I’ve been putting off this update for a while, being mega busy and feeling like I wanted to write about other things; but I decided it’s important to have a monthly overview (even if it is morbidly overdue).
September was my first full month in Japan, I was getting more settled into my house and workplace, meaning that I could put more focus on branching out and experiencing the country…. and experience I did.
This month was a definite month of firsts. Be it my first bullet train or my first trip to the doctor (which was quite something) I’m insanely proud of what I managed to do in such a short space of time.
I kicked the month off with a bang by packing my travel case and heading down to my first ever beach party! The party was a JET event, meaning that JETs from all over my region came. We stayed in cabins and went swimming and played frisbee on the beach!
After a few drinks and a little barbeque, I headed back to the beach with some other JETs to see some bioluminescence (think a dimmed down version of those sparkly water things in Avatar).
I thought it was just the reflection of the moon on the water at first, until we realised the lights on the sand and how the waves would light up more than the still water. It was just magical and the vibe of the whole night was just ace.
For a whole stack of reasons, I’ll remember it for a long time!
When I returned from my sandy retreat, I wanted to get to know my local area too. A lot of my first discoveries centred around food, but what can I say, I love my carbs.
I found a Nepalese restaurant that serves veggie food and I instantly fell in love.
I also had my first Mos Burger (like a Japanese Maccies). To those veggies in Japan, if you didn’t know, Mos Burger let you change most patties for soy ones- it’s brill.
I also found a VEGAN CAFÉ, but more about that later.
At my schools- I made my first English board and LOVED getting creative, making a chibi ‘Jessica Sensei’ and other artsy decorations.
I also took part in my school’s photography club, where I didn’t expect to be IN the picture. Tired, greasy face aside, it was hilarious and the kids got so into it, it was contagious.
With September being the month that says goodbye to summer, I made it a bit of a beachy month. A week or two after the Ashikita trip, me and the girls from my town went to Minamata.
We went swimming in insanely clear water and I even managed to swim right next to a turtle (top 10 memories in Japan)! When I came back to the shallows I could see fish swimming right up close to me and felt like I was in Lilo and Stitch.
As I mentioned earlier- this month was one giant leap for veggie-kind, as I discovered a vegan café nearby! This discovery came from a work friend, who showed me and the girls from my town, as well as taking us to a second hand store and Matcha-mania café called Little Kyoto.
The next 1st of the month was my visit to the doctor. I had bad couple of weeks in September, visiting the doctors a lot in a short space of time. I’m glad that it happened early on though, as I found out that I’d need someone to translate when I go, due to there being no English-speaking doctors in my town. It was good to know so I can be prepared next time.
On the bright side, I made the pharmacists laugh as I shouted ‘matane’ leaving my second visit in just over a week. Silver linings.
Next was my trip to Hiroshima!
Now I can’t cover the whole trip here (I’ll make a full post at some point), but the trip involved my first shinkansen/ bullet train, a visit to Rabbit Island, first hostel experience, discovering that the city is veggie and vegan paradise, a jazz night, visiting the atomic bomb memorial and museum.
Safe to say it was fabulously eventful and up there for in my list of best experiences in Japan so far.
A weird first for this month was my first trip to the recycling centre. You may or may not know, but rubbish in Japan is taken SERIOUSLY.
It’s divided into burnable, non-burnable, glass, plastic, aluminium and steel cans, thick cardboard and thin cardboard etc.
Also, plastic bottles need to be cleaned, with label and lid removed, to be recycled. It was interesting to see this in action at the centre, where every product was neatly piled in corners of a warehouse, like an art installation rather than a rubbish disposal space.
Andddddd I had my first typhoon! If you read my post ‘Typhoon Trami’ you’ll know how unexpected this one was, but how it ended up being a pretty good experience in the end.
At the end of September I found myself continuing to travel and to grow in ways that I didn’t expect.
One of this month’s biggest surprises was how well I’d found myself settling in. I was feeling happy in my own company and even growing in confidence as a teacher! This feeling of happiness wasn’t a short-term excitement for getting in Japan either, even now, in the Autumn months with temperatures dropping, homesickness and mood generally falling, I still feel like there’s a constant positive undertone.
Since my uni days, it’s always been important for me to look back and sort of log what I’ve been up to, keeping journals and other 90s fantasy drama cliches (thanks Charmed), to remind me of where I’m at. It also lets me remind myself of how far I’ve come, which is crucial for those doubting days and times when I feel like a potatoey blob.
All in all September was an awesome month, the weather was great, the company was epic and I feel like I was making the most out of every opportunity.