Where do we go from here?

So a few months ago a pretty big decision was made, and as I sit here looking out over a pink Fuji, sunrise spilling over the mountains and reflecting off the snow, I can’t help but think on it. That decision was to re-contract in Japan, putting off our permanent departure from this coming summer …

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Isolation and Teaching in Japan

There’s nothing like the arrival of someone new into your life to make you question where you stand. Especially when that someone is starting from the exact same point you did years ago. I have a new co-ALT (Assistant Language Teacher), and she’s warm, kind and funny. We get along really well and I feel …

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The Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Daisetsuzan National Park – Part 2: The Gear (7 Day Hiking Kit List)

When planning for a mammoth seven-day hike across Daisetsuzan I found myself faced with all kinds of perplexing research, facts and questionable gear recommendations. Having only completed two-day hikes, with a convenient overnight stop at a mountainside hut, I was feeling the pressure to get the planning right. This gear guide is a summary of …

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七夕 Tanabata Festival: The Festival of Lovers in the Stars

Orihime and Hikoboshi, lovers separated across the Milky Way, are allowed to meet once a year. Represented by the stars Vega and Altair their meeting is a time of wish granting for lovers and hard workers. On the 7th day, of the 7th month of the lunisolar calendar, they are permitted to meet, and the …

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Finding my Kanji Name and Japanese Naming Conventions

Kanji learning is a scary activity for those learning Japanese. Not only are there 20,000+ characters (2,136 being the literacy requirement) but each one has multiple meanings and pronunciations. I know, right! The size of it all, and the sheer cultural dissimilarity, is massively intimidating. But it is endlessly fascinating for those interested in language, …

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ジプリ 美術館: The Ghibli Museum

Pastel palette colours wave smoothly over the unexpected turns and asymmetric designs. Windows, varying in shape and placement, are frothing with leafy green vines. The huggable mass spills over the building like the froth from a pint of beer. It shimmers in the sun as a breeze passes. So far, the architect has succeeded in …

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地獄谷野猿公苑 Jigokudani Monkey Park: Japan’s Famous Snow Monkeys

Up an entirely missable path to the side of a log cabin, we trot in single file. On either side of us snow banks rise up, emanating a dull blue world towards us, and it presses in on our uncovered skin. It's a stark difference from the previously ploughed and sunny road we were walking on, …

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