Posts Tagged ‘japan’

How was Japan?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

I came back from Japan exactly a week ago. I was visiting a friend there for 5 days. For me it was my first time ever traveling completely alone. Also it was my first time traveling outside of Europe (and first time in Japan, naturally).

My japanese friend and I have known each other for 10 years now. We found each other from a website for international penpals and begun writing snailmail letters to each other when we were about 15 years old. Now a decade later we still write snailmail letters, aswell as chat on facebook and KakaoTalk. We had seen each other only once before now – when she came to visit me in Finland a few years ago. It’s amazing how close you can be (and get along so well) even when not seeing each other face-to-face very often.

We visited lot of beautiful japanese temples in Kyoto and Nara. We also fed the deer in Nara (there’s these little stands that sell ‘deer cookies’ which you can then feed to the deer). The deer were so nice & sweet. Though when they found out you have food for them.. they might nibble on your clothes and fingers a bit.

I also got the opportunity to have a “Maiko experience”. Which means that people who actually knew what they were doing, put on the white Maiko make-up & wig for me, aswell as dressed me in the traditional kimono. There’s ton of fabric and padding that you have to put on – and it’s all tightened with strings (felt like wearing a corset, sort of difficult to breathe). Beauty is pain ;)! It took a long time to get ready and also long time to take off the make-up once finished. You can’t wash it off with water but you have to use baby oil.

We also visited the Universal Studios in Osaka. And, everyday, had the most delicious meals & treats. For me this trip was the perfect combination of “tourist vacation” and “just hanging out with friends”. The sights were amazing but I also really enjoyed just hanging out with my friend and spending time in shopping malls – wandering around and stopping by for an ice cream or donut every now and then.

Japan felt like home. I will definately visit again!

Helsinki to Osaka to Sydney

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

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?

The Positive Week

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

The year has changed. And although 2012 is will be wonderful – because it’s really up to me to make it so, isn’t it – I’ve been sort of down lately. I’ve got this coping method for it though. It’s that if I can find just a single “sign from the universe” per day that “life is good afterall”, then I can manage. It’s that sort of thing that – if you’re sitting on a bus (feeling slightly sad maybe?) and watching the cars go by and you see a car with the license plate being something like “LUV” or “HEY” whatever “word” that just hits you. I like to think that as a sign of.. hey, everything’s cool, right. So it’s the little things that you should be aware of – to look for.

Stop, listen, see! So here’s how my last week was “universe” wise:

Monday January 2nd: The guy at the bank was really helpful & sweet to me.
Tuesday January 3rd: Was waiting for a bus and saw a young guy help out an old lady who was having a hard time getting on the bus (with all the ice & snow being so slippery on the street). Made me smile.
Wednesday January 4th: Went to get a “take-away” salad and the queue at the café was very long. However, I got served right as I stepped into the queue and the waitress even opened up a 2nd cash register just so I could pay my salad right away and be off my way. Usually I’ve had to wait until the “normal” queue is done so I can pay my take-away meal. Win!
Thursday January 5th: Woke up when a friend texted me “Come out for a jog?!” – and of course I went.
Friday January 6th: Caught up with the one that went away.
Saturday January 7th: Went to play laser tag with a group of friends. And a dinner. And a movie.
Sunday January 8th: Begun The Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred” challenge.

Other than that. My days go by with me writing my masters thesis, exercising, planning my trip to Japan (and adventure to Australia) and… that’s about it! In less than 2 months I’ll be in Japan! In a few months I’ll be more fit! In 6 months I’ll be ready with my thesis and my Aussie-plans! And you know what. Today, I’m much happier than I was on monday when I begun “writing” this blog entry. So my “method” of trying to be positive worked. Though, of course – tomorrow is a new day and it might be good or bad. We’ll see. But I’ll try to find something positive in it.

Did you make any new year’s resolutions?