Still internet less so camping out at Starbucks for another day. The staff are starting to recognise me…haha.
Here’s a recap of another week’s activities!
The first national holiday I got to experience in Japan was ‘Yama no hi’ – literally Mountain Day (11th August). It is the first year that such a holiday has been in place. I asked some locals what this day was for and they were a little baffled about it too! So I decided to attend another meetup event – this time a ‘Food Walk and Museum’ meetup. There were again lots of interesting people, though mainly Japanese, looking to work on their English conversation skills. We went to lunch first then walked to an architecturally significant building – it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was a beautiful building, but alas the tour was in Japanese and I could only make out, maybe 10% of it!
In the evening I met up with some friends to go for ramen to celebrate moving into our apartments. The place we wanted to go to – which was renowned for vegan ramen was closed for the Obon festival. So we were on the hunt for another place and luckily came upon another place that did serve vegetarian ramen with a tomato soup base!
The next day there was another summer festival, this time in Yokohama! I am in the lucky position to be in between both Tokyo and Yokohama – while it does take me longer to get into the city centre of Tokyo, Yokohama is easily as accessible (only a 30 minute train ride) Yokohama is a beautiful port city and the festival has a really nice family friendly atmosphere. The kids in their yukatas were just the cutest! We joined in for some of the dances; it was definitely a lot of fun!
The weekend was full of events – on Saturday there was a JET dinner/drinks meetup where some of the new and continuing JETs got to meet one another. After this a group of us went Karaoke-ing for a couple of hours and made the dash back to the station for the last train. The trains in Tokyo stop after a certain time (usually around 12.30pm on a weekend night) which makes for the tough decision of making the last train and calling an end to a good night or committing to staying for the first train (and taking it all the way into the morning!)
On Sunday I went to another meetup with my friend Justine, this time to an Omatsuri! It was certainly a sight to see – another blazing hot day but luckily this one was a water splashing festival. The devotees carrying the shrines were pelted with buckets of water and hoses as they made their way to the temple. In the morning, it was a children’s festival so they were the ones carrying the shrine. I had my first (and second!)’ kakegori’ – shaved ice, perfect for a hot summer’s day.
As the weeks go on, it is certainly become easier. The language, the culture, the transport, the food, the people, the system. Making friends and being absorbed in the city’s many happenings is definitely what has made this place feel a tiny little bit like home. A tiny bit for now, but I will celebrate the small wins and take it! 🙂