Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Jenna in Japan

My Random Adventures in Japan

Friday, May 6, 2011

Grocery Shopping in Japan

I was going through my posts and I found this one that I never posted. I wrote most of this back in October, though I edited it a little bit. It seems a bit weird to post this now, but I might as well because I put work into writing it. Anyways... here it is:

I did a post about how awesome 100 yen stores are, but not everything in Japan is that cheap. Groceries are expensive, especially out in the country. Another thing is that the packaging of things is very small. I think the only thing I see sold in bigger packages here than in America is soy sauce. Sometimes the prices don't seem so bad, but then I go through my groceries so quickly!

Now I'll put a picture of what I bought at the grocery and list how much everything cost. If you're in the US, you can easily convert the values by putting in a decimal point. So something that is 150 yen is roughly $1.50. Though actually it's not exactly 100 yen per dollar, so 150 yen would actually be a little more than $1.50.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Plane Ride Back

I am now back in the US. I flew back home on March 22nd. Yeah... that's over a month ago... :P I'm slow to update now.

I took the Keisei Skyliner to Narita Airport early that afternoon. It was pretty uneventful and I didn't have too hard of a time lugging around two suitcases because it wasn't very crowded.

After I showed my passport to some guy to enter the airport I continued walking but was soon stopped by a policeman who wanted me to show him my passport. He then took some of my information. I had no idea what was going on. It was very strange. As I was walking away I realized I had given him an incorrect phone number because my phone number in Japan was very similar to my phone number in the US. Haha, oh well.

I then made my way to the check-in counter. However, when they weighed my suitcases, one of them was way over the weight limit. So then I had to go to the side and switch things out. It was a bit frustrating because I had worked hard to pack everything pretty nicely. I also had to put more into my carry-on backpack and I hate heavy backpacks. But at least I was able to make everything work. :)

Then I went through security (the line was very short, yay!), found my gate, and then wandered around for a bit. I had seen something about an origami museum on a sign so I looked for that. 

It was more like a store with some displays than a formal museum, but it was very cool! The origami displays were so intricate!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Last Trip to Tokyo

I moved out of my apartment Saturday morning. Despite the blackout Friday night, I was still able to get most of my last minute packing done. I woke up early Saturday morning to finish packing and cleaning my apartment.

My IC (a translator/helper hired by Interac) arrived around 9 and we packed my things into her car and waited for some people to come so that I could pay my final electric and gas bills. My IC drove me to Mishima and by 11 or 12 I was on a shinkansen on my way to Tokyo.

It didn't feel weird to leave Toi like I thought it would. It didn't feel like I was leaving. I think that's partly because I didn't have to completely clean out my apartment. When I left, there was still furniture, dishes, cleaning supplies and more. So the apartment never had that bare feeling that most places have before moving.

Earlier in the week higher than normal radiation levels had been detected in Tokyo, but they still hadn't reached dangerous levels. I kept checking the situation and decided that it was safe to go. But I wondered how Tokyo would be. I had heard that at times the streets had been almost empty but I wondered if that was still true.

When I reached Tokyo station there were plenty of people, but the station was kind of dark. They were only using about half the lighting as normal. Also, most escalators were turned off so I had to search around for elevators because I had two suitcases, a backpack, and a shopping bag of shoes I hadn't managed to fit in my suitcases.

I left one suitcase in a locker in the station and took the rest of my stuff to my hotel in Akihabara. By that time I was really hungry and didn't want to search around for food. So I went to a nearby McDonald's. I had a Happy Set, Shake Shake Chicken, and grape Fanta. I was excited because they had pizza flavor for the Shake Shake chicken which I hadn't had before. It was good! :)

I wandered around Akihabara a bit after lunch. First I went into Yodobashi Camera. Like the train stations, they were also reducing their electricity. Some of the lighting was turned off and many displays were turned off, but it wasn't really that different. It was still as crowded as usual.

Last Days of School

 My last day of elementary school was on March 15th. I got to watch part of the practice graduation ceremony. The students sang several songs. There was the school song which everyone sang together, a song that all the students sang, a song that just the 6th graders sang, and maybe one other. I remember how some students at my elementary school complained that we had to sing one song (I Believe I Can Fly), lol.

Several classes gave me going away gifts.

The 5th grade class gave me a picture of the whole school, and all the 5th grade students signed it.

The present from the 4th graders was my favorite. After they presented it to me at the end of class, they all sang a song for me while the teacher played the guitar. It was so cute!

Each student made origami for me. Some of them were really fancy! I also love how the sign says "Good by." Haha. 

I didn't teach 3rd grade that day, but the whole class came to the staff room to give me a poster. Each student in the class drew a picture. Several of them drew pictures of them playing 4 Corners, which was their favorite game.

These have nothing to do with the last day of school, but there was one student who liked to come to my desk and cut out paper dolphins for me. She cut them out really fast so she must make them a lot.

The 18th was my last day at the junior high school. In the morning there was a "completion celebration" for the 1st and 2nd graders. It was a boring ceremony with speeches and a lot of bowing. In the afternoon we had the graduation ceremony for the 3rd graders. It was an even longer and more boring ceremony with even more speeches and bowing. Plus, like the elementary school, they sang several songs. Towards the end the students went up as their names were called and received their diplomas from the principal just like an American ceremony. But overall the ceremony was pretty different than an American one because the whole school was involved. At my schools in America, underclassmen didn't have to attend (and usually didn't unless they had a sibling graduating) graduation ceremonies.

Japanese school ceremonies are so much more formal than American ones. I thought it was interesting at the opening ceremony, but throughout the year I kind of got tired of the formality.

At the end of the day a teacher gave me books that each class had made. Each book contained letters written to me by every student in the school. Some of them are in English, some in Japanese, and some a little of both. Luckily the students used pretty simple Japanese so I can read and understand most of them.

I don't have any pictures of those books right now, but I do have some pictures of random student drawings throughout the year.

Those two pictures are from when the elementary students played Pictionary. 

When the 1st grade junior high class learned the verb "can" we did an activity where I asked the students, "Can you draw Pikachu?" and then they had a couple minutes to draw Pikachu.

Ummm... or several students I think the answer to that question is, "No, I can't," lol. Though some students did well. I picked this one as the winner.

Overall I had a fun year teaching at both of those schools and it was the best job I've ever had, but I wasn't that sad it was over. One year of teaching was enough.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Randomness! Food, Shopping, and More!

Well, here's one last post of random stuff. Though my Tokyo post will have plenty of randomness as well.

This was a box of Hojicha Kit Kats. Hojicha is a type of green tea that originated in Kyoto. I bought these when I was in Kyoto back in the fall. I put them in the cabinet and kind of forgot about them and didn't eat them until February. They were really good! They are one of my favorite Kit Kats. I wish I had tried them earlier so that I could have bought some more when I went back to Kyoto in December.

I saw this bush every time I walked to school or went shopping. It has a face!

The aloe grows like crazy! It's kinda ugly really, but the flowers are neat.

 Strawberry sandwiches are awesome. :) They have strawberries, cream, and pudding.

Big Bang shirts at Uniqlo

tiny pieces of chocolate

I made soup. Well, sort of. There wasn't a lot of broth. I used soba noodles, cabbage, mushrooms, onion, and shiro dashi.


bento from the grocery store

big slices of bread, peach juice, and Crisp Choco (like chocolate corn flakes melted together, yum!)

sweet puffy stuff for Hina Matsuri (doll festival)

It snowed! In Toi! In March! It was above freezing though so it didn't stick.

I bought this adorable box of tissues from 7-11.

Ugh! This photo refuses to rotate. Anways, I bought this candy from the grocery store. It looked similar to candy I bought in Kyoto, which wasn't awesome but wasn't bad. This was so cute so I couldn't pass it up. Unfortunately, a lot of it was actually gross. Some of them were just normal gummy stuff which was okay, but others were weird and mushy. 

I bought this candy in December in Kyoto. I wouldn't let my boyfriend eat any because I wanted to take a picture of it first. I kind of forgot about it for a while and didn't eat it until March, lol. It was okay. It was a little bit too sweet. I ate some of it, but I didn't finish it before I moved.

I'm really going to miss random sandwiches like this one which is pudding cream. It was good, but not as good as the cream soda one, lol.

I love seeing Fuji-san from ordinary places. This picture was taken from Mos Burger in Numazu.

I've mentioned Sun to Moon many times. That's what it looks like.

 inside of Sun to Moon

Sun to Moon has an escalator ramp. I went up it once, but it was just a day care or something up there.

view of Fuji-san from Sun to Moon

I pass by this sign when I go to Sun to Moon. I wonder if they really meant to put "flesh" or if they meant to put "fresh." It kind of works both ways. :P

cranberry and cream cheese doughnut from Mr. Donut

Taiyaki shaped candy

 Soba boro cookies are made from buckwheat flour (like soba noodles). Yum. :)

Strawberry bread! It was slightly pink! :)

random chips (white, black, and red pepper flavored) with a cute character on the package

 Hello Kitty apple tea :)

squares of chocolate with mango cream

ice cream cone candy, orange Fanta hi-chew (like Starbursts), and 
harusame (made from potato or bean starch) cup noodles

I bought a lot of stickers for my scrapbook.

I really wanted some pineapple juice but my grocery didn't have any right then, but I found guava juice, which made me very happy. :)

I shipped many boxes of stuff home. Many of them looked like this. The awesome tape is from a 100 yen store. The English on it is pretty horrible, lol.

"Celebrate that you birth with my whole heart."
"I celabrate you birth."
"Today is happy day."
"Happy birthday. Really!"

I hope you enjoyed this super random post!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Last Weekend in Toi

I'm back in America now, but I have some catching up to do. In the next few days I plan to do several posts about my last weeks in Japan.

I had planned on going to Tokyo on the 12th and 13th of March, but I ended not going because of the earthquake. I thought about going somewhere else, but there wasn't much time to plan so I decided to stay in Toi. I wanted to explore the town one last time. Plus, I had quite a bit of packing left.

On Sunday I started out by going to Toi Shrine.

That's a random store near Toi Shrine (I never went in the store though).

Toi Shrine

One of the 3rd grade junior high students walked by and saw me taking pictures of the shrine. So he asked me, "Shall I take your picture?" and took a picture of me by a large tree. Then I wandered down the street towards Anrakuji Temple.

I found a small park I hadn't seen before. There wasn't much there though.

Anrakuji's entrance gate

garden in front of Anrakuji

Near the entrance of the temple are stairs going up a hill. They lead to a cemetery. This was my second time visiting the cemetery. I loved it just as much as the first time. It's my favorite place in Toi. Maybe that's weird, but I really love how Japanese cemeteries look. Plus this cemetery has great views overlooking the town.

I walked up the hill through the cemetery and down the other side to Seiunji Temple.

But before I got to Seiunji, I passed this building:

Now here are a few pictures from Seiunji.

The entrance for Seiunji is between the city office and the elementary school.

Then I just walked around some random streets for a while.

I took this picture, and the next one, between a space in a bamboo fence. I think this is part of a ryokan.

Sakura! :)

trash shed painted with a ferry ad

"We know that there is a moment only a piece of cigarette make our life rich and joyful." Huh?

After wandering random streets and alleys for a while, I eventually got to the shore and walked along the road to the Travelers' Point one last time.

Then I walked back towards town and walked along the beach to 7-11.

I bought many of my favorite things at 7-11. :)

I ended up being glad that I had stayed in Toi. It was a great day for walking around and taking pictures. It was sunny and warm enough to not need a coat. I wont miss Toi a whole lot because it was so small and there wasn't much to do, but I'll miss days like that. Just wandering around a town like that in America isn't nearly as interesting to me.