An update through photographs
I’m taking a break from writing. Enjoy! Kyoto Opening Ceremonies and their obentos Exploring Kojima Cherry blossoms in Okayama Hiking in Yakage Latte excursions Tsuyama Cherry Blossom Festival Hiking in Ozuchi Island Enjoying life. :) Cheers, M
I had been wanting to update my blog for a while, but I didn’t want it to simply be a string of happy times of my travels and fun pictures to make y’all jealous. I wanted to touch upon things I notice and experience as a foreigner living in Japan that are vastly different from being a tourist. After an experience I had today, I feel it is about the right time to vocalize. In Japan, the school...
*knock knock* Is this thing still alive?
YES, IT IS! I am here. I’ve only been swept up by a hurricane of work, social, and life events, but I am here and back. Since coming back from Thailand, I have been on a path of non-stop madness. Some good, some bad, but all worthwhile. Come along on my journey of recapping. I suggest grabbing some chocolates and a large cup of delicious coffee before you start reading. * flipping back through...
Pad Thai in Paradise
White sand instead of white snow? 32 degrees C instead of 2 degrees C? Ko Racha instead of kotatsu? HECK YES! My highly anticipated trip (literally- about 5 years) to Thailand had finally come to fruition! Tickets were booked since June 2012, accommodations booked by October, and Gavin and I hopped on a plane the morning of December 22nd to see the South East! We traveled to Phuket, Ko Racha, Ko...
Merry little December
The world hasn’t ended because it’s after 12.12.12. in Japan. Moving on to more important matters. Earlier this month, I’ve been a grouch McGee. It was mostly due to my lack of exercise and movement. The frigid coldness has made me immobile and for someone who’s used to being on the move, I became increasingly more grumpy. Since starting an exercise routine this past...
Welcome back, Japanese winter
Le sigh. Winter is back again. Oh, how I despise the cold. It’s been cold for me since the middle of October and with each passing day, it gets colder and I get more pissed off. I’m doing my best to fight the winter blues. I’ve just got to grin and BEAR it for a few more months (BEAR being the keyword as I feel like all I’ve been wanting to do is eat and hibernate)....
Marathon, Parades, Friends, and Fukuoka
After reviewing my last post, I realized I’ve got to keep my followers updated! It’s weird to think that I have followers. Often times I feel like I’m just writing for myself. Oh well- at least whatever is in my head is now written out. Shonan Marathon: My first marathon in Japan My marathon was awesome! It wasn’t my best time (I finished in 4:41:44) but it was perfect...
And so it’s November…
Hello new month! You just blasted in my face so suddenly! I also have a nagging feeling you’re going to blast away just as fast as you came. Let’s do a scroll down to see what’s up in the life of Melody! 1) In September, I started thinking that my students were pretty much hopeless in terms of learning English. It got me really depressed. Turns out, I just had too high of expectations for the...
Just another Sunday...
This morning, I ran 20 miles. My phone died at mile 18.95. Averaged about 10:30/mile. Feeling pretty proud of myself. The weather was splendidly perfect. Gavin was also splendidly perfect in supporting me. Nothing beats an awesome boyfriend riding his bicycle besides me with water, soyjoys, and Aquarius! Now, I’m just responding to emails. A small earthquake shook me a little as I finished...
Against the Odds
As an avid runner whose ran a good bundle of half and full marathons throughout the past 5 years, a half marathon shouldn’t be anything. I knew the drill; train and gradually build up my endurance several months prior and I’ll be good as gold. Unfortunately, as this has happened last year before the Kibiji Soja Marathon, my knee decides to give me crap and sprain two weeks before the big day. What...
The White Water Rafting, Windy Bike-riding Weekend
It started out with some push-ups. Then some sit-ups. Then before I knew it, I was spending a day rafting in Kochi, followed by two days of bicycling between Hiroshima prefecture to Ehime and back (a total of 150km or 93 miles). Crazy doesn’t even begin to describe what we did. Sometime two weeks ago, Gavin and I had a grand idea to make the most of our time for our 4-day weekend. My...
My yesterday conversations
I had lunch with one of my 2 nensei JHS students and one of the girls in the class chatted with me as much as she could in English. This is what we were talking about. student: Do you know ‘One Direction’? me: Yes, I do. They’re quite famous now. student: (freaks out) AHH! I love them! me: Do you like American music? student: Yes, yes, I do. I like Lady Gaga...
Going to sleep at 9pm on a Friday night seems cool to me.
Summer is FALL-ing
It seemed like only yesterday when it was spring and I was dreading the upcoming summer heat. Then suddenly, I had lunch with some friends in Yakage a few days ago and “mama” (endearingly titled mom of the local ALTs and restaurant owner) served us nashi or Asian pears. For those of us who are not familiar with seasons (ahem-Californians-ahem), the change of fruits means the change of...
Working, working, gone
Despite having the luxury to “work from home” (which could easily be taken as slacking off time), I feel like I have been working myself to the bone! Currently, I am rounding up articles and preparing for the Okayama AJET Fuzzy Peach blog-a-zine to come out by August 31st. All interested Okayama folks, please send your submissions to email@example.com before then. Also,...
1) Finally finished 1Q84. 2) Going to Hiroshima for 2 days. 3) Off to Tokyo for 4 days. 4) Going to Sapporo right after Tokyo. 5) Exploring Furano, Otaru, and Sapporo. Be back in Okayama around mid-August.
My friends Kris, Trang, Christyjoy, and Ricky came to Japan in May. Here’s a video that documents their trip. Perhaps a nice advertising video to entice people to visit Japan?
Rising Rice Fields
On a recent run, I noticed that the rice fields in my area were steadily growing. It’s so exciting to watch the fields fluff up again to how they were when I first arrived last July. Since the rice fields grow so quickly, I’m able to see a change in them almost everyday. I shared this excitement with some of my friends and someone put it in perspective to me. “You’re...
The joys of grading English
One good thing about grading English homework is the funny sentences I come across every once in a while. The following sentences contain actual English words, but used in an entirely nonsensical way. I wish my students knew what they were actually writing because they’d certainly get a kick out of it as much I did. Enjoy! “How many T-shits do you have?” “I have about...
Hello, 28! You're looking brighter already!
Today, I celebrated my birthday outside of the U.S., but surprisingly, it was not my first time. My first experience was when I turned 16 (or was it 18?) in China. I was in Guangzhou in a smoke-filled karaoke room with my mom and a bunch of her weird “uncle” friends. I had a horrible time because I was just another excuse for them to go out to party (my mom didn’t have anything...
I See You
It seems to me that privacy is a rarity no matter where you live. It might be assumed that living in the city, you would get very little privacy because you’re surrounded by a ton of people all the time. Similarly, you would think that a lowly populated, open rural area would grant you more privacy since there’s no one around. Oh my friend, how au contraire that idea is! Having lived in both sorts...
It doesn’t seem like such a big deal to be traveling within Japan once I’m actually living here, but I was particularly excited to travel to Osaka this past weekend for several reasons. For one, it was my first trip with Gavin to somewhere outside the Okayama/Chugoku region of Japan. Second, Trang, Kris, and their friends Ricky and Krissy were here in Japan and we planned to meet up for...
A fine and fortunate weekend
As a general consensus, weekends are well-liked and looked forward upon because it’s a nice two day break from the usual routine of the week. You have the freedom to lay around to do nothing, stay up and sleep in, go out with friends, go on long hikes or runs, spend time with the kids, catch up on chores and errands, or just take mini vacays to a nearby place. All the weekends I’ve had...
Dealing with failure and rejection
It’s really not as bad as the title suggests, but I have failed and been rejected pretty recently. I’m dealing with it well. Don’t worry; it’s all been fairly minor. First, as you may have guessed, I failed my first driver’s license test in Japan. I’m really hoping I pass it next time and I’m using the power of manifestation to do it. It’s a tough blow to me having failed such a test, since I...
I'm afraid for my visitors
To most people, the image of Japan is one gigantic Tokyo. That is far from the truth as most foreigners living in Japan outside of Tokyo can testify. Most everyone I know lives in the countryside, but even the countrysides have different levels of countryside-ism. The rest of Japan is not as happenin’ as Tokyo. You may have heard me refer to the rural areas as inaka, as that is the most...
When does help become unhelpful?
It seems to me that I have my most insightful thoughts when I’m driving. I guess it’s when I have time to really be away from people and decompress all the wonderment in my mind. The other day as I was driving somewhere, it occurred to me that Japanese directional street signs, as simple as they may seem, can actually be quite confusing. Please see the sign below: This sign may seem...
How Japan (or just Okayama) has changed me
As I was taking one of my usual long drives home, I couldn’t help but think of how Japan has changed me as a person. Much of it is related to driving, but there are some things that have affected how I perceive things. Below are my compiled and peculiarly organized thoughts: 1) Enjoying mountain driving and long distances When I was in Los Angeles, I wasn’t a big fan of driving...
Spring is here in Japan and the weather is more fickle than my mood swings during PMS. One day, it’ll be beautiful, sunny and gorgeous and the very next day (today being one of them) is stormy and windy as all hell. It’s a good thing I get to stay in doors in my cozy pj’s working in my room. Speaking of which, yes, I get to work on my computer in my own room. Huzzah! Up until...
Tis the time for randomness
I just finished watching season 5 episode 1 of Mad Men and it was awesome. Don Draper *swoon* Gav showed me a clip of Conan O’Brien where he has the “Walker, Texas Ranger” lever and I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants. http://www.noob.us/humor/conan-obrien-the-best-walker-texas-ranger-lever-moment/ Speaking of Conan, I skyped with Larry (Potter) tonight before making an...