Twelve months have gone by faster than I thought could be possible (time flies, and all that). Looking back at all the pictures I’ve accumulated brings me back to so many great memories and experiences I know could only be possible in Japan. I’ve pulled some of my favourites in a sort of visual memory of the past year.
August: Obon, Kamiichi
I left from Toronto arrived in Tokyo // sweat alot // drank 2L bottles of water sitting on my tatami floor. Obon happened and the office was empty. I went to a festival in Kamiichi Town, went to a beach party and (sortof) climbed Tateyama.
September: Osu Kannon, Nagoya
I started to figure everything out a bit more. I started teaching and meeting students. I took my first trip, going to Nagoya. I have this very distinct memory of being half awake and watching the Japanese Alps from the bus window as we drove through. I spent a lot time after school helping students prepare for a speech competition.
October: Fushimi Inari, Kyoto
While my family was eating Thanksgiving dinner I was in Kyoto for the first time, eating burnt Ramen and visiting a cat cafe. I went to a Halloween party and to the speech competition. I learned that Kit-Kats are given for good luck.
November: Kurobe Gorge
The seasons changed later than I expected. I went up to the Kurobe Gorge in a rainy, cold, and fantastic train ride up the mountain. One of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Japan.
December: Maki-Chan in Japan
In December my sister visited Japan. We went to as many places as we could from an English camp in Toyama to Nagoya, Tokyo, all over Kansai (Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe), and finally Maibara. It was strange to suddenly have a piece of home in Japan. I went about 4 weeks without classes and missed it a lot.
January: Hakuba, Nagano
I shivered at work and shivered in my apartment. I went to Nagano to go snowboarding and loved every minute of the breathtaking mountains.
February: Kenrokuen Gardens, Kanazawa
It was cold. The third years finished classes. I went to Kanazawa21 and and saw an amazingly cool exhibition and ate lots of ramen to keep warm.
March: Dohtonbori Osaka
The school year ended, and it was really sad. My first fully-fledged trip to Osaka was incredibly fun, I ate a lot, walked a lot, and saw a lot. Omiyage was weirdly difficult to find. I saw sumo. I lost a contact lens. It was great.
April: Sakura at Matsukawa River
Cherry Blossoms lived up to their hype and more. Outside my school, around the river, in Osaka, and in backyards, these trees were so soft and pretty I felt like I was in a dreamland.
May: YG Concert in Tokyo
Golden week was four days of pure awesomeness, the most “Tokyo” experience I’ve had, by going to a concert, the robot restaurant, and getting swept up in the energy of the city.
June: Uozu Port
It became summer, like fully summer with high humidity and blue skies. I spent a lot of time getting sunburned and riding my bike around. I don’t mind the cold winter, but summer is the best for exploring the city and feeling re-energized.
July: Tatemon Festival
TECHNICALLY this photo is from August but I’m using for July for the sake of relevance. I participated in the Tatemon festival, which was an absolute blast. High energy, lots of people, and a really wonderful culmination to the long season of festivals and fireworks of the summer and to the year in Japan.