Studying at cafés is definitely the life
I mentioned in my last post
that I’d be going to the NHK orchestra on Friday (17th November). That didn’t really work out, because out of nowhere I became swamped with work and I had to give it a miss… and so, the week that just passed became another pretty uneventful one in terms of what I was doing and where I was going. The workload just keeps on increasing and I end each day exhausted – so I can’t wait for those precious 2 weeks I get off at Christmas time, just so I can recharge my batteries. I’m halfway through term, and approaching February break faster than I could’ve ever imagined. All of this will be worth it!
In two weeks, I’ll have been in Japan for 3 months – that’s still completely unbelievable.
So, in lieu of any cool exploring or self-exploration or anything else, this post will be dedicated to the exciting things I’ve got coming… a little motivation for me to push through all the exams and piling work. I’ll make it through to the other end and FINALLY be able to explore outside of the Tokyo area! Here’s the travel plans: part 2. (Part 1: The Learning Process ft. Travel Plans)
6-8th February: Sapporo
(Obviously, not my image)
Term ends on the 6th of February, so immediately I’m jetting off to Sapporo, Hokkaido to see the snow festival. Sapporo’s snow festival takes place from the 1st of February up until the 12th, where various massive snow sculptures are available be viewed in the centre of town. It’s obviously incredibly popular, thus, accommodation in the area is naturally booked up super quickly. Luckily, I got tipped off on a little hostel next to Hokkaido university (thank you Ross!), which is all booked and ready to receive me. Since it’s only a two day trip, I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to check out the surrounding area of Sapporo, but the main purpose of this visit is the snow festival – so I’ll be content no matter what.
The 9th and the 10th will probably be days of rest – perhaps a day trip to Mount Nokogiri in Chiba. But that’s probably unlikely, since I’ll be preparing for…
11th-18th February: Seoul, South Korea
(Again, obviously not my image)
I mean, come on. I’m right next to all these different Asian countries. At the very least, I have to visit at least one…
So, despite the fact that I know absolutely nothing about the culture (other than apparent fantastic skin care & spicy foods), I’ll be visiting South Korea for a week! With Japan, at least I actually speak the language, but Korea I’m going in completely blind. Time to teach myself the alphabet and a few simple phrases (which, even though people have been trying to teach me, it just doesn’t go through)…
Who knows? Maybe, when my Japanese studies are finished, my heart will wander to Korea. Or maybe it won’t. We’ll see.
(Literally, all I know about Seoul is that there’s a trendy district called Gangnam. You can probably guess why I know that.)
After I come back from Korea, I’ve got another 2 days of rest before…
21st February – 2nd March: THE SOLO TRIP
Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Himeji, Hiroshima
(Not my pic!!)
(I say solo as in I planned it out and got everything together by myself ie. travel and hostels, but if you’re reading this and you have similar plans, hit me up and we can meet…)
This was the big one that I was building myself up towards. A character building, solo trip through the other major cities in Japan: indeed, once I fly back to Tokyo from Hiroshima, I’ll have been to them all.
I’ll fly into Kansai International and travel into Kyoto, where I’ll stay for 4 days and explore North, East, South and West. The place I want to go to the most in Kyoto is the bamboo forest, so I’m super excited to see that…
(Do I have to say it again?)
On the 25th, I’ll leave for Nara and spend a day there, probably just sitting in the gardens and feeding deer (which bow to you if you bow to them, by the way).
26th, I’ll spend the day in Osaka and hopefully there’ll be some vegan (or at the very least vegetarian) street food that I’ll be able to sample.
27th, I’ll depart to Himeji, and spend the day checking out the castle and the gardens, before I take the bullet train (shinkansen) into Hiroshima, spending one day checking out the floating shrine and one day in the city at the peace memorials. Hiroshima also has its own special kind of Okonomiyaki…
I’ll fly back to Tokyo on the morning of the 2nd March!
Unfortunately, I can’t use my entire spring holiday travelling. I have work to do for UEA, ie. a 3,500 thesis style piece written in Japanese. I’ve got an idea in my head of what I want to write, but I’ll probably have to take a few days to research and write it properly – even though this year is pass/fail, I physically feel incapable of handing in a piece of work that I’m not proud of.
If you know me, you know I love bubble tea – so I’m hoping to visit Taiwan for 3-4 days around my birthday, but nothing is set in stone yet.
Finally, on the 20th, my family will come to visit for 10 days – during which I’m hoping I’ll get to visit Mt. Fuji before I attempt to climb it in July, and hopefully a trip to the paradise islands of Okinawa will happen too…
And then class resumes! Another 4 months of work before I say goodbye to this side of the globe – but I’m getting ahead of myself…
A final note…
If you read part 1 of this post, you may have noticed that Tashirojima (aka. cat island) is missing from these plans. That’s because it’s incredibly awkward to get to. A round trip from Tokyo, including the cost of the ferry to get to the island, will cost around ￥27,000 (At the time of writing, £182). I don’t have that money anymore, and as much as I love cats, I dunno if I’m willing to shell out that much to see a little part of Japan that doesn’t have much going on other than a cat island. I really, really want to go though… just to say I’ve had the experience of feeding hundreds of cats who have their own island.
Next post should be interesting too… I’ve won tickets to see “Songs of Tokyo”, ie. a concert where many of the major pop artists of Japan will be performing (Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, SEKAI NO OWARI, AKB48, etc). Plus, I’m having my first Thanksgiving dinner… in Japan… so we’ll see how that turns out!
Until next post…