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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter Break Part 1: Ueno Zoo and Harajuku

On December 21st Jonathan and I went to Tokyo. It was a clear day and on the way there we had some great views of Mt. Fuji!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

October and November Randomness

In early October I went out to eat with someone from work and we went to Bombeiya. It was a very small restaurant that was in a rural area so I never would have found it myself. I don't have any of my own pictures from that day, so I got some from a website.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fall Trip Part 6: Higashiyama and Kodaiji

After Kiyomizudera, we headed towards Kodaiji. I had originally planned for us to go there after Kiyomizudera on Saturday night, but of course that didn't happen because of the crowds. But luckily we hadn't really planned anything for Monday anyway so it worked out fine.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fall Trip Part 5: Fall Leaves at Kiyomizudera

On Monday the 24th, our last day in Kyoto, we went to Kiyomizudera. This time we actually made it! We had failed a couple of days before. :(

First we had to check in our luggage at the station again. I thought the line wouldn't be that bad that day, but I think it was actually a bit longer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fall Trip Part 4: Spa World

After a nice afternoon walking around Minoo Park we went to Spa World, an onsen. We hadn't eaten dinner yet and planned on eating dinner near Spa World. However, when we got off the train at Shin-Imamiya Station, we didn't find anything to eat. There wasn't much there at all. It was a very boring area.

So then we went ahead to Spa World. I was amused by the sign at the entrance.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fall Trip Part 3: Minoo Park

On Sunday the 23rd Jonathan and I went to Minoo Park in northern Osaka. But first we stopped at Namba Station on the way to eat breakfast at Starbucks.

Fall Trip Part 2: Attempting to go to Kiyomizudera

After Daitokuji we headed toward Kiyomizudera to see the night illuminations. It usually isn't open at night, but they have special night hours in the fall.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fall Trip Part 1: Fall Colors at Daitokuji

Last weekend was a three day weekend so we went to Kyoto to see the fall colors. We left early in the morning and arrived in Kyoto a little bit after 11. First we had to wait in a line for about 30-45 minutes to leave our stuff in the luggage room because of the crazy amount of people visiting Kyoto that weekend. I had known that all the coin lockers would be full so I had looked up alternatives beforehand, but I hadn't expected such a long line! Not fun.

After getting rid of our stuff, we got lunch from a bakery. I had a chicken sandwich and a delicious walnut and banana chip pastry. Soooo tasty!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Jubilo Iwata 10k - 2014

On November 16th, I ran my second 10k race. I ran in the Jubilo Iwata Marathon 10k. I also participated in the same race last year.

During the race some photographers took pictures of everyone and there is a website where I can buy them. It's a really neat system because it finds the pictures of you based on your running number. They're really expensive though. :( Just a digital download of one photo is almost 900 yen. Somehow I think I can get one free smartphone download though, so I'll have to see if I can use Jonathan's phone for that.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Futamata Castle Ruins

Last Saturday Jonathan and I biked to Tenryu. Before heading out on our adventure, we got lunch from 7-Eleven.

I had ham and egg salad sandwiches, Pringles, tea (that came with a cute Korilakkuma bottle topper!), and a Snickers bar. The Pringles were dill pickle flavored and we both liked them. They reminded me of when you get a sandwich, chips and a pickle somewhere and the pickle juice gets on the chips.

I didn't take any pictures until we got to Tenryu because we've biked that route several times now. In Tenryu I took a picture of the cute karaoke place!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tokyo Part 8: Meiji Shrine

I visited Meiji Shrine back in the summer of 2010, but there was a dance performance going on. That was really cool to see, but I wasn't able to walk around and really see the place very much, plus my camera was almost dead then. So this was my first time to walk around and be able to take more pictures.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tokyo Part 7: Sunshine and Fall Colors in Harajuku

After a wonderful morning at Rikugien, I went to Ikebukuro to buy the red skirt at SI2C in Sunshine City.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tokyo Part 6: Rikugien Garden

On Monday morning I went to Rikugien, a very nice garden in Tokyo. I visited it once before, back in the summer of 2010, and was glad to finally go again.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tokyo Part 5: Ikebukuro and Harajuku

After Shibuya, I went to Ikebukuro.

I was amused by the mannequins in the window display of Uniqlo.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tokyo Part 4: Shinjuku and Shibuya

After Shin-Okubo I went to Shinjuku, which is just one stop away on the Yamanote Line.

First, I headed to Marui Annex, which has many lolita stores.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tokyo Part 3: Shin-Okubo (Korean Boy Band Land)

When I woke up Saturday morning I was excited to see the sun shining! I ate breakfast at the hotel and then headed to Shin-Okubo, which is Tokyo's Korean town.

Tokyo Part 2: Cat Cafe Nekorobi

After Harajuku I headed back to Ikebukuro to visit a cat cafe called Nekorobi. I didn't have any trouble finding it and was soon in kitty wonderland!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tokyo Part 1: A Rainy Day in Harajuku

This past weekend was a three-day weekend and I finally went to Tokyo! I hadn't been there since the spring (unless you count passing through to go to the airport). I left a little after 7 and arrived in Tokyo around noon. I dropped my suitcase off at my hotel in Ikebukuro and ate lunch at Becker's outside of the station.

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween! Costumes are so much fun!!!! I didn't go anywhere for Halloween, but I still wanted to dress up in my lolita outfit. I had planned on buying more stuff for my outfit in Tokyo, but that trip was postponed so I didn't get to do that.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

September Randomness: Sailor Moon Toys, Tasty Food, and a Rainbow

I was planning on going to Tokyo this weekend, but I canceled those plans because a typhoon is coming. It looks like now it won't be much by the time it reaches Tokyo, but oh well. A lot of rain had been in the forecast and it didn't look like it would be a nice weekend at all. Though I think it was clear yesterday and I just checked today's forecast and it's clear again there today. It's ok though because I will just go in a few weeks instead.

I saw a new series of Sailor Moon gachaphon toys when I was at Seiyu.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lake Sanaru

This past Saturday Jonathan and I biked to Lake Sanaru in Hamamatsu. We drove there in early summer last year, but this was my first time to bike there. The beginning of the bike ride wasn't very pleasant because the road was busy and at some times the sidewalk wasn't wide enough so we had to ride on the street. But towards the end we went through a short, but nice, pedestrian/bike only area that used to be an old train line.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Trip to America

In August I spent about three weeks in the US. It was nice to go back there for a little while. The flight to the US wasn't bad at all. I can't sleep on planes but I usually try and then get restless because I want to sleep but can't. This time I just knew I wasn't going to sleep and didn't really try, but then I ended up sleeping a bit. Probably only for a few minutes at a time though.  

We had a layover in Atlanta. We ate lunch or dinner or whatever you eat after being up for so long. We ate breakfast and lunch before the flight from Narita and two meals on the plane so who knows, lol. Anyways, we got food from Qdoba. When the woman working there asked if I wanted salsa I answered "hai" which is "yes" in Japanese. Oops, haha. I quickly corrected myself though.

We had a pretty view of the sunset as we landed in Lexington.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shirahama Beach and Fireworks in Atami

Last week I got back to Japan after visiting the US for about three weeks. I had a really good time and will do a post about that soon.

The day before flying to the US, Jonathan and I spent a day at Shirahama Beach in Shimoda. We also went there last year: A Day at Shirahama Beach in Shimoda.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Differences Between Japanese and American Junior High Schools

typical Japanese junior high school - picture from Wikipedia
There are a lot of differences between junior high schools in Japan and America. I have taught at four different junior high schools in three different cities in Japan. Besides the number of students, the schools have been very similar. Schools in Japan vary less than they do in the US. Schools can vary quite a bit in the US, and I only have experience with one, so not everything I say may be true for all American schools. But some things are still pretty standard.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Randomness: Cuteness and Deliciousness

I'm finally on summer break! Well, I've sort of been on break for the past week, but I've had to go to school for an hour or two every day to help with English speech contest practice. So it hasn't been too bad, but I've still had to get up early. But now I'm free! :)

Anyway... here are some random pictures from July.

Loft in Hamamatsu Station had a cool Nano Block train set display. They also had a large castle.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Climbed Mt. Fuji! A third time!

This past weekend I climbed Mt. Fuji for the third time because Jonathan really wanted to climb it again. I didn't really want to do it again, but a couple weeks ago I looked at my pictures from last year and started getting excited about it.

Here are posts from the previous two times:
Fujisan! I Climbed a Volcano!
I Climbed Mt. Fuji Again!

On Friday, the day before our climb, we made taco salad for dinner and I drank an Inca Kola. I had no idea that it had caffeine. Well, it turns out that it has about the same amount as Mountain Dew. I don't do well with caffeine late in the day. Plus I rarely drink caffeine so it can really affect me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

May and June Randomness: Baked Kit Kats, Stickers, and More

I took that picture outside of Jonathan's apartment because of the pink house. I love colored houses!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dry Ice, Bowling, and Sailor Moon Crystal

It's Saturday night right now (well, technically Sunday morning) and so far this weekend has been a lot of fun!

It started off with a nice day at school on Friday. Okay, not the weekend, but I'll just include it in this post. Anyway... I spent the day at my favorite elementary school. It's very small and only has 22 students! I didn't have any classes in the morning, but I was invited to the kindergarten (which is connected to the elementary school) to decorate for Tanabata (you can click that to read about it on Wikipedia). Besides decorations and writing wishes, there's not a whole lot done to celebrate Tanabata, but I think it's really cute. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My New Apartment

I've lived in this apartment for about two and a half months now. I've been wanting to take a video for a while and finally got around to it today.

I really like my new apartment. It's in a great location and I've decorated it with a lot of cute stuff. I like the layout better than my last apartment because I like the bed area better and the toilet isn't right across from the stove and fridge haha. Plus I really love the shelf space above the closet where I can display a bunch of my stuffed animals. Though I did have a little bit more counter space and kitchen storage in my last apartment, but I've gotten some shelves and stuff to make up for that.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Grilling by the River

A few weeks ago Jonathan bought a small grill at Seiyu. The past few weekends we have grilled at the park by Tenyru River near Jonathan's apartment.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Biking to Shishigahana Park

Two weekends ago Jonathan and I biked to Shishigahana Park in northern Iwata.

On the way there we stopped to eat the lunches we bought at a konbini earlier.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

March and April Randomness: Cute Doughnuts and More

Easter isn't celebrated in Japan and it's really hard to find anything Easter themed. I saw a few small cookies at Kaldi, special ice cream flavors and egg shaped cups at Baskin Robbins, and these doughnuts at Krispy Kreme. That's it. 

Golden Week Part Two: Biking to the Kite Festival

After biking to Tenryu on Saturday, we set out on another biking adventure on Sunday. This time we headed south to go to the kite festival which is part of the Hamamatsu Matsuri.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Golden Week Part One: Biking to Tenryu

May 3rd through 6th was Golden Week. Golden Week is several holidays all around the same time. It's more of a long weekend than a week though.

On Saturday the 3rd Jonathan and I biked to a waterfall in Tenryu in northern Hamamatsu. Jonathan had randomly come across the waterfall when biking while I was in Tokyo with Lauren.

We crossed Tenryu River into Iwata and biked north from there because it's a bit more pleasant than biking on the Hamamatsu side. 

A Pretty Day at Hamamatsu Flower Park


A little over two weeks ago Jonathan and I spent a Saturday at the Hamamatsu Flower Park. We also went there last year and you can read more about it here.

First we stopped and got lunch at a 7-Eleven. I don't remember what I had (egg salad sandwiches, salad, and chips most likely) but I had a nice grapefruit soda to drink. It had more juice than a typical soda so it was really good.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Spring Break Part 13: Row, Row, Row Your Boat

This is my last post about my spring break. I'm finally finishing them over a month later!

The next day Jonathan and I went to Shinjuku Park. Like Ueno Park, the trees were past their peak but still beautiful. There were a lot more people than when Lauren and I went because it wasn't raining.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spring Break Part 12: Sakura, Kitties, and Karaoke

I spent the next couple of days organizing my new apartment a bit and visiting some of my new schools. Then on Friday, April 4th I went back to Tokyo, but this time I was with Jonathan.

We left pretty early in the morning and were in Tokyo by lunch time. We went to Odaiba first to eat at the Indian buffet there. Yum!

 After eating way too much we spent some time in the arcade and on the beach.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring Break Part 11: Harajuku Again! Buying a Lolita Dress!

The 31st was Lauren's last day in Japan. She had to get on a train around noon so we didn't have any time to do anything exciting that day. But she did make it down to the free breakfast at Toyoko Inn for the first time! She never went to the Toyoko Inn breakfast the first time she visited Japan so it was kind of a joke whether or not she would ever go this time.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Break Part 10: Sakura in Shinjuku and Ueno


Sunday the 30th was Lauren's last full day in Japan. Earlier in the trip it looked like Lauren would leave before many sakura (cherry blossoms) would be blooming. The best days for viewing in Tokyo were supposed to be the 4th to the 6th or somewhere around there (though later I think they were moved to like the 2nd or 3rd or something). So we planned on seeing sakura on her last day here so that we would be more likely to see more.

However, they bloomed a bit earlier than that forecast and we got to see most trees in full bloom that day! Unfortunately when we went to Shinjuku Park that morning it was raining, but the trees were still beautiful.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring Break Part 9: Harajuku and Matsujun

On Saturday the 29th Lauren I went back to Harajuku. But first we stopped at Subway in Oimachi for lunch.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring Break Part 8: Odaiba


On Friday the 28th Lauren and I went to Odaiba. I've been there several times, but it was Lauren's first time. First we went to Decks. There were weird signs leading to the bathroom.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Break Part 7: Nikko

On the 27th Lauren and I went to Nikko, which is famous for the elaborate Toshogu Shrine. Unfortunately the Yomeimon gate is under renovations and covered up. That gate is usually what is shown in pictures of Toshogu Shine so I didn't know if it was really worth going or not. But it's under construction until 2019, I've wanted to go to Nikko for a while, and we hadn't gone to Kyoto or any other culturally touristy place yet, so we went.

Lauren found out about a good train pass online. It's called the 2 Day Nikko pass and it includes the round-trip train fare from Asakusa to Tobu-Nikko Station and unlimited bus rides in Nikko. It was only 2,600 yen (It's now 2,670 because of the tax increase on April 1st.). We were only going for a day trip but it's good for two days so it would still be good if you spent the night in Nikko.

We were pretty rushed to make it to the station on time, but we got to Asakusa Station just in time to find the office to buy our tickets. The woman who helped was was super efficient. She sold us our tickets, gave us some brochures, and explained a lot of information very well very very quickly! So we made it onto the 10:40 train just in time. We were lucky because the next train that we could have used with that pass wasn't until 12:40! Though I think if that had happened we just would have paid a bit extra and taken the limited express train at 11. You can still use the 2 Day Pass but have to pay an extra fare.

The train took about two hours and twenty minutes, but the train wasn't too crowded and it was a pleasant ride, though I kind of half slept part of the time.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring Break Part 6: Akihabara


On Wednesday the 26th we returned to Tokyo. We had stayed up late the night before so we didn't leave my apartment until almost noon.

We took the red train line from my apartment to Hamamatsu Station. It was rainy and gross out, but Lauren took a few pictures of the view from the train.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Break Part 5: Sakura and Color Changing Dolphins


On Tuesday the 25th Lauren and I went to downtown Hamamatsu. I had eaten a late breakfast or something so I wasn't very hungry, but Lauren got potato butter corn ramen for lunch. I just had some gyoza.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Break Part 4: Sushi, Shopping, and Spocha


We spent the 22nd through the 25th in Iwata and Hamamatsu. I had to move to my new apartment on the 23rd and then take care of paperwork stuff on the 24th.

The above picture is what I had for breakfast on the 22nd. It was sakura peach tea and corn bread. It obviously wasn't cornbread like in America. It was bread with whole pieces of corn it it. The tea wasn't great but I enjoyed the bread.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Break Part 3: Haneda Airport, Ginza, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum


Friday the 21st was our last day in Tokyo for a few days (I had to go back to Iwata to move apartments). Lauren wanted to go to the Edo-Tokyo Museum so that's what we did that day.

First though, Lauren had to exchange some more travelers checks. We probably could have found a closer place to take care of them, but we just went back to Haneda airport.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Break Part 2: A Lolita Fashion Makeover and Starry Parfaits


Our second full day in Tokyo was spent doing lolita shopping. Lolita fashion (NOT the book) is a super cute style of fashion in Japan.

The Wikipedia article about it is pretty good: "Lolita fashion (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon?) is a fashion subculture originating in Japan that is based on Victorian-era clothing, but the style has expanded greatly beyond Japan. The Lolita look began primarily as one of modesty with a focus on quality in both material and manufacture of garments. The original silhouette is of a knee length skirt or dress with a "cupcake" shape assisted by petticoats, but has expanded into various types of garments including corsets and floor length skirts. Blouses, knee high socks or stockings and headdresses are also worn. Lolita fashion has evolved into several different sub styles and has a subculture that is present in many parts of the world."