Japan Time

Friday, April 30, 2010

Fujigoko (Fuji Five Lakes) Adventure!

On Wednesday, my student Hiromi and I went in search of Mt. Fuji. We went to Fujigoko (Fuji Five Lakes). It's kind of funny that I'm from Michigan, which is famous for the Great Lakes, and now I live close to the Fuji Five Lakes, five lakes that are also famous across the world. Kind of ironic.
The morning started off really cloudy and foggy, but we didn't give up and waited to see Mt. Fuji. We went to four out of five lakes throughout the day. The weather cleared up a bit in the afternoon, with big white fluffy clouds throughout the sky (pretty much mostly in front of Mt. Fuji). But I got some nice shots and I wanted to visit Fujigoko before I go back to America, so I was really satisfied at the end of the day. I had a great time with Hiromi, too, and I was really thankful she drove all around on a crazy Mt. Fuji hunt!

Mt. Fuji is directly behind me but hidden behind the clouds.

Videos of our adventure:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Well, it's about that time...

Watashi wa Amerika ni raigetsu kaerimasu.

I'm going home to America next month.

My contract with my school will finish on May 22 and I will fly back to the States on May 31. I've spent a year and half in Japan and have enjoyed it so much, made wonderful friends and taught incredible students. But the time has come for me to move on.

Coming back to Japan was a dream I had had since I came here as a college student in 2005. By the time I had finished my semester in Chiba, I had fallen in love with Japan and knew that I wanted to come back and teach English someday. It became one of my life goals to accomplish and I worked hard to make it happen.

My experience here the second time around has definitely been much different than my first. I've worked much harder as a full-time English teacher and really challenged myself to perform well at work and contribute to the improvement of my students. I've created wonderful relationships with friends, co-workers and other foreigners. I've seen and done so many new things. I have made a life for myself here. And I am so proud of myself and thankful to my newfound "family" (friends and students) I have here in Japan.

But my next big goal is to go to graduate school and get my master's in photojournalism and I feel like it's time to get the gears in motion. I've come to Japan, it's been incredible, and I survived - now it's time to move on.

I'm going to enjoy my last month here in Japan with lots of parties, hanging out with friends, visiting my favorite restaurants and just soaking up Japan.


Going home is definitely bittersweet.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wisteria and Friends in the Park

Yesterday was a beautiful day, which has been a long time coming since it's been so rainy lately. Nikki and some other friends of Kakegawa came to Fujieda to go to Rengeji Park for wisteria viewing. Wisteria are the official flower of Fujieda and I love to see them bloom all over the place in town. Rengeji Park has a wisteria festival to celebrate and we enjoyed it yesterday with food, drinks and a picnic in the park. Afterwards, we headed to Mexican and to purikura (of course), then to the Ale House. It was a great day with great people.

Voting in Japan

For the last week or so, city voting has been happening in Japan. At all hours of the day, trucks with huge loudspeakers have been driving slowly through the streets, asking for support from citizens for various candidates. So annoying.
But the best part about it is the hilarious campaign photos. In the States, candidates for elections have serious photos with penetrating, noble looks on their faces. But not in Japan. Japanese candidates sometimes have serious photos, but many times, are in various "fight" poses or with colorful backgrounds.

This is my favorite one. "For everyone's smile: Takeshi Sugiyama"

"Brianna Cocktail"

One of my favorite places in Fujieda to frequent is the Ale House, a pub-type bar owned by one of our students (where I had my birthday party). There are about 200 different kinds of imported beer there, but I don't really care for beer, so I often ask Masa, the owner, to make a special cocktail for me. He has made all kinds of great drinks for me, but there's one that I especially love, so now I order it every time. And so, the "Brianna Cocktail" was born.

It's basically cranberry juice, with just a little bit of cassis liquor. Really sweet and good.

Some random fun pictures of me, Yu and Aya:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010


Cherry blossom season is my favorite season in Japan. There's only about a week and a half window when the trees are in full bloom and you can see pink everywhere you go. It's gorgeous.
Japanese people love to celebrate the cherry blossoms blooming by having hanami, cherry blossom viewing parties. Food, drinking and friends under the cherry blossoms. So fun.
Yesterday I went to hanami with some friends and friends of friends. We went to a beautiful spot in Fujieda, Konpira-san, a mountain covered in cherry blossom trees.

Our little group.

Our party was next to people with a portable karaoke machine. Amazing.

Konpira-san lit up at night.

Rainbow Bridge in Fujieda with cherry blossoms in the foreground.