Japan Day One

I made it! My first day in Japan was a loooong one. I arrived late at night on Monday (around 5am back home). Sachie’s mom and younger sister, Naomi and Akari, picked me up at the bus station.

On Tuesday, I went with Naomi to her work. it’s a place called しあわせの村 (Shiawase no Mura – happiness village). It’s a beautiful place with lots of outdoor activity space, a gym, pool, spa, gardens, playground and lots more.

Shiawase-no-mura is a comprehensive welfare complex equipped with a variety of integrated facilities designed to support independent living for the disabled and the elderly, and their participation in society, while also serving as a meeting place for all Kobe citizens to deepen mutual understanding and work together to create a society in which everyone can lead a full life.


Shiawase no Mura Japanese Garden

huge koi fish


exploring Shiawase no Mura

a Japanese pigeon!

I walked allll over looking at things and taking pictures. The Japanese garden was probably my favorite part.

Then it was time to meet Naomi and leave. she showed me where she works – シルバーカレジ (silver college) a place with classes for elderly. we got some iced coffees and sat and chatted for a bit before leaving.

Naomi and I

after stopping to get some groceries we went back to the house for lunch. I had inari (tofu pockets filled with rice) and a couple different rice dishes.

Naomi and I took their dog ナッツ (Nattsu – Peanut) for a short walk around the neighborhood. I really love the style of Japanese homes. They’re so pretty!

Nattsu and I

the neighborhood

Then after Sachie’s older sister Ayumi returned home, we went downtown to the Motomachi area to look around and get dinner. We ate at one of the vegan restaurants go discovered through instagram – Modern Ark Pharm Cafe. it was so cool to actually go to a foreign place I discovered on the internet! I had an avocado salad with tortillas. it was delicious. I think I’ll go back another time for dessert :)

a cute shop

Village Vangauard

Modern Ark Pharm Cafe

inside the Modern Ark Pharm Cafe

We went into a department store to look for a couple things. I was mesmerized by everything – especially all the stationery and make up. I don’t even wear make up but I wanted to buy some!

Naomi picked us up and we went for a quick stop at Harborland – one of the main attractions of Kobe. we took some photos and I attempted to get a shot of the beautiful full moon, but apparently it’s too much for my iPhone to handle.

My first day in Japan was so much fun and I look forward to the rest of the trip!

treats at 7 eleven

twelve days.

The closer it comes, the more surreal it feels. in twelve days I will board a plane, fly over the Pacific Ocean, and land in Japan. I will travel outside of the United States for the first time in my life (besides that one trip to Vancouver). for nine weeks I will reside in a whole new land!

But when I mention my trip, people always ask: “what will you DO in Japan for two whole months?!”

The plain answer is: I will be living my dream. I will be exploring new places, meeting new people, and learning about new ideas.

For the first week, I will be visiting my best friend and her family down in the islands. it will be typhoon season, but I hope that the sky gods will bless me with good fortune and I will not be drenched in rain the entire time.

Then for a couple 10-day periods I will be volunteering at organic farms through WWOOF Japan. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I hope to do it elsewhere around the world in the future!

Between my farming trips and island excursion, I will be staying with my friend Sachie whom I met earlier this year. She was an exchange student at my college and is a really great friend! Her mother offered for me to stay with them during my trip and I am SO INCREDIBLY grateful. without their help, I might not have been able to make this trip happen.

While I’m in Japan, I don’t really want to do the typical touristy things. I want to explore the real-life down-to-earth Japanese culture. I plan to:
1. meet people
2. talk to people
3. photograph these people and their work / places / activities
4. share my findings on this blog (and make a book????)

I consider this the study abroad trip that I never got to do in college. now I get to do it on my own terms (…and my own wallet).

Also, I will be celebrating my 25th (my Golden Birthday) in Japan!! I am super excited and look forward to sharing my adventure with everyone :) if you’d like a postcard or a souvenir, you can throw a few bucks at me via paypal:

all donations are immensely appreciated!

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

To be able to gain a fresh perspective on a situation, you have to remove yourself from the situation. life gets stale. you repeat the same routine each day. things get dull. you wonder where your fire went, your interests, your passion. you struggle to find reason and meaning in life.

then, you are whisked away from the humdrum routine. and when you’re dropped back home, you can see things clearly once again.

5日前 five days ago.
I showed up at my school to be on standby for a job I was originally rejected for. if someone didn’t show up to work, I got their place. I was about to leave when everyone was gathered outside in their teams, but I asked one person for help, and was placed on a custodial team. the job was 6 straight days of cleaning the dorms and on-campus apartments, 10 hour shifts every day.

1日前 one day ago.
the job sucked. I was not cleaning up to their standards in the beginning, and even when I got better, I was still too slow. so they let me go. it was definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had. I am sick now from all the dust and chemicals, but I made some money to put towards my trip, so whatever, I’m not too bothered. I did my best and kept going back even though I felt like quitting every day.

My friend gave me a ride that morning and I had been cut in the middle of the day, so I decided just to walk home. I was walking by these woods that I always admire when I’m flying past on my bike. since I was on foot this time, I decided to wander into the woods and just rest. my body and feet were sore, and I desperately needed some fresh air.

Woods Panorama
(click for full-size panorama)

after my rest in the woods, I came across a field of daisies. they are so pretty! it was definitely a beautiful day to be fired.

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies

Field of Daisies