Sunday, 18 January 2015

A Tottori Winter

Back in Japan for the rest of my contract. I have just under 7 months to fulfill my Japan bucket list items. Which at this point include surviving another summer season without melting and seeing professional sumo wrestlers do their thing.

Going home for Christmas was one of those things that left me with the feeling of ‘I don’t wanna go back…’ at the airport. However upon returning to my teeny, tiny mansion (the ironic Japanese word for an apartment) I was struck by the realization that this next 7 months (plus 3 weeks travelling) will be some exciting times. I already have trips planned for Okayama, Tokyo (twice) and Thailand!!

Last Monday I started off my year back with the traditional greetings. I learned a new one too: Kotoshimo yoroshiku onegaishimasu. I think I impressed some staff here by employing two of the set phrases they drone at each other once the New Year begins. I guess I can’t relate because we don’t put the same emphasis on the phrase ‘happy new years’ in Canada. At home it is more kosher to ask how someone’s winter vacation was than to just bleat ‘happy new year’s!’ at them and bow. Oh well, when in Japan.  

The school life here ebbs and flows, so for the first two days back I was busy studying Japanese and researching future jobs in the esl world. The second two days back I was marking 600 student essay responses on the achievement tests. Sound overwhelming? It was, but I am a fast marker and thankfully I was able to finish most of them before the weekend hit. One stand out moment of the first week back was eating a traditional new years meal!! The school nurse, who is also a great friend, made me homemade zoni (a red bean soup with mocha) and cherry blossom tea (salty. salty. salty) It was such a fun way to experience a part of the Japanese culture!
I made it through the first few days back and then last Thursday night meant the arrival of a special someone from Hokkaido. The winter there is absolutely brutal, so D is staying for over a week! In a long distance relationship longer than 4 days is something to get excited about!!  We didn’t make too many set plans, but one thing we planned for and nicely executed was our own Christmas. My hello kitty tree was decked out in candy canes and we sipped mulled wine, had a fancy meal at the French restaurant in town and exchanged Christmas gifts with Michael Buble filling my room. Dan is the best and got me a cute little fitbit as one of my Christmas gifts. I love exercise and tracking my steps, calories, km’s so it was a totally cute gift that I have already put to good use. Plus it is pink!! We both love coffee and trying new places to eat so we have hit up some favs and some new spots including, Birds Nest café, La Bar, St. Marcs, The Green Room, Kohane coffee and an Okonomiyaki place and Jupiter (many times, many foreign foods)

cold runs. brrrr. 
Dan and I didn't just eat out tho- we also enjoyed a ton of walking and two jogs (one in snow!) and a few nights he cooked! He put togethor a delicious shepards pie for me that was amazing. 

Today I turned the big 2-7 so last Friday a few of us went out for an evening of drinks and food at Doma Doma. I went there last year for my birthday and it is conveniently located and well-priced, plus it has the ever famous nomihoudai that all Jets would agree is an important part of the experience. We laughed a lot and after a few good hours a few of us set out to find a quieter spot for some dessert. We decided to try out Mobs, which is a bar that apparently used to be the gaijin hangout. The dessert was delicious and we had a good time mellowing out after the nomihoudai ruckus at dinner.  
winter drink with the cutest model, Sarah

Today D and I went out for brunch and then we went to the cat cafe! Cat cafe kitty blue is one of my favourite places in Tottori. It is a quiet, sweet atmosphere where fluffy cats and sassy cats and every kind of cat in between live. Some of them jump on top of you and others want nothing to do with you (in good cat fashion) but it always makes me so happy. Anyways D has never been to a cat cafe so I think he was surprised by how much he enjoyed it, and how he literally had the cats eating treats out of his hand! 
birthday feast of champions!
I am so blessed as last night he took me out to cafe source for a birthday dinner feast, and gave me a beautiful pair of earrings he chose for me in Texas and slippers that I might have tried to steal from him last time. So he bought me my own pair :)  
Even though I am heading to Tokyo in three weeks and will see him again, I hate thinking about how we have to have another 3 weeks apart. This will be my fourth time in Tokyo though and I am pretty excited. I am hoping to take a day trip to see Mt. Fuji and maybe also check out a        wonderfully weird theme café!!

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