Hey! Look at me!

I’ve never enjoyed being the center of attention, but I often find myself in that very place. I never want to be there, but once I’m there, I can uncomfortably roll with it. I have always been taught to do the BEST job at everything but be humble about it.

  • Be faster than him, but be humble about it.
  • Lift more than her, but be humble about it.
  • Be the smartest in your class, but be humble about it.
  • Work harder than everyone, but be humble about it.
  • Sing the best, but be humble about it.
  • WIN, but be humble about it. Continue reading

The words that died when we moved here

“It’s not my thing.”

Or AKA “I don’t want to try it.” Are words that have died forever since moving to Japan. I remember coming here, having no idea what life would be like for Kyle and me. We both decided, that together and separately, we would try everything twice. We didn’t want to regret saying, “No.” to any trivial thing just because we were uncomfortable, or it wasn’t on our list of normal every day/night activities we usually did. I mean, c’mon… Is living in Japan really our thing? No. It isn’t. I think the best decision we ever made was to never ever use that horrible phrase again, and it has been the number one reason that within a month, Kyle had a job and we already felt like we’d been living here for years.  Continue reading

To the Bunkasai, and BEYOND!

The bunkasai (文化祭) is a cultural festival put on by just about every stinking school under the sun in Japan. Not only high schools, but elementary and even universities have one every year! It’s actually part of regular lessons, and I do believe kids have to attend in order to graduate:) They may sound kinda “lame” to the average American, but I am going to tell you just how freaking RAD high school bunkasais actually are. In fact, the one at my base school is strategically placed just before the end of the school year, so not only do the kids feel like it’s a celebration of the year/ summer vacation, but teachers here do too! In fact, the teachers have their own way of celebrating as soon as the little brats go home! So… without further ado, this is why the high school bunkasai is so rad… Continue reading

You look Japanese, but you aren’t.

I’ve never really felt like I fit in anywhere. Not in my entire life. (OK, that’s a lie, I felt like I fit in with my sisters… But then again, I don’t think that really ever counts…) I have always hovered somewhere on the outskirts of all the groups of people I’ve ever been around. Being in Japan, where people tend to look more like me hasn’t changed that either. Since moving here, I have learned a great deal about myself, and have solidified my ability to adapt and welcome the fact that I do not really actually, fit in… anywhere. Continue reading

#Beastmode

#Beastmode. Staying heart and head healthy no matter what; letting nothing get in your way. There are things that are harder to do when you move to another country. Especially one like Japan. When  walking outside is like swimming in a pool. OK, ok, so I’m exaggerating just a LITTLE, buuuut the combination of humidity, blistering heat, and non-use of A/C can leave us all like wilting, unmotivated, stinky flowers (Not sure how a flower’s unmotivated, but whatever). So, I’m going to share with you the SECRETS TO RIDING YOUR BIKE 4 MILES (ok, 3.7), UPHILL, IN CRIPPLING HEAT, TO WORK EVERY DAY WITHOUT DYING. That’s right folks, If you are an ALT living in Japan, you’re gonna wanna read this little gem. So here’s one way to burn some extra calories riding your bike during Japan summers without killing yourself… Continue reading

Château Sharpe

Château Sharpe is a charming, comfortable B&B that offers travelers a private relaxing Japanese style room for a weekend getaway, family occasion, cultural events, local live music, and more, free of charge. Located in the beautiful City of Hirosaki, which is home to some of the best things Aomori-Ken has to offer. Château Sharpe has a central gathering room (AKA the living room) that allows travelers to socialize, watch movies, play Wii, or head outside to enjoy the city. With just under 2 terabytes of music and movies, it is impossible to become bored, even on a chilly winter day. Guests stay in a cozy room with a single bed and plenty of extra blankets, futons, towels, wifi access, and pillows for any or all of your travel companions. At times, there may also be guests allowed to sleep in the homey living room space, either on the couch or futon (The real Japanese experience) . Guests are also provided with a map of the city containing some of the Sharpes’ favorite spots. Continue reading

The Dirty Thirties

(//_-) <– this is my EMOticon.

I turned 30, and while everything was AWESOME, after the high and happy feelings… the other day, I felt like this… It’s rare for me, and I can’t remember the last time it has actually happened. But one thing I know is true: in the middle of the night, I became homesick for my family. Celebrating my 30th was just something I had always imagined I’d be doing with my mom and my sisters. And when all was said and done, I had this pang of guilt and sadness.

I know we all have families. Families that we no doubt love with all our hearts. But I’m convinced that there are no sisters on this planet that have the bond my sisters and I have with each other. A bond driven by my mother, through life and circumstance.  There is a certain sister shaped hole in my heart. No matter where I am, or how old I get, when I’m away from them, I feel the emptiness. It’s not crippling, it doesn’t hurt or change my ability to breathe, but every once in a while, I just don’t feel whole. Being across the ocean can make it really hard. This blog is mostly about them, and not much about Japan, so if you want to skip on over it, it’s totally cool. Continue reading

Original Gangster.

O.G., original gangster /əˈrijənl/gaNGstər/ (pronounced “oh gee”)

Noun: An O.G. is a Orginal (old) Gangsta who let all tha up an comin G’s kno whass poppin an how ta keep they pimp hands way strong.

I have this supervisor. Her name is Ogasawara Sensei. She is a tiny, adorable, and kind woman with a very pure heart. She is the best supervisor any ALT could ever want in life. Every year on her birthday she insists that she’s 28, but I know she’s close to retiring. Every JET supervisor should watch and learn from her. She knows exactly how to help ALTs, knows how to make them happy, gets everything done on time and sometimes early, is an excellent teacher, and a great coworker. She’s just been around for a while.

Today I found this on my desk after coming back from giving my self introduction. In my self intro I tell kids my favorite food is taiyaki (like in this picture), and put a laminated picture of it on the chalk board.

Today I found this on my desk after coming back from giving my self introduction. In my self intro I tell kids my favorite food is taiyaki (like in this picture), and put a laminated picture of it on the chalk board.

3 years ago, my friend Alesha was like, “Mate… Ogasawara is a G. She’s been around forever and knows what you want bruv! She is perfect! They should call her OG!” And from that point on, we called her “OG Sensei” behind her back. Continue reading