明けましておめでとう

明けましておめでとう!Or as they say in Texas: Happy New Year, y’all.

 

Work was insane in December. We were super busy because the kids are out of public school, and a few teachers got sick on our busiest day. Needless to say, it was exhausting. However, it is now holiday season in Japan, and I’m off until the 4th. I made zero plans this year, so I’ve mostly been hanging around my house, watching horrible movies, and lightly cleaning my apartment. Riveting, I know.

Today I actually left my house and did what is know as 初詣(hatsumoude-the first shrine visit of the New Year), where everyone goes to a shrine to pray and receive their yearly fortunes. I took a little video so you can see somewhat how it happens.

 

As  you can see, I pulled pretty good luck from the おみくじ (fortune teller), so I’m thinking it’s going to be a pretty good year.

 

I hope everyone’s holidays have been great, and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2016!!IMG_9664

Where has the year gone?

Wow, I have become super bad at blogging. My job now is way more involved than my last one, so I have been a lot busier during the week and a lot more tired when I get home. On top of that, the last few weekends have been crazy as well! So here I am on a Sunday night minutes before going to bed filling you in on my little Fukuoka life.

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that delicious umegaemochi, famous in Dazaifu, Fukuoka

A few weeks ago, a friend from Kagoshima came to visit, and we had some great food and good beer. We also went to Dazaifu to try to see some fall leaves changing color, but it wasn’t quite the right time to get the full effect of 紅葉 (kouyou-autumn colors/leaves changing color). Regardless it was a nice weekend!

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too concerned with the margarita to worry about the flash

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Christmas…disco balls?

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all veggie and bean burrito mmm

The next weekend, some of my best friends in Japan came to Fukuoka! We all went out Saturday night to the exact same places I went to the previous weekend, but it was so much fun. On Sunday, some of us saw the amazing Big Bang and the Yahoo Dome. Big Bang is always great, but their new album is amazing, and this year they are all looking especially beautiful (ok, fangirl moment over). I really really missed my Kagoshima friends, I’m glad some of us were reunited in my new home!

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same Mexican restaurant, different people to enjoy it with

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we sneaked a few illegal shots at the concert

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a little bar called Cable Car in Daimyo

Last weekend, one of my favorite people on the planet came up for some personal business (but also sort of to see me). I also had my first 忘年会 (bounenkai-end of the year party…I’ve talked about this before) at my new job. It was at a swanky hotel in Hakata and although I couldn’t eat hardly anything there, I had a blast (mostly because I drank A LOT of wine and also because my coworkers are super cool). We had a little karaoke session afterward and my friend even got to meet my coworkers for a bit. My old and new lives combined. So good. On Sunday, we went to Ohori Park to see their winter illuminations (I don’t know…is that a real English word? They were Christmas lights…), and we had good long talks about everything. It was amazing to have most of my friends from the first leg of my Japan journey (who are still in Japan) come see me here. But I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t exhausting! Keeping your apartment in shape for sleepover guests is hard, and having to be in a good mood for three weeks straight when you are me is even harder. I am so thankful for my friends though, and I’m so so happy I got to see them.

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I love where I am now. I am so much happier with my life and where it is going. But I do miss things about Kagoshima–and America. I miss all my friends and that feeling of community I had before. I haven’t been in Fukuoka very long, so I haven’t made a lot of close connections yet. Now that I’m eating plant-based, I miss American grocery stores that much more (haha…totally not important). I miss my family too, now more than ever I think. It may have something to do with the fact that I am not going home this year to visit, and I don’t know the next time I will be able to go home, but I also think it’s because I have fewer distractions now. Like I said, I am so much happier here. But now that I am so much happier and so excited for future possibilities, I’ve been thinking more about the other things that are missing. It’s almost Christmas, and I wish I was spending it with my friends and family back home, but I want everyone to know that I am doing super great here. Healthier and happier and just great. I will see all of you back in America soon enough. I promise you that.

I Moved! (and other updates)

Life has been a little crazy the past few months. In July, I was busy packing and preparing for my move to Fukuoka City. I found a job here and came towards the end of the month to set everything up and find an apartment. Then in August, my ALT job officially ended, and I spent a few days hanging out with friends before I left for Tokyo for job training.

I had tons of going away parties and cried so much. Kagoshima is a huge part of me, because I grew up down there. Many amazing and important experiences will keep me from ever forgetting that place. But life must go on! I went to Tokyo for three weeks for training and lived that entire time in a tiny hotel with no friends. I did meet some great people at training, and I hope we’ll see each other again, but being in Tokyo was not all fun for me. Everything is so close together, and there are so many people that sometimes I felt like I literally couldn’t breathe. Thankfully, all of that is over now, and I’ve officially moved to Fukuoka. Yay!

Last International Party

Last International Party

My fav kids haha

My fav kids haha

I love it here so far. My apartment is coming together nicely, I’m meeting people and having fun, and a lot of things are changing for the better. Since I don’t have to eat school lunch or go to work parties all the time anymore, I’ve decided to commit to being a vegan. So far it’s been a bit rough, because I didn’t have a refrigerator for a week and people keep bringing delicious foods to work. So for now I’m vowing to not eat any animal products at home, but being full-time vegan may take some time. I’m definitely trying though. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and now seems to be the perfect time to do it.

I don’t have much else to say right now. It will take me some time to get fully established, but once I do, I’ll be posting a lot more pictures and adventure stories! Thanks for sticking around!

my new home

my new home

beautiful Fukuoka

beautiful Fukuoka

Girl’s day

June has been good to me. Though it’s now rainy season and sunlight has been rare, I am definitely enjoying my final months here with my lovely friends.

I was invited out to Miyakonojo for lunch and a rock bath/sauna trip with two of the coolest ladies I know. We went to a restaurant called SLF and had an amazing four course meal. The salad was covered in local veggies and a perfectly paired blueberry dressing. For the main, I went with margarita pizza and it also did not disappoint. I ate the soup too quickly to take a picture. I’m sorry, it was pumpkin and delicious. Finally, I had a cappuccino and coconut gelato. Ahh, it was the perfect lunch.

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After we headed to Miyakonojo Green Hotel for their stone sauna (岩盤浴). I had never been to a place like this before, and I am so glad the girls invited me. You change into a provided cover-up, drink some water, then lie down on the hot slab of rocks in a dark room that’s about 40 C (104 F). First you lie on your stomach for five minutes, then switch to your back for ten. They play light instrumental music, so it’s extremely relaxing, but staying in past 15 minutes isn’t recommended this time of year because you can easily overheat. In-between sessions, you can a break in an air-conditioned room and rehydrate. We did three times total and each time there was more and more sweat. But each time I felt lighter and lighter, like all the impurities and tension were leaving me. Afterwards you can shower, and they have necessary products like shampoo and body wash available. It’s said to have a lot of health benefits, and there were quite a few positive testimonials displayed in the lobby. It was an amazing experience, I highly recommend it if you feel like you need a detox or just want to relax.

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I’m trying so hard to save money for my future move, but I can’t pass up opportunities to see my friends and experience new things. I’m considering this day justifiable because of its therapeutic nature. I feel amazing! Make sure to check out these spots if you’re ever in the area!

Summer staple sandals/tacky tourist chic

I am not a big summer shoe person. I despise flip-flops and love boots. However, when I saw these flatform slip-ons, I was instantly converted. I’m also super into sandals with socks, so I’ve been experimenting with these new babies. I can tell I’m gonna be wearing these all summer.

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sandals: Jeffrey Campbell
shorts: wego
sweater top: Brandy Melville
lace gown: Heather

Now that they’re broken in, they are super comfortable. The process of getting them there was bloody, but we’re the best of friends now!

Here I paired them with some dinosaur socks for the ultimate tacky tourist look haha! What are you into this summer? Crop tops? Lace? Huge sandals? Let me know!

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June 6th/6月6日

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Ootd

最近、悩みいっぱい。仕事の契約が終わるまで、ちょうど2ヶ月残ってるんだ。私、少しずつ成長している。今からも、成長し続ける。そのために、新しい生活始めないといけないという考え方がある。成長するために、住んでいる場所も仕事も変わりたいということ。だから、8月に引っ越す。。。どっかに。

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でも、ここにいる人、今までできた友達がいなくなって寂しい。なぜかよくわからないけど、最近よく泣いちゃう。releaseだけど。悪い気持ちはそとへと思ってる。泣いたら、不安か悩みが少しずつなくなる。と思う。とりあえず、大好きな友達と相談したり、遊んだりしている。いつも泣きそう気がするけど、幸せ。こんな素敵な経験できて嬉しい。ありがとう、皆。💕

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Recently my head has been swimming with doubt and anxiety. My time here in Shibushi is coming to and end. But I’m growing. Everyday I’m growing and learning who I am and what I want. I want happiness. I want to never stop learning and having fun. In order to continue my pursuit of happiness, I have to start over a bit, so to speak.

In August I plan to move within Japan. But every time I think about it, I cry. I am going to miss all the friends I’ve made here so much. So until we say goodbye, I’m enjoying every moment. No matter how small.

Tears don’t mean we are unhappy or weak; they are a part of growing and living. I’m so thankful for the wide-range of feelings I’ve felt here. I’ll be so sad to leave, but incredibly thankful for everything that’s happened to me.

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This is happiness.