sakura river

I’m a simple person. That is, the promise of a photo opportunity is enough to make me happy, or at least willing to drag myself out of bed on my precious days off. Needless to say, I was dying to see the cherry blossoms all throughout my first week in Japan! Once we had finally finished most of the admin stuff a friend and I decided to check them out, and thank goodness we did. I think we managed to catch the cherry blossoms during mankai, or full bloom, so they were looking especially luscious.



     

While Ibaraki prefecture's not exactly on most people's radars, it does has some interesting places to check out if you know where to look. For one, Senbako (千波湖) is a lake that's a popular hangout spot for families, and it's especially gorgeous during sakura season. Every so often the wind would blow sakura petals everywhere, and it seriously felt like I'd stepped into a shoujo anime.



     



It seems we weren't the only ones who decided to enjoy the sudden reprieve from cold weather. Couples on dates, families picnicking by the lake, and elderly residents taking a stroll... This was definitely the place to be on this particular Sunday.





Cause I know you're all really here to see pictures of me and my double chin! Every other shot of me is either out of focus, or features a ridiculously huge grin on my face. I guess I was a bit too excited to be finally be seeing cherry blossoms in the flesh...





      

Some shots by Sakuragawa (桜川) also known as Sakura River. I would've loved to see the flowers by night as well, but sadly they're probably way past their peak already! Nevertheless, I'm never gonna forget this experience. Seeing the cherry blossoms in Japan has always been bucket list material for me, but I can guarantee this won't be the last time I see them.
Posted by : Mani

the japan diaries

Eleven days. That’s how long it’s been since I started my crazy adventure in Japan anyway, but it sure doesn't feel like it! My days here have been so packed that it’s hard to believe I was getting ready to leave Sydney just over a week over. So far it’s mainly involved a ton of paperwork, but meeting new people has been fun as are the little victories. For one, managing to not getting lost among Japan's tiny backstreets... Anyway, please excuse the crappy phone photos! It’s kind of hard to be discreet and simultaneously snap everything in sight.



The first thing I noticed upon arriving was that it's freezing here. I’m seriously starting to think that I’ve been living a lie with Australian winters, since the weather here’s just as cold and it's meant to be spring already! That doesn’t mean the sakura’s not out in full force though. In fact, I think they’re blooming a little late around here because it’s further up north, which suits me just fine.

      



Despite being kinda rural there’s no shortage of restaurants to visit around my uni. Whether you're after ramen, Chinese food or a meal at one of the many family restaurants you definitely won't go hungry around here! If that doesn’t suit you there are three cafeterias to choose from on campus, where you’ll find stuff like katsu curry for the grand price of under 500 yen (roughly the equivalent of six dollars).

      

Even more food where that came from, namely some super crispy tempura with hot udon noodles. Also, on the right is just some of the food at my dorm's welcome party. At this rate I'm gonna be rolling back to Australia...

     

Stopping to pet random dogs in the street, as you do. Anyway, there’s my not so interesting update! Obviously I've had a few mishaps since arriving here, but I’m really excited for what the rest of the year has to offer. Culture shock hasn’t hit me too hard yet but apparently this is only the honeymoon period, so I can look forward to coming down from that soon... Anyway, stay tuned for a post that may or may not involve more sakura. Until next time!
Posted by : Mani

counting down



1. Homemade churros  2. Takumi sushi train  3. The Strand Arcade  4. Life of a stationery addict  5. Customs House  6. Tea weather has arrived  7. That time I woke up at sunrise for no reason 8. Getting my fill of yum cha for the year  9. Chur Burger  10. Easter donuts from Krispy Kreme  11. Strolls around Darling Harbour  12. Spring onion fried chicken

Somehow, the prospect of moving away for a year really changes your perspective on the things you usually take for granted. In particular, lately I've been thinking a lot in terms of lasts... The last time I'll be strolling down Sydney's familiar streets. The last time I'll have mum's cooking for a year. The last time I'll be able to see my friends without an ocean separating us.

So with one more day before I leave for Japan, I'm afraid this is all I have to share with you! The past month has been a flurry of meetings, visa applications, and catching up with as many people as is humanly possible. Not to mention there's the monstrous task of packing my life into a suitcase, which I've been putting off. It's been pretty hectic to say the least! Anyway, I think it's finally sinking in that I'm leaving, which is weird. At this point, I've done so much to prepare that all I have left to do is hope for the best.

It goes without saying but Instagram is my go-to social media, so follow me here if you're interested in the shenanigans I get up to! Let's be real though, it's mainly gonna be photos of all the food I'll be gorging on. Bye and I'll see you all on the other side!
Posted by : Mani