Sunday, 27 November 2011
Right before we went home, I had Jessica stop and take my photo in front of these cool hanging lights. Tenjin has great illuminatons, but we missed them in our rush to the restaurant, so I was very happy to get at least one photo! And, the green one is a cool pink and blue tree...which looks like it is exploding because I was walking while I took it! Pretty nice still though I think!
Jessica was kind enough to let me and Emily at her house, so we had to get our way back to Yamaguchi at some point. Kurt thought he knew the way back to the station, I thought I knew the way back to the station (we got a taxi in the end!) but in our meandering around the underground shopping malls of Tenjin, we had some fun sliding down these empty escalators! I sure do love how fun and silly you can be in Japan..and noone minds because we are Gaijin!
One of the coolest coincidences of my evening, was running into Joel. Joel and I are friends from London, and I saw him in Fukuoka only 2 weeks ago. So Joel's predecessor, and Erez are good friends, and they had arranged to meet up for dinner! Little did Erez know that she was bringing Joel along, so it was a great surprise to see him! Of all the people in the entire city! I love little coincidences like that! We had some cool dinner, you could order it on little tablets, and it was a great time!
After the Sumo, it took a lot of organization to get us to meet up, get across town and to this little resturant in some little back street in Tenjin to have dinner for Steph's birthday. Needless to say, Erez took it upon him self (since we were meeting his friends) to direct us all there! It was quite fun wandering through Tenjin, which is where are the nice big shops are, like Tiffany's and Louis Vuitton!! He played a very good tour guide, making sure we crossed the street and stuff, and he even used my umbrella like a good Japanese guide! And he only lost one person.....!
I love the Yamaguchi Jets, they are so much fun, and because Sumo matches are so short, we got to sit and chat a lot. Some of them were relatively new friends, like Kris or Kurt, but it was nice to see people like Laura, who lives close but we never see, as well as finally getting to see Charlene since she has been sick for so long! I am so grateful for the lovely people here that make my life so much better by being in it!
The National Sumo Competition is a seriously big deal here. Like seriously big deal. And it was so much fun! Big fat men wrestling for about 3 seconds...but still! It was a lot of fun when they got in a circle and clapped! Even better what that I ran into about 5 people I knew from London Orientation. That really made my night. People I haven't seen in months. I felt popular, and happy because I got to see them! Who knew Sumo could bring people together?
I got up super super early to catch the very first bus down to Fukuoka to go shopping with Emily and Kris. We were actually going down to see Sumo, but since we couldn't get anywhere to spend the night, we had to get some shopping time somewhere! We had a great time, I got some cute boots, and then we went on a bus to the Sumo which was held in this...kind of exhibition complex, I took these photos of the cool buildings outside! The A frame is pretty cool!
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
I made (somehow) a massive error on my way home...and ended up missing the last bus home. By quite a way. Living in the middle of nowhere, it means the last bus is like 7.15pm and so there is just simply no other way to get home with a bus. Thank goodness there was another way home, and with some help from Jamie and Darlo, I ended up at Nagatoshi station for a while waiting for the last bus home. It was just me riding home, and the train was already at the station, so at least I got to be warm for the hour while I waited for it to leave!
On the way home, we had to take the train back to Okayama Station. It's kind of like Hiroshima, and it has trams all over the city. This one is quite a popular tram, with this little Station Master cat all over the side! I love the kawaiiness of everything in Japan! It made my night!
While we were out on the boats, we watched some strange play acting thing which was going on on the banks of the river, and that was a bit strange, but even odder was the two boats of Japanese people who wanted to chase down our boat to take our photos! Crazy times in Japan! Best of all was the beautiful sunset, it was really lovely and orange. I wish sunset was like that here! It's amazing! I need to spend more time watching sunsets! It was a shame that this photo was over the bridge and not from behind the castle, but the castle blocked the view! It was a great ending to a slightly rushed day!
Kelly told us that the best thing to visit was Okayama Park. Its set across the river from the castle, on this big island. It's really pretty. Its very flat, but it was so lovely in the afternoon sun. It was such a nice, orangey yellow glow over everything. I bet it would be lovely in the summer too! It was quite chilly, so I hope I can come visit again and see Kelly and Ben next time!
After dinner, and more Karaoke, (with Emma Rick Rolling it!) on the Sunday, we had a lie in and then took a train down to Okayama. Okayama is where my friends Ben and Kelly live, and Kelly met us at the station, so that we could see some of the area. She showed us the Castle, which is said is one of the more famous black castles (it does look different than Hiroshima and Iwakuni castle) but she said it is very new, as it has been rebuilt! I think next time I would like to go in, because the park around it looks quite nice. And across the bridge from the castle was the park!!
After wandering the streets of Tottori trying to find a random Italian restaurant, we came upon a German one. A cute little German bar in the middle of a random part of Japan, with Wurst and Gnocchi. It was fabulous! It was nice to meet some of the other Tottori JETs, I love meeting people's friends. And best of all we got a nice photo of us together! The London Orientation Crew back together again!
I keep forgetting that they have the Alfac insurance duck here, and I love how cute the duck is, so when I saw this big duck in a random office building, I knew I needed to have my photo taken. Just another one of the super cute kawaii things here! And one of the more random locations for a random stuffed duck sitting on a table....only in Japan!
The Sand Dunes in Tottori were lovely, and we had lots of fun walking through them. It was actually quite warm! Mark also has a big camera, and so he took lots of photos of me being silly and jumping in the air! I liked this one best, I'm blurry, but it still looks pretty impressive.
I've been telling Adam that I wanted to go on a camel since I learnt they had them in Tottori. We met up with Mark, and Adam and I went on the Pink Camel, Cherry-chan! She was by far the prettiest camel, and I have a million photos that Mark took which show me just completely estatic!
After Friday's Kencho, I took the very very long train to Tottori. I have been looking forward to going to visit James, Emma and Adam for....forever! So after they picked me up at the station and dinner, the next morning we went to the famous Tottori Sand Dunes! To get to them, you have to take these snazzy swings! A little scary, but fun!
Another great thing about Yuda Onsen is that they have a massive Karaoke place. It was really nice, we got quite a nice group together, and sang all my favourite songs! We also got some amazing light up tambourines, which were so cool, we had to go and get more!
Thursday and Friday we had to go to Kencho, for a mid session development seminar for all the JETs. I love getting to see all my friends, but even better, this one was in Yuda Onsen, so a lot of people stayed the night, and went to dinner. We tried a Hawaiian place! It wasn't too bad, the drinks were good and I got a photo of my favourite Hawaiians, Brad and Keri (and Jamie!)
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
We had to get back to the ferry to catch a train, a shinkansen and a bus home (everything but a plane) so we ended up leaving about the same time as sunset. I have seen some beautiful photos of the gate at sunset, but since I was on a boat, or a ferry technically, I got to take some pretty ones out over the ocean. Pretty beautiful I think.
Right before we caught the ferry back to the train station, we went to this craft stall where you could decorate these little rice paddles. Apart from being home to the big red gate, maple leaves and deer, Miyajima is also home to the world's largest rice scoop/paddle, so of course, we needed to decorate them! For 100 yen, it was a pretty nice souvenier to have of the trip!
The food that Miyajima is famous for is the Momiji-manju....I think thats what they are called. They are baked maple leaf treats filled with...usually sweet bean paste, and other things. We found fried ones, and I had it filled with cheese and it was amazing! I also got a baked one with chocolate coating on it, so I was in food heaven!
Here are some more pretty leaves that we found when hiking (Well..climbing some stairs) up to a nice hill. From here, you could overlook the whole island, and see the pretty red gate in the water. About the time we got here, the tide was going out, and after low tide, you can walk right up to it. Sadly we missed it, but it was lovely up here, and we had lots of fun taking more photos, and getting me a new profile pic! I had such a nice time with the girls, just being goofy and taking Ya....Ta shots, jumping in the air - needless to say, I'm pretty awful at capturing people off the ground, but it was so much fun and a great day out!
The shrine was very bright red, but so were some of the leaves. There weren't as many as I would have expected, but actually, there weren't very many leaves on the trees at all for this time of year! It has been unseasonably warm I guess. I love how the leaves are in focus for this photo, especially as I did it entirely by accident!
This is the shrine that the big red gate belongs to, and it was believed that the Gods came down to earth through the gate to this shrine, and that's why people were never allowed to live on the island. It was a very busy day, with lots of tour groups, so we didn't go through it, but I did go along the river so I could get some photos of the lanterns which hung along the outer edge.
This is actually the smaller of the two pagotas in Miyajima. One is beautiful and 5 stories high, bright red and up near a big shrine. This is the other one, which is only two stories high and situated up on a top of an even higher hill. From the ground, it looks like another 5 storied one, but it's not in fact. I quite like the colours on this, they are more autumney and I loved how it looked in the afternoon sun! I tried to get some autumn leaves in with the picture, but either we were in the wrong area, or a little early for all the bright red up there!
So this is what it is all about. The big red gate which is the symbol of Miyajima and Japan. I'm quite glad we live sorta close to it, and it was great to get such cute photos of us there! We found a nice girl to take a photo of the 4 of us, and I was so pleased. I wish I asked more people to take photos more often! Cute, arent we?
Jessica has a student whose favourite phrase is YaaaaaaaTaaaa!, accompanied with a large jump in the air. So all weekend, this is what we did. And of course, this meant that there needed to be a photo jumping in front of the big famous red gate! Everyone watching found it hilarious that the foreigners were being super weird...
We had a nice time wandering around Miyajima. They have nice shops which you can get souveniers in, and lots of food shops for some reason, but we had a nice time just wandering. I discovered that I really like taking photos of these large stone lanterns, and these ones were along the river that runs across the island and were so lovely in the sun!