Well, Happy New Years ^^ I know, it’s a wee bit late, and I won’t bore you with any excuses (none of them good anyway). Instead, I’ll dowse you with pictures while talking about what I’ve been up to lately. Let’s see, I didn’t do much between Christmas and New Years, just went to a Secret Santa Christmas Party that the international students threw, and I marathoned a Japanese drama called Rookies (which was phenomenal, by the way). Took a small break from marathoning Rookies to Skype with my family when the 1st came around (it was pretty fun actually – I was Skyping them while they were at Church, so I got to listen to the message which was much needed). Well, to make a long story short, by the time I had finished watching Rookies (and then reading the manga version), I hadn’t eaten an actual meal in days (suffice to say, I go hard when I marathon). I forced myself to get up and go out for some sushi and spaghetti (weird combo, I know). After that, it was pretty much just going to work and finishing up the last few days of classes (had to present my Sumi-e final in Japanese =,=). Met with a friend from my home college, and then the real fun started: the Onsen (Hot Spring) Adventure.
Since the semester was coming to an end, a lot of the international students who were only staying in Japan for one semester were getting reading to return to their home countries. Over this past semester, I had gotten really close with one such student. So before she returned to China, we wanted to have one last hurrah – hence, the onsen trip. Since we went to Hakone last year, we had heard that the area was pretty well known for its onsen, so we decided to go to a traditional inn in Yugawara (which is a little south of Hakone, I believe). On our way to Yugawara, we stopped by for the Plum Blossom festival. Unfortunately, not many plum blossoms (or ume, in Japanese) had actually blossomed, but thanks to that, we didn’t have to pay the entrance fee. As you can see, not many blossoms on the tree, right? Anyway, after that, we had some time to eat before our train (and since we had gotten up around 7 am and it was well past 12 at that point, we were quite hungry). Found a quiet Japanese restaurant, had katsudon for the first time (pretty tasty), and then we visited a local shrine right before catching our train.
How to describe this ryokan.. simply marvelous. It was truly a relaxing stay, to say the least. Once we arrived at the traditional Japanese inn, we didn’t bother going out to explore the town (and that was absolutely fine with me). Instead, we went through a process of trying out the various hot springs they offered. Out of all of them, the outside hot spring we went to after eating an incredible and filling dinner was the best. It was lightly snowing that day, so the night had a slight chill to it. But the moon was as clear as ever – full, white, and gleaming at us through a surrounding sea of clouds. Looking up at the moon and sinking into the warmth of the waters below was perfection. I would have loved to take a picture of that, but somehow I don’t think my fellow female bathers would have approved. After returning to our room, we relaxed and ate mikan while watching some television. Out of the 8 channels available, one of the first ones we saw happened to be showing Kung Fu Hustle. Now, I know this might not mean anything to most people, but for someone like me who has a dad who loves Chinese movies, seeing Kung Fu Hustle on made me laugh and reminisce about all of the various kung fu movies my dad and I would watch back home together (my personal favorites are Shaolin Soccer and the Tai Chi Master). It was the perfect end to the perfect day.
Trust me, I did not want to leave the next day to head back home. My body felt amazing after repeatedly going into the various onsen for a day and a half (went in over 7 different times), and I was more than ready to sink into another fit of bliss. But, since I had work that night, I figured it was best to show up.
And so that brings me to the past few days. I think it was Friday, actually. I was reading manga (like I usually do) when I had the sudden urge to buy some video games. The whole week, I had been meaning to play some video games anyway, but I kept finding manga that I wanted to read. Well anyway, after the thought flashed through my mind about buying some games, I went online and looked some stuff up about whether the 3DS and PSP were region locked (in case you’re wondering, PSP games aren’t but the UMD movies are, and only 3DS games are region locked, so you can still play any DS games). Then I made a list of games I wanted for both, and off I went the next day to buy to my heart’s content. And this is what I ended up with: Shining Hearts, Tales of Phantasia X, Last Ranker, Children of Mana, Final Fantasy Ring of Fates, Final Fantasy XII, and Fire Emblem Awakening (this is the only one in English since – like I said – 3DS games are not region free)… and yes, that is a One Piece blanket behind them. I had bought enough breakfast, lunch and dinner to last me until today, so I spent the whole weekend indulging on some “me” time. After unwinding and recharging, I think I’m ready to get out there again and mingle with the folks (and believe you me, recharging myself was necessary – interacting with people while I’m drained is never a good mix). But, since I still have a few hours until I’m expecting my guest, I think I’ll play some Harvest Moon.