Sapporo Snow Festival

February 11th, 2015

SnowFestival

Every year a bunch of snow sculptures are constructed in the Ōdōri park in Sapporo. This year is the 66th Sapporo snow festival and we (Amy and I) had the opportunity to experience it first hand.

To start of, I would like to say that with big events like this, it is important to book hotels and flights early. I booked everything around the middle of November and that was apparently too late by Japanese standard. All the affordable hotels in Sapporo city were booked out, so the best I could find was a Toyoko Inn in the nearby city of Tomakomai, which is 1 hour away from Sapporo by train. But that was ok and well worth it in the end.

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On leaving Japan

February 2nd, 2015

Kagoshima_Sakurjima

My 10 months in Japan is almost over and it is time to pack up and fly back to Sydney. What can I say, it’s been a wild ride. A lot of events, celebrations, and great experiences overall. But now its time to say goodbye, time to leave Japan for a while, time to go back to my proper studies in UTS.

It’s a strange feeling. On one hand its sad to leave Japan and Kagoshima, as it is a nice place to live once you get used to all the quirks of the culture and social interactions. Then on the other hand, my mind is already in Sydney settling down in my new house in Rhodes, setting up my new iMac and just getting ready to go back to university.

There are a lot of things that will be greatly missed: like the fast and convenient trains; the ability to go anywhere by bike; the delicious, healthy and cheap food; the safety; the rejuvenating waters of the onsen; the fast and unlimited internet; and just life in general. But then again there are a lot of things that I have to look forward to, such as: variety in food, delicious meat, cheap and juicy fruit; the ability to pay with my credit card everywhere; not having to deal with stacks of paperwork every week; next semester of uni and new challenges.

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The shrines of northern Kyushu

January 27th, 2015

Yutoku Inari

For the past few weeks, a few of my friends from Sydney have been exploring the land of Japan by traveling to places around Tokyo, Osaka and now coming all the way to Kyushu. On Saturday afternoon we met up with Richy and Ling, who made their way from Tokyo on the shinkansen this morning. Also a few other familiar faces joined us that day when we went to Dazaifu Shrine. The shrine itself is not much different from most other shrines in the country, but it is definitely a very popular place. The sheer number of tourists at the shrine showed us that not only Tokyo can be popular with the foreigners. After making our way back to Saga that evening, Amy, Ling and I went to meet the gaijin gang of Saga university and had a few drinks with them. It was fun to see how well foreigners get along in Japan, where you are treated as a foreigner no matter which country you come from.

The next day we ended up sleeping in, which threw us off schedule for the rest of the day. But we still managed to visit Yūtoku Inari Shrine in Kashima City, Saga Prefecture. And thats the shrine you see on the top of this post. Its a giant structure with big support pillars, which honestly looks fake, as if it was a toy or made out of plastic. But it is very very real and impressive. With the day coming to an end we made our way to Ureshino Onsen to dip our feet in some hot and healing waters. And then to finish off our adventure, we went to a yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) restaurant, where we ordered this big platter of Saga beef. All I can say is that it was amazing. Even thought I have lived in Japan for over a year (overall) now, I am still easily impressed by how delicious it is.

Also one thing I would like to note is that lately I have been getting really into photography, so after watching a bunch of tutorials on taking and editing photos, I can say that all of these were taken in raw format (most in AV setting) and have been edited with Aperture. Please do take a look at what I have created.

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Psycho Pass Movie Review

January 20th, 2015

PsychoPassMovie

Set after the events of season 1 and 2 this movie brings a new arch to the Psycho Pass series with a new story while bringing back some familiar faces. If you haven’t watched seasons 1 and 2, there is little to no point of watching the movie as it revolves around established ideas and characters. Though season 2 was not as well accepted as the original, it is still worth watching as it hold some key plot points which are discussed in the movie.

For those who have seen the previous seasons, they will be pleased to hear the Gen Urubuchi is back in charge and he once again does a marvellous job of creating a new environment and portraying the characters in that setting. Before I continue any further, I would like to warn everyone that if you press “Read More” then you will be spoiled for seasons 1, 2 and parts of the movie.
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2014 Retrospective

December 31st, 2014

Sakurajima Shiroyama

Wow, that went by rather quick. I remember how I was writing up the 2013 retrospective, as if it was yesterday. Why did the year fly by so quickly? Well I guess it is due to me being in Kagoshima, Japan! A new region to explore, a whole new bunch of Pokemon to catch! … wait a minute, wrong world. Anyway, lets see what the most memorable events were this year.

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Kyushu Christmas trip

December 30th, 2014

Huis Ten Bosch

This winter break being far away from home, far away from our families, Amy and I went on an adventure around Kyushu to see everything it has to offer. For our 6 day trip we, went to Nagasaki and the deserted island of Gunkanjima, Huis Ten Bosch theme park, Beppu city and the town of Yufuin. I’ll try to write up as much as I can, but it is late and we are sleepy.

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Merry Kurisumasu

December 25th, 2014

Kurisu

Another year, another Christmas. As I just realised, I skipped last years Christmas post, but that was due to the long post about my blog redesign, which is still beautiful as ever.

But this year, I am taking a well deserved break from everything and traveling around Kyushu. Amy and I have already visited Nagasaki, Gunkanjima, and Huis Ten Bosch; and we will continue on to Beppu and Yufuin tomorrow. And don’t worry, there will be a post with my impressions and photos from this trip.

Lastly,  to all you folk out there in the world, Merry Christmas!

Sakurajima – 桜島

December 21st, 2014

sakurajima

What are your first thoughts when you hear the words active volcano? Mine used to be: “run away as fast as I can”. But ever since I came to Kagoshima these words have changed to something more calm. Thats right, even though Sakurajima volcano is active and erupts about 3 times a day, it is still fairly safe and there are even people living on the used-to-be island. In 1914 a great eruption happened, and thus Sakurajima was connected to the peninsula and lost its status as an island, but the name remains and literally means Cherry Blossom Island.

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What languages sound like

December 8th, 2014

We know that learning languages is hard work, and whenever we hear people speak in a language that we have yet to master (or even start learning) we try to imitate them, which of course causes a lot of laughter and comments saying: “We don’t speak like that!”

Well here is a YouTube video of a Japanese guy doing an impression of that foreign language sound like to him. He is pretty spot on for most of them!

The red leaves of Kirishima – 霧島

November 22nd, 2014

Kirishima

One day, I receive a message from our Turkish gaijin Burak saying that we are going to Kirishima. It was rather spontaneous, but I am not the kind of person to decline an invitation to a trip, especially if I have never been to the place before. The reason for this trip was simple: to see the beautiful red leaves that cover Japanese trees in Autumn. And so we hired a car and drove to the Kirishima Jingu (shrine). Another trip together with the Gaijin Gang.

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