rinlin: (Tokyo Tower)
Time to play a bit more LJ catch-up again. I'll start with my mini spring vacation.

During the last week of March I took three days off of work to go to Kyoto with Greta and Leslie. We took the shinkansen to Kyoto on Monday night and spent next three days staying with Lilith at her dorm. Lilith was nice enough to let us invade her small living space for a few days, which made our trip cheaper than it would've otherwise been.

Day 1 - None of us had been to Fushimi Inari before and we all really wanted to go, so that was the first stop of our trip. The four of us met up with Kiri and her parents because they happened to be in Kyoto at the same time as us. We all of hiked up Fushimi Inari together. It took up a good part of the afternoon, but it was completely worth it. Climbing up the mountain under all those red torii was beautiful.

010
Fushimi Inari's famous torii.

There were also so many shrines, big and small, scattered over the whole mountain. Certain places on the mountain felt like they had some serious spiritual energy, too. We made it all the way to the top of the mountain. Then, when we got back down to the bottom, we had delicious taiyaki parfaits as a reward for all that climbing. We then parted ways with Kiri and her parents to go to Sanjusangendo. It was so cool! Inside the building are hundreds of amazingly carved wooden statues of Kannon and other Buddhist gods. I only wish that they allowed you to take pictures inside. It was definitely worth seeing.

Day 2 - We started off by going to Heian Shrine, which was pretty big. It seemed like it had a Four Gods motif going, which was neat. The shrine itself wasn't too exciting though. After Heian Shrine we met up with Kate. She came up from Osaka for the afternoon to visit with us. We then went to Yasaka Jinja, which is quite nice. I'd actually been there before with my parents on my last trip to Kyoto. While we were at Yasaka it started raining, so we decided to go in search of food instead for more shrines. After we had dinner, a few of us had ninja crepes. They were black crepes and mine had black sesame and custard in it. It was quite good.

Day 3 - By the last day of the trip, we were so tired from walking but we still had more to do. We walked a lot to get to a bunch of different smaller shrines. (Greta and I may have complained a lot about being tired.) This first shrine was Seimei Shrine, dedicated to Abe no Seimei. I thought it was a cool little shrine. The thing that made my day was finding an ema signed by D'espairs Ray among all the celebrity signed ema the shrine had on display. (I miss you D'espa. Come back!) Then, we walked to Kenkun Shrine, which is dedicated to the warlord himself, Oda Nobunaga. We had to do a little bit of climbing to get to this shrine. It was actually a pretty little shrine. The last shrine of the trip was Hirano, which was quite lovely. There were many cherry blossoms there too, which made it extra pretty. After Hirano, we went back to Lilith's dorm to pick up our bags and then to the station to catch our shinkansen back to Tokyo.

All in all, the trip was quite nice, but very tiring. The trains aren't as convenient in Kyoto so it requires a lot of riding the bus (which kind of sucks) or walking. I was actually pretty happy to go home because by the end of the trip I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation. Kyoto is beautiful, but I prefer Tokyo. Coming back to Tokyo is a bit like coming home.
rinlin: (Default)
I'm having trouble sleeping, so I'm going to update. Stupid jet lag.

I arrived in America on Saturday. The flight was fine even though it was really long. It was good to see my family again, but I really didn't do much because I was too tired. On Sunday and Monday, [livejournal.com profile] stellawind came to visit! We went out to eat and did a little bit of shopping. We also finally watched Bunraku and agreed that Gackt was the only thing that made watching that movie worthwhile. Today, I went downtown and had lunch with [livejournal.com profile] immelmanturn! It was so great to hang out with friends that I haven't seen in over a year. Tomorrow, I get to see my favorite cousin, [livejournal.com profile] melody1228! I'm pretty excited about it.

It's kind of nice to be temporarily back in America, but at the same time it feels a bit weird. It's a bit like going back to my old life and realizing that I don't quite fit in here anymore. I feel extra aware of all the differences between Japan and America (which isn't to say that they have no similarities, the differences are just what I tend to notice right now). I also notice all the changes that have happened to my life back in America, like friends who've moved away. It makes me realize that anytime I come back to the U.S., things will never be the same as they used to be, they'll never click back into my old life. It's a pretty sad feeling. It just makes me realize how completely not ready I am to return to the U.S. on a permanent basis.

It's funny that I'm writing this entry here in America because as of today, it's been exactly a year since I moved to Japan. It's a bit hard to believe that the time has passed this fast. This past year has been amazing and I can only hope that my luck continues into the next year of my life in Japan.
rinlin: (Family)
Taking a break from packing to update LJ.

I went back to the hospital on Tuesday. A different doctor examined me and thankfully I don't have anymore kidney stones right now. I say right now because once you've had kidney stones there's always the possibility that more could form. To prevent this I've been trying to drink more water. I think one of my problems is that I don't drink enough liquids, so I'm hoping that drinking the water will help.

In more awesome news, tomorrow I'm flying to America! I'm really excited for this vacation. It's been almost exactly a year since I moved to Japan. I haven't seen anyone from home except Mom and Dad during that year. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the rest of my friends and family. [livejournal.com profile] stellawind and [livejournal.com profile] melody1228 are both planning on visiting me at different times during my week in Chicago, so I can't wait for that! And, of course, I'm really excited about the second part of my trip, when I'll get to go to California and see DJ! Before all of that, I have to actually fly back to America though. My flight is late tomorrow afternoon, but I'm catching a bus to Narita around noon. 

Going to go back to packing now. I'm bringing some stuff that I don't really need back to America with me, so I'm trying to see how much of it I can fit in my suitcase. I'll update again once I'm in America. いってきます!
rinlin: (Family)
Finally got all my plans in order, and this morning I bought my tickets to visit the U.S. at the end of July! I'll be visiting my friends and family in Chicago from July 21-30. Then, on July 30th I'm flying to California so I can spend the rest of the week in San Jose with my bff, DJ! The plane tickets for everything were pretty expensive, but it should be worth it. (It would've been even more expensive to travel later in August.) I'm quite excited about everything. Hopefully I'll have enough time to see all the people I want to see. 

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