An Adventurer's Dream

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Japanese Toilets and End of Semester

ImageThat, my lovely readers, is a picture of the Japanese-style toilets that I was introduced to while on my trip over Spring Break. Most of the girls did not use them, and did not want to. It’s different, not something that Americans are used to. I mean, seriously, would you want to squat and use that?

In all actuality, I liked them. It removes the worry of what germs you are sitting on and what you are going to sit in altogether. Plus, because everyone didn’t want to use them, I usually got to go to the front of the line instead of waiting behind everyone. Definitely a plus.

You’re probably wondering why I brought up the Japanese toilet. I have no idea, actually. I saw the picture and thought I should share. But there’s no real reason.

It’s getting to the end of the semester and I am definitely starting to get bogged down on homework. I have a lot of major presentations coming up (in addition to papers that go with them), papers for other courses, a few tests, my friends’ wedding is this weekend (and I can’t wait to finally see them say their vows!), I need to find some financial aide for next year, and I  still have to find a job for the summer. It’s needless to say that I am starting to get a little stressed. I have way too much on my mind, and thinking just makes me stress more. I’m sorry to rant about these things – I’m sure you have a ton of things to do as well. Just know that I am feeling you and I hope that it all goes okay. If you get too stressed, we can cry together and feel the ocean with our tears.

I think that was one of the reasons Japan was so amazing. I didn’t have anything to worry about there. I was in another country, which sort of felt like I was taken out of my life and put into another one. It was literally an adventure, and I hope you all know how much I love me some adventures (especially with magic and action and romance, though I’m still waiting for that to happen to me). My time there sort of represents procrastination and adventure and wonder. So, if we use logical reasoning, we can come to the conclusion that the floor toilet represents procrastination and adventure and wonder.

Lucky toilet, huh?

Good luck to everyone with the end of the semester. I’ll still be posting, but I figure I might as well say it now before we all get into our projects and studying and research. Make sure that you still put some time aside for yourself. Nothing is worse than studying without taking a break and letting your brain breathe a little.

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Japan in Pictures!

So, this is a little late, but it was promised! I’ve finally decided on photos to share with you all from my experience in Japan. It was difficult – I took over a hundred pictures each day – but I finally settled down on a few that I feel are really amazing.

First of all, my class woke up and walked to the bus stop. This is the view of the mountain behind us. Absolutely gorgeous.

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Then, this is the view from the top of the mountain where APU is located. It absolutely took my breath away. IMG_8350

 

This is APU campus.

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We did a downtown tour the first day and stopped at a shrine, where we got to practice leaving an offering and praying.

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This was the hot spring we visited. It smelled, but was beautiful.

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I was worried about food in Japan, because I’m allergic to shellfish (or might be allergic, to be more specific) and didn’t want to risk getting sick. However, there was so much wonderful food. Below is a picture of pork and cabbage that was steamed by the natural hot springs that run through Beppu. It was absolutely DELICIOUS. Add some soy sauce, and I was in heaven. It was a good welcoming dinner.

 

 

 

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I didn’t eat this ramen until Thursday, but it was the best I have ever had. Pork, green onions, garlic in the broth, and the best noodles ever.

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One of the Buddies took a picture of me outside of the ramen shop.

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Some landscape. Mountains and nature everywhere.

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We went on a trek the last day. These are some of the sights we held when walking up.

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At the very top was this.

 

 

 

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Me, after we looked at a temple later on.

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A very beautiful temple!

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Calligraphy. How’d I do?

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The entrance sign to Harmonyland!

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I braved my fears of heights and went on this giant ferris wheel. It actually wasn’t that bad.

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We saw a spectacular night show before leaving Harmonyland that night.

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And some other random pictures that didn’t load when they were supposed to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I hope this gives you a good look at what I saw and did in Japan! I don’t have too many pictures from the business trips (because we weren’t supposed to take pictures) but I did have a good amount of cultural experiences. Hopefully one day you will get to do the same thing!

 

 

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I’m Back! :)

First of all, I want to note that I am still alive.

Second, I apologize for not keeping up with my daily posts for the March of Happiness and for not updating more quickly. It has been hectic and I had no time while I was in Japan to do anything at all with regard to my blog. I am finally getting some time to sit down and write a post, in which I do realize that I have a lot to catch up on.

First of all, to March of Happiness. I was going to try and set up the posts before I left for Spring Break, but I was so bogged down by schoolwork and travel preparation that I was unable to do that. Instead, I’ll make a list now and let you see all that has made me happy since the last time I posted on her.

  • Day 8: Music
  • Day 9: Safe Flights
  • Day 10: Japan
  • Day 11: Beppu Hot Springs
  • Day 12: Tea Ceremony
  • Day 13: Shopping
  • Day 14: Travel
  • Day 15: Hello Kitty
  • Day 16: Freedom
  • Day 17: St. Edward’s
  • Day 18: Sleep
  • Day 19: Clockwork Princess
  • Day 20: Japanese Food
  • Day 21: Chinese Food
  • Day 22: Warmth

I’ll give you some better posts for the rest of the month, so please bear with me as I continue to post about March.

Next, Japan. There are no words that can appropriately say how wonderful Japan is. I really enjoyed my week spent there. While we were eternally busy  – half of the day with school-planned activities and then half of the day hanging with our Buddies (students from the school there) – it was great to be involved in so many things. We went on business trips (got to see Nissan cars being built!), did cultural activities (tea ceremony, flower arrangement, meditation, etc.), shopping (they have amazing malls, bee tee dubs – mall plus a grocery store installed!), and lots of food experimenting. I had been extremely nervous about the food at first; when you think of Japanese food, fish and shellfish is the first thing you probably think of (I mean, sushi, hellooooo). Dead wrong. There’s so much good food – real ramen, cucumber sushi, beef sushi, miso soup, rice, banana ice cream crepes (those were heaven!)… The list goes on. Korean food – totally there, too. I didn’t realize that Korean Barbecue has metal chopsticks. Those are the coolest! And the Buddies, the students from APU that went to events and other things with us, were absolutely amazing. I made some wonderful friends. Also, let me tell you that there is a theme park called Harmonyland outside of Beppu. Guess what the theme park is for? Hello Kitty. Yeah, you read that correctly. HELLO. KITTY. Honestly, that theme park was way more amazing than I was thinking. And so much Hello Kitty.

Needless to say, I had a great time in Japan. I cried several times because I had to say goodbye to my new friends and goodbye to the country. I really hope that I get the chance to travel again someday, and definitely to Beppu – or Japan in general. If you get the chance to go there, definitely grab that chance and take it. Travel. Even if it’s not Japan. Travel where you can.

Did anyone else have a good Spring Break? Or relaxing? I hope you did! Please, feel free to share the adventures you went on over the break.

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Another Step Closer

The trip to Japan is seeming so much more real as time goes on. It is almost to the end of the semester and on to the next one. In no time at all, it will be Spring Break and I will be boarding that plane to that foreign land.

Today marks another step taken toward boarding that plane. I turned in my application and other documents to get my passport. Needless to say, it will take four to six weeks to get the passport back, but I will have it well in advance to my trip. I was pleasantly surprised that my picture for it came out okay. I’m used to my photos for special identification matters coming out kinda not good.

First things first, though, and that entails Christmas Break coming up soon. It will be nice to have a mini-vacay and stay at home for a month. I am thinking a holiday job, but we’ll just have to see how that goes. I hope everyone has a wonderful winter season!!!

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A Dream Brought To Life

One of my last posts talked about adventures in a far away place and study abroad options that I would love to have the opportunity to go on. While I will not be taking a semester or a year to study in a foreign county, I have been giving the amazing opportunity of going to Japan for a 10-day trip during my Spring Break in this upcoming year.

Yes, I was accepted into the class that has this wonderful study abroad component. I am so thrilled to be able to take such a trip and learn more about the culture of the business world in Japan. And to just be able to go to Japan at all. It seems like a dream brought to life.

The only down points is trying to find money to make up for the extra cost that goes along with the course. My loan covers most of the charges that will be brought on by the extra $1,500, but I still need to earn funding for textbooks next semester and for passport fees. I am now working at the desk in my residence hall, but I will not be paid for a few more weeks. Still, I would like to find a way to earn even more money. I feel bad making my mom worry about my finances in regards to schooling and keeping enough money to be able to live well. She is also concerned about me saving money up so that I will be able to afford an apartment after college. I am too.

If anyone has any advice or thoughts on how to earn some more money, I would very much appreciate to hear them. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you have to say. Or, please share an experience of when you traveled abroad and what you thought of the entire event. I would love to learn more about what people have thought of their experiences abroad.

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Adventures in a Far Away Place

I have had three classes between yesterday and today where someone has come in and spoken about studying abroad. It sounds so beautiful and wonderful – like an amazing adventure that all college students should yearn to take. Going to class in France, bicycling to the university, immersing myself in the culture of this other land… It’s beautiful, indeed, but it’s not something that is possible for me.

In order for me to graduate from St. Edward’s on time (May 2014 is my objective), I will need to take full course loads each semester until I graduate. I will have to take a class over the summer. Studying abroad is outside my budget limit (I can hardly afford going to St. Edward’s). However, there are still two chances I have to get the opportunity to go abroad. The School of Business and Management offers two courses that have components that allow you to study abroad. The thought of being able to participate in such a class is thrilling.

However, it does cost extra to take these classes. The one that I want to take next semester is traveling to Japan. It would be such a wonderful experience and I would be so honored to be chosen to participate. I have to write a short essay to apply and then if I am selected I will have to pay $1,500 extra for the course. My parents are not too happy about having to pay extra, especially when my school is so expensive to begin with. Half of me has already accepted the fact that I will probably not be able to take the class (I mean, what are the chances of me being actually selected to take the class and then of having the money ready for next semester?) yet half of me will be completely heartbroken if I do not take this chance. I really, really want to go… And it’s not just because it is Japan. It is because the experience would be so life-changing and I know that I would be able to use it for future events and business decisions.

I will send my essay this week to the person in charge. I really do hope I am chosen. But, a part of me hopes that I am not, so I won’t have to be heartbroken after I have been told “Yes.” I guess we’ll see how it turns out. Whatever it is, I am sure it is for the best.

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