Seeing that it’s Friday and that I’ve finished teaching my classes for the day I thought that it might be a good chance for me to post some quick updates on what I’ve been up to the last few weeks.
Probably the highlight was a trip to the island of Hachijō-jima just off the coast of Tokyo. I got to go scuba diving for the first time in my life and despite the strange feeling of being underwater with nothing but the loud sound of your own breathing I soon fell in love with the feeling of floating in the sea. Even better was the chance to see several sea turtles and grab some photos of them! I also got to climb the dormant volcano on the island and walk around its crater. It was amazing to look out from the top of the mountain and see nothing but ocean all around. Add to that the incredible food and atmosphere and it was a magnificent holiday that blew away all my stress and left me feeling more relaxed than I have felt in ages!
I also had the chance to visit the city of Miura in Kanagawa prefecture. The Keikyu company is running a campaign that sees you pay only ￥3,000 and get a train ticket to Miura from Shinagawa station as well as use of Miura’s city bus. You are also given tickets for one meal and the use of one facility on the day. Seeing that Miura is famous for its tuna, most of the restaurants specialize in tuna (whether of the sushi or sashimi variety). The restaurant I ate at had a wonderful selection of raw fish to eat as well as the chance for me to eat turban snails for the first time! If you want to know, the snails tasted pretty good actually and were grilled! Using my facilities ticket I was able to take a relaxing dip in the onsen at a local hotel and watch Mt Fuji as the sun began to set. Definitely one of my all time best experiences in Japan.
Finally, I got to experience a bit of the cuisine and culture of Laos at a Loas festival last week. I never knew Laotian food was so good!
As an added bonus, I got to take a cheap but interesting tour of NHK Studio Park that was right next to the venue for the Laos festival. It’s a pretty cool look at the technology and shows as well as the history of the NHK. There are also some cool practical exhibits. One saw me dubbing my voice on to a selection of animated children’s shows, including Thomas the Tank Engine. It’s hilarious to watch afterwards and hear your voice when one of the characters speaks! I also got to do a weather report in front of cameras and a blue screen. They luckily had some English cue cards so I didn’t have to embarrass myself in front of all the people watching!
So all in all it’s been a pretty good couple of weeks for me and the hot summer weather has seen me doing plenty of hikes, something that I really haven’t had the chance to do much of while living in Japan. The upcoming months should be good as well with the combination of summer festivals and fireworks helping to make me forget all about the dreariness of winter and its cold grip.