Nagoya Fun Times

So I went to Nagoya for some funs. I met a friend for lunch and had a famous “oyakodon” which literally translates to parent-child rice bowl. It was chicken and egg rice bowl… yea… kinda cruel name. Then went to the Nagoya aquarium… I seem to like the atmosphere of aquariums. We watched this documentary too and well it was in Japanese, but watching it taught me a lot already. Although I can’t say I remember much xD Afterwards, we went to a cafe to eat a snack.

Then I went to meet my other friend for dinner. I had butter chicken yummmmm. We went to the conbini to buy some fireworks to play with in the park. Fireworks are so funnnn, especially cause you can’t just do them whenever you want in Toronto… They’re pretty cheap too.

The next day, we went to Osu street for shopping and I bought some things, mostly from the 300 yen shop but shopping nonetheless xD It was one of those shotengais shopping streets.

After, we went to this international festival where there were a bunch of different food stalls and really cool handmade stuff being sold. We walked around here a few times, back and forth. It was cute because there was this corner where there were just booths for crafts. I think they were aimed for kids but omg I wanted to make some crafts too man. Too many kids though. xD

Short trip… but learned a lot… heh…

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Toba Minato Festival

Both my Toba friends were out of town during this festival so of course I still had to go in their honour. Also, because this is the biggest festival that’s near me. I was planning to go alone since all my other friends were like “meh” about it because they were going to a bigger festival in Tsu the next day. I wasn’t even going to wear my yukata.

During work, I kept hearing chatter about the boys going somewhere and taking the train or something. I was skeptical and wondered where they were going. When I went home, while walking by, I heard laughter from my neighbour’s place and laughed with them outside, mocking them xD The other teacher who was also outside knocked and then I saw them all dressed up in yukata. I asked them where they were going and they said the Toba Matsuri! =O!! I asked them if it was ok that I went along with them because I had no friends LOL. I really hope they didn’t think that. I explained to them that they were away and others wanted to attend the Tsu one instead. So luckily, they said yes but I felt kinda bad since I was intruding in their guy time. They were heading out in like 15min and told me to get ready really quick because we were trying to catch the limited express because of the amount of people there would be on the trains. SO this was literally the fastest time I took to get ready. I had to wash my face, put on my yukata (which is a pain), do my hair, do some make up, and pack my bag in these 15min. I still have no idea how I did all of that.

After that, me and all my boyfriends (bahaha) aka my apartment boys, we drove to the main station to get on the train. We saw so many students there haha. The guys were so nice too because they kept treating me to the food. They would all be like “don’t worry about it, I am sempai/I am man” haha. So sweet of them. Omg so there was this super long line up for this karaage and one of the guys was scouting out students in the line and saw some. He gave the student some money to buy our group of teachers some. Omg I’m dying xD. Using students to the max hahahaha. There was another incident too later in the night where a student jankened with the teacher to see who would go line up for crepes xD. So while we were waiting for the fireworks, we decided to go into the mall that was nearby and got us some Tobarger (Toba burger). Went back out shortly after and chatted more students up and got ready for fireworks.

The fireworks lasted like a good hour or so. Fireworks in Japan man. Crazy. But they were actually much better than I expected… For a city that is not very known in Mie, these were some pretty nice fireworks, especially since we were so close. So after the fireworks, of course everyone is headed towards the trains. Good thing we got our limited express tickets. I mean, Shima is close to Toba, but that extra 500yen or something was worth it. I kept calling the boys rich since they could afford the expensive trains haha. We called the students who were able to afford the limited express, rich as well xD

Once we got back to the station, we went to the conbini to gets some drinks since we were planning to play some MJ woooooo. I wasn’t planning to stay very long since I was going to Nagoya the day after. I just wanted to play like one or two rounds but they just kept playing for a good hour. I wanted to leave but if I just left, it would make them feel bad for not having me play. One of the guys ended up getting super red eyes from drinking so he had to sit out for a while and so I had to stay or they wouldn’t have a “4th leg”. I did not really have much luck but oh wellll. It was still fun =D I interrupted their “danshikai” aka guys hangout but I’m glad it was still okay haha. They were saying how I was the only flower in their boys and I was like I’m the Snow White and they’re my dwarves xD But these guys are great haha!

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Osaka + Kyoto Festivals

(Pics separated by days)

July 22-23 – Osaka

My friends and I decided to go have some fun in Osaka for the last time before our friend leaves Japan. We started out with a late lunch at a Brazilian BBQ and I really had no idea what to expect. It was all you can eat and there was so much food!! Some of the food, you could go get yourself, but the meat, the waiters walked around to serve you and slice it off for you. It was pretty meat. (haha see what I did there) I was the only one at the table who didn’t want bloody meat so they gave me this “well done” label thing so the waiters knew to cook it more for me. We were super full from that. 

Me and some friends decided to walk around a bit Shinsaibashi because we didn’t wanna go back to the hostel yet. I also had to buy some stuffs. Not long after, we went back to get ready for our fun night. Every time we went into our rooms, all we could say was “ahhh すずしい”, meaning it’s so cold (in a good way). In summer, the Japanese here either say “あつい” (hot) or “すずしい” (cool) haha. 

So we got ready, pre-drank by playing King’s Cup. It was my first time playing it properly haha. We met some others from the hostel too and they ended up coming with us to partayyy. So yea, funnnnn. So at like 10 or 11 I think, we finally decided to head out. It was funnnnn. We didn’t stay out too too late. Some of us went to a Mcdonalds after and were quite disappointed with their lack of menu options. All they sold were fries and nuggets!! Well. We got those and went back to the hostel to sleep haha. 

We had to check out by 11 and so we decided to grab brunch together before separating ways. It was my first time having Eggs n’ Things and it was really good!! I love their eggs and potatoes. Some of them decided to go home earlier. Four of us decided to stay a bit longer. My friend and I were planning to stay an extra two days because we wanted to see the Tenjin Matsuri, which is one of the three biggest festivals in Japan. We also went to grab a burrito and I think it might be the first real burrito I’ve ever had. It was pretty good! I’m craving one now actually haha. The two friends who stayed a bit longer wanted massages and my friend and I thought that it was a great idea too. So why not xD it was much cheaper than the massages back in Mie. It was pretty relaxing ahhh. Oh yea, my friend and I went to this store called Parts Club and it’s basically like Michaels but for jewelry. We both got so into it and started thinking of different projects we could make. We ended up going back to our capsule hotel and doing some of it xD

July 24 – Kyoto

We actually had to switch our schedule around a bit. We were supposed to go to Kobe but oh well. So I wanted to go back to Kyoto since last week, it was just such a mess with my huge bug bite mishap. But! Before we left for Kyoto, we spontaneously decided to go to the Minion Cafe!! It was so cuteeee. I really wanna watch the movie but they don’t offer it in English here in Japan =( it was quite a wait, despite being there before it opened. All the stuff was actually quite expensive, especially the desserts and drinks, even I wouldn’t pay for it! I got a kids meal because it had lots of variety and the karaage was pretty good! Omg now I’m craving karaage too… Oh karaage is basically Japanese fried chicken – it’s the best!!! 

So we set off to Kyoto and it took only less than half an hour. Oh, this is the same friend who I went with last week to Kyoto and had my bite situation. Glad we could do it right this time. I had to actually go back to the hospital and pharmacy so I could get my refund from my visit last week. I had forgotten to bring my health card. Doh.

Ok so after that, we finally went to Arashiyama Monkey Park!! I have been wanting to go here for the longest time. I have been to Kyoto over 5 times and every time, there was no time or something came up. Continue reading

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One heck of a weekend

Let me tell you about this fun-crazy-frustrating weekend. Long post ahead! (Pics separated)

Fri. July 14

So my jutaku boyz (apartment boys) invited me to barbecue outside of the apartment and of course I had to go! It was finally a chance to bond with them haha. It wasn’t all of them though. It was just the 5 and me. Age range was like 23-30. If I forgot to mention before, ever since my girl neighbour got transferred to another school, I’ve been the only girl in my apartment. I see myself as the Snow White and they are all my dwarves xD. Again, Japanese style BBQ so it was slow at first. We started at like 6:30pm I think and we stayed out for quite some time. I had some really fun chats with them. A lot of them could speak more English than they showed in daily life. I found out so much gossip and there were just so many jokes everywhere. I found out secret couples and different love lives. Man I wish we hung out more xD One of the boys ended up getting food poisoning and had to call it a night. Poor guy. But also poor me because I got at least 10 mosquito bites (not even exaggerating) that night on my ONE arm… I was stupid to not put on bug spray earlier sigh. It was like 10pm when we finally started to pack up.

We decided to continue our party in my neighbour’s place and play MahJong!! I was so so excited to see them play and learn how it worked. I pick it up pretty quickly since I already knew how to play Chinese MJ. Japanese MJ seemed pretty much the same, but much easier to win, at times. They like to do a lot of concealed hands for higher points and you could even “chicken eat” too. The scoring is much more different though. I sucked at the beginning but I think it was cause I wasn’t playing how I usually did. Also, backseat players too xD. I ended up winning a big one in the last game when I was playing by myself hehe. It was soooo nice playing and talking with them! They kept teaching me some funny/bad Japanese words and their English was just so entertaining. I think I had more fun than it was supposed to be hahaha. Apparently they have these MJ nights every so often so I totally wanna join again! I thought I was only going to stay until like 1am or 2am max but we ended at like 3am! It was really comforting to know that my apartment was only a few steps away haha.

Sat. July 15

I wanted to go to the beach today. But clearly that was not possible, seeing how I slept at like 4am… Oh well! I woke up at like 1pm and it felt good xD But only problem was, I didn’t realize how much time it would take for me to get ready. There were fireworks in Ise today and they were the one of the biggest ones in Mie. I was planning to wear my yukata but I had to wash my hair and do that stuff too. I was meeting my friend at 4pm so I only had like less than 2 hours. Putting on that yukata nicely takes at least like 20 minutes man. So I rushed so much that I forgot to even eat breakfast/lunch. Good thing I wasn’t that hungry.

When I met up with my friend, we went to eat some lunch before heading to Miyagawa Park. A huge group of us were meeting there and another friend had gone earlier to reserve a spot for us. When we got there, we were so amazed by the number of food stalls there were! There was literally every food stall that I’ve ever seen at festivals. They were lined up on both sides of the river!! They were only missing icecream haha. I saw a few of my students here too since I can never escape them. It was so cute because I finally got to meet my student’s girlfriend that I always ask him about! So I settled on our tarp and we ate lots of food. It was pretty hot but glad it got bearable when the sun went down. At around 7:30pm, the fireworks began! It was apparently a competition between different people and I mentally gave bonus points to those who used music too!! Fireworks without music is just… bleh. There were some really cool fireworks. I can’t even describe them! Spiraly ones and changing colour ones. They lasted for about 2 hours. There were some breaks in between for announcement of sponsors etc. So awesome.

After they were done, some of my friends were heading to karaoke but it was already like 10pm so I wouldn’t be able to stay for long until my last train… Plus I had a whole day ahead of me the next day.. So I did the smart thing and went home! Yayyy. Oh, also, biking in my yukata was quite a struggle too. It was more embarrassing than difficult haha.

Sun. July 16

This weekend was a long weekend because Monday is Ocean Day. So my friends from Gunma came down to Osaka to do some sightseeing and partying. The plan was to meet them in Nara at like 11am-12pmish but they seemed to have partied until quite late last night so they had some trouble being on time. I arrived at like 11am and walked around… I also had time to even go play some Mai Mai… like 3 times xD. They finally arrived and we ate some Vietnamese food. The pho was pretty good! Then we were on the hunt for a yukata for my friend since she was going back to Toronto soon. There were quite a few shops with yukatas and pretty good prices but my friend had pretty expensive taste xD We spent a while looking for one and she ended up finally getting one she liked, despite it breaking her wallet. I wore mine too and boy was it hot. We finally headed to Nara park and Todaiji Temple. I was pretty sad to see that there weren’t too many deers around because they are usually everywhere. BUT! We got to the museum area and BAM. All the deer were gathered there. I had never seen them all together before! It was crazy! There were at least 50 of them, just chilling on the grass, or bowing for food. We walked a bit more to the temple and took some more pictures. They got tired so we took the bus back to the station.

From there, we just went back to Osaka to get some delicious takoyaki and to get ready to go out again. The takoyaki this time was reallyyyyy good. Maybe the best one so far!! A whole mini tako (octopus) was in the ball with the tentacles sticking out. I am literally drooling thinking about it again haha. So we ate and my friend and I walked around for a bit longer. Our other friend went back to the Airbnb first to get ready since they took forever to get ready xD. But yea, it was a fun night.

EXCEPT Continue reading

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AJET Sayonara Party + Ultimate Picnic Weekend

Saturday

In the morning, I had an English Seminar with my friend’s students. These are always enjoyable and fun, especially since these kids know how to speak English and actually want to learn. After that finished, I headed toward Tsu with my friend for the AJET Sayonara Party. This was the farewell party organized by the JET people for the JETs who are leaving this year. I didn’t know too many who were leaving but it was still nice to be able to see them one more time. We paid 4000 yen for food and all you can drink. It was nice to see friends again and catch up.

After we got kicked out of the venue, some of my friends decided to go to nijikai aka afterparty. We went to this bar named Bazooka and they talked so much hype about it but when we got there, it was pretty dead. The drinks were really cheap though, like 250yen per drink. We stayed there for a while then had to head home because of our last train. My friend and I stayed over at a friend’s place since I was going to Nabari the next day for another event. We had some interesting chats, yet again, and then went to bed.

Sunday

The Nara Ultimate/Rugby Team organized a final picnic gathering for the end of the season and they chose Nabari to be our meeting point between Nara and Mie, which was nice of them. Although some members were in both Ultimate and Rugby, none of the Rugby-only players showed up. So clearly Ultimate is the better sport haha. It was potluck style and it was nice to share the food and chill. We got to play some games too, until it started storming and raining. We retreated back to the cars and decided to take it to bowling!

It was the 10 of us bowling and they kept saying it wasn’t a real sport xD. I didn’t do too badly, but I could have done better. Oh well! One of the members was a dad and brought his 8 year old kid and he was playing with us. He got pretty sad about not being really good at it and we kept trying to cheer him up. We got the guy to put up the gutter walls so they wouldn’t go in the gutter but he just ended up tossing the ball randomly anway xD Well kid, ya gotta learn you can’t be good at everything haha.

It was like 4ish 5 when we finished and the others were about to head home. It was still early to me and I wanted to meet up with my friend who lives in Nabari. So I went to her place and we chilled a bit. Had some good chats and we went out to dinner with another friend. It’s always nice to hang out with her =D I went home right after dinner.. pretty good weekend.

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Yukata Party!

My first Yukata party! Yukatas are basically like kimonos but they are made out of a lighter material because summer is so friggin hot and humid heh. It was almost Tanabata, which is the Star Festival on July 7th. This was a Chinese tradition that the Japanese adopted. Basically it’s something about two lovers that are separated by the Milky Way and a bridge is formed by birds (?) once a year on July 7th for them to meet. If it’s a cloudy night, they would not be able to meet. Sounds like the Mid-Autumn Festival story from the Chinese too. Yea, so the tradition is to set up this tree and write your wishes on pieces of paper and hang them on the tree.

So this yukata party was being held in Ise and it was potluck style. This place is where I have my Japanese lessons too. A lot of JETs and ALTs around the area showed up too so it was nice hanging out with them. We got to rent the yukatas and wear them for the night. I decided to not bring mine since they were providing some. They dressed us and it was nice that the guys wore them too! We took so many selfies and photos. We kept ordering our poor friend to take photos of us xD We ate all the food cause that’s what we do best. During this eating time, we were supposed to fill in our human bingo card with names of others. I filled mine up with mostly friends xD They started calling names and it was so funny because at some point, I was singing “say my name say my name”, and they did! And many of my friends won because of that haha. I ended up winning too and I chose the leftovers. It was like a bunch of household supplies so those are always useful. Fun times!

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Tajima Ultimate Tournament + JLPT

(Pics separated)

Fri. June 30

This was a pretty fun weekend!! Had to rush to Nara on Friday after work because the tournament started on Saturday morning. This Ultimate frisbee tournament was apparently the biggest one of the year around this area. Tajima is in Hyogo prefecture, which is like, very far away from home for me. It took me about 3 hours to get to Nara, and we drove for like another 4 hours to Tajima. My car was full of dudes and it was just too much testosterone yo. They were teasing me how some girls don’t poop and it was just the running joke of the weekend. So anyway, we got lost here and there but they were fun times. OMG OH YEA. When we were almost at the hostel, WE ALMOST DROVE INTO SOME DEERS. Holy crap, I’m so glad our driver reacted fast enough. How ironic that he coulda driven over a deer in Hyogo, when he actually lives in Nara, land of the deer. I wasn’t even sure what was happening but he breaked really hard and I just screamed haha. Typical Anita xD So we finally got there in one piece and rested for the next day.

Sat. July 1

It was Canada Day!!! Yay!! Well, technically not yet, but yea. Today was day 1 of the tournament and it would decide our placement for the tournament the next day. I think we had like 5 games in total that day. Each game was only like 20 minutes, which SUCKED since it was so short. My knee and hip were doing better, but still not the best. I managed to touch the disc a few times so I’m happy xD We had many breaks in between our games so I used those times to do some last minute cramming for my JLPT that I had the next day. The JLPT stands for Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I was taking N4, which is the second lowest level (N5 is the lowest). I had already taken an N5 equivalent like almost exactly 10 years ago xD. It was nice that some of the team members helped me study haha. It really did help!

In general, we did pretty well in our games. There were like 10 guys and 8 girls so we did many rotations. We won one game, against a team with kids xD We showed no mercy haha I don’t remember if we won other games… But I remember playing pretty well during the last game =D It wasn’t super hot and we were so so so lucky that the rain held off despite the forecast saying thunderstorms and showers. I feel like that’s all the forecast has been saying but there were barely any showers haha. All good.

So after Day 1 tournament was over, we went back to the hostel to clean up and get ready for the BBQ. It felt so nice to shower and chill in the AC. All the girls were doing their make up and I was just sitting there admiring their commitment to it. If only my face wasn’t so sensitive, maybe I’d put some on too. Sigh. Anyhoo. AU NATUREL YO. It was 6:30pm and so we went downstairs to join the others and all the other teams were also BBQing in the same spot. I chose not to drink that night since I had my test the day after (although I was peer pressured to take half a shot) haha. The food was pretty good! At first it was really slow, especially since we were all hungry, but it got faster. I can’t be patient with these BBQs man. The coal/wood burning way takes way too much time T_T. Had some good chats here and there and I ended up helping with the cooking near the end too. Everyone was just mingling with everyone else, as in other teams too. There was actually a dance party going on inside the building but not many people went in.

I had brought some sparklers to celebrate Canada’s 150th and managed to gather like 2.5 people to go do them with me. I say 2.5 because one of them was so drunk that he only stayed for like one sparkler. We had to walk down the road a bit, away from the hostel because we weren’t supposed to do any fireworks. I’m a rebel yeye. Continue reading

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