Helsinki to Osaka to Sydney

After my one week of positivity followed the 2 weeks of great difficulty. Isn’t it usually so that when you’re happy on one day, the next day feels less than ok. Such as when you go back to work after a relaxing vacation.

Today, however, I feel good again. Small nice things have made my day wonderful. And perhaps because I’ve recently been focusing on being a shoulder to cry on for my friends with their own life issues – it’s easy to forget your own problems when trying to help with the problems of others.

It’s the 29th of January. In a month I’ll be flying to Osaka, Japan to meet a friend of mine. She and I have been penpals for 10 years. Yes, we begun writing letter when we were in junior high. Now we both have graduated from college (well, I’m still working on my masters thesis) and have begun a working life. We’re adults now, which feels weird. We’ve grown up together – regardless of the distance and cultural differences. I’ve never been to Japan and it’s great that I get to stay with her for a couple of days. We’ve got every day planned already. But more about the trip later!


Also, bunch of you are from Australia. So I might aswell open up about my plans about traveling there. After I graduate I feel like I want to do something before.. well, becoming a responsible adult, I guess. So I’m planning to take advantage of the lovely working holiday visa and travel around Australia at least for a few months (up to ½ year or so) starting on August 2012. I’ve been thinking about which city would be the best for me to begin my lonesome journey from. I feel like Queensland (Brisbane, Gold Coast) is more for me than..well Melbourne for example. But it seems like Sydney would be a good place to start. Lot of great hostels, sights to see, people to greet. So, if you’re around New South Wales, maybe we can go & grab a cup of coffee sometime then. Or at least I’d love to hear what places you think I should visit while traveling.

Nothing more to say for today. Do you have any travel plans or which places would you like to visit (if you could) one day?

Tags: ,

38 Responses to “Helsinki to Osaka to Sydney”

  1. Misaki says:

    That’s really cool about you and your penpal. Was it actually exchange of letters via mail?

    I’m in Australia! :D Sydney! ^^ We can certainly meet and grab a coffee if you’d like <3 For places for you to visit, there are the normal tourist attractions like: the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge (you can actually climb it – my sis got a voucher once and did it in the twilight. She thought it would be lame, but it turned out quite nice), Royal Botanical Gardens…um *scratches head* If I think of any more I'll let you know, lol! You can also visit my uni if you'd like! ^^ Sydney University. It has a building that looks like Hogwarts :D

  2. Ashleenah says:

    Wow, I’m so jealous that you are going to be travelling to Japan. I would love to visit there, and I’m sure the culture difference would be a huge shock to my system.

    One day you should travel to NZ, because it’s so much better here than Australia… ;)

    I would love to visit Italy/France and of course South Africa (which is where my boyfriend and his family are from). I’m hoping to save up and go on a holiday with my boyfriend to South Africa (if we are together by the time I have saved, lol).

    My only travelling plans are my move to Hamilton (about 4 1/2 hours away from where I am currently) to go to university. I’m excited, and can’t wait to leave.

  3. Cat says:

    Wow, that’s great that you’ve kept in touch with your penpal for so long! I used to have a couple penpals in China, but sadly, we haven’t written each other in a long time. I would love to go to Japan. I’m jealous :)

    Australia is another place I would love to go. I think it’s awesome that you’re planning several months there. I hope both of your trips will be fun!

    My travel plans for this year is actually to head back to Hawaii as a family trip :)

  4. Karen says:

    Wow to being penpals for 10 years. :) It seems like you both have really bonded well in letters.
    Have you met her in real life before? or is this your first time?

    Japan is a nice place to go to. (Try asking her to bring you to an onsen!)

    I’ve never been to Australia, would want to someday though.
    I’m actually planing a trip, but not sure where I would want to go.
    It’ll probably be in Asia.

  5. ida says:

    wow it sounds like you’re living your life to the fullest! :D i would absolutely love to travel for six months, just getting new experiences and seeing different parts of the world! i hope you’ll have a nice time in japan with your penpal, ohh how i envy you!! i would LOVE to do the same one day! :D
    i have never been to australia before, but if i was to go, i would’ve visited sydney and canberra! :D

    if i had a list of places to visit in the future, new york, london, rome, paris and stockholm would be some of the first choices!! :D

  6. Kerri says:

    Enjoy Japan! I long to go there some day. Also, I would love to spend that much time in Australia or any other country, for that matter.

    My top places – New Zealand, London, Paris, & Japan.

  7. anne says:

    I really wish I had an international penpal that I’ve kept in touch with for years so I can visit, like you’re doing now. Have fun in Japan! That’s one of the countries I’ve always wanted to visit. I think you commented on my post about it. I’m hoping to visit it this year as well, but it’s starting to become less likely each month. *fingers crossed!*

    Please, please put up many lovely pictures! I’ve always liked your photos, so I’m sure your Japanese ones will be fantastic! Is there a job we can do where we just travel and have fun in each country? I don’t like being a “responsible adult.” There so many places I wanna go!

    If I could, I’d like to visit Paris again, even for just a day. The last time I was there, I missed out on going to the Louvre. That would be my first stop when I visit. My original plan was to stay in London for week again, and just take the train to Paris for a day just to visit the Louvre. I’d like to visit Australia one day, too. Italy, Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Singapore, etc. Too much on my list. LOL.

  8. Christa says:

    It seems I’m always the shoulder to cry on for friends – but when I need a shoulder they’re not there. Your trip to Japan sounds so exciting! I have a penpal who lives in Japan and I’m hoping to visit her within the next few years. I hope you enjoy your trip to Australia as well. :) That sounds like a great thing to do, in a way it will give you a chance to grow and learn more about yourself.

  9. Danielle says:

    Sounds awesome!! That is great that you have stayed in contact all that long!! Have fun! Sounds like your going to be a busy girl!

  10. Maggie says:

    Its so sweet that you had a penpal for that long. My penpals never lasted too long – I get too lazy. I’m from Sydney, I’m happy to show you around when you’re here :)

  11. tiff k says:

    thanks so much for visiting my europe photoblog! hahaha Have to update it! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go to any of the Scandinavian countries :(( I lacked breaks and weekends! I swear I wanted to go! I even saw a really cheap Ryanair flight (for 5 euros only I think?) but argh, time :(( I do plan to go there once I have the money and I get to go back to Europe!

    I love this post!! I never had penpals but I had keypals when I was 11-13 XD hahaha! I had an American and English keypal. My English keypal and I were so weird exchanging emails together, I mean she says the funniest things and I guess that’s why I want to go to England… haha! I WANNA LIVE THERE! Too bad we lost in touch :( I wonder how she is though. Maybe I shall search Facebook for her! hahaha

    IT’S SO AWESOME THAT YOU GOT TO MEET YOUR PENPAL! Do tell us all about! And AUSTRALIA! OH GOSH I LOVE YOUR LIFE! hahaha I’ll be graduating (BS degree) this March and I hope to work at once though, traveling needs moolah and I need to earn some first :O haha!

    I’d love to go back to Europe, Africa (johannesburg or somewhere), Australia, Japan oh gosh the whole darn world! XD Antarctica too!

  12. Lissa says:

    Wow! That is amazing to have a penpal in Japan. It’s so much fun to write to each other. I hope you’ll have lots of fun in Japan! :D I can’t wait to hear more about it. n_n

    I don’t really have travel plans but I’d wish to go to Japan one day. ^_^

  13. Kris says:

    Omg that’s so cool you’re going to Japan! I’d never be allowed to go because of that radiation thing last year.

    That’s even cooler you’ve kept in contact with someone from so far for so long. I’ve had internet friends for no more than 2 years at a time.

    As you saw in my blog I might be going to China this summer. Might.

  14. Thania says:

    OMG I could never keep up with any pen pals. and if so I would probably never truly meet them.
    I hope you have fun in Japan!
    Btw, I hear there are the cutest guys in Australia! ;)

  15. Jas says:

    That all sounds fantastic. I wish i had a penpal!

    Have an amazing time in Japan, and then Australia <3


  16. Oh wow, have fun in Japan!! I’ve never been there before, but that sounds great! :)

    Aww, and plans on going to Australia too?! That sounds great! I’d want to go there, and Japan one day. I just want to go everywhere… Phillippines, around the United States, Italy, Greece, Canada. Haha, I’m sure there’s a few more that I’ve missed.. :P

    I have no plans to travel any time in the near future though. Too much going on :(

  17. Dipika says:

    Aww yeah I know what you are saying…when you have been happy for a while the not so happy days seem less than ok. I always get that feeling post vacation lol.

    I love the small things…they always make me cheer up! I agree it is so much easier to forget your problems when you see your friends in bigger issues!

    Yay…I hope you have good journey! Post about Japan as much as you can :D. Enjoy your trip!

    Nice…wish I was in Australia lol. I have a work visa for the UK I should try to use it before it expires.

    I don’t have any immediate travel plans for now but I would love to travel as much as possible. Maybe go Montreal sometime…or put a good use to my UK visa before it dies XD.

  18. Nugget says:

    I’d like to go to Australia someday…Actually, I wish I could escape there now since it’s winter where I live.

    If I ever get the opportunity to travel, I’d like to go to Italy or Greece or Japan. After going on a road trip across the U.S.

  19. chazz says:

    hi Shiri! how are you doing? thank you for commenting on my blog as it always make my day ^^ I am adjusting myself slowly here… and I guess I might be just like you, spending 1 year before I am fully adjusted with it XD

    Wahh!! Osaka! It is in my list to visit Japan, but first, I want to go to Taiwan. I’ve been learning Mandarin and I’d love to go to Taiwan because I want to experience the language first-hand. I also want to visit the UK to go to all the places my literature teacher always mention in class XD

    If you are planning to come to Malaysia, do inform me so that I can see you at the airport keke~ have a great weekend!

  20. Krystina says:

    Wow! That is AWESOME.

    I’ve only been to the Osaka airport, so all I can say is “Mmm.. the udon is great.” Haha.

    I hope you have a great trip. It’s really nice you finally get to met your penpal! It feels like these things only happen in movies, but I guess not, haha. I should find myself a foreign penpal as well.. :)

    For me… I mostly just want to travel China. I’ve only been to a single city, but there are so many more cities I’d like to experience. But other places as well – Australia, England, Russia, etc.

  21. Crystal says:

    It’s unfortunate to have life flip you around like that. It’s always good to have friends to lean on though. Your trip sounds so exciting! I would love to meet some of the wonderful woman I have been talking to for years on Europe. My husband and I have been planning a trip to England, one day. Japan would also be a wonderful destination! :D Have fun!

  22. Becca says:

    Oh my goodness, that’s so awesome that you’re going to Japan to meet your penpal! I’ve always wanted a penpal, but one way or another I just didn’t know where to look, etc. That must be really interesting to learn about other culture’s through their eyes and everything!

    If I was from Australia, I would give you some advice, but I’m not. :P I just love to travel in general. I’m really willing and want to go anywhere. I’ve been so blessed to visit eight countries in Europe, so I think I would choose somewhere other than there.

  23. Sydney says:

    Wow, that’s really cool! I wish I had a pen pal from another country, but I don’t know if there’s a kind of “program” out there that could introduce me to someone my age so we could exchange snail mail/emails, etc. :c I feel like it’d be really interesting and fun.

    Have an awesome time in Japan! I wish I could give you advice about Australia, but I’m not from there. Just my name. xD

  24. Nancy says:

    Life is full of challenges. It’s up to your to conquer them how ever you want, if you dare to. But it’s great to have a relaxing vacation afterwards ;D! It’s nice to have someone’s shoulder to cry on, but don’t take advantage of it :c. I know I have problems with someone, but it’s nice to know I have people who backs me up :D!

    I hope your plans to visit Australia will come true :D! I’ve never been there before, and it’s pretty far from Los Angeles XD! I heard it’s a really really nice place there :O! Their buildings are much nicer than… Here, at least. XD

    As for places where I want to travel, I kind of wanted to go to Puerto Rico for some rave that should’ve happen there. But I guess it’s not going to happen because of scheduling :c.

    All hard work has it’s rewards ;D

    Take care (:

  25. Claudine says:

    Wow! You have a penpal? It’s so nice that you’re finally getting to stay with her! It must be such a lovely experience to grow with someone so far away and yet feel so close to that person at the same time :) I heard Japan is wonderful. Have a great time!

    I’ve never been to Australia, but I’m sure it’s going to be a nice place. I really want to go there too, but I don’t know when that will be. I would love to visit Sweden or UK too! My siblings will move to other countries after they finish their grad studies so I think I will have the opportunity to see those places :)

  26. Holly says:

    I love H&M. It’s really affordable and the clothes are so nice.

    I hope you have a lovely time in Japan. I’d love to go. It must be nice having a penpal that you have kept in contact with for so long. I had a penpal when I was 11 but she just stopped replying to my letters after a few months. :( At least now I have people online to talk to.

    I do have travel plans. :) I’m going on a Mediterranean cruise at Easter. :D I have always wanted to visit Italy so this cruise will give me the opportunity to see a lot of the country.

  27. Gel says:

    I’m going to Vietnam next week and i’m super looking forward to it! It’s gonna be my second out of the country trip so far, last time was in Bangkok. Hopefully in the near future I could visit Japan or Australia, too, and i’ll definitely let you know if I get to go to Australia! :) Have fun connecting with your penpal of 10 years! That’s awesome! :D

  28. Erin says:

    I am really impressed that you’ve kept a penpal for 10 years! Starting in junior high, just wow, you’ve gone through so much of your lives together. That’s awesome. It’s incredible that you’ll finally get to meet each other! I’m sure you’ll have an awesome time in Japan.

    Your plan to spend time in Australia also sounds like it’ll be a fun adventure. An extended visit to another country is an amazing experience–at least it was for me, when I spent three months in Austria last year. So I hope that you’ll have at least an equally as amazing time!

    As for me, I have no foreign travel plans right now, but I have a couple short trips to a few places I’ve never been in the U.S. – Madison, Wisconsin, and Boulder, Colorado. However, I would absolutely LOVE to get a chance to go back to Austria. I also really want to see much more of Germany and Italy, and at some point in my life, I have to go to Spain!

  29. Alex says:

    GAH! I’M SUPER JELLY!!! sounds like fun! you HAVE to blog about your experience in Osaka and Australia~~~! that’s pretty awesome how you’ve been penpals for so long. i don’t even think i’ve ever had *friends* for that long…okay, maybe 1. X;

    Do you have any travel plans or which places would you like to visit (if you could) one day?
    HMM~~ i don’t have any travel plans at the moment! but i’d love to go back to Taiwan one day and visit Hong Kong and Japan in the future!!

  30. Risa says:

    I am jealous of your penpal in Japan. I visited the country in 2010-2011 and I loved it. I’m sure you’ll have a blast. It’s awesome you were able to stay in touch all those years and grow up together :)

    I’ve never been to any other country other than Japan and the USA. xD so i can’t recommend anything in Australia. Though I’d love to hear about your trip! They have plenty of beautiful sights to see!!Good Luck!

  31. Georgina says:

    I live in Australia – Sydney as you know! I’d love to let you know of all the places you can go and maybe we can meet up. I’ll be so busy with work and school though so maybe I won’t be able to stick with you all the time but if it helps I can be of as much guidance as you need. :)

    I could come up with an endless list of places for you to go – the Blue Mountains, the Entrance, Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour, Botanic Gardens… all places I’m very well bored of but that you’d love. You have my email, hit me up if you need anything.

    Still super jealous of you that you’re going to Japan though! I’ve always wanted to go there. :’)

  32. Zan says:

    Wow, that’s awesome. I’ve always wanted to go to Asia. Especially Japan, but, honestly, if I could just leave America, that would be grand. So have tons of fun!

    And if the world ends, I’ll have been . . . in school for my entire life. Dx I don’t really think it’s going to this year, though.

  33. Amanda says:

    Your trip sounds like an awesome plan! You should definitely try and go to Kyoto if you can, since it’s not tooo far from Osaka, as it’s just amazing there. Obviously there are more places to see in Japan (love that place!) but i just thought, they’re so close, you should go! :)

    Australia sounds like a great plan as well… so this is going to be like your OE, a little? I’d say definitely take advantage of the cheap flights and hop over here to NZ if you ever get the chance to as well :)

  34. Shiki says:

    Japannn~ *o* Osaka is alright; not so busy and crowded like Tokyo. :)
    It’s really cool to have a friend staying in Japan because that friend can be the reason for you to actually see Japan’s awesomeness lol~ \o/
    I love traveling. *A* I will definitely go to places I’ve always wanna go to – like NYC, or Paris, Japan of course and others like Venice and such. Most Asians would decide on having family and stuff but instead of having a family, I rather own a lot of pets and travel round the world. this universe is too interesting haha

  35. Sage says:

    I live in Australia (Melbourne). I’ve also lived in Queensland too. And I have been to Sydney a bit too. I recommend all the places Georgina suggested.

    Queensland is warm and humid. Tourist attractions are plenty. The gold coast and the sunshine coast which are on either side of brisbane are worth visiting also. The gold coast has the theme parks such as movie world, dreamworld and sea world. Plus gorgeous beaches too.

    Melbourne has great beaches too well geelong where I live is the town you pass through to do the great ocean road drive. There is so many places I recommend you go and see :) and I too am available via email if you need some help …

  36. Joyce says:

    Wow! penpals for that long of a time! I’ve never had a penpal before but it must be so nice to have someone to write to and tell how your day was :p Osaka will be so fun! I hope to visit Japan this summer or fall. But I am planning to study chinese in Taiwan this coming Fall !!! I am so excited. I hope your meeting with your penpal goes well! WOW 10 years!! keep in touch and let us know how it goes. Best of luck and have fun! <33


  37. Jenny Aster says:

    I’m just soooo beyond jealous! All the excitement of a trip to Japan and Australia, which are both on my “places to go” list. I’ve been to China many times, but never Japan, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a really great country with a lovely people, a splendid culture, great sightseeing and unbeatable shopping and fashion!

    Your penpal relationship sounds so wonderful. I don’t think there are many who can say they’ve persevered writing to each other all this time.

  38. Ana says:

    Wow, that’s really awesome! I had a penpal but we lost contact with other years ago. I’m sure you guys have A LOT to talk about when you two finally meet each other. Japan is such a pretty country too.

    I don’t really have any trips planned out. My friends and I always make random unplanned trips to anywhere in our country. So I can’t say what we have planned out lol.