March: Did lots of training, got to meet a lot of my students at a Farewell/Welcome Party hosted by our school, and basically got settled into life in Japan. I also did a little sight-seeing around Sendai, including visiting a little town nearby and trying the onsen (hot spring) for the first time.
Visiting Akiu Onsen with the owner of my school, Michiko, and her friends.
April: I started teaching my first classes, as well as youchien (Japanese kindergarten), and learned a lot through those first few weeks. I made some new friends in Sendai, got introduced to the fairly large foreigner community here, and went to my first hanami (flower viewing parties). Hanami were great, but cold- we had picnics with lots of good food and drinking in local parks, enjoyed the flowers, and tried to escape the occasional rain showers.
May: The first week of May was a national holiday called Golden Week. Since I had time off, I visited some friends in Tokyo and traveled around that area. Tokyo is amazing- it's such a huge city, there are always new places to explore and interesting things to see. Some of my favorite places there were Shinjuku gyoen, a really nice park near Shinjuku Station, the fabric district which is literally a street lined with nothing but craft and fabric stores, and the awesome Korean food on a little street also in Shinjuku.
Left: Yokohama, Right: Shinjuku Gyoen
In addition to Tokyo, I also visited Yokohama, where we ate delicious Chinese food in China Town, and hung out at a couple of really nice parks. I didn't get to spend much time there, so I'd like to go back again someday. I also got to visit my friend Megumi's family in Hiratsuka. They were great- her mom cooked wonderful home-made food for me and I got to see all of her dad's crazy hiking pictures. While we there, we also visited Kamakura, where we saw lots of shrines and the Great Buddha, and I ate maccha (green tea) ice cream at every available opportunity.
Hanging out with the Great Buddha.
After Golden Week, it was back to work with classes in full swing. On my weekends though, I visited Matsushima Bay, one of the three most beautiful places in Japan (and it lives up to it's reputation), saw a local soccer game and went to Aoba Festival, where I got to see traditional dancing in a big parade and eat some good food.
Visiting one of the islands at Matsushima
June: We're only halfway through June, but classes are busy- I'm really enjoying the job, because I feel like I have finally settled into it and I can really get to know my students now. I'm planning ahead for my next vacation in August, when I'll travel to Hiroshima and Oosaka with my friend Teal. I can't wait!
Sorry for the long break, I will try to continue updating regularly now!!