Adventures with the Kosekis

Besides feeding me, housing me and putting up with my inability to speak Japanese, the wonderful Koseki family has also been touring me around some of Tokyo’s hot spots.

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Festivals & Fireworks
My first weekend with the Kosekis coincided with the annual Plum Festival.  Our local shrine in Fuchu hosted a series of stalls and a boat-load of people.  There were a few stalls dedicated to plum sales and the rest sold other Japanese foods.  There were even game stalls for the kids.  And all of the people were flocking to the shrine to get in their prayers/wishes.  There was a scary long line of people but Mrs. Koseki showed me a short cut: we just did our prayers off to the side of the shrine!

Celebrating the festival at the Fuchu shrine!

Celebrating the festival at the Fuchu shrine!

Sword demos at the festival

Sword demos at the festival

That same weekend, Fuchu put on a huge fireworks show.  Most people headed to the Tokyo Racehorse Track for good views. Mrs. Koseki walked me around the track that afternoon and by 4:00pm the place was already packed with people and countless picnic blankets to reserve spots.  Lucky for us, we had the best seats in the house: our balcony! We decided to have a BBQ out on the balcony and then stay up there for the fireworks.  At the same time, Mother Nature decided to throw down her craziest rain, thunder and lightning storm! Fortunately, all we had to do was roll out the awning but I felt awful for all the spectators, including my friend Sean and his host family, sitting out at the uncovered racetrack.  For a while it looked like the storm was going to cancel the fireworks, but the show went on, with only a 20 minute delay.

And it was the coolest fireworks show I have ever seen! Not only were the fireworks themselves impressive (there were even ones with letters and numbers!) but they were accompanied by great music (including “Let It Go” in Japanese) and LIGHTNING! It was so cool to actually be able to see the bolts of lightning in between the fireworks; I have never seen anything like that before! The whole sky was going crazy.  My host sister Yuko was trying desperately to capture the lightning on camera but was never quite quick enough.  I guess some things are just meant to be enjoyed technology-free.

All Aboard the HATO Bus
The next weekend started early with a 7am wake-up on Saturday.  We had to rise early in order to get to the Tsukiji Fish Market before all of the action was over.  The real action begins at 5:00am with the daily tuna auction.  Members of the public can attend the auction, but that involves arriving at 4:30am (or earlier!) to queue for tickets.  So we went with a casual stroll of the stalls around 9:30am.  Tsukiji is giant! It also reeks, being a fish market, and is boiling hot since it’s covered but not air conditioned.  Despite the heat, and the smell, we trekked around the stalls and were able to take in all manner of seafood and sweaty men running around in galoshes, hacking at fish parts or riding on motorized carts.  It was quite the sight!

Just casually straddling a giant fish

Just casually straddling a giant fish

After taking in the business side of the market, we walked around the even hotter vendor stalls where we stopped for some mid-morning sushi.  We stood outside one of the restaurants on a street filled with market-goers waiting for their chance to taste the catch of the day.  Finally, we entered the ten-seat restaurant and feasted on the most delicious, fresh and filling sushi I have ever tasted!  The fish literally melted in your mouth.  It was amazing, and had a price tag to match.  Fun fact: I just found out that Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart, who are in town shooting a movie, ate at the exact same restaurant a few days ago!

BEST SUSHI EVER!

BEST SUSHI EVER!

From sushi to skylines: we headed up to Tokyo Tower to take in the views.  This would be my 2nd of 4 tower observatories I got to visit in Tokyo; that’s a lot of city views to take in.

The Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo Tower

All of the fish and towers were just to fill our morning before our actually sightseeing adventure: a HATO bus tour! Now, I am usually not a big fan of tour buses.  And when our guide began the tour by handing out (mandatory) stickers we had to wear on our person, I had to suppress my eye roll.  But, my host mom had done a lot of planning for this and had never been on a HATO bus herself.  Plus, my host parents had even signed us up for the English tour despite their difficulty with the language.

Our HATO bus (air conditioned, thank God) first dropped us off at the pier where we took a ferry up the river to Asakusa.  The views from the boat weren’t too spectacular, but it was fun to be on the water.

Tokyo by water

Tokyo by water

At Asakusa, our guide explained that the place would be packed due to the fireworks scheduled there that evening.  But we pushed through the crowds and made our way to the oldest shrine in Tokyo!  The Shinto shrine was built back in the 600s and our guide walked us through the traditional shrine procedure.  First, you wash your hands (and possibly drink? Though whether you actually drink or just fake it seems to be debated) from a fountain in front of the shrine.  Next, you approach the shrine and throw a coin (usually 5 yen) into a large basin.  This offering is followed by two bows, two claps, a moment to introduce yourself to the god(s) and make your wish, and one final bow.

Asakusa

Asakusa

After visiting the shrine, we had a bit more time to explore Asakusa.  I particularly loved the five-storey pagoda and giant lanterns.  The main shopping strip was filled with people but I weaved my way through and managed to snag some delicious Japanese pastries.

Check out that pagoda

Check out that pagoda

The next stop: the Imperial Palace!  En route our guide explained that the current emperor, who is symbolic and has no real political power, is eighty years old and had married a commoner (the first to do so).  His eldest son, in his fifties, will inherit the emperor-ship (I’ve decided that’s a word) once the current emperor passes.  However, this eldest son only has one child, a daughter.  Women are not allowed to be emperors (boo!).  So after the eldest son, the crown (do emperors wear crowns?) passes to the second eldest son’s son…who is four years old at the moment! Of course, he’ll have lots of time to grow up and get ready for his role, but it was pretty comical when the tour guide passed around photos of a buck-toothed toddler proclaiming him as the future emperor of Japan!

With my host parents outside the palace

With my host parents outside the palace

Unfortunately, all we did at the Imperial Palace was walk a number of sweaty paces around the perimeter.  I thought we’d be going inside! But after reaching the front gates, we were herded back onto the bus for our final stop: (another) observatory!  Our guide walked us around the top floor of the World Trade Center Building (way too eerie to be in that elevator) for another crazy view of Tokyo.  Finally, after 4+ hours of touring, we were dropped off at Tokyo Station.  Mr. & Mrs. Koseki hailed a cab and I slept soundly in the back the whole way home.

And All That Eating
I honestly don’t think I’ve eaten better than these last three weeks in Tokyo.  Mrs. Koseki is a wonderful chef; every night is a delicious Japanese dish and she has yet to serve the same thing twice! But sometimes we take our eating adventures outside of the house.

After hearing about my love of sushi, Mrs. Koseki found a conveyor belt sushi restaurant nearby and we all headed there for dinner.  Conveyor belt sushi, which has a much nicer name I’m forgetting in Japanese, is literally a conveyor belt that surrounds the sushi bar from which diners can pick up plates of sushi.  It was fun to watch the delicious plates slide by our table and dive in to pick up the ones we wanted.  But, being serious sushi people, we could only put up with the conveyor belt for so long before we just ordered directly from the waitress.  And, at the end of the meal, a waiter came by with a scanner gun and quickly scanned our mountain of 30+ plates.  And with that, the price was determined!

Yuko & Mr. Koseki chowing down!

Yuko & Mr. Koseki chowing down!

All that sushi!

All that sushi!

The Sunday after our crazy HATO bus tour, the Kosekis and I journeyed to their family friend, Keiko’s, house for dinner.  Keiko’s husband is actually Mrs. Koseki’s English teacher, and was eager to speak English with me.  It was nice to have someone to communicate with but awkward to have so much attention put on me.  He kept insisting that everyone practice their English and interrupting conversations to translate for me.  But, the entire family was so lovely.  Their daughter, Mari, and her husband, a famous Japanese chef, joined us for dinner as well.  They were both very well-traveled and spoke great English.  Later, Mrs. Koseki showed me a cookbook she had that was actually written by Mari’s husband! But that night Keiko did most of the cooking.  We ate outdoors, enjoying a BBQ of ribs, corn, fish, potatoes and a few other items I’m forgetting.  At first, everyone was trying to eat the items with chopsticks (including the ribs) but eventually most of us gave in and used our hands.  A few hours later we finished the evening with peaches, cake and coffee indoors.

Dinner party gang

Dinner party gang

During my last week here, we went out for dinner twice.  Once, with some LABO ladies and a second time for my host-sister Yuko’s birthday.

We met up with our local LABO tutor and a few LABO moms for a traditional Japanese girls’ night feasting on traditional Japanese foods.  It was really fun to hang out with these kind women and eating as well as we did.  The meal consisted of 8 courses which included sashimi, lettuce pork wraps, teriyaki fish and soba.  Everything was so yummy!

And the next night, we walked over to same area and settled into an Italian restaurant for Yuko’s birthday.  Suffice to say I didn’t think I would ever be going to an Italian restaurant during my 3 weeks in Japan.  But overall, the food was actually quite good….I just don’t know how authentically Italian it was.  Instead of ordering individual dishes, Mrs. Koseki ordered a series of dishes for the table.  We had appetizers, salad, steak, fries and, of course, pasta.  The homemade lasagne was probably my favourite.  At the end, our waitress brought out a cake for Yuko and we all sang to her before diving into the chocolate-y goodness.

Happy Birthday Yuko!

Happy Birthday Yuko!

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And today marks my last day with the Kosekis 😦 Last night they gave me a mini photo album to document some of our adventures together.  It was very sweet and I’m sure I will never forget the Kosekis and how kind they have been to me.

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Tea & Calligraphy

One of the best parts about my Japanese lessons in Tokyo are our field trips.  Most days we go on mini-field trips in the afternoon: we visit the hyaku (100) yen shoppu (aka the dollar store), department stores, the local jinja (shrine), the post office and wherever else we can walk without melting away in the heat.

But some days are solely dedicated to big field trips.

On our first week, a group of us set off to take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.  The journey began with a very long series of subways, waiting and trains until we finally found this little house out in the suburbs.  We were greeted by three older Japanese women dressed in traditional kimonos.

The first step of the tea ceremony is to put on clean white socks (which many of us had purchased the day before from the hyaku yen shoppu).  Next, we took turns entering the tea room doing the prescribed motions: kneel, scoot (literally, push forward on your knees) into the room, walk over to the wall, kneel & bow, walk to the corner, walk to the tea, walk somewhere else and, finally, sit along the wall in a kneeled position.

Waiting her turn to scoot into the room!

Waiting her turn to scoot into the room!

Unfortunately, this position grew extremely painful very quickly.  So painful, that one of the students could barely stand, let alone walk across the room, to get her tea.  Thankfully, the women let us shift and sit sideways when we weren’t drinking tea.

The actual tea drinking was even more complicated than the walking.  We had two types of tea (thin and thick) as well as an assortment of sweets before each tea tasting.  With each tea, there was a procedure of bows and bowl turns that had to be done correctly.  Overall, the entire experience was very cool.  I doubt I will ever again be able to take part in a traditional tea ceremony in Japan…though my thighs will probably thank me for that!

After our tea ceremony

After our tea ceremony

The next week, our group took on Japanese calligraphy.  The sensai showed us how to use the brush properly and demonstrated her skills.  Unfortunately, those skills didn’t quite transfer to me.  I had wanted to write the kanji characters for “adventure” but after another student chose that I settled on “travel”.  And we spent the next couple of hours (aka way too long to be attempting calligraphy) working on our pieces.  It was fun at first, using the brush and ink and throwing bad attempts onto the ground, but it quickly got old.  I don’t think I have much of a future in calligraphy.

Celina hard at work

Celina hard at work

Showing off our "masterpieces"

Showing off our “masterpieces”

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Getting a taste of the traditions of Japan during my three weeks in Tokyo – how lucky am I?

Learning Japanese

If you told me at the beginning of this year that I would be spending 3 weeks learning Japanese in Tokyo this summer, I wouldn’t have believed it.  Not that Japan wasn’t on my list, but the idea of visiting Japan this summer (after 5 months away in Amsterdam) and trying to get a grasp on their language (when languages are not my strong point) still seems surreal.

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Japanese is a beautiful language. Beautifully complicated.  From what I understand (after 2 weeks of learning), there are three “alphabet” sets.  The first, hiragana, is comprised of 46 individual characters each with their own sound. Combining the characters, and sounds, makes words.  The second set, katakana, is 46 DIFFERENT characters with the SAME SOUNDS as hiragana.  Katakana is used for foreign words, aka words taken from English.  So for example, “intaanetto” is katakana for “internet” and “aisukuriimu” is “ice cream”.  And here I was thinking Japanese people were just speaking English with an accent – turns out, they’ve made English their own!

Lastly, there’s kanji.  Kanji are the same characters used in Mandarin, Cantonese and probably a bunch of other Asian dialects.  But, there’s a twist: these same characters I might be familiar with from my years taking Mandarin are now pronounced differently in Japanese!  And, to make it even harder: hiragana, katakana and kanji are all used together in any given passage of Japanese.  So to say tackling this language is tough would be a HUGE understatement.

Luckily, there is no better place to learn than where I am right now.  Every day I trek into the city and meet my classmates for our Japanese lessons.  There are only 8 of us in the beginner class and we spend most mornings learning new vocabulary, grammar, characters, etc.  In the afternoons, we often go on mini-fieldtrips around the Shinjuku area.  It gives us a chance to practice what we’ve learned (like the time we practiced ordering in Japanese at McDonalds), get outside the classroom and grow an immense appreciation for our building’s air con.

After class we usually spend some time exploring new areas of Tokyo or grabbing a snack before heading back to our respective host families.  It’s cool to see how much Japanese we can use outside of the classroom and away from our always-correcting sensais (teachers).  For a city as big as Tokyo, it’s still strange to me that it seems so isolated from foreigners.  Of course, there are a good number of tourists, but non-Japanese expats don’t seem to account for much of the population.  And, accordingly, English is not commonly spoken, seen or understood.

Finally, we start and end everyday with our wonderful host families.  What better way to absorb a language than to live in a house where it is spoken all the time? To see the language in the daily newspaper, hear it on the TV and watch it come to life across the kitchen table.  And while most of it goes over my head, I’m always excited when I understand a few words or have a chance to use one of my well-rehearsed greetings.

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With our final week upon us, I only have a few days left to soak up as much culture, sight-seeing, delicious food and Japanese language as I can.  Wish me luck!

 

Tokyo Twenty-Two

On July 17th, I turned 22! (cue Taylor Swift’s lyrical interpretation of this new milestone)

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I’ve gotten to celebrate my birthday in some pretty cool places: I turned 14 at a beachside resort in the Philippines, 18 on horseback in the Dominican Republic, 21 squealing over penguins in Cape Town, South Africa and now 22 in Tokyo!

On my actual birthday, I didn’t do much outside of my usual routine.  I still woke up at 8am, ate breakfast with Mrs. Koseki and headed off for school by 9am.  At school, the students wished me a happy birthday and the rest of the day continued with lessons as planned.  Of course, spending all day learning Japanese wouldn’t be my first choice for a birthday celebration, but I had been expecting it.

After class I took the subway to Tokyo’s Ginza district.  It was a lot like Toronto’s Yorkville, filled with fancy shops and things I couldn’t afford.  But it was fun to window shop and check out another part of this giant city.  I even stopped to treat myself to a few pieces of delicious sushi.  It doesn’t get much better than sushi in Japan!

Checking out Ginza's famous clock tower

Checking out Ginza’s famous clock tower

My first proper sushi in Tokyo!

My first proper sushi in Tokyo!

My host family had let me know that we would celebrate my birthday on the 18th, since Mr. Koseki and Yuko were both away on the 17th.  I wasn’t sure what the celebration would entail, as I’ve heard birthdays aren’t a huge deal in Japan.  But I was so touched and blown away by what they had planned.

On the 18th I came home to a dinner of homemade sushi.  Except, this sushi looked just as good, if not better, than restaurant sushi! And, it was accompanied by a bottle of champagne.  They made me pop the cork and then the whole family tucked in to some delicious food!

Sushi + champagne = perfection!

Sushi + champagne = perfection!

After sushi, they pulled out a cake that had my name written on it and candles bought just for me.  Everyone sang and I tried not to laugh as Mr. Koseki, who actually has a lovely singing voice, struggled to pronounce my name in time with the song.  Pictures were taken, candles were blown out and cake was stuffed into our already full stomachs.

Yuko & I

Yuko & I

"I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22!"

“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22!”

The family then presented me with gifts.  I wasn’t expecting anything, but really appreciated the tokens of Japan they gifted me with.  Mrs. Koseki’s aunt gave me a beautiful handkerchief that had Mt. Fuji and two little cats on it.  Mrs. Koseki bought me a traditional fan decorated with Japanese goldfish.  And Yuko gave me the coolest card depicting a Japanese festival.

Beautiful host family gifts

Beautiful host family gifts

After all that, the family took me out to the balcony where we lit sparklers.  I’ve never been one for pyrotechnics, but I really enjoyed watching the sparklers go off, especially when Mrs. Koseki’s aunt seemed almost afraid of hers.

Aunt & Mr. Koseki

Aunt & Mr. Koseki

Sparklers!

Sparklers!

The next day, Mrs. Koseki took me to a LABO party.  LABO is the organization hosting us here in Tokyo and teaching our Japanese lessons.  They also run English clubs for Japanese families and facilitate homestays for Japanese children in English-speaking countries.  At the LABO party I watched a few skits and speeches by the kids, participated in a game of human knot and even gave a speech myself about all of the places I’ve travelled.  I pulled out my pictures, when one kid asked what kind of animals I had seen, and was immediately swarmed by all of the children (and their parents!).  It was a really fun event!

Towards the end of the party, the LABO organizers surprised me by getting everyone to sing happy birthday.  One of the high school girls then presented me with a handmade card she had drawn and gotten her friends to sign.  And one of the moms gave me a package of chopsticks that she explained the LABO moms had handmade for me.

Surprise gifts from new LABO friends

Surprise gifts from new LABO friends

From my host family to people I had just met; I still can’t believe how sweet and kind everyone has been.  22 will definitely be a birthday to remember 🙂

Meet the Koseki family!

A week ago I was introduced to the lovely Kosekis; my host family for my time here in Tokyo.

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The Kosekis live in Fuchu, a suburb about an hour out of downtown Tokyo (by transit).  It’s a good neighbourhood with a residential section and a main shopping strip.  I’ve yet to do a proper walk around, but I think there are some cool shops, shrines and other things to discover.

The Koseki house!

The Koseki house!

Their house is really modern and surrounded by Ms. Koseki’s amazing garden.  She is always out in the garden taking care of all her plants. And I found out the building across from us is actually their garage and more garden space.  They have their own jungle!

In the jungle

In the jungle

The inside of the house is also quite modern – they have an elevator (for a 3 storey house…)! The set up is quite different from houses I’m used to: the first floor is a guest room (aka my room for the next 3 weeks), the second floor is for the family bedrooms and the third floor is the kitchen/living room.

The elevator!

The elevator!

I sleep in a traditional tatami straw floor room, which was quite a shock when I first walked in.  It still kind of feels like I’m living in a touristy Japanese restaurant or something! But the most shocking bit was realizing I wouldn’t be sleeping on a real bed, or even a mattress for that matter. Instead, I roll out two comforter blankets and sleep on top of those.  My back is still getting used to it.

Welcome to my room!

Welcome to my room!

I have the sweetest host mom in Mrs. Koseki.  She cooks all the meals, which are all amazing, and has been showing me around whenever she can.  She greets me after school and indulges me in slow English conversations since my Japanese is nowhere near up to par.  She always checks on me and never lets me help with anything.  And, she always gets very excited whenever I use a Japanese phrase correctly – you should see her when I nail my “good mornings” and “thank you for dinners”.

Mrs. Koseki picking up breakfast at the bakery

Mrs. Koseki picking up breakfast at the bakery

Mrs. Koseki & her aunt making gyoza from scratch!

Mrs. Koseki & her aunt making gyoza from scratch!

Mr. Koseki is a retired drug store owner.  He seems to spend most of his time in front of the TV, but, let’s be honest, that’s pretty much my life and I’m nowhere close to retirement.  And he has the best laugh! He is extremely good-natured and cracks up about everything.  He also seems to think my grasp of Japanese is much better than it is as he is always trying to explain things to me without a word of English.  I’ve mastered the smile and nod with appropriate pauses and the occasional laugh.

Yuko, 16, is my host sister.  She’s very sweet and is working on her confidence with English.  However, Yuko is the busiest 16 year old I’ve ever met! She is always at school and then after school she has all of these activities or even more school! In the week that I’ve been here, I think we’ve had two meals together.  And today (Saturday), she left the house by 7:30am, made a brief appearance around 7:30pm and then finally returned after more school by 10:00pm.

Yuko & her mom walking through the neighbourhood

Yuko & her mom walking through the neighbourhood

Lastly, there’s Mamei, the family’s fat black cat.  She has giant yellow eyes and is nimble as anything jumping around the place.  Her favourite spots are on top of the piano, directly in front of the television or meowing near her empty food bowl.  Friendly would be a stretch, but Mamei is definitely a character!

Meow!

Meow!

And that’s the wonderful Koseki family! More to come on Japanese lessons and celebrating my 22nd birthday in Tokyo!

Jet-lagged in Japan

I’m in TOKYO!

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It all still feels a little unreal – am I actually in this huge city in a brand new country on the other side of the world? After many hours of travel yesterday, and only the airport terminal and my hotel room for a view, it’s pretty hard to believe that I am in Tokyo, Japan.

It’s also kind of scary to believe that it’s 2 in the morning and I’ve recently woken up from an 8 hour “nap”. Whoops! Adjusting to the time difference may prove more difficult than I thought.

On July 9th I headed out of Amsterdam (with giant luggage in tow) on a three hour flight to Moscow.  Our flight was a little delayed, so upon arriving in Moscow I was greeted by a young Russian man, sweating profusely and shouting “Tokio? Tok-i-o!” at all of the offloading customers.  I showed him my Tokyo boarding pass and he ushered me over to the corner.  After gathering the 15 Tokyo-bound passengers, he ran speed-walked through the terminal with all of us jogging to keep up.

We reached a security gate and after some exasperated discussion, we were lead through the quickest security check of my life.  Dude might have looked at my passport for a millisecond before ushering me through and liquids/laptops no longer needed to be identified for the scanner.  Once on the other side of “security” a new grounds agent took us on another race to our gate.  She sweet-talked an employee (who ended up redirecting all of the Air France passengers to a different terminal) and sent us flying down the stairs to the awaiting bus.

So probably about 10 minutes after I had walked off my first flight, I was standing on a bus on the tarmac with 14 other rushed passengers, having expected a leisurely two hour stopover in Moscow.  Just before our bus left the gate, our original Aeroflot employee, who was still rushing and sweating, appeared to do a final headcount.  Reaching 15, he exhaled with relief and we all applauded as he waved our bus off to the awaiting plane.

The next 9 hour flight was pretty uneventful: I caught up on some TV and movies, didn’t sleep much and enjoyed some quality passable plane food.  I did appreciate the little touches that Aeroflot provides its passengers: slippers, a sleeping mask and a printed menu so you know what you’re really getting when you cautiously opt for chicken over beef.

And then I was in Tokyo! I quickly pulled out my tablet and, to my great relief, my hotel confirmation had been sent.  However, to my disbelief, my luggage was missing.  Seems like not everyone was as rushed as I was in Moscow! Luckily, I’m staying at an airport hotel for two nights and will hopefully see my beloved luggage tomorrow afternoon.

After filling out my lost luggage form I visited 4 or 5 rental phone desks before finding the one I had made a reservation at, picked up some food and waited in the muggy disgusting 30+ degree humidity for my hotel shuttle.  While searching for my phone, I walked around the airport mall and was immediately enchanted by all of the tiny, intricate wares for sale.  Not one to usually get excited about cute bracelets or small notebooks, I was surprised by my desire to touch (and then purchase) all of the adorable stuff for sale. I’m calling it the Tokyo-effect.

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So now I’ve made it to my hotel, got caught up on MasterChef Australia (my first priority), eaten some delicious Japanese to-go food and slept. I’ve got one day left to acclimatize to this time zone (and this heat!) before the students arrive, we’re introduced to our host families and thrown into three weeks of Japanese lessons and exploring Tokyo! I can definitely feel that long-awaited excitement creeping in 🙂

My Past Adventures

To be honest…

….I’m not a complete adventure novice.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means an adrenaline junkie or extreme-sports anything! But I have done some adventuring.  I didn’t start this blog right at the beginning of my adventures so let me get you up to speed.

Remember: “adventure” is different for everyone (and I’ll discuss that in my next post). But here are some of my past adventures:

1. Travelled to the Philippines & Korea with family friends for 5 weeks when I was 14/15 years old.
2. Flew to BC (from Toronto) by myself when I was 12.
3. Interned with an organization that built houses and supported communities in the Dominican Republic for a month.
4. Volunteered with various orphanages and lived with a homestay in Peru.
5. Attend a university on the other side of the country and moved out here without knowing anyone.
6. Went cross-country skiing!
7. Went snorkelling!
8. Climbed the CN Tower!
9. Wrote and directed my own 1 Act play.
10. Travelled around the United States, Canada & the Caribbean.

So, there’s my list! Incomplete (I’m certain I’m forgetting some) but you get the idea. And, like I said, one person’s “adventure” might be an everyday reality to someone else or an unthinkable act to another person.  It’s all about perspective. I get that cross-country skiing does not seem that adventurous but to a person who despises winter and sports….

…it’s a pretty big deal.