Sunday, July 18, 2010

Getting all I can out of it

July is my final month in Japan, and I've been doing my darnedest to get all I can out of my last days here. Here's a recap of the best of the past two months


After a three day English Camp known as CHESS (which was fun but thoroughly exhausting) I made a farewell trip to the fabulous Lexi and western Shimane. The first night we went to a Firefly Festival in Gotsu. It was a fun night, although my legs were ravaged by mosquitos in unmentionable places.

The next day we went to Tsuwano, known as the Little Kyoto of the Sannin Region. It was a beautiful little town, complete with a super cool Fox Shrine and plenty of cute little touristy shops and gifts. The path to the shrine is a mountain ascent lined with hundreds of red Torii, those sweet gates Lexi is posing with. This is probably my new favorite shrine.

I bravely tried some wasabi flavored soft serve, which turned out to be an extremely poor choice. At first I kind of liked it, although it was REALLY spicy, but my stomach hated me very soon after. We remedied the situation by eating some handmade yuzu sherbet- yuzu being a delicious fruit somewhere in between a lemon and a lime.

I spent the weekend of the fourth of July visiting my host family in Hiroshima one last time. Although there was a decided lack of fireworks and American Patriotism, I had a wonderful time as always. We visited Hiroshima Castle, where I got to try on samurai gear and a real kimono. We also ate dinner at the Ramen shop where Sena works part time.

I'm always amazed to realize how lucky I am to have met this family. They are super cool. Host Dad has decided to change jobs, which means no more free Nori for me, but most importantly he's doing something most Japanese would never do. In Japan most of the time when you join a company it means you're in it for life, no matter how much you start to hate it. So switching jobs for him is a big d eal, and I'm really happy for him. Sena has also grown a lot. Risa always was the "English Speaker" of the family, but since joining college Sena has become really interested in English as well. Some students from Illinois University are doing a foreign exchange stint in Hiroshima, and he has made good friends with them. He's showing them around and volunteering a lot. He now will even speak to me in English a bit, and he's really good! Yay, Miyake Family!!!

I just got back from a visit to Tokyo with my little Japanese sister Megumi. As always we walked like crazy an d ate like crazy. Sounds to me like a perfect combination. The weather was, to coin a phrase, sweating balls. The rainy season is finally over and has been replaced by pure heat. It was about 35 degrees Celsius during the day. Phew!

Some of the highlights of this trip were going to the Tokyo Sky Tower which will soon be the tallest building in the world for at least a couple of weeks. (Take that, Dubai). I hope
Tokyo tower doesn't feel too jealous.

We also went to Kamakura to visit 大仏 the Great Buddha. Actually, the first day we went we had too much fun walking around, eating, and looking at souvenirs so we arrived at Buddha after it closed. I came back another day though, and this time succeeded. Kamakura's Buddha is actually the second largest in the world. The biggest one is in Nara and actually has its own building. But you can climb inside Kamakura's buddha and see the inner structure. It was pretty sweet.

We went to a 花火大会 Fireworks show in Yokohama. It was ridiculously crowded. Making our way through throngs of yukata-clad Japanese we fought for some traditional festival food like takoyaki and yakisoba. It was fun, but made me claustrophobic. Maybe I really am a country girl at heart.

Having people like Megumi in my life helps me remember that there really is something bigger going on here. And trips like these help me remember why I love Japan so much in the first place.

One week to go, and counting.


  1. i'm excited you are having/ have had such a fabulous time:) and you're getting married next month right?! goodness! lol:) nice usage of sweating balls by the way:)

  2. Sadness because you won't be posting anymore awesome blogs, but happiness that you will be here to has gud times with me again!