Tuesday, 2 September 2014

That summer feeling

The summer slipped by as quickly as the heat wave(s) hit. Tottori is not joking around with the heat though, that is for sure! I quickly learned the word (あせ)! One of the hardest adjustments for me is honestly the heat, it is truly unbearable in Tottori. I managed to survive with a lot of a/c, and large bills to attest to that fact. However I can’t complain too much because this summer also included four visits from Dan-san. My heart was definitely full this summer and it was so much fun to have a couple unplanned spontaneous romantic weekends in there! It also meant the chance to show Daniel my cool new hometown! Tottori city is definitely small, and with all small town comes a few quirks. The biggest downfall in my eyes is the lack of Starbucks. Tottori really likes to promote small town, home grown everything from rice to coffee shops. So while there are no Starbucks(I want a Tottori mug!) we make up for it by a long shot with our incredible amount of coffee shops, traditional 喫茶店, bars and restaurants. We have it all, including a cute little German bar, complete with a ton of great Deutsch bier und bratwurst! The owner is from Germany which adds that extra fun feeling. I really love that down each winding road there are little hidden gems. Small cafes tucked away in corners where Japanese grandmas serve you lattes and entertain you with their general air of かわい!I think having Dan with me opened my eyes a little bit more to just how beautiful tottori is! 
Recently a new meat and wine restaurant opened up and the minute I saw it I knew I would like it, so Dan and I checked it out for a date night this past weekend. It was a bit overpriced for the portions but it was a fantastic atmosphere. I really felt like I was back in Vancouver. I enjoy being in Japan for the most part, but I really miss the feeling of a true foreign restaurant. Everything here is always 'Japanesed'. Always. always. This place however, was actually for the most part a nice wine bar with no real 'I have been Japanesed' feeling :) Afterwords we were walking towards the German bar for a drink when we came across a huge group of my students! They freaked out and when I confirmed that Dan was my boyfriend they all clapped and took pictures! It was really cute. Sometimes being the foreigner feels like being a celebrity and it is kind of fun:) The other restaurant that we really love is the revolving sushi place. The sushi is good, it comes fast (literally on a conveyor belt) and for every five plates a little game plays on your tables screen and you can win cute prizes! Dan won a little coffee cup charm! Oh, and we also enjoyed going to a fun placed called yama chans. It is basically a huge open room style 'pub' that offers the ever famous 'all you can drink'. Yama's is always a fun atmosphere and for ladies it is all you can drink for 100 minutes for about 11$!! Ya, it is a fun place!

100Yen sushi, aka 1$ a plate!!!
The Vancouver feeling!! Even though we had beer, not wine :

When we were not stuffing our faces we went to see some unique Tottori spots! We had the chance to go up to Kawaharajo, which is the castle in Tottori. It is about 20 years old, so it is a newborn as far as castles go, but the view is spectacular. It is one of my all time favorite spots, and a must see for any Tottori visitors!
View from Kawahara Castle

We took some time to check out Kanon-in Gardens and tea house too. This little tea house and buddhist temple is hard to find, but it is well worth it. It has a very peaceful atmosphere and the 300 yen entrance fee includes some mochi and matcha tea, omnomnom.
Exploring the gardens 
AOf course bringing my boyfriend to Tottori meant a few of my teachers wanted to meet him too. This past year I have really forged some awesome friendships with some women at my school. In particular I began teaching an 英会話 at my school and ended up connecting with all the women in the group. It is a good way for me to keep up with my tutoring materials, and it is a great way to learn some Japanese and connect with co workers. For any JET who complains about being bored...a conversation class will change it all! Luckily my school uses me to the full, but having the class also gives me a chance to form fun work relationships. When I told them my boyfriend was heading down for a weekend they immediately suggested we should go for dinner and drinks. I invited a couple from my building and my best friend in the building, Sarah, and we headed out to a gorgeous restaurant called Enya. It is basically an izakaya. So a drinking and dinner place. It has delicious fresh sushi, tons of other food and of course all the kirin beer you want! It was so much fun to introduce Dan and share them with the ladies in my group. Another perk of my conversation classes are the bijiin kai's we have, which means a beautiful lady party. haha, I love Japanese!

Bijin Kai fun!

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