Kobe Days

34.6911° N, 135.1973° E


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47 prefectures update

Recently I’ve been thinking of a way to chronicle my attempt to visit all 47 prefectures in a more comprehensive way than my current method of recounting my trips. WordPress doesn’t make it easy to upload my photographs, arrange them in order, and write my posts, so I decided to try a new site and chronicle my travels by prefectures instead.

I’ve started writing some posts and have linked them back to my 47 prefectures page here, but if you’re interested in reading them all in one place, feel free to visit my new travel blog site ‘47 Prefectures‘ (original, ain’t I?).

I’ve only got a few places from my most current travels up now, but hopefully I’ll manage to get everything done there and not let all my pictures languish in the depths of my computer. XD

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Recap: Kyushu Day 2~3 Kumamoto

After a crazy loud reunion in Singlish late the night before, we headed out early the next morning to pick up our car. LQ and LC both had licences, so this trip we didn’t have to be at the mercy of public transportation. Yay!

So we headed off on our adventure towards Kumamoto. The plan was to head for the castle first. It was a nice, sunny day, and the park around the castle was filled with families. LC came upon a group of older men practising some kind of top-spinning, and they were happy to show us what they were doing. Sorry to say the pics will not be posted as they have our faces in them.

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We walked up to the gate and took some pictures, but chose not to go in because 1) we were working on a tight schedule (and I mean TIGHT), and 2) having been in Japan for close to a year now, most of us had enough of castles.

One thing we learnt though – just because a Japanese person has a hugeass professional-looking camera does not mean that he knows how to take good pictures. Best way to take a picture the way you like it? Take one the way you like it first, then show the person you’re asking. Japanese pictures tend to focus too much on the face and not enough on the scenery.

Clickie for more piccies.


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Recap: Kyushu Day 0~1 Yamaguchi/Fukuoka

As I’m trying to write this post I realized why I stopped putting up my travel posts. How do I write all my posts when it takes forever to upload my photos?!

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So I think it might be time to do some recap on my travel adventures. It’s been way too long, hasn’t it? Well. It’s a cliche, but better late than never, eh?

Anyway, the trip to Kyushu, which took place in Golden Week 2013 (I know, thank you very much), was planned between 5 Singaporeans from 5 different places – Hiroshima (WT), Hokkaido (LJ), Ishikawa (LQ), Miyagi (LC) and myself, Kobe. Just that alone would give you an idea of how difficult it was to plan, even with modern technology. Still, we managed it somehow. I was going to join them for the first part of the trip, then break off to do my own thing since they wanted to go to Oita, where I had already been. We arranged to meet at Fukuoka to kickstart our trip.

WT and myself planned to take landed transport to our destination. She was going to take a bus in the morning and I would take a overnight ferry. The other 3 would meet up at KIX and take a Peach flight down later in the day. With that planned, I set off to the ferry terminal for my first experience on the ferry.

As usual, click for piccies.


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In which I got extremely well-acquainted with 筋肉痛

I’ll admit that I’ve had very little interaction with snow. I’ve lived my whole life in a sunny tropical island and had never visited anywhere that was covered with white. (I suspect that’s because my dad hates that stuff.) Even in Japan, both my previous home and current home are situated in warm places.

So when Peach had a sale and we ended up heading to Sapporo for a March snowboard getaway, I found myself somewhere between excitement and dread. Lots of snow! Freezing temperatures! And snowboarding…something I have no idea if I actually can do without injuring myself. (It didn’t help that an acquaintance broke her wrist while snowboarding a couple of weeks before my own attempt.)

Our trip up north started on the Thursday before school actually ended, which meant I had to miss my ES graduation. I was gutted, but consoled myself with a message to be placed on their congratulations board. I knew I would still see most of them (minus those heading for private junior high schools), but they would no longer be “my” kids…and I really loved them.

Ah, well. しょうがない。 Back to the main story.

Click to read long yarn…


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I’m Dreaming of A White…CNY

All right, pardon the title. If I were more creative, I’d have been a writer, not an English teacher. 😛

So for the Japanese national day in February (fine, the correct name is 建国記念の日. Happy?), the 3 of us Kobe JETs decided to take a bus tour to see the light-up in Shirakawa-go. We had hoped to book accommodation in the valley itself, but that was impossible since it was a 3-day weekend. So, we settled for the next best thing – a guided tour to the valley including accommodations nearby.

We booked our trip through Club Tourism. Prices were not cheap, but it was okay for the itinerary they had to offer. We would depart Sannomiya early in the morning on the 9th, see the light-up that night, stay overnight at a hotel before visiting some other places in Gifu and Nagano. CNY was on the 10th, so we were going to be spending 除夕 in the hotel in the middle of the mountains. White CNY!

Continued here…


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Seoul Fun!

Sitting in the nice cool 26 degrees temperature in the comfort of my own house, I can’t help but cackle at the poor souls still freezing back in Kobe. Yes, I’m home for the second half of CNY! Maybe this will finally break the chain of colds I’d been suffering from for the whole of winter.

Anyway, now that I’m basically doing nothing for the next week, it’s about time for me to try and catch up with my blogging. Starting with my Seoul holiday at the end of last year!

Seoul is just 1.5h flight time away from Osaka, so it’s a place I really wanted to visit. When I let my thoughts known to my fellow ALT, she mentioned that her friend is an English teacher in Seoul and she visits often. She then casually suggested that we could go together at the end-of-year holiday. Ka-ching! (sound of my eyes lighting up)

With Peach offering awesomely low prices, we managed to get tickets for less than 20,000 yen. We took a couple of days off school, packed our bags, and switched modes from Japanese to Korean. 안녕하세요!

The following photos will chronicle briefly about the week I spent as an illiterate tourist. XD
Yep, hiding my photos again!


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Pumpkins, Kenshin and Momotaro

There has been a recent spike in the number of hits on my JET application post, something that I had been expecting since the application opened a week or so ago. Hopefully it has given some good tips to aspiring JETs. Good luck with your SOP writing, guys! If you have any questions, about SOP or reference letters or the forms, feel free to ask them here or in the Singapore thread on the official JET forums.

I’ve been thinking how to blog lately. Truth be told, my life has become pretty much normal since I’ve settled in, and there’s very little to update regularly. Those of you whom I know are reading this are also on my FB, and there you get to see my (much more) regular updates about my life and in a more timely fashion too. So, what can I put in this blog that would be interesting?

Give me a comment if you have any suggestions. Otherwise it’s likely that this blog is going to suffer an early demise. XP

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So, for Health-and-Sports Day (体育の日)I took the opportunity to run out of Kobe again to continue ticking prefectures off my list. This time round, a visit centred around the modern art-y island of Naoshima(直島).

I happened on the island when I was looking up possible destinations. It was a toss-up between Okayama and Tokushima until I saw a picture of the famous Pumpkin, which sealed my decision.

Despite Naoshima’s proximity to the mainland, administratively, it’s part of Kagawa. To get there, however, I had to first get to Okayama. So on that bright morning, I got onto a bus and headed westwards.
Too many pictures again…