I'm moving to Japan soon!
Indoor herbs like shiso, basil, maybe some western herbs like thyme? Maybe succulents and other indoor plants as well. If I'm in the countryside, I hope I have space to cultivate a vibrant outdoor garden with local wildflowers and some fruits + vegetables!
I am considering composting with LFC Compost, but that depends on how my veranda is set up. It may be better to set up my own compost bin. Maybe I could even try vermicomposting if I can get worms!
Very minimal: I don't know how long or short I'll be there, and anyways I don't like having lots of things. I'm the opposite of Howl! So I'll keep my home very simply adorned.
Assuming I have a 1K instead of a studio... a plant or two in the bedroom, with fresh flowers in warmer months (flower shop...?!). I hope I can also have a diffuser or incense for good wintertime scents. The photo here has a couch but I dunno about that, since I will mostly sit on the floor. I'd love to have a futon, actually, instead of a bed, since they seem easier to move in and out of the space. I'm cool with sleeping on the floor, so that's chill. I suppose it all comes down to what sort of furniture stores are available near me.
I hope to cook a lot
I anticipate a pretty small kitchen. Tiny spaces often lead to innovation, so I am excited to see how I organize my kitchen. Maximizing storage and counter space with shelves? Kneading bread on my kitchen table if I don't have counter space? It'll be my little nest! ... I just have to make sure I take plenty of walks outside
While I will be working, I also want to maintain a sense of relaxed alertness throughout my day. I want to keep my stress level low by leading an active but deliberately paced lifestyle.
I am a morning person! I want to wake before 7:30 to do morning exercises and journal if I feel up to it. I can also take this time to read, prepare my lunch if need be, and review any tasks I need to do.
I dunno what it'll be like yet! Hoping for nice coworkers and a welcoming environment.
If I get my wish, my work won't come home with me too often, or if it does, it'll be manageable. I want to get it done as soon as I can. Once it's done, I hope I will have the time/energy to meet friends (safely!), tend my garden (if I have space for one), read, study, go to karaoke, or otherwise chill out.
So open! I want to do all kinds of things after a slow, early morning. Catching up on housework for one; a clean space is very important, so cleaning will be done little by little throughout the week with a big cleaning spree over the weekend. Maybe chatting with friends overseas, or meeting up with local ones. Gardening
My favorite ramen shop, Akutagawa Ramen in Kyoto!
Kaiseki ryouri is a high-end multi-course meal reserved for special occasions. It's known for seasonal ingredients prepared with refined techniques and plated to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible to all your senses.
Kushikatsu! If you've ever had katsu (fried cutlet), this is that but crunchier and skewered. And they have all kinds of stuff, not just meat: veggies, seafood, you name it. I even had wagyu beef kushikatsu once~ Some more popular places even serve them to you on little trains that come to your table
Onsen tamago!! Eggs that are cooked slowly in the hot waters of an onsen for over a half hour. They come out custardy with a semi-firm yolk that's somehow also creamy???
The easy part. I want to get better at the Kansai dialect to better connect with my relatives (and because it's just so much fun to speak). I already try to watch Kansai TV, even though I don't really like watching television
This will comprise two parts: kanji and content.
Studying kanji (Chinese characters) through an old textbook I have, using flashcards for spaced repetition. When I was using it for class, we'd basically have to memorize about 24-30 new words every day; the next day, we'd be quizzed on their meaning, and the day after on their reading. For instance, on Monday I learn 納得. On Tuesday I have to remember it means "consent." On Wednesday, I have to remember it's read 「なっとく」(nattoku). Every couple weeks we'd have a big quiz over just meanings.
This system will be modified for more thorough recall: I'll memorize a set of words and add them to an Anki deck. To really make them stick, I'll compose sentences with them, maybe even keep a journal (more below).
I love reading! Novels, non-fiction, memoir, all of it. I am so excited that a whole new world of literature is open to me through language. I want to read both for pleasure and education: as such, I will probably have a pencil in hand when I read for marking unfamiliar words and phrases. After each chapter or relevant subdivision, go back and review markings with a dictionary, writing completely new things in my language notebook and adding them to my flashcards.
Outside of books, I want to read blogs relevant to my interests; there are certainly people who pursue their love of jazz or urban gardening in Japan, and their insight will be invaluable. Through these sources, I'll be able to learn niche vocabulary while finding new ways to engage with my hobbies in a new country.
and of course karaoke covers all of the above www
Everyone tells me I don't need to know how to write like, super well. Maybe I don't, since I'll be able to type most things. But! That won't always be the case. Official documents, mailing slips, all sorts of things require writing. So in conjunction with reading practice, my flashcards will also be used for writing practice. Each card has the word in kanji, its reading, and its meaning. If its meaning or reading appears, I'll write it down and mark the card depending on my recall.
But flashcards are useless without context! I'm hoping to write more and more in Japanese, from journal or blog entries to my Daily tasks. I want to have a little notebook where I keep track of Home projects, and of course it'll be so much easier to just note down brands or plants or stores in Japanese. Much of my extended writing experience in Japanese is academic, so I'm excited to read blogs and learn more about casual written Japanese!
There are soooo many hikes I want to go on AHHH I found a pair of gently used hiking boots (Timberland #95354) on eBay several months ago for only $30 and have fallen in love with solo hiking since then :) I like rocky hikes with scrambles, but scenic ones with views are great too! Autumn hikes also mean mushrooms~ I love foraging for edible mushrooms and am hoping to learn more about edible plants too!
April is cherry blossom season! 🌸 Usually folks will have picnics under the cherry blossom trees with family and/or friends (or solo!), eating and drinking and sometimes singing karaoke. It's a wonderful time to appreciate the beauty and transience of nature.
The Olympic Torch will be making its way through all 47 prefectures from the end of March to the beginning of July. Wouldn't it be great to catch it once or twice?
Big public baths! The outdoors ones are often geothermally heated so they're warm year-round. They're also found in traditional inns (ryokan) and in dedicated bath houses. They're often part of a whole bath experience that includes certain foods and sometimes massages.
I love live music, but especially jazz. The quiet, intimate atmosphere of a jazz club naturally lends itself to a relaxing experience where you can get to know others in the scene. My regular jazz club, Crescent in Osaka, is a small joint that seats maybe 15? And they have different folks every night. I got to know a handful of musicians and patrons who invited me to other musical events around the area; it was a fantastic opportunity to expand my social circle and have some fun!
When I lived in Japan before, I went to random language exchanges and bar crawls to meet people. I met some interesting folks, including a woman who tried to convert me to a radical sect of Buddhism and someone who tried to tell me racism doesn't exist in Japan
Many people compare this to the classic Studio Ghibli film (and my favorite!) Laputa: Castle in the Sky. This gun battery was constructed on a chain of islands in the bay in the last decades of the nineteenth century, meant to defend the newly-open Japan from attack. They were never actually used, and the site was abandoned after World War II.
The island is accessible by the Tomogashima Kisen (友ヶ島汽船), a ferry that departs regularly throughout the day, every day. It's first come, first served, so if I wanna catch the 9 am ferry I gotta be quick! If I make that one, I can stay out there for a good six hours!
I went to this festival when I lived in Japan a few years ago. It was so lit! Every September, each neighborhood of Kishiwada comes together to pull a huge hand-carved Buddhist shrine (the danjiri). On top of the danjiri is the carpenter (daiku) or his son, who directs the hundreds of runners with an energetic fan dance.
Supposedly the third best onsen for beautifying your skin
Write-up in Japan Guide.
A summer festival held in Aomori City every August. It's famous for the dozens of intricate parade floats representing various gods and other figures from myth and legend. Apparently you can participate if you're wearing traditional haneto dress? Dope. The official website is here; the English option is pretty limited.
The official climbing season starts in July and ends in mid-September! I may not be able to make it in 2021 but maybe outside the season or next year. :)
Write-up in Atlas Obscura
Bioluminescent squid migrate through Toyama Bay every April. From late March to early May, the Firefly Squid Museum takes tour boats out every morning around 3am so people can see the squid at their most active. Tour info here (日本語).
Also something kind of funny: Hannan City, where I'll be living, apparently has its own droves of sea fireflies, blue bioluminescent crustaceans, in the summertime . Huh!
One of the Three Great Gardens of Japan! I was supposed to visit Okayama last time I was in Japan, but a typhoon got in the way
A company based out of Shikoku that makes washi (traditional Japanese paper). They still use traditional techniques in their small factory, where they produce specialty papers for personal and commercial use. You can buy online or in store, though international shipping takes a long time right now. I researched this company for a project on traditional arts and have wanted to make a trip out there ever since! Their English site is here.
Big shopping complex! I'm not huge on shopping, but I just think it'd be so cool just to walk around and admire the architecture. There are swirl motifs all around, and a canal runs through the whole place. And they have hedges on their balconies plus tree-lined walks, giving the whole place a wonderful solarpunk vibe!!
ngl I'm a bit hesitant about this since there's already a big American military presence here. I want to find a non-obtrusive way to engage with the natural beauty of Okinawa, and if the best way is by not going, I won't. But I do want to see the beaches...