Wednesday, January 26, 2011

and Finally...Part III

Hi All,

Finally part III, the last of my recount of my Christmas break!... Well for the most part.

For New Year’s we were particularly interested in celebrating it Japan style. We wanted to do the whole “wake up early and watch the sunrise”, “pray at the shrine and make a wish”, “hear the bells or drums”, we wanted the whole nine-yards. Of course we didn’t do it exactly, but we had a good compromise =)

We had our own “party” to a wait midnight. We made it a potluck do we had a bit of variety in food and it was a nice small get together, the 5 (Ka Lai went to China to celebrate with her family) of us exchange students and one other friend.

Close to midnight we went to the shrine and to our surprised it was super crowded. There was a ton of people!! We heard loud cheers to what we assume was some sign of midnight and then the masses started moving inward towards the shrine and we came to the realization that we were in a massive line that curved around inside the shrine.

We followed and donated our money and made our New Year wishes. We walked through and found many stands and foods as any festival we had been to before. There was a massive fire (still not sure why people were burning they just bought New Year’s souvenir) but yeah…

We pulled all-nighter to wait for sunrise. And it was cold, and slow. We headed to the shrine again and bough wooden plates to write our wishes and to hang at the shrine. Oh we also buy a fortunes and if you like it you keep it, if not you tie up and pray for a better one.

After New Year’s we met with my Japanese TA and now friend Mariko and she gave us her own tour of Yokohama. It was great.

Mostly we did a lot of New Year’s shopping (or window shopping). But we also got to go an amusement park near the station. We rode the Ferris wheel and got a magnificent view of the surrounding Yokohama.

We also found a T.G.I.F in Yokohama, American size food and menu. It was phenomenal.

It was all very great =). Japan rocks. Well that's all for now.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Catching up... Part II!

Hi All,


Yes yes, I have been falling behind on the updates, but it’s FINALS week! And yes even as easy as I have found the classes here there’s a lot of work to do.

Lots of work and not nearly as much play… kind of… lol. But that’s ok I still have parts II and III to share with you about Christmas break!

Well Here it goes:

PART II: 27 /Dec. to 29 /Dec.

the 27th : We decided to eat dinner at a Denny's in honor of my birthday; though it was a day early because we thought we might be too busy and tired from traveling to be able to do anything else… can you believe I've never been to a Denny's in America?

I was surprised at midnight with a cake!!! I felt so thought-off and liked and cared for :-)

It was great. I don’t get cakes often and it was just great to have my closest friends in Japan with me. And I got gifts to boot.

They all gave me things to keep warm because it’s not secret that I am constantly and I mean ALWAYS cold!!


the 28th: (my birthday) We went to Hakone in the morning of. We took a bus ride from Mishima station that was about 40-50mins.

Hakone: is known for its onsen (hot spring resorts), it’s really popular because it’s not t far from Tokyo and offers a great view of Mount Fuji. Sights include the volcanically active Owakudani geysers and Hakone Shrine on the shore of the lake.

We got a tourist deal for two days at Hakone and it was great! It included unlimited rides on cable cars, Hakone pirate cruise, and discounts on entry fees at different locations . We did quite a bit of sightseeing.

They said that if you eat this black egg you live longer... (it's just a regular egg as far as taste goes. It's apparently boiled with hot spring water though and it turns black...)

huge hotel room!

While you're at the hotel you wear yukatas (a variation of a kimono). I was sung Happy Birthday numerous times (in multiple languages) and it was unforgettable.We played some Jenga and karaoke and ping-pong where included in our hotel fees.

The onsen are incredibly hot (I mean I know they are hot springs) but your skins dies while you’re in there… that might explain why you feel super smooth after lol. It was great once we got a *little over the shyness of having to be naked in front of other people.

All in all it was a great two-day trip.

Phew that was a lot! It was such a great time!! And alright Stay tune for part III and possibly a fourth... no promises on next week, I'm still taking finals!