Overview: January & February (More USJ!)

Ok! So now, for a whirlwind overview of January and February…

Winter was much tougher than I expected, and although I won’t go into detail, I am still dealing some strong bouts of homesickness, particularly when it comes to difficulty caused by the language barrier.  I am hoping that with the arrival of spring, some of these things will be easier to deal with, and that next winter won’t be as emotionally brutal.  But… this is not the place for that!

When I came back from Korea, I received a surprise package from my cousin, which along with the packages from my mom and my aunt, was one of the best things I have received when I got out here. She sent me lots of lovely things, like a cat apron, Polish bouillon cubes for Polish soup, and other wonderful surprises! I cried a little bit when I opened her package because it was such a wonderful surprise during difficult time! :’)

 

And now, I will just kind of breeze through some parts of January using photos!

Pimp My Ride: JAPAN

LOL just kidding, these are young adults at their coming of age ceremony (when  young adults turn 20 years old in Japan!). Our Taiko group played at their ceremony!

Ashley, Justin, and I walking home from Taiko! :P
Ashley and Justin playing arcade games!
January was the first time I got sick! :( I had to wear a face mask to work, ahhhh!!
We had a nabe party at Justin’s house! Nabe is a Japanese dish where you put vegetables and other things into a pot of boiling stock and you wait for it to finish! Cara had a nabe pot and brought it over. :)
It SNOWED in my town! :D
It was so much fun walking around in the snow before and after school!
At one point in January, one of my coworkers made me a bento box :’) Usually, Japanese moms and wives make these for their husbands and children, and since I live alone, I usually bring sad PB&J sandwiches… I used to make my lunches but this winter was just a little more difficult to do that in.
Look what was inside! :’) What a cute lunch!!!
Early morning mountains! <3

 

On January 23rd and 24th, my friends and I went to Osaka together to go to Universal Studios Japan and kind of check out the city a bit! :)

Everybody taking pictures of their ticket in front of the Universal globe. :P I did too!
Our first stop at UJ was… The Harry Potter area!!! Ford Anglia!!!!
Hogwart’s Express!!!
We all got butterbeer from this stand! :D It was very sweet and we couldn’t finish it, but we got fancy souvenir cups! :D
Owls in the rafters!
Hogwarts in the background!
This was our gigantic meal, which included chicken, corn, broccoli, and pumpkin juice!
There was even a lady with an owl!
Goodbye Hogwarts! D:

Quick video of things! Nothing fancy, just smushed everything together so I didn’t post multiple videos!

We had a pretty great time in Hogwarts, and while I was sad to leave it, I was excited to see more of USJ! Here are some of the rides we went on!

It was a lot of fun! :) Although I did get thrashed around and had to hold my h and against the side of my head to prevent it from hitting the wall.
Delorean!
USJ at night!
We stayed at USJ until pretty late, and then headed to our hostel, where we spent the night. The next morning we went to Spa World, where we got to soak in different themed spas from around the world and eat some Osaka cuisine, and then we headed home. :)
Okonomiyaki!
I even bought a Kiki mug! :D

 

The rest of Jan/February brought about more snow!

My train station covered in snow!
On my way to school.
My new BED! :D  HOW AWESOME IS THIS?! Sleeping on this mattress changed my life here, I swear. Not once have I regretted this purchase once I slept on it.

On Wednesday February 3rd, Japan celebrated a day called Setsubun. This occurs around the Lunar New Year, and the day before spring in Japan.  On Setsubun, individuals buy dried soy beans and eho-maki, which is a giant, uncut roll of sushi! You can see how bit it is by looking at the pictures! I recieved some soy beans and homemade eho-maki from the lady who works at the train station I pass through, which was very kind!

To celebrate Setesubun, you eat your eho-maki facing in the lucky direction for that year. This year, it was south-south-east I believe. My co-teacher told me we should do this silently, and eat the whole roll! You can also throw soybeans out your door, or at a family member dressed in a demon mask, while shouting “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (Demon out! Happiness in!). While this usually happens in a family household, you can also go to temples or shrines to view similar celebrations.

Eho-maki.
Soybeans!

Another thing I did in February was put up a bulletin board in my class! I hope to change this each month, but I am worried it will take a lot of effort already… I am also worried I will be at a loss for ideas! We will see!

 

I also got taken to Costco with my co-teacher! :D Costco in Japan was a welcome sight, because… it looks exactly like Costco in America! Except that in Japan, people make very long and orderly lines for samples… D:

Our spoils!
Thanks to our Costco trip, I was able to make nachos with cheese… :’)

And then the rest of the month in random pictures!

I got invited to a coworker’s house to make okonomiyaki! These are the same as the ones we ate in Osaka! Her husband is from Osaka and taught us how to make them. :)
Costco bagels, Costco bacon, Costco cheese… Japanese egg!!
Okinawan cuisine with friends! :D
Ramen festival in Nagoya!
Pictures of cats on a cat app that is popular in Japan!

And those were some moments in my Jan/Feb months! Next post will be about another trip to Kyoto and a trip to Iga, the Ninja City. :)

A

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