I have always thought that autumn was the most beautiful season, but since I moved to Aomori, that sentiment has only become more and more heightened. The Tohoku region is specifically famous for its gorgeous fall foliage, and hiking in the mountains when the leaves are changing colors is one of the things I’d been looking forward to this year.
When I got an invitation to head south with some friends to a cabin on the shores of Lake Towada, I jumped at the chance. Camping – or at least getting away from the city – is something that I like to do as often as I can, especially when it’s on the cusp of fall. As much as I like curling up on my couch in my cozy apartment when it’s chilly outside, I’d much rather do it surrounded by some beautiful scenery. Plus, I never turn down the opportunity to spending an evening with some quality company and awesome food. Continue reading A Quick Autumn Getaway→
I’m a sucker for anything that involves even the most minor of heights (see: bungee jumping, my penchant for hiking to mountaintops, my obsession with those glass floors in towers), so when one of my neighboring ALTs threw out an invitation to go trampolining (Is that a verb? If it wasn’t before, now it is.) at a nearby sports arena, my interest was automatically piqued. I’d known that that it was a weekly thing that a few of my cohorts went to on a semi-regular basis, but I’d never gotten motivated enough to go myself. This year, though, I’ve decided to get as many new experiences as I can (read: not be an anti-social hermit), so I headed out of the eastern side of the city for some good old fashioned bouncing around.
Because the high school I teach at is the best in Aomori prefecture, my kids are pushed extremely hard when it comes to academics. There’s an on-campus dorm if the students stay so late at school studying that there’s no point in going home, the seniors don’t participate in extracurriculars because it takes away valuable studying time, and there are six major exam periods throughout the school year. For much of the year, the kids are stressed out to the max…but every once in a while, they get afforded a bit of a break to cut loose and enjoy themselves without any academic doom looming over their heads. A few weeks ago, we got afforded one of those chances when all of Aomori Koukou headed out for a field trip. Continue reading The Great Aomori High School Barbecue of 2012→
Like any sane member of society, I’m not exactly a huge fan of bugs. The small kinds, like ants, small spiders, and the like aren’t so bad, but my revulsion grows exponentially the bigger the bugs get. That’s not just because they’re scary as hell (don’t give me that crap about them being more scared of me than I am of them); the bigger they get, the more difficult it is for me to kill them. The squishing/crunching/expulsion of bug guts gets my skin crawling. I shivered now just thinking about it. Continue reading Attack of the Mutant Crickets→
I don’t deal well with heat. That’s putting it mildly. I broil in the sun till I’m an attractive lobster-red, sweating is possibly my least favorite summer activity, and summer is just generally my least favorite season. This year is making it especially clear why. Continue reading Is It Winter Yet?!→
Thirteen months ago, I uprooted my life. Freshly minted college graduate, bright-eyed, eager to take on the world, insert your choice “ready to start my adult life” adjective here. I shipped off to Aomori, Japan to become an ALT – Assistant Language Teacher – at the prestigious Aomori Prefectural High School. The past year has been a whirlwind of many unbelievable heights, a few foxhole-esque trenches, and countless “oh sweet Powers That Be, I live in Japan!” surreal moments. Yet as I looked back over my first year in Japan, I realized that I didn’t have anything to show for it, at least in documented form. Nothing that I’d be able to read in five years to reminisce about, aside from loads o’ short, succinct tweets. Continue reading Better Late Than Never→