Yikes! It's been almost three weeks since my last post! Tempus fugit, and all that jazz! Right, so what's been going on?
Saturday 5th we headed down south to Toki to a western-style outlet mall. To see so many recognisable names was great, as at this point I think all of us first years were getting a bit homesick. We all managed to come away with a bag or two of gifts for ourselves or others.
The next day I headed north to Matsumoto for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I probably opted to take it too early in my studying, but I decided to go for it anyway. The test was in three parts, the entire thing drawn out to cover most of a morning and early afternoon. I think I managed to nail the kanji and vocab parts, but the listening part was pretty tough. Ah well, if I fail level 4 this year I'll take level 3 in a years time. I can only hope my skills are much more impressive, which I'm sure they will be!
A couple of weeks ago, finally, after much thought and deliberation, I shelled out for a truly wonderful and shiny new Digital SLR! The joy of living in Japan meant it was so much cheaper than in the UK, almost by half, and arrived in two days! I've already taken an array of fantastic shots (including the ones on this post) which have fully justified the expenditure. Merry Christmas me!
In the same week JET's congregated in Ina for the Oshiba Tour. We tried on kimonos, had a fantastic meal at a posh ryouken, and took a wander around the surrounding site. When we were given the option of using the onsen facilities I took the time to get out, buy a nice blueberry bun, and sit by the lake taking pictures.
Oshiba ryouken room.
On the same weekend a couple of us headed to Nagoya, the nearest metropolis to us. It was my first visit there, and reminded me very much of what it was, a big city. Nonetheless, Ben, Bryce and me had some amazing Mexican food, a meal at the Outback Steakhouse (wow!), did some shopping, and found the international store, which obviously sells lots of lovely international food! Hello Cadburys! Hello Heinz! Hello Lea & Perrins!
Er... Bien Venido a Los Tacos!
Lovely light display on Nagoya station.
Amaaaaaaazing deep-fried onion thing at Outback Steakhouse.
The last week in Japan saw my Taiko and Karate bon enkai's (end of year parties), both of which were tasty and good fun!
Oh and I also got my tyres changed a couple of weeks back. The summer ones are no good for handling winter ice and snow, and as it happened I was right on time, as since then it's been really icy and snowy! When I left Nagano on Friday the snow was coming down hard and fast, thanking those tyres!
How I left Nagano. I wonder if it's waiting for my return...