Monday, January 30, 2012

from a six-year-old with love

Last week at my smallest elementary school (a total of 26 students between grades 1 - 6), my youngest student, who happens to be the sole first grader in the school, made me a little - actually, a rather large "medal." She is the cutest child EVER! When she first sees me in the morning, her eyes immediately glistens and smile widens as she runs up to me to give me a hug. So adorable!! 

"Thank you for always teaching me English."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

checking out my backyard: aoshima, miyazaki

For nearly two and a half years, I've been living in Miyazaki prefecture in southwestern Japan. In a few months though, I'll be moving outside of the prefecture. I don't know where as of yet, but I will use the few remaining months to visit (or in most cases, re-visit) areas in Miyazaki. This past Saturday, I drove out to Aoshima, which literally translates to "blue (or green) island." It's an hour and a half drive east from where I live. I've been to Aoshima before, but that was two years ago! Can't believe it's been that long already, so I thought re-visiting the area was in order.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tokyo Part 2: Strolling through Odaiba (early evening)

Continuing from where I left off at my walk through Odaiba during the daytime, here's a post about the evening. I had intended on staying in the area just so that I could see the Rainbow Bridge light up in rainbow colors, which it does at 8PM, but I gave in. It was just way too cold to stay outside any longer.  It was around 6:30PM when I threw in the towel. I don't really regret it though since I did catch the lovely sunset.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

where will my next destination take me to?

The gorgeous beach of the Amami Islands. 
credit: ippei + janine from flickr 

In 2011, I did a lot of traveling within Japan; Nara, Kobe, Nagasaki, Sapporo, Hakodate, Aomori and Yokohama were new cities I visited. In addition to those, I made trips to Tokyo, Kyoto, Saitama, Osaka, Fukuoka (numerous times), Kumamoto and Kagoshima. Japan is such a wonderful country to explore and I'm far from done with my exploration. Since I live on the southernmost island of mainland Japan, my attention will now be devoted towards visiting the smaller islands that are nearby.

So, within the year, my destinations will include Okinawa, the Amami Islands and Tanegashima/Yakushima (the latter just happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) Many of my co-workers have urged me to visit Yakushima, so I'm happy that I'm finally taking their advice.

Hmm... Okinawa, the Amami Islands and Tanegashima all have great beaches, so buying new swimsuits will be a must!! Woo hoo!!

Soooo looking forward to island-hopping!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tokyo Part 1: Strolling through Odaiba (daytime)

TOKYO!! It's been five months since I was last able to walk through the crazy streets of this city.   I was in the city for less than two days, but a huge majority of my time was spent in Odaiba, which a manmade island connected to central Tokyo via the Rainbow Bridge. 

As soon as you arrive in Odaiba, it's kinda hard not to notice the huge ferris wheel. I rode on it when I first visited the area three years go and the ride cost me 16 bucks!! It was worth it though because the view was amazing, but since I was in need of saving money, I declined riding it this time. The ferris wheel is so large and colorful that it was too difficult to resist taking pictures of it. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

new year's day cards

When I arrived from my trip a few days ago, I was greeted with a bunch of nengajo (Japanese New Year's cards) in my mail box. Many of which are from my students.

Many of the cards are pre-designed. So, the sender simply just writes a message on the card and mails it out (just like a Christmas card).

However, one of my students got really creative and personally designed the above card for me. Many of them know me for liking Jun Matsumoto from the Japanese boy band, ARASHI. (uhhhh... I don't like him that much, but I do love watching him in Japanese dramas.) I'm going to thank Haruna so much for this!

Monday, January 9, 2012

the girl is back in town!

I'm back! I'm finally back in Japan. I arrived back home this afternoon from an amazing trip to Europe (with a couple days in Tokyo). It was great being in a completely different environment. And I made a couple new friends, which was even better! For now though, I'll just post pictures of the placed I've visited. Enjoy! There's more to come later!

Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Brussels, Belgium

Gent, Belgium