Saturday, August 27, 2016

shrine of wolves.














Friday, August 19th, 2016

Me and K were going to go to DMM Planets out in Odaiba but because we woke up late and were feeling lazy we decided to pass. K wanted to still do something so he mentioned a shrine he heard about in the mountains of Chichibu, apparently it's really big, big enough to be Kanto's largest power spot. It also has guardians as wolves so I was sold.

The shrine was on the very top of the mountain in a forest and had a beautiful view. The greenery was amazing, I never get tired of forests. 

Apparently the shrine is for the gods who were said to have made the islands of Japan. This shrine is the only shrine with wolf guardians, they're usually foxes or lions. K also told me this is where Hayao Miyazaki got some inspiration for Princess Mononoke. 

Both me and K were obsessed with the wolf statues. I got him an ema board with traditional painting of Japanese wolves, a white one and black one. And he got me a little statue of a white wolf, it actually is a bottle of nihonshu but I'm not a fan of alcohol so I shall keep it as a statue and K can drink the alcohol lol.

This has officially become my favorite shrine.

Monday, August 22, 2016

small getaways & forest cafes.





Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Me and K got up a tad late after marathoning Game of Thrones and went to eat lunch at our favorite waraji katsu place. As usual, it was delicious and the people recognized us from last time and were very friendly.

Last time, K wanted to take me to a dam he came across when he went out for a ride during Golden Week while I was at work, but we didn't have time. So he took me this time.

We ended up accidentally going to a different dam in Gunma where I got a bit sick from all the twists of the mountains, but we eventually found our way to the damn in Ogano and it was beautiful.

The reflection of the sky was visible in the emerald green water, and fireflies flew all around, there were so many! We stayed there for a bit as K smoked a cigarette and then we headed back home.


Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

K wanted to go to this cafe in the woods he came across. It was a really cute spot, but by the time we reached it, the food serving time was over and it was only desserts. So, we headed to eat at another place and went back to the cafe in the woods.

The cafe apparently had good gelato so I ordered a double scoop gelato with milk and matcha, the milk was meh but the matcha was delicious and mixed it was good. K ordered rum raisin which was good but the rum taste was a bit too strong for me, but then again, I hate the taste of alcohol.

The cafe was really cute and had a verdana where you can see eat above a river and enjoy the green forest but unfortunately when we went back to the cafe it was pouring so we were unable to eat on the verdana.

We headed home after being stuffed and watched some more Game of Thrones. I recently introduced it to him and have been slowly buying the seasons. K's on season 3 now, and so far he loves it.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

& so the matsuri's continue.



Monday, August 15th, 2016

I went to Nagatoro's Matsuri, it is known for it's floating lanterns in the river and amazing fireworks. The fireworks were definitely beautiful but as every big matsuri, it's hard to get a good spot unless you go super early and wait. Me and K weren't down to do that.

We didn't get to see the fireworks near the floats but we still got a good view of the fireworks in general and ate lots of matsuri food.

Of course, I ran into quite a bit of students who stared at K without fail because of his tattoos, we'll see what comments/questions I get when I return from summer vacation.

I hope to go again next year and maybe do the whole waiting thing. We'll see.

Friday, August 19, 2016

秩父音頭まつり♡





Sunday, August 14th, 2016

My neighbors invited me to go to our town's festival. Apparently, it's a big deal because it has Chichibu's famous ondo dance that has won many competitions and is basically Chichibu's pride and joy.

My neighbors were kind enough to dress me in a yukata (purple! my favorite color!)and we headed out to see the people dancing. Their son was going to be dancing in the competition. Apparently different clubs all perform around the city till they reach the city hall and perform on the stage.

I ran into several students but actually didn't mind. It was nice to see them since I haven't seen them for over a month. And I met several new people as well. I also ran into my bosses and was happy to see them.

It was definitely a good experience, and I was so happy to have went.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

「夏だね」





Friday, August 13th, 2016

After going to Konosu to do more things for my Japanese driving license, I ended up buying a bento to relax and eat while I watched The Vampire Diaries. 

Soon after, my neighbors kids came at my door asking if I wasn't busy to come over and celebrate their little brother's 3rd birthday. I can't ever refuse kids, so I went.

It was a while since I last hung out with them, and I've never been in their home. It was so cute! The little boy who's birthday we were celebrating was adorable. He had a few train presents, apparently he really likes trains.

They fed me dinner even though I was already pretty stuffed from my bento (and I didn't even finish it). We just chatted and caught up. 

Their family is definitely unique. Her husband tattoos himself, and he does it all by looking in a mirror. I would have never guessed, they look pretty good for being self taught!

They invited me to go to the famous Chichibu festival. Mostly because the wife, we'll call her May, wanted to see me in a yukata lol. I actually really wanted to go, but I didn't want to go alone and run into so many students so I was happy they asked.

After talking about our plans, we ended up eating cake which was yummy peach cake and we went to light some fireworks. 

It was a simple night, and it was quite lovely. It's time like these that I really appreciate living in the countryside of Japan. It's definitely a whole other experience, and I feel you learn way more about real Japan than if you live in the city. 


When K came over during Golden Week he said a lot of the stuff I'm doing is really Japanese and most of this stuff you wouldn't be able to experience in Tokyo. I agree, even if it's just for a bit, I think every one should at least experience living in the Japanese countryside once in their lives. I'm for sure a city girl, but I'm made some memories here I won't forget, and I'm sure I'll continue to make more.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

humidity. heat. mold. repeat.

Coming from California, a very dry warm place, I never had to deal with any mold problems. It's rarely humid, and if it is, it's cold. The only time you ever deal with mold in California is when you are extremely dirty, so much so that mold grows because you don't clean.

Same goes with cockroaches. Never had to deal with them in California unless you were unfortunate enough to live with someone disgusting enough to have cockroaches manifest.

In Japan however, I've been dealing with mold recently and at first it freaked me out, even if it was just a bit. After some research, I learned it was because I don't air out my house. I keep everything shut, but learned that in Japan, you need to air out your place.

I didn't have to deal with this when I studied abroad, I lived with a roommate and we lived in a smaller space so we never dealt with mold the whole year there. But living in a 2LDK this time around, I learned that it sucks ass to take care of a larger space in humid climate.

I've never liked larger spaces, always preferred smaller and this convinced me even more so. It's not hard, but just tedious.

Prevention. To prevent mold, you must open the windows of your place. I didn't want to due to all the bugs in the inaka but as long as you open it in the day and only open the windows with screens you'll be fine. Another way is to buy fans along with turning on the ventilation fans you already have but if you're cheap like me, you'll just open the windows. 
Of course, the air conditioner also has the dry setting. My boss and friend told me about that before so I just keep it on there because I don't like dealing with the humid feeling in my room and since my bedroom is on the first floor they suggest me not to open the windows due to safety. 
Prevention is actually fairly simple. And there are way more articles that tell you other things you can do but that's the gist of it. Here's the Nagoya International Website that helped me. 
Getting rid of mold.  So this is what freaked me out. I didn't want to go anywhere near it. I wore a mask, gloves, the whole enchilada. I would have worn goggles but didn't know where to get any. I probably didn't need all that, but I still got it just to be safe.  
I used this cleaning chemical called "カビキラー" (Kabi Killer) which was left over by the previous tenant of my boss, not sure. Anyways, I used that for my bathroom but I didn't want to use it in my kitchen. I read up on it has harmful chemicals and I've never been a fan of that. I'll still probably use it in my bathroom till is finished however. 
I read up online that vinegar is also great for killing mold. My mom always said vinegar was good for anything and I guess she was right. White distilled vinegar is apparently the best, but I just went for normal vinegar. 
You can use it on clothes, wood, tile, etc. and of course, it's non-harmful. Perfect! I bought a big bottle of it from Cainz Mart. And though the vinegar smell is not my favorite, it did what it said it would. Also, the vinegar gets rid of the mold smell as well. Vinegar over mold smell any day.

My friend told me he deals with mold in the winter when it's too dry here. I haven't dealt with that yet, but I wouldn't be surprised. He uses a humidifier to help during that time. I haven't decided what I will do yet, but I'll probably Google again when the time comes.

It's times like these when the gross, hot, humid Japanese summers come into play that make me miss my dry, lovely breeze of California. But definitely a learning experience. Hope I can also help someone else who's not use to humid climate.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

underwater garden.









Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

I went to the Art Aquarium in Nihonbashi, and this year is their 10th anniversary which made it pretty cool. Me and K went a bit later, but it was still super crowded! But not too crowded where you couldn't get good photos.

I've wanted to go this place for years, ever since I first came across it on Tumblr. I love Tumblr, you find the most amazing things there.

Anywho, there were several types of goldfish, some were weird, some were cute, and others were gorgeous. It was definitely an amazing experience. The lights often changed colors, though I preferred the magenta colors. Several girls and couples came in yukatas which went along quite well with the exhibition.

The last display was the screen you see, where the background changed from silhouettes of forests to birds, to plants, which were all beautiful but of course, the one with the sun was breathtaking.

Outside of the exhibiton, they sold many merchandise and even had their own little themes cafe. Since me and K came a bit later it was already closed, it closed at 5:00pm. But many people had fish bowl drinks which were adorable. And they were selling gelato!

Tickets can be bought directly at the place for only 1000 yen.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

hidden cafes in roppongi.

I went out to Tokyo from the 1st of August to the 5th. I had some things to do, mostly getting my tattoo, translating my drivers license, and meeting up with Lisa. I did a few other stuff in between which ended up being cool as well.

Monday, August 2nd, 2016

The day after I started my wolf tattoo, I went to Roppongi with K to get my drivers license translated. I was hoping it would be easy, and it was. And super quick! I'm low key scared as fuck to take the Japanese drivers test since I heard it's crazy hard and everyone fails the first time but at least I'm one step closer to getting it done!

The translation has to be done at JAF, but it's a simple form you fill out there with your license. And if you have any trouble, they help you! It only took 2 hours to translate which sounds long, but totally isn't since they let you leave. You just get a number and come back at the time they tell you! I went back to the car with K after I turned in my application and watch Mad Max (which was awesome).

Afterwards, I picked up my translation of my license and I was on my merry way. Oh, and it cost 3000 yen, in case you were wondering.




After that, me and K decided to eat somewhere. So we wandered about looking for a place to eat and came across this cute ass little restaurant. It was still lunch time when we got there and they had this self serve appetizer table which had so many different things and were all light, perfect for the horrible heat.

The menu was limited and I was super hungry so I didn't want to order something i didn't like so I just played it safe and got a sausage pasta. Which was pretty good. K got this white fish cooked Mexican style, which meant lots of lemon and it was amazingly good.

I'm always skeptical with Mexican food in Japan which was why I didn't order it but that was perfect. He luckily shared it with me. It's been forever since I've had something with lemon! I took a photo but I've been a shit photographer lately (not that I've ever been good).

After lunch, we headed out to Nihonbashi to see the amazing art aquarium I've been wanting to see for years.

Friday, August 5, 2016

green smoothies & taco rice.



Thursday, July 28th, 2016

I met up with a fellow blogger Laura in Omotesando to have brunch. We went to this cute cafe that had vegetable smoothies and lots of healthy looking food, which seemed tasty. I was craving a burger which led me to get a black bean burger which was completely different than I thought it would be haha. It wasn't bad, just different lol. I also got a green smoothie, which was a bit bitter but overall good! It's been a while since I've had a legit green smoothie.

Me and Laura pretty much spent the whole day together, time just flew! We were talking about our experiences at Keio since she went too, and our future plans, and ways to study Japanese since her Japanese is on point and I want to seriously try to study again (though we'll see how long it lasts).

We ended up going to a boba place in Harajuku she likes (totally forgot the name) where we stayed there forever. Afterwards, we were craving avocados so we decided to get taco rice (my favorite place). We pretty much just ate and talked the whole day, I realize that usually what I do on outings lol. But it was definitely chill and a good day.