C’mon, aircon!

I promised last time that talking about my aircon woes would be a whole new post. Here it is!

Ah, aircons. Coolers. Heaters. Dehumidifiers. And a source of white noise when you’re trying to sleep. They do it all, and we work them to death. We’re at the point in summer where a lot of people need to run it all night in order to sleep. I am, in most cases, one of those people in August. While winter is not a problem for me, summers leave me exhausted and yearning for cool temperatures the minute the thermometer goes over 27 degrees Celsius.

And then… this summer happened.

Continue reading “C’mon, aircon!”

How Many Towels Does One Person Need? (A Hotel Adventure)

Like most people, I haven’t been in a hotel in about two years (the photo you see is from 3+ years prior). But necessity pushed me into the unenviable position of having to book a hotel room for a few days during the height of travel season. The necessity? My air conditioner breaking.

That’s another story.

My stay in the hotel has reminded me of a lot of things. What it feels like to use facilities that aren’t your own. How nice it is to have someone else doing the cleaning for you. The awkwardness of timing yourself so that you don’t have to share an elevator with anybody else. That sort of thing.

And, of course, the cleaning wars with the housekeeping staff.

Continue reading “How Many Towels Does One Person Need? (A Hotel Adventure)”

Summer and all that entails

I’ve walked the Kamogawa so many times now that every little change there catches my attention. There are regular birds that I spot in their normal places, and new families (ducklings!) that I realize are new with delight. I witness the building of the dining balconies every year as restaurants prepare for hot summer nights… and their removal when everyone wants to withdraw from the cold. There are pet owners that I look forward to spotting, some with animals that made me do a double-take the first time I saw them.

The other day, for the first time, I saw a snake in the river.

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Luck Dolls and Trust Tests

We had quite a week here in Japan; on Monday the Kansai area experienced an earthquake that left several injured and at least 4 dead. I was fortunate in that I live in Kyoto and was not on a train or anywhere near the epicenter when it happened; the worst I endured was a sudden, loud BANG followed by the sudden rocking of my apartment building–though I will say, that left me huddled in my doorway for several minutes after, eyes wide, clutching my phone.

After that, getting out of the house and enjoying things to take my mind off of the potential for aftershocks was a necessity. So when a friend suggested that we go and check out Daruma Temple, I readily agreed to the outing.

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Bouldering karaoke?!

There are lots of ways to spend your free time in Japan; roadtrips, bowling, taking one-off cultural lessons, and, of course, karaoke. If you’re downtown in any given city in Japan, you’ll run across the Jankaras, the Shidaxes, the mom and pop snack bars that offer karaoke, and a host of other options. Depending on your group size or even what you like to sing, the world is at your fingertips in terms of options.

While walking the streets of Kyoto, I’ve noticed that something else has been popping up beside the karaoke boxes: climbing gyms. You can go in for one-off sessions, or sign up for a monthly membership just like you would at a traditional gym. Whether you’re already a lean, mean, climbing machine or a newbie, there’s something available for you.

It was only a matter of time before someone mashed those two ideas together.

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Hokojima and Tojimbo Cliffs

Another year, another Golden Week come and gone. It always feels like it’s over in a blink, doesn’t it? Whether you spent your Golden Week relaxing, putting in extra time at work, or going on wild adventures, I hope you enjoyed yours to the fullest.

I’d like to share two adventures I had this year– a roadtrip to Fukui, and a bouldering karaoke room!

Let’s start with the roadtrip: Continue reading “Hokojima and Tojimbo Cliffs”

Hiroshima overnight, part 2: the bus’s near-great escape

Last time, on Stefanie What, our heroes had attempted a night bus trip with the mixed results of having an entire day to explore Hiroshima, but struggling with the urge to sleep throughout said day. We slept very well in that hotel room, which is good, because our next plan was to hit up Miyajima Island.

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Hiroshima overnight, Part 1: Powerful and moving

Hello and welcome to a Throwback Thursday post! I don’t do these very often, but while perusing my past blog posts and my pictures, I realized that there are a few adventures I haven’t talked about here. Some may remain in obscurity for a while longer; others, like this one, grow more pertinent as travel season is upon us.

Yes, Golden Week is around the corner, and before we know it, it’s going to be summer. With all that entails. Cicadas, tour groups, and every flavor of ice cream you can possibly imagine. Among other things.

Today, I’d like to share with you part one of the tale of our overnight Hiroshima trip.

Continue reading “Hiroshima overnight, Part 1: Powerful and moving”

The rise of “My Choco”

Around this time last year, I brought up the idea of “being romantic to yourself.” Back then, I had two or three students that told me (amidst giggles hidden behind a hand) that they’d gone to the department store and bought $100 chocolates… all for themselves! What scandal; what deliciousness! I’d thought it was a cool idea, and didn’t give it a lot more thought.

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