! I was determined to memorize the song completely and play it confidently. Our practice took about two hours, I'd say. Towards the end of our lesson, we had to perform the song as an entire group, and then in just groups of three. I loved seeing everyone get into the drumming, and I could tell everyone was absolutely stoked. It was so cool to hear the sounds being produced just from one practice alone. Now I really, really want to join a Taiko drumming group, so I am going to seek out one in the near future. By the end of the lesson, we were tired, sweating, and had used muscles in our arms that we didn't knew existed. I'm sure tomorrow everyone will be feeling a little sore. Although I've only gone on two field trips, people have told me that this, by far, was the coolest experience that they had had so far in terms of cultural activities in the course. I'm glad that I was able to be a part of that experience!

And as an added bonus, here's a couple of videos of the group playing, and also one of myself busting out my Taiko drumming skills:

(Our group!)


Monday, August 3, 2009


みんなさん, こんにちわ! I just spent my first weekend in Okazaki City. At first, I wasn't sure of what to think of it, but now it is slowly growing on me a bit more. I was under the impression that it had no character, but after watching the fireworks this weekend, and visiting the places that we did, I've decided that it isn't so bad after all. My host family and I went to watch the annual fireworks this past Saturday. We had a "special" seat, which meant that we were sitting along the riverbank, right next to where the fireworks were being launched. Needless to say, it was very loud and I'm sure I am partially deaf now after that experience. We enjoyed some good, typical festival food (yakisoba, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, etc.) and had some good (but limited) conversation! Halfway through the fireworks, it began to rain--literally, pour--and many people decided to leave. We toughed it out and stayed for the entire two hours, though by the time we were finished, my handbag and shorts were wet, and so was the towel we had brought to sit on. I felt bad for those wearing yukata because they had gotten all dressed up!

Today I went on a field trip! First, we visited a Taiko drum factory (it's very small actually), where they manufa
cture all the different Taiko drums. It was really interesting to see how they are made. I had no idea how much hard work goes into making just one drum, and also how long the entire process is. It take roughly about one month to make a taiko drum (and I believe that's only a medium size one). They are also quite expensive (I think it cost $1,000 for the biggest one). I really enjoy Taiko drumming so I was really excited about visiting the factory. I found out that they use cow hide as the cover of the Taiko drum, which is very tough. First, they have to soak the cow hide, and then depending on the type of drum they want to make (smaller drums require thinner hide), they either thin out the hide or keep it as it is. Then it goes through a drying process, and then they must cut the hide in a circular shape. I couldn't understand all of it, but I gathered that much.
After visiting the Taiko drum factory, we had a nice Indian lunch and headed off to Rokushi Shrine. We didn't have a guided tour, so I have no idea
of the shrine's importance. It was a beautiful shrine though. Anyway, short update, as I must go to bed soon...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Well, here I am! My first day, or should I say night, in Okazaki-shi. The journey took roughly four hours in total. I left Matsumoto at 2 PM and arrived here around 6:15 PM. So, let's talk about first impressions of the family, the location, my living quarters...

The first thing that I noticed on the train ride from Nagoya to Okazaki was that it was very flat. I'm used to seeing hills and mountains as a result of living in Nagano-ken so this was the first major scenic difference that I noticed. A driver for Yamasa Institute met me at the station and was holding up a sign so it was really easy to spot him. He took me to a small building, where the Homestay Coordinator, Keiko, and I had nihoncha and she briefed me on the homestay rules, explained the local bus schedule, and talked about the general course schedule. At this point, I was already extremely excited and I hadn't even met my host family members yet!

My host otousan picked me up around 7 PM and I was really nervous and shy. Once I saw the warm smile on his face, and also noticed his attempt to talk to me right away, I began to relax a little more. Then we left to go back to their house, which is a 15-20 minute drive from the Yamasa campus. Okaasan greeted us at the doorstep with a big smile on her face. After bringing my suitcase to my "cottage" (I'll get to that afterwards), I gave the family their omiyage, which were some sweets from Matsumoto. Shizuka helped me pick them out, so I know that they're good! Then I met Ayako, who is twenty five like me and has studied abroad in Australia for a year. She is a quirky, outgoing girl who speaks English pretty well. She and her dad always seemed to be teasing each other and cracking jokes. For dinner, we had tenpura and it was so yummy! I always get excited about eating homemade Japanese food because it's not often that I have the opportunity. I secretly get excited whenever my Japanese friends invite me over for dinner, and always secretly hope that they continue to invite me over every now and then. Anyway, no complaints about tonight's dinner! I met Reiko, their eldest daughter, right as we started tapping into dessert. She teaches piano and had just finished her lessons so that is why she joined us later. For dessert, we ate the sweets that I had brought from Matsumoto, along with some coffee. We discussed my three week schedule, the family (especially otousan) cracked corny jokes, and they teased each other. There was a lot of laughing, "how do you say this in English/Japanese...?", and getting to know each other.

I found out that my host family has a lot of hobbies, namely my host mom. She likes yoga, calligraphy, teaches sadou, and does Japanese flower arrangements. Ayako and Reiko play the piano very well (Ayako plays jazz and Reiko plays classical), and they have a gorgeous Yamaha piano in their house. My host dad likes sports and plays baseball, volleyball, table tennis, tennis, etc. Their house is very nice and clean and I should take photos of it some time soon.

Okay, let's talk about my living quarters. I live in a cottage away from the main house. In a way, it's good for me because I have my own privacy, which I value a lot, especially since I live alone nowadays. My room has a baller toilet, you know, the one with all the crazy buttons and functions, I have my own shower, sink, stove, conventional oven (crazy, right?), desk, internet connection, air conditioner...yeah, I am golden. I can't believe how great it turned out. I am very fortunate to have the set up that I do. Maybe tomorrow I'll post some photos if I have time. Right now, I just want to soak it all in. I'm thinking a nice warm shower and a spot of Harry Potter sounds good right now...Oyasuminasai!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Tuts My Barreh"

I don't know why, but I'm always a sucker for songs with fake translations. I can't help it if I find it entertaining...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weekend with a Kiwi!

This past weekend, I spent some quality time with my favorite Kiwi, Kate. She is definitely one of the coolest girls that I've met here in Japan and I'm sad to see her go. However, it's not "good-bye", but a "see you later." She's moving back to New Zealand soon so she wanted to hang out with Alex and myself. I must say that the weekends have been pretty eventful. Instead of the usual "What am I going to do this weekend?", I find myself already planning my schedule in advance nowadays. It's kind of a nice change to know what you're going to be up to prior to it happening.
Last Saturday, Kate joined up with us in Hakuba. We spent the day making strawberry banana smoothies--which rocked--going on a quest to find the rumored "best gelato place in Hakuba" (mission accomplished!), going for a nice hike in the forest, chilling out along the river (which Alex stupidly went into while it was still freezing cold), and filling our tummies with delicious Mexican food at Uncle Steven's. Not bad for a weekend start, eh? That night, we drove to Nagano to go salsa dancing with some fellow JETs. My Japanese gym friend, Yuki, had told me about this salsa party called "Cubanismo." I spread the word and got a few recruits, and all of us ended up having a blast.
The following morning, Alex had a soccer game down in Suwa, so Kate and I slept in and had a nice hearty breakfast at my place. Then we rented some bikes at the castle and ran some errands in town. We were in search of the perfect tea set for Kate, but we only succeeded in finding tea kettle. Kate also bought me an early birthday present, which was definitely unexpected! I had mentioned a cute owl mug that I'd seen at a shop, and I took her there to look for a tea set and she ended up buying it for me! Thanks again, Kate! It was love at first sight for me. The mug is shaped like an owl with huge eyes. The weird part is that if you were to sever the owl's head just above the forehead, that is where you would be drinking out of. I guess it's like I am drinking out of the owl's brain. Kate and I hit up Sunny Place Cafe for some delicious mocha and blueberry shakes, then checked out a cute boutique just above the cafe. After that, Alex joined up with us and the three of us made our way to U2 Burger. I have to say, all in all, a fantastic weekend. I got my mandatory nine hours of beauty sleep, went out dancing, and was surrounded by great company!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Finally got around to it...

I know that there are much larger risks in life, and this is going to sound petty...but I manned up and got a perm in Japan. You don't understand. I was really nervous! You see, I haven't gotten a perm since I was thirteen, and from what I recall, I wasn't too happy with it. On top of that, I'm living in a foreign country and I have no idea how they do everything here, especially when it comes to perming technique and procedure. I've been wanting to get a perm for a while, namely the "air wave" perm, as they call it here. It's a "natural" type of perm that gives you soft, flowing waves, so nothing like the crazy 80s poodle perms! I had been holding off for a while (three months). Every time I went to the salon, I'd say, "OK, I'm going do this!" and then I would chicken out because I was scared of the result. Since my hair is naturally board-straight and can't hold a curl for more than a couple of hours, I felt that it was time for a change. Anyway, the verdict is: amazing! I can't believe I hadn't done this sooner. This will be addicting, I can tell already. I would upload a photo or two, but I haven't taken any since perming my hair. However, I did find a random website that had photos of a Japanese girl with the "air wave" perm. This is a good example of how my hair looks right now:

Thoughts, anyone?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

2009 Omachi Budou Festival

This past weekend, I attended a two-day Budou Festival in Omachi. It was basically two days of seminars featuring different Japanese martial arts: iaido, kendo, naginata, and judo. Budou means the old Japanese martial ways, and strives to perfect unity of mind and technique. When studying budou, discipline is encouraged, technical proficiency is advanced, you become physically stronger, and your mind is perfected.
For me, I felt really fortunate to have had the chance to experience another part of traditional Japanese culture. Many highly experienced sensei (teacher/s) were present at the festival and shared their passion for martials arts with us. Our judo sensei was even 7th dan! Dan is a ranking system used in Japanese martials arts to mark one's level. I believe 10th dan is the highest.
After the first day of the festival, we had a nomikai that night, and ate tons of food and drank tons of beer. Rounds of beer were passed out every fifteen minutes! Several glasses of beers and one Chu-Hi later, someone managed to round up the troops to go on a "lake run." Apparently, the previous year, some drunken people convinced a bunch of people to jump into the freezing cold lake near the youth hostel we were staying at. It was actually Alex and another person, as I found out later. Reluctantly, I joined the rest of the crazy drunkards who were determined to jump into freezing cold waters again. We walked over to the lake, and the boys started removing ALL articles of clothing! They were going in naked! I wasn't about to go that far so I decided that jumping into the lake in my underwear would do. The water actually wasn't too bad. I imagined that it would have been much more colder, but it was alright. After we got out of the lake, a lot of people (mainly the boys) couldn't seem to find their clothes. Someone thought it would be funny to run off with people's dry clothes and hide them. Some people were ready to kill. We searched the entire area, where it was absolutely pitch black, and later found people's clothes tied onto the outside railing of some random person's house.
The second day of the festival started off with a late wake up, thirty minutes before the first seminar, meaning no time for breakfast. I was tired from a bad night's sleep (lots of noise during the morning), sore from the previous day's activities, and slightly hungover. I somehow managed to face judo in my useless state. It turned out to be really fun, and I learned some really cool judo techniques that I could see myself using in self-defense.
The Budou Festival really made me appreciate traditional Japanese martial arts even more. I have a better understanding of their history within Japanese culture, and each martial arts' significance. I know Matsumoto has some dojos in the general area, so sign me up ASAP!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Time to whip out those masks!

Swine Flu has officially reached Tokyo. Great. I'm going there this weekend. In a city of 35 million people, one of the largest cities in the world, and my bad luck, I feel like I am bound to get it. I know it sounds pessimistic, but I really do have the worst luck sometimes! So how can I avoid it? Well, I've come up with a small list of ways to potentially avoid the virus:
Off to the metropolis on Saturday! Wish me a safe and healthy trip.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Calling all chocolate lovers...

I present to you: Missha "Facial Choco Cacao Scrub." I know, I couldn't believe it either. When I first laid eyes on this magical item, I had to do a double-take. I was convinced that they had filled up a cosmetic jar with some kind of thick, rich chocolate mousse. I smelled it and it was DIVINE. I bought one, took it home, and tried it out for the first time tonight. It was like smearing chocolate all over my face and rubbing it in. I was really tempted to eat it! They also have a "Black Sugar" scrub, but I prefer this one.

This exfoliating facial scrub is made from real, natural cacao that is indeed edible. Cacao contains natural properties that aid in keeping skin's elasticity, therefore promoting younger looking skin. So chocolate really is good for you!

For those of you who don't know, I have recently developed a curiosity toward Japanese skin care and cosmetics. The product packaging here is super cute. However, I can't read a freaking thing on the labels so most of the time, I have no clue what it is! It just looks nice. I am really curious to try out a few new products while I am living here. I know that the Japanese are very conscious about having healthy skin, so I hope to find some stellar products in the future. I've also noticed that when it comes to cosmetics, Japanese cosmetics seem to compliment my skin tone nicely ("yellow" undertones).

Anyway, thought I'd share this wonderful product with you. Now I have something to look forward to whenever I exfoliate my face!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I am back from Kyoto! What an amazing trip. It was short but sweet: 3 days, 2 nights, but I was very content with everything that we did there. There is so much to see and do in Kyoto, there was no way we could have done it all in three days--but that just means that I'm going to have to go back there.

On the first day that we were there, we did most of our sightseeing. We visited Kinkaku-ji, the "Golden Pavillion," which was built in the early 1200's. It was built by a shogun so that he could live there. Kinkaku-ji is surrounded by many gardens, which make it serene and peaceful. They even had a tree that is shaped like a ship, which I found interesting. Kinkaku-ji has three floors, and each floor has a different style of architecture: the 1st floor is a kind of palace style; the 2nd floor is a style of the samurai house; and the 3rd floor is Zen temple style.

Next, we headed over to Ryoan-ji, the "Peaceful Dragon Temple." This was built in the 15th century, and is supposed to one of Japan's masterpieces. It is a simple Zen garden, with fifteen rocks laid out in different areas of the garden. From any angle that you look at the garden, you won't be able to see all fifteen rocks. I tried looking at it from several different angles and it's true. No one really knows the what the garden represents, but many believe that the artist left it up to individual interpretation.

That night, we were exhausted from our crazy schedule (we had to catch a 6:05 A.M. bus from Matsumoto to Kyoto), a total of six hours on the highway bus. After a short power nap, we decided to venture out to Gion. This district is known for its a shopping/nightlife, and also a popular "geisha sighting" area, however, we didn't see any geisha.

The next morning, we went back to the Gion area because I had an appointment to get dressed up in a kimono! I was so excited to do this! Ever since I'd heard about the chance to wear a kimono in Kyoto, I really wanted a chance to experience this. The kimono rental place was called "Yume Kyoto." My rental package included a kimono & hairstyle of my choice. The process was interesting: first, you put on kimono "lingerie", which is basically a thin white cotton robe. After the lady practically tightened the robe so tight that it was impossible to breathe, I knew that wearing a kimono for the seven hours wasn't going to be exactly comfortable. Next, I had to put on another robe with a collar (I opted for a white one), and went through more tightening and securing in place. Several more layers, tightening, fastening, stuffing, and fifteen minutes of torture later, I was wearing a kimono. I can't deny that it looked great, but it was hard to move around since I my torso was super stiff. They styled my hair, which took another 10 minutes. There was a photo album with different kimono hairstyles, which in my opinion, kind of reminded me of prom up-do's, but I just wanted something more plain and not "out there." Lastly, I got to choose a purse to carry around for the day (that reminded me of the "Sex & the City" movie with the rental purses), and slippers. Traditionally, Japanese people wear kimono slippers slightly smaller than their actual shoe size, so walking carefully and taking smaller steps was necessary--especially for me, someone who is accident-prone, if you know my history.

After that, we went to a J-League soccer game. Alex had convinced us (more like forced us) to watch Kyoto vs. Yokohama while we were in Kyoto. What were the chances that Kyoto was having a home game at the time that we were visiting? We sat on the Kyoto side, and it was packed with Kyoto Sanga supporters. Every time I go to a soccer game, I love seeing the crowd shouting and singing songs to support their team. Here in Japan, in the stadium section dedicated to hardcore fans, you'll usually see drummers, people with megaphones, and people waving huge flags in support of their team. Kyoto Sanga ended up winning with a score of 2-0, which was really cool. The goals were pretty sweet too. It also ended up raining, which sucked, because we had our kimonos on. I ended up buying a Kyoto Sanga raincoat because it was the only thing available in terms of rain protection. After the game, we went back to Yume Kyoto to return my kimono. I was kind of sad that it was time to take off the kimono, but they gave me some discount coupons for next time so I am definitely coming back there!

The rest of the day, we went back to our hotel and relaxed for a while before eating dinner. We didn't realize how hungry we were, and decided that somewhere close by was the best option since we were starving. We ate at a Chinese restaurant and decided on doing the buffet. It was definitely worth our money. I probably had three or four rounds, and that wasn't even including dessert! After dinner, I was feeling pretty lousy. I shouldn't have eaten as much as I did because I was ready to go to bed. We went for a walk along the river, in search of some cool bars, but didn't find any. After returning back to our hotel rooms and watching some silly Japanese shows, we all retired.

The last day was really laid-back, and we didn't do much of anything. We woke up and took advantage of the hotel's breakfast buffet, then went back to the Gion area to buy some omiyage
(gifts). I had no idea how it was possible, but after two buffets in a row, I managed to fit in some matcha soft serve ice cream, the best in town. They have cues for this place, but luckily we got ours right away. By mid-afternoon, we were on our bus back to Matsumoto. Exhausted from our three day adventure, we crashed on the bus ride back. Kyoto is truly an amazing place, and I absolutely recommend going there to all of my friends who visit Japan!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Golden Week plans

Spring time is amazing in Japan. I think this is the only time of the year that actually BEATS Hawaii. No joke. Everything is green, green, green, with flowers of brilliant shades of pink, purple, and yellow popping up here and there. I am really loving this weather, minus the heat (23 degrees celsius). Ha, you'd think that I would be okay with the heat, being from Hawaii and all.

On another note, Golden Week a.ka. "vacation week" has begun! That means I am Kyoto-bound in two days! It will be my first time visiting the "culture heart of Japan" and I wish it hadn't taken me this long to make the journey down there. For those of you who don't know, Kyoto is a blend of traditional and modern Japan. I've heard such amazing things about the city. Apparently, the U.S. had considered dropping an atomic bomb on Kyoto during World War II, but then decided against it. As a result, it has an abundance of pre-war buildings and architecture.

Oh, and before I go...


Look at this line-up for Summer Sonic '09! Ridiculous...I have been wanting to see all of these acts for a while now. I can't believe they are all coming to Japan. It has definitely been a while since I have gone to a concert. In Japan, they have two very big summer concerts: Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic. I looked at the line-up for Fuji Rock and wasn't really impressed...though, I do wish that M83 was playing at Summer Sonic instead because I am dying to see them live.

Kyoto photos to come when I get back!

Apparently the link that was sent to me was last year's line-up. I scoped out this year's and it sucks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Round two of blogging!

So today I decided that I would resume my blogging. I have gotten the inspiration from friends who currently blog, or have just created their own blogs. I think this is a good way for me to share my experiences with others in my current home, that is Japan. Some of my friends live abroad (i.e. New Zealand, South America, etc.) and I am so curious to know what is happening in their lives since we are so far apart! I absolutely regret my absence from blogging for one entire year! So much has occurred in that frame of time, both good and bad moments. However, since it is still early in the year of 2009, why not start again? I promise to be a better and more frequent blogger.

Moving on, I am really looking forward to this weekend. I am going to the Zenkoji Gokaicho Ceremony at Zenkoji Temple. This event happens every seven years, so I am fortunate enough to be here while it is taking place.
Zenkoji Temple is one of Japan's most sacred Buddhist temples (and a huge tourist attraction). The temple has a long history: around 1400 years old. The ceremony that I am going to started at the beginning of April, and it will be unveiling the Buddhist statue, Gokaicho. Normally, it is kept hidden from public viewing, so this is a great opportunity to see it. Back in February, I went on a guided tour of Zenkoji Temple (which, by the way, was amazing) and learned a lot about the temple and its long history, so that is how I know about this event. Although the statue is a replica of the original, loads of people come from all over to see it, and I want to be one of them!