One Year and Counting
A bit premature but indeed I am having that “OMG” moment at realising when crossing out another day on the calendar, I have been overseas for one year now.
Though the blow was softened with a detour trip to Seoul, to compare that first day when I arrived at Haneda airport to the current state of being now, I sometimes wonder how the hell am I surviving right now?!
This month marks the end of my university life in Tokyo and although my time at uni has ended, I’ll still be making daily lunch boxes or お弁当 for next year at my new school. The journey to perfecting my Japanese is still going strong!
Trying to catch up again, here’s a small recount of what has happened over the last few months before graduation:
It’s been 3 years since I first went to Osaka and another 15 years since I last visited Kyoto. So naturally, it was time to head down memory road again. Temple hopping aside the most exciting part for me was being able to polish off pretty much all of the Universal Studios rides before 4pm and a sip of the famous butter beer at Harry Potter – even if it wasn’t alcoholic.
It’s my first time being in Japan in the Spring and Summer time and the scenery here really becomes beautiful during this time. There are so many flowers and sakura blooming in Spring and then, everything turns a vibrant green for Summer. It’s very different from nature back in Sydney but one thing remains – it’s super hot! Like that unbearable, constantly sweating kind of hot e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y. Thank god during festival season street beer and public drinking is a thing here. Too bad there aren’t any nice beaches near Tokyo. Hopefully I can find a nice patch of sand somewhere near the sea soon.
If you are heading towards Mt Fuji but want something a bit different, I recommend paying a visit to the Oshino-mura Village north side. It is famous for the Oshino-Hakkai, eight natural spring lakes which are so clear and beautiful you can see straight to the bottom and the main lake, Waku-ike gives off a turquoise blue shine in the water.
Wishing Upon Stars: Tanabata
With the loom of finals we headed to Asakusa’s Kappanbashi Dori for their Tanabata Matsuri. Unfortunately the event took place on the weekend than on the actual day itself but we enjoyed roaming the empty streets, tying our wishes on bamboo leaves and the light up show at Sky Tree in the distance.
Fluffiest of Pancake Dreams
When I heard the famous “jiggliest pancake ever!” was in Tokyo, I had to hunt it down to devour that jiggly fluff.
The pancake is so popular that the place, Cafe Grain, will only serve it three times a day and if you are even a bit late to the party, you won’t get to order it until the next session. Since I couldn’t be bothered to wait for 4 hours later I found another cafe, Micasadeco & Cafe, in the quieter Cat Street and hit the jackpot. It had FREAKN ricotta in it and was ridiculously FLUFFY AF. If you want a pancake that tastes just like soft cheesecake definitely head to this place because, I mean, ricotta! And dat jiggle-jam!
The fateful day was arriving when out of the blue, I was asked to be a speaker by our department faculty staff for the night!
It was an honour yet it was also a terrifying thought to do a speech all in Japanese and not try to mess up.
Luckily it went well in the end and since I like to do things over the top, I even dressed up a little because, I’m fancy like that haha. Luckily my friend also dressed up with me so I didn’t feel too over the top on the night.
I’m so grateful to all the new friends I had made and the time we have spent in class and enjoying what Tokyo had to offer together. Friends, who I probably wouldn’t have EVER meet without this experience, has definitely enriched my school experience and my life to know we are all connected by our time at Waseda.
Hopefully we can all meet again soon!
Thinking back and about moving onwards, I guess every expat feels they’re in some part-vacay/part-local limbo when they settle in their new home and in truth, it does question how strong your ambition is to achieve your goals and re-ask the question, “Why are you here?”
For the good, the bad and the ugly. For all the progress I have made and the small wins I have achieved, from time to time I get a bit overwhelmed by the fact even with this all progress, it is easy for the joy of my accomplishments to be overshadowed with feelings of impermanence.
But, I know, at least for the time-being, my future in Tokyo is looking bright and I can’t wait to see how far I can go on this path I have chosen.
What will next year hold?
Until next time!