Friday, 30 March 2012

T.G.I.F.: A Plethora of Hanami Festivals

Happy Friday everyone! Its 19 degrees outside, the birds are singing, the sun shining and the cherry blossoms are fit to burst. This weekend is going to be awesome. A bunch of local JETs have arranged a hanami and picnic in Sumpu Park in the shadow of Shizuoka City's own beautiful castle. Care to check it out? Continue reading for your weekend events round-up...

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

5 Days: 5 Things To Do In Or Around Shizuoka

My sister is coming to visit me from Australia in two weeks time and I am uber excited! Unfortunately I won't be able to get any time off work to go sight-seeing with her so she will have to entertain herself a little bit until I can hang out with her on the weekend. Because she will be exploring Japan on her own somewhat during the week, I decided to put together a little list of things for her to do in the area to keep boredom at bay. Today I would like to share this list with you!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tops Tuesdays!



That is all.

Images: First image from Second image from my iphone/google maps.

Friday, 23 March 2012

T.G.I.F.: Cave Exploration?

I found this event on happening this weekend in Fujinomiya and thought it could make for a pretty unique experience to spice up your weekend: Fuji Cave Expedition

The exploration is being run by the Lake Tanuki Nature School. You must be over the age of 8 and it will cost about 1,500yen.

No cave for me. I myself am meeting with a friend to celebrate our first year in Japan together. It may or may not involve a bonfire on a beach in Numazu.

What are you doing this weekend?

Image courtesy of Anna L Martin (Flickr, Creative Commons).

My Year in Japan in 2 Minutes 23 Seconds

UPDATE#2: This is the last time I post this, I promise! I managed to upload the original to vimeo. Please enjoy the original vimeo version beneath the youtube version!

UPDATE: So EMI disabled my YouTube video because of the music I used (I should have anticipated it but its been years since I have uploaded to YouTube and I guess I didn't realize YouTube had come to suck so bad since then). Uploaded again with some Creative Commons music. Not quite the same effect as the original but good enough. Enjoy!

To celebrate surviving my first year in Japan, I made this... (I hope you like it)

Edited YouTube version:

Original (Vimeo) version:

My Year in Japan in 2:23 Minutes from AussieOnTheIzu on Vimeo.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Diary of a JET #6: One Year Anniversary

I did it! I made it in one piece! It's been one year down the rabbit hole—I mean, in Japan—and it's been one hell of a year. 2011 marked a turning point for me. I realized a lot about myself and what I am doing here/with my life. It was probably one of the worst years on record for me; I lost my grandfather, I missed my sister’s hens night, and there were plenty of emotional melt-downs related to my relocation to Japan. But lets not turn this into a pity-party. I honestly believe that even though it was probably one of my roughest years so far, I probably got more out of it than any other year. Like a proverbial Alice down the rabbit hole, my past year in Japan has been fraught with stress, culture shock and depression. But there have also been some great memories too.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Tops Tuesdays!



That is all.

PS: If you are from Adelaide, you must know about the awesome new Japanese crepe store that opened in Rundle Mall. I found it last Christmas. ISN'T IT AWESOME??
PPS: Hands-down best crepes in Tokyo is the 'Marion's Crepes' stand at the base of Tokyo Tower. You're welcome.

Images courtesy of (first image; Flickr, Creative Commons) and Staredad Comics (second image).

Friday, 16 March 2012

T.G.I.F.: Fujinishiki Sake Festival

Thinking of heading to Shizuoka this weekend? I've got a very reason why you should! This Sunday is the annual Sake Festival at Fujinishiki! So why not double your pleasure and get your St. Patty's Day on twice this weekend?

The Sake Matsuri is a big hit with tourists and is likely to be busy again this year. Many kinds of locally produced sake will be available for tastings as well as a variety of food vendors and live entertainment. You can buy a special cup at the event and receive free tastings of sake. Come enjoy fantastic views of Mt. Fuji and relax picnic-style while you watch those around you drink themselves into stupor!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Izu Life: Enkai Etiquette

I’m really lucky that I work at such a relaxed, laid-back school. They don’t really care what I wear to work, if I’ve still got nail polish on from the weekend, or if they catch me a couple of times sneaking a peek on Facebook. Because everyone is so easy-going, it makes for some enjoyable enkai (“staff party”) experiences with these fellows (mostly because alcohol has been thrown into the mix). When I first arrived in Japan, I was fearful of my first enkai, sure that I would commit cultural faux pas in extreme! Well, enkai season is upon us so I decided to write a post to help guide any noobs through the choppy waters of social niceties and Japanese drinking customs…

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Izu Life: Happy White Day!

Today (March 14th) is White Day, the day that men across Japan reciprocate all the Valentines Day gifts afforded to them from friends, colleagues and significant others on Valentines Day (February 14th).  It is common in Japan for Valentines Day to be the day girls give gifts to their male peers, and White Day a day for men to give (back) gifts to the women in their lives. However, lately the custom of giving chocolates amongst friends (also known as tomo-choco, or 'friend-chocolates') regardless of sex has become popular. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Tops Tuesdays!

Find out what is tops and not tops this week after the jump! Did someone say 'Harajuku Girls?'

Sunday, 11 March 2012

March 11: One Year On

Today is the one year anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake which devastated so many lives on March 11th 2011. The Blogosphere will be buzzing today and many bloggers will be making the obligatory memorial post. When I arrived in Japan, it was one week after the disaster. I have been fortunate enough to experience Japan change during the past year as a result of the earthquake. Today I would like to share my reflections with you. 

Friday, 9 March 2012

T.G.I.F.: Hanami and more!

This weekend (and perhaps the weekend after that) are your last chances to view the cherry tree (sakura) blossoms in and around the Izu Peninsula. Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) is a popular past-time for the Japanese. Couples, colleagues and comrades alike can be seen enjoying the natural wonder of the blossoms while bonding over sake and a picnic. And any custom which encourages public displays of drunkenness is alright by me. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Breaking News! I'm published!

Well, sort-of. A local JET Programme publication produced by JETs in Shizuoka prefecture called the Shizuoka Chronicle just published one of my pieces for their 25th anniversary edition. I also served on the editorial committee for the newspaper and it was a lot of fun! At first, I was not asked to contribute a written piece but at the last minute one of our contributors pulled out and they asked me to fill in for them. The newspaper is only produced once a year but it is sent to schools all over Shizuoka Prefecture and new incomming Shizuoka JETs receive a copy in their welcome packs before they even come to Japan (so it is sent all over the world!). It's still pretty exciting for me as this is the first time some of my work has been published on this scale. I have decided to share the contents of my article for the Shizuoka Chronicle with you. Find out what I wrote about after the jump...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tops Tuesdays!

Tops Tuesday is keeping me sane. It reminds me that there are good things (sometimes even great things!) about Japan but also gives me perspective and an outlet for my frustrations by allowing me to select something as 'Not Tops.' Find out what drives me bananas/insane this week after the jump...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Where you can find me...

This is just a post to let you know of some of the different social-networking sites AussieOnTheIzu can now be found at. I would definitely appreciate the 'follow'!

Follow Aussie On The Izu

I can also be found on Instagram (username "aussieontheizu") and you can "Stumble My Likes" here. Let me know if there are any other social networking sites you think I should join!

Travel Log: Akihabara, Tokyo.

This is one of my favourite haunts in Tokyo (after trendy Harajuku and the fashion mazes of Shibuya). Listed in the top 3 of most visited places in Tokyo on Haven of nerds, otaku mecca, “Electric Town,” home of anime/manga… Akihabara (or simply “Akiba” as it is affectionately known to locals) is all this and more. I recently made my way to this popular neighbourhood in Tokyo to see if it could live up to its name. So get your nerd on and join me as I explore the hallowed annals of Akihabara…

Friday, 2 March 2012

T.G.I.F.: Hinamatsuri and much more!

Here is your weekend event calendar round-up for 3rd and 4th of March! This weekend we have the national Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival) holiday and all kinds of events going on. Find out what is happening in Shizuoka after the jump...

Breaking News! I was just featured on Japan Blog Directory!

My blog was just featured as a new up-and-coming blog on Japan Blog Directory. Currently I am listed under "White Belt" status but don't you worry! I'll make my way to Green Belt in no time!
Japan Blog Directory currently has listings of more than 200 blogs about Japan on topics such as life, culture, language learning, travel and more. Check out their listings for more fun blogs!

And on a side note, I have recently joined Tumblr and you can find all the same blog posts there. So don't forget to follow me on Tumblr too!

Happy Friday!
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