We finally reached Spring time in Japan! For all of you guys who don't know, sakura blossoms or cherry blossoms, only come in full bloom for about a week or two during the ending of March and early April. This year, the blossoms bloomed a little later than normal in Osaka, but thankfully I got to see their beauty! Because I am months behind on my Study Abroad posts, I'll just do brief summaries of what I remember happening based off of the pictures I took throughout the week! So let's get started! :)
This week starting from Friday, my Study Abroad Program planned a short weekend trip to Wakayama. Because of that, we had a short day on Thursday. I knew the sakura blossoms were blooming this week, so I thought Thursday would be a good day to go on a hunt for some blossoms!
Dress: Liz Lisa
Shoes: Liz Lisa
Choker: Small boutique in Harajuku
Sakura blossoms meant dressing like a princess, so I put on my new dress I bought and took a train to Osaka Castle, where I heard the blossoms were already in bloom!
Class ended around 11 on Thursday, so the night before I made myself a little lunch for myself! Salmon onigiri, and some cucumbers and tomatoes! Yum yum! The blossoms weren't all in bloom, but it was still really beautiful to look at. :) I found an empty bench near the river above and enjoyed my lunch listening to music and taking selfies. <3
After relaxing, I set off to find the famous Osaka Castle. In no time, in the distance I saw it. And it was really big!
For a Thursday afternoon, there were a lot of people there, either enjoying the sakura blossoms with their families or visiting the castle. Because I was by myself, I didn't want to go into the castle alone, so I settled for just taking a lot of pictures of it~
A random thing that happened though was a guy came up to me and asked to take my picture. (0.o) I agreed because why not, he did look like an actual photographer. But then he insisted that the lighting was wrong and he wanted to go somewhere else to take the picture, and my red light in my head went off and I just went, no thank you! xD (I blame my princess dress~)
Anyway, after the picture taking of the castle, I went off on more searches for some pretty sakura blossom pictures! Luckily, I found a lot. So here are my favorite!
Above is a picture of my class back in America! Half of our class go on Study Abroad the Fall semester, and the other half (me!) during Spring semester. We send each other a card during our time abroad and I just received mine, so I wanted to take them with me as I looked at the blossoms~ ^^ I miss them so much!!!
Other than that, I went back home and prepared my trip to Wakayama~
Bright and early, all of the program members, Japanese roommates included, were to meet at the bus at OGU campus at around 7:00am I think. The only reason I remember this was because: 1) All of the Study Abroaders were there on time, yet somehow most of the Japanese roommates weren't...huh... and 2) My roommate was included in that mix. =.= She didn't even bother to sleep in our room. Le sigh....... When I'm done making these Study Abroad posts, I'll write about my overall experience. :) But anyway, once we were all there, we then had like a 3 hour bus ride to Wakayama!
We arrived there late, so we had a quick lunch. I believe this was tonkatsu okaykudon. But I'm not too sure. It tasted okay. :) After lunch we had some time to explore the town.
It was rainy :( But it was rather interesting to see this city! It looked like olden day Japan. The streets were empty, the houses and shops were old, it was just serene.
We had a planned tour visit to Koyasan, I believe. If this is wrong, I'll correct it in the future! Koyasan is a trail with thousands of gravestones reside. A very spiritual place, which I believe is a UNESCO World Heritage site. :) I recommend visiting if you would like to experience a real taste of the culture and respect Japan has for their dead.
Fun Fact: When there are bridges like these when entering temples or shrines: Civilians must walk on either the left or the right side of the bridge. Only spirits and ancestors can walk in the middle. Plus you have to bow before walking. :D
After we went on that rainy walk~ We then got to experience a little overnight stay in a temple! Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of such temple, but it was amazing~
We got to experience eating a traditional meal (everything vegetarian!), wear a yukata to dinner, and sleeping on tatami mats on a futon bed! It was a rather long day, but we needed to wake up early because were were going to have a busy day the next day!
First stop was this Shoyu or Soy Sauce factory! It was really cool being taught how shoyu is made~ I also got to taste some Soy Sauce ice cream! It actually tasted pretty good~ :D
Obviously we needed food! So we went on a short stop at Tore Tore Ichiba. I ordered my favorite, salmon and ikura bowl~ And also got some dessert! Taiyaki~ Yum!
Next stop: Shirahama Beach! Fun Fact: Shirahama beach is like the sister beach of Waikiki in O'ahu! This is the first beach I visited in loooong while, so I took a lot of pictures~ It was nice relaxing here! We climbed rocks and took lots of pictures while relaxing and looking at the ocean.
After, we went to a place where you can go to the bottom of a cliff! It was pretty interesting~ The color of the cliffs underground were beautiful!!! And somehow, the loud crashing of the waves were relaxing.
After, we went to our hotel, showered, changed, and grabbed hotel dinner! People planned on drinking, and by people I mean the Japanese roommates, so Natsuko and I decided to walk back to Shirahama beach at night!
We had the BEST girl talk just sitting on the sand and listening to the sounds of the waves crash the shore. :) I really hope I have more nights like these later on this year. After, we just went back to the hotel where everyone was drunk off their feet, and fell asleep.
If you guys are still reading this, HIIIIIII! I'm almost done! No worries ;)
Here is a picture of Natsuko and I as we ride to our first place of the day!
We painted on some sushi plates! It was really cool! There is a correct term for this art form, but I don't remember what it's called. :( I'm sorry! We pretty much just reaaaaaally carefully used a tiny brush to put glue on the design and then our instructors brushed colorful powder on it~ I thought it was fun! And I was proud of how it turned out. The good news too was that sakura blossoms were in bloom here as well!
We then got a surprise! Our program coordinators took us to a carnival/park place and we got to eat some barbecue! It was incredibly yummy~
After lunch, we just played around this area! I think it was called America Carnival or something...It was a weird name. xD By 2 or 3:00 or so, we were back on the bus ready to go back home to Osaka.
And so the last photo of this post (finally!!) is me and Pikachu! (Anyone playing Pokemon Go right now??? #TeamInstict #althoughIwishedIwasTeamMystic #lesigh....thethingsIdoforthebae
Overall, this weekend was amazing! I got to do so many new and exciting things. And it marks the last adventure my program had in store for us! So please stay tuned for the rest of my Study Abroad posts! It's almost coming to an end!!!
Until next time,