[Japan Travel] Kawachi Fujien – Wisteria Garden

I saw the Wisteria Tunnel on a list of Magnificent Flower Tunnels years ago and was immediately enraptured. Who wouldn’t be? It looks like a page from a fairytale! Japan’s Wisteria Tunnels became one of my top bucket list places to visit!

And now, BUCKET LIST DONE! *throws confetti*

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Golden Week in Japan

Golden Week in Japan in the one week which has 4 National Holidays (April 29, May 3, 4, 5) and is considered the most popular for traveling etc. I’ve been hearing about Golden Week for a long time but this year I actually spent it in Japan. \^_^/ I used it to travel and visit surrounding places around Fukuoka.

Here are the places that I visited during the golden week:

Friday, 29th April 
Dazaifu Shrine, Fukuoka (blog)
Kyushu National Musueum, Fukuoka (blog)

Saturday, 30th April
Tenjin, Fukuoka

Sunday, 1st May
Disaster Prevention Center, Fukuoka
Momochi Beach, Fukuoka

Monday, 2nd May
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, Fukuoka (blog)

Tuesday, 3rd May
Suikyou Shrine, Fukuoka
Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka
Hakata Canal City, Fukuoka

Wednesday, 4th May
Kawachi Fujien Wisteria Gardens (blog)
Hakata Dontaku Parade, Fukuoka

Pretty good for a week, right? 😀

[Japan Travel] Dazaifu Shrine and Kyushu National Museum

Dazaifu Tenmanguu is a Shinto Shrine in Dazaifu, Fukuoka, Japan and is dedicated to Tenjin(天神) , the god of learning and scholarship.

The Legend
Dazaifu Tenmanguu Shirine is built upon the grave of Sugawara no Michizane, a learned scholar and poet who composed many poems dedicated to his favourite plum trees. His rise in power in political circles was viewed as a threat by the Fujiwaras who were dominant and they exiled him to Kyushu. Michizane spent his life in exile, studying and learning. When, Michizane died a few years later, several natural disasters ravaged the country and it was attributed to his angry spirit. To appease him, the spirit was deified as Tenjin and shrines were built.

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[Manga Review] Magi: Sinbad no Bouken #01 by Ohtaka Shinobu

Since I’m in Japan and the one thing you can get comparatively cheaply is manga. So I’ve started enthusiastically buying and reading manga in Japanese. I don’t think I will review every manga volume that I read. It would be too much and I don’t have that much time. But I will review the volumes which are especially good! So here is the first one from my books blog!

Bottled Tales

Sinbad no Bouken (シンドバッドの冒険, The Adventures of Sinbad)  is the spin-off prequel story of the Magi (マギ) manga series and follows young Sinbad on his journey to become the High King of the Seven Seas (nanakai no haou, 七海の覇王). It is written by Ohtaka Shinobu, the author of Magi and illustrated by Yoshifumi Ohtera.

magi sinbad no bouken manga review volume 01 (3)

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Living In Japan – First 10 days

It has been 10 days since I came to Japan to study at Kyushu University. Weirdly, it feels like a much longer time. Japan and life in Japan, is everything I imagined it to be and so much more.

The first week was mainly full of administrative procedures like residence certificate, bank accounts, insurance etc. There are numerous procedures and everything is very detailed, almost to an irritating degree. I’m beginning to understand what meticulous actually means. But, though it is detailed, the process is smooth and everyone is very helpful and understanding.

My dorm room is tiny but brilliantly designed that there is enough space for everything and does not feel cramped. It even has a spacious balcony. Being a corner room on the ninth floor, I also have fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. I’m beginning to get used to living by myself. Since the campus is farther away from the city, it is very quiet and peaceful. It is also surrounded by mountains with a few old-fashioned Japanese homes.

The weather is the most problematic for me. It changes hugely with every day. Last week, one day was very rainy, the next was very windy and sunny, and then the next very cold. I’m not used to the cold, especially when it is very windy. But, I’m much better this week than the last, so I hope I can get used to it gradually!

So does, Japan live up to my imagination? Yes, it most certainly does!

Things that have really impressed me about Japan – weird and wonderful!

  • People really do go out of their way to help you. I got lost on my way to class one day and had a professor walk two floors up with me to actually take me to the class instead of just explaining the way.
  • Everyone is unfailingly polite. At all times. And they bow a lot! I end up bowing back a lot too because it feels incredibly rude not to.
  • It is incredibly clean and incredibly beautiful.
  • Everyone is so fashionable and impeccably dressed. And I’m not even in Tokyo. Sometimes I feel like a hobo walking among them.
  • I don’t understand the need for a lot of the administrative procedures or even some specific procedures at the ATMs, where to pay what etc. Sometimes it feels needlessly complicated. But it is the way it is. A place for everything and everything in its place.
  • The shops are absolutely incredible!
  • There are no switches. I mean, there are light switches etc. but there are no switches for the plug/sockets. You have to pull out the plug itself once you are done. Which is silly and irritating.
  • Staying on the topic of switches, the light switches have tiny lights on them which come on when you turn off the light, so you can see where the switch is in the dark.
  • The special coloured bags for garbage are so expensive.
  • Oh yes, the rumors are accurate. Everything is expensive.
  • I love the buses and the drivers who keep informing over the mic that the bus is going to turn or start or stop etc. But again, expensive!
  • The watchword is cute! Everything and everyone is cute! Everything has a cute mascot character. Even my teachers draw cute smileys and pictures to teach! CUTE!
  • This is going to sound ridiculous. But it is really difficult to watch anime while in Japan unless you have a TV. Yeah. So, I have resorted to Netflix which is the best option for me right now. Though I cannot watch the current season which is really irritating.
  • But, I have cheap manga!!

I’m really beginning to get used to both living alone and living in Japan. I’ve stopped feeling hyper-aware and a bit more relaxed about my surroundings. Also, I’ve seriously started craving junk food for the past couple of days, which is a sure sign that I’m regaining my normal fangirl-self!

Till next time!

Happy Birthday, Sakura-chan~~~ and moving to Japan!

It is 9 pm on April 1st! It is very late to say this but here goes…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAKURA-CHAN!!!

ccs

On 3rd, I’m leaving for Japan to start my post-graduate studies at Kyushu University. This is the first time I’m travelling alone anywhere, let alone out of the country. So, I’m incredibly excited but also equally nervous. Packing is 99% done. I think I’ve gotten everything in order. Right now, I’m trying not to think about the actual leaving bit, because I will freak out. Instead, I will think about Sakura-chan!

Stumbling across the anime show, Cardcaptor Sakura, years ago while surfing channels got me into watching anime. And it has snowballed from there. It has, in turn, led to more anime, reading manga, becoming a figure-collector, learn about Japan and most importantly, learn Japanese. Learning Japanese made me realize that I loved languages and I can learn and use multiple language, which in turn led me to start learning German. I want to learn at least two more languages. But that is for the future.

While I went to college for my undergraduate studies, I wasn’t 100% sure on what I wanted to do with my life – career wise. Learning Japanese made me come to the conclusion that I wanted my career/life to be built around languages. Hence, after many years, i”m starting this post-graduate course in Japan. I will write more about my journey till here a little later (when I’m done freaking out). But this is the culmination of years of hopes and dreams and wishes and they have been kept alive because of my love of anime and Japanese as a language.

And it all started with meeting the little magical girl! To the girl who changed my life and who continues to keep me going, thank you. I love you, Sakura-chan!

Sherlock Figures and a Comic

A few weeks ago, I came across a £100 discount coupon for the Sherlock: The Complete Series 1-3 Limited Edition Gift Set (UK Exclusive) on Sherlockology’s twitter (@Sherlockology). Yes, you read that right. £100 discount. I ordered it faster than you could say ‘Sherlock’.

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I’ve been seriously looking to buy this set from the day it was announced mainly for the bust figures. But I wasn’t willing to pay £125 for it as it included the DVDs and Blu-rays which will be region locked and a couple of postcards. I already have all 3 season’s DVDs separately. So I couldn’t justify spending so much, almost 1/3 of my monthly salary, on 2 figures and things I couldn’t use. I kept trawling through online sites, but could never find these 2 figures for sale separately. When this discount came, it was truly lucky because £25 is a very fair price to pay for them.

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Made of Stardust: My Tribute To David Bowie

I love the word ‘stardust’. I collect songs and books and writing that has the word ‘stardust’ in it. I collect stardust. I love the Japanese word for it too -星屑- hoshikuzu. Stardust is at once ephemeral and eternal. It refers to the dust material between stars -fleeting and transient. It also refers to stars that are so faraway that they appear to us like sparkling dust – eternal and immortal. Of course, it is also the dreamy, sentimental, naive and romantic feeling. I’ve always felt like David Bowie was made of stardust. And I love him.

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