English teacher living in Japan, teaching at a private high school in Tokyo. I like seeing things, being active, and taking (not-so) artsy photos.

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap August 21st 2017

Our SE Asia trip began with a red-eye flight that got us into Siem Reap at about 9 AM; luckily for us, there is only a two-hour time difference from Tokyo, so while we were suffering from exhaustion, we weren't suffering from jet lag. Our guesthouse, the Babel Guesthouse, had emailed me when I'd made our reservation to tell us that our tuk-tuk driver would be waiting at the airport for us after we landed. It took awhile to find our driver, as the printed paper was not very dark, but eventually we did, and we were on our way into the city. This was the first time we rode in a tuk-tuk, and we were already in love with it! (It remained my husband's favorite thing about Siem Reap throughout the trip, haha) The hotel ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano February 12th 2017

Marrying an outdoorsman pretty much guaranteed me spending quite a bit more time outside than I previously had. Luckily, my own passion for hiking had developed fairly quickly after moving here from the American midwest, where I was excited by small hills. The mountains that Japan offers are WAY more exciting and offer a pretty good diversity of courses and seasonal possibilities. The one thing I had never done, however, was hiking in the snow-covered mountains, because I always know I didn't have the right equipment for it. That's where my husband came in! We had a weekend off and I was DYING to go snow-shoeing, but our spot to go (Nikko, where Ma-kun has friends who own a guest house) reported back poor snow conditions that were no good for snow shoes. So we had ... read more

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Shirakawa-go January 16th 2017

For our honeymoon, Ma-kun and I took a short five-day trip out to several areas that I had never visited before but were on my 'to-do' list before we leave Japan for good. One of those places was Shirakawa-go, the UNESCO World Heritage site, a traditional village with old, thatched-roof houses called 合掌造り (gassho-zukuri). Ma-kun got us a reservation to stay in one of the houses converted into a 民宿 (minshuku, a guesthouse that serves meals, not unlike a bed & breakfast). When we arrived at Shirakawa-go by bus, everything was brown and there was no snow at all, but when we woke up the next morning, the entire village was covered in a blanket of white! It was very cool to see the village both with and without the beautiful snow cover, and we got ... read more

Asia » Japan » Tochigi » Nikko January 26th 2016

It's not that I haven't been doing anything or traveling - on the contrary, I've been all over the place these past 8 months. The problem is instead that I have hit a point in my time abroad, the phase I once found called the "dissonance" phase, and for those at this phase, there are two possible trajectories: assimilation or departure. Either the person assimilates completely and assumes the societal values and norms, or they do not, unable to merge their own beliefs and moral code with that of the new culture. It's not much of a secret which path I will take. Japan, as an experience, has changed me more in the past 4 years than almost anything else in my life has changed me. It's not bad - it's amazing. I have grown and ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin April 3rd 2015

The only real hiccup I had with transportation in London happened the morning I left for my quick flight to Berlin. I was heading to a different airport - the discount airport, basically, haha - and the line I needed was unfortunately under a great deal of construction. As such, I had to walk to a new station and ask for directions quite a few times to get information on the re-routing I would need to do. FORTUNATELY, I'm absolutely obsessive about leaving myself with plenty of time, and this was no issue at all. I got to the airport with plenty of time - too much, in fact, as the Gatwick Airport doesn't even give you gates until about 40 minutes before your flight leaves. Still, it was an interesting experience, and made me very ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London March 30th 2015

Anyone who knows me knows about my near-obsession with Tudor history. Therefore, my time alone in London was planned out to allow me to see the most historical Tudor sites as I could, given my limitations with time and transportation. My first day back in jolly old England, I headed out to Hampton Court Palace - an absolute must-see for any Tudor enthusiast! Obviously, I knew all about Hampton Court Palace's storied history, but I bought the guide book anyway because it was a great souvenir and I still learned things I hadn't known. After a coffee and a pastry, I set off on my tour, using my book to get around all the famous areas. The rooms I liked the best were (obviously) all tied to Henry VIII - the banquet hall where he dined ... read more

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges March 28th 2015

The last day of our tour had arrived! We left early to make the long trek back to London, but in the middle of the day, we got to stop for a short visit to Bruges, a medieval city in Belgium. Bruges has many old-fashioned buildings still in use, and the streets look a lot like you would expect an old European town to be. There were a lot of things to see and do, and despite how cold and tired we were, we made the most of the time there. We first ate some french fries, as they are a staple in Belgium. After that, we went off in search of some Belgium chocolates, and Sophia and I found ourselves in a very small shop where everything was handmade. The young man working behind the ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam March 27th 2015

We were nearing the end of our bus tour, and while I was mourning the end of it, I was also getting very tired, as we were running on full steam each and every day to see everything. The bus took us into the Netherlands, and we arrived in Amsterdam by the early afternoon. Our first stop was not the hotel, but a cheese and clog-making farm, where we got to meet some cows and chickens, and watch how they make both clogs and their famous cheeses. We also got to sample some of the amazing kinds of cheese they had available! I loved the clogs and the whole place, it was so cool to see, and I bought some little things to bring home as souvenirs with me. After dropping our things off at the ... read more

Europe » Germany » Rhineland-Palatinate » Boppard March 26th 2015

Leaving Switzerland, our bus took us along a beautiful route that led through the mountains and into the Rhine area of Germany. Our hotel was located in the town of Boppard, which was situated against the river itself. We had some time to get settled into our rooms and I immediately went out on a search for some treats: I was craving marzipan, and found it super cheap at a small drug store. I was so excited! By the time I got back, it was time for our river cruise. The boat we got was amazing and huge, and had its own craft brew beers on board - a huge selling point for us! We got our beers and went up to the roof deck to watch as we went down the Rhine River and took ... read more

Europe » Switzerland March 24th 2015

On the third day of our bus trip, we headed into the beautiful Switzerland. Our destination was a town called Interlaken, nestled in the Swiss Alps. At first, the scenery looked just like that of France, but as we neared the city, we began to get the breath-taking sights of the mountains outside our windows. The hotel we stayed at is owned by a downhill ski world champion named Urs Raber. It was a quaint, unique place, because Urs has a lot of rules for people staying there, such as absolutely no electronic devices in the dining room during meals! But I loved the hotel and the homey feel to it. :-) We hit first an ATM so those of us planning to do the optional excursion the next day could get Swiss Francs. Luckily, the ... read more

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