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I got up early and said goodbye to the friends I made at my guesthouse. After that, I decided to spend the day walking around Kyoto. First, I went to a small shrine called Yasuikonpira-gu (that’s a mouthful!) that I wandered upon. It was a very pretty, peaceful shrine and there weren’t many people there at all.

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Brenda (:

Brenda (:

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This little guy was hanging around the shrine the whole time I was there, just enjoying the morning.

This little guy was hanging around the shrine the whole time I was there, just enjoying the morning.

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Next, I went to Entokuin. It’s a wonderful temple that was formed for Toyotomi Hideyoshi after his death, by his wife. It’s beautiful and charming and I loved it. I’d definitely recommend visiting this temple when you’re in Kyoto.

Entokuin

Entokuin

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I walked through Yasaka shrine again, on my way to the Ryozen kannon. I saw a geisha at the temple near Yasaka, it was a bit unreal! The Ryozen kannon was incredible…after a 10 minute climb on a very steep staircase, you make it to the top and can look over all of Kyoto. Then I explored the kannon by myself, and it was so beautiful and amazing. I lit a candle and made a wish inside, and then spent a while just walking around the area.

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I looked up while I was taking these pictures, and these guys were just chilling....sitting there and staring at me!

I looked up while I was taking these pictures, and these guys were just chilling....sitting there and staring at me!

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Oh, Kyoto. I love you.

Oh, Kyoto. I love you.

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Ryozen Kwannon

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My candle.
My candle.

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I walked towards Kiyomizudera (which was my goal) and stopped for lunch at a cute little cafe. I had a salad, margherita pizza (!!!) and a drink and just watched people walk by. Then I walked through a little garden and finally made it to Kiyomizudera!!!

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My school’s festival was on November 20, 2008. Every year, schools in Japan have a school festival; every three or four years, it’s a huge festival that lasts all weekend! My school’s big festival is this year, 2009…and I really wish I could be there!! It was such an awesome day, I got to walk around and talk to so many people I’d never had the chance to meet before. I really loved it…it’s one of my best memories at Tamura.

The first year kids made handprint "turkeys" for Thanksgiving in English class.

The first year kids made handprint "turkeys" for Thanksgiving in English class.

I was excited because it snowed.

I was excited because it snowed.

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Our flower display

Our flower display

My favorite 3rd year boys!!

My favorite 3rd year boys!!

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There are so many different things at the school festivals…most clubs set up booths or demonstrations, there’s pictures and flyers and posters everywhere, and there are tons of activities. Examples of a few: tea ceremony demonstration, flower arrangement display, live music/concerts, piano performances, crafts, dance performances…and so many more! It was awesome and so great to see all the talent of the kids in my school!!

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This band was all girls, and they dressed up in costumes...like Pikachu!

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These are all 3rd year boys. They yelled at me while I was walking down the hallway, and made me take a picture with them.

These are all 3rd year boys. They yelled at me while I was walking down the hallway, and made me take a picture with them.

Their was a little display of pictures and a slideshow from our trip to Okinawa!

Their was a little display of pictures and a slideshow from our trip to Okinawa!

I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this. What a weird name! It's a photography poster....no "Nipples" are pictured!

I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this. What a weird name! It's a photography poster....no "Nipples" are pictured!

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Calligraphy exhibit about the Okinawa trip. Some of these kids are amazing at calligraphy!!

Calligraphy exhibit about the Okinawa trip. Some of these kids are amazing at calligraphy!!

3rd year boys. People always wanted me to take their picture!

3rd year boys. People always wanted me to take their picture!

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Okinawa

Okinawa

These were taken from a teacher's office, where I spent all of my Japanese lessons and study halls.

This was taken from a teacher's office, where I spent all of my Japanese lessons and study halls.

3rd year girls. "CHELSEY! CHELSEY! SHASHIN KUDASAI!!"

3rd year girls. "CHELSEY! CHELSEY! SHASHIN KUDASAI!!"

Pumped up Doraemon? Lay off the steroids, dude.

Pumped up Doraemon? Lay off the steroids, dude.

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2nd year girls (:

2nd year girls (:

Bassist in my friend's band. They're rockstars!

Bassist in my friend's band. They're rockstars!

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These guys put tape on their shirts to spell out girls names, while the girls were onstage dancing. How cute!

These guys put tape on their shirts to spell out girls names, while the girls were onstage dancing. How cute!

I'm a celebrity!! Haha, it was ridiculous how "famous" I was!

I'm a celebrity!! Haha, it was ridiculous how "famous" I was!

3rd year girls, right after they got done dancing.

3rd year girls, right after they got done dancing.

The last activity of the day. They had to pass some tiny items down the line, from chopsticks to chopsticks.

The last activity of the day. They had to pass some tiny items down the line, from chopsticks to chopsticks.

2-4 won...followed by all 3 sports classes. Of course, right?!

2-4 won...followed by all 3 sports classes. Of course, right?!

I was always getting ambushed for pictures. These girls were all in my gym class. <3

I was always getting ambushed for pictures. These girls were all in my gym class. ❤

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2nd year sports class boys. They were always asking me to be their girlfriend! Haha, they're so funny.

2nd year sports class boys. They were always asking me to be their girlfriend! Haha, they're so funny.

Courtyard from our balcony on the 3rd floor. I climbed lots of stairs everyday!

Courtyard from our balcony on the 3rd floor. I climbed lots of stairs everyday!

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We had breakfast at our hotel, had time to hang out on the beach and get packed, and then got on the bus and drove to a lighthouse (or something like that). After that, we went to Ishigaki Airport and had lunch…one of our travel guides took me to a small convenience store so I could find something to eat!! The bento for lunch was all fish and meat, so I had a sandwich and ice cream for lunch. Mmmm, ice cream is my favorite!! We flew to Naha Airport, and then back to Fukushima Airport. There was no photography allowed on the plane, but of course, I took pictures!!  When we landed in Fukushima, the first thing we noticed is that it was COLD!!! It got down to freezing temps that night….we were miserable!! We took another bus back to the train station in Miharu and I went home. We didn’t have to be at school until around 1 pm the next day, so I got to sleep in!! It was such a fantastic trip, and I fell completely in love with Okinawa. I can’t wait to go back!!

Shells from the beach!

Shells from the beach!

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My homeroom teacher, in the middle of a group of boys at the lighthouse.

My homeroom teacher, in the middle of a group of boys at the lighthouse.

Look how CUTE my uniform is! Haha!!

Look how CUTE my uniform is! Haha!!

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I was always being asked to shut my cell phone, mp3 player or camera off when we were on the plane. I'm a rebel!

I was always being asked to shut my cell phone, mp3 player or camera off when we were on the plane. I'm a rebel!

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Landing at the airport in Naha.

Landing at the airport in Naha.

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Katsunori and Kohei on the bus back to Miharu. Aren't they just adorable?!

Katsunori and Kohei on the bus back to Miharu. Aren't they just adorable?!

Two of my very best friends at school; Ayaka and Akane.

Two of my very best friends at school; Ayaka and Akane.

 

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I made a new page, about the project I’m currently attempting…Day Zero. Go check it out!!!! (:

We got up early (like 6 am!) and had breakfast on the 11th, then boarded the bus and drove to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. It was raining again, so we got soaked running from the bus to the aquarium! Thankfully, they had umbrellas that we could borrow. (How convenient and helpful are the Japanese, seriously?! There’s always umbrellas to borrow. It still amazes me!) They had huge escalators that we went up/down to get around the aquarium “complex.” It was huge! The second biggest aquarium in the world!!! There was the main building, a gift shop, garden, museum, historic village, and even places for dolphin shows! So awesome. We spent a few hours at the museum, then drove back towards Naha.

In the elevator, going to breakfast.

In the elevator, going to breakfast.

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What an ugly fish!

What an ugly fish!

Most common picture of Churaumi!

Most common picture of Churaumi!

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Next, we went to Shurijo Castle Park. Shurijo is an Okinawan style castle, not at all like the Japanese castles everyone is used to. It’s more like Taiwanese or Chinese castles…For example, it’s RED!! It was gorgeous, and I really enjoyed walking around inside and getting a tour…although I didn’t understand anything, haha! We had to keep taking our shoes off and putting them back on, when we changed buildings…that was the only annoying thing. We hung out in the main building gift shop, then went for a walk and looked at other little shops and booths. I bought a few souveniors, and I tried hibiscus ice cream! It was really cool, but didnt taste at all like I expected. Then we had to run back to the bus so we wouldn’t be late 😛

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After that, we went back to the airport in Naha and flew to Ishigaki, the smaller island where we were staying. After we landed in Ishigaki, we boarded the bus (again!!!) and drove a longgg time to a nice little restaurant and gift shop. We had dinner and shopped, then drove to our hotel….ON THE BEACH!! It was fantastic, so incredibly gorgeous and amazing!! We checked in and went to sleep…it was a long day!

On the shuttle bus at the airport.

On the shuttle bus at the airport.

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I went to Okinawa with my class (2ねんせい…junior class) for 4 days in November. It was so amazing, but also very expensive! We left bright and early(7 am!) on the FREEZING morning of November 10. Everyone met at the train station, then we loaded onto 6 buses(one for each homeroom) and drove 1 hour to Fukushima Airport. From Fukushima, we flew to Naha, the “capital” of the Okinawan islands.

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Our adorable tour guide!

Our adorable tour guide!

From the airport in Naha, we went to the Okinawa Prefecture Peace Memorial Museum. It’s a memorial/museum about WWII and the battles fought in Okinawa. It was an incredibly emotional place….there were videos, amazing exhibits and poems/calligraphy made by survivors/victims of the war. The loss of life, land and resources was incredible….I didn’t stand a chance of making it through that museum without crying. After the museum, we went outside and took homeroom pictures. Then we walked through the memorial. It’s somewhat like the Vietnam War memorial…there are monuments for soldiers of every nationality who died in the war in Okinawa. Japanese, British, American, German…there were so many. Rows and rows of monuments…oh, it was so sad!!

It rained 2 out of the 4 days we were there.

It rained 2 out of the 4 days we were there.

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After the Peace Museum, we went to the Okinawa Himeyuri Peace Prayer Memorial Park (woah, that’s a mouthful! It’s simply Okinawa-no-to in Japanese). It’s devoted to the girls/women of the Himeyuri troop who served in WWII in Okinawa. 219 of those who served from the Himeyuri troop died. Please go read the story, I can do it no justice. It’s such a beautiful, terribly tragic story. That museum was so sad….I don’t think anyone left with dry eyes. I was okay until I saw one of the boys from my homeroom crying, then I lost it. It was so sad. I’m actually crying just thinking about it.

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Paper cranes at the Himeyuri memorial.

Paper cranes at the Himeyuri memorial.

We went back to Naha and had a few minutes to buy some souveniors, then we went to our hotel. We checked into the rooms and had dinner, then they let us wander around 国際通り (International Street), the main street in Naha,  for a few hours. I walked around with my roommates and we went to a few shops, I bought a lot of souveniors! Then we went back to the hotel and went to sleep. I’m so grateful that I got to go to Okinawa, because many Japanese never even have the chance to go there! It’s so expensive to fly from the main islands of Japan, because Okinawa is actually closer to Taiwan than Japan… so I am very happy that I had this opportunity!!

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Happy 4th of July!!
And to celebrate the holiday, here’s all of the purikura I had on my cell phone from 2008.
I’ll upload the rest in a blog later! (:

August 12, 2008 in Koriyama with Tomomi, Elena, Yuka, Sumie, Misako & "Dango"

August 12, 2007 in Koriyama with Tomomi, Elena, Yuka, Sumie, Misako & "Dango"

August 12, 2008

August 12, 2007

October 15, 2008 in Asakusa with Tomomi, Hugo and Hitomi. We kept wandering into alleys filled with "boys/mens clubs"

October 15, 2008 in Asakusa (Tokyo) with Tomomi, Hugo and Hitomi. We kept wandering into alleys filled with "boys/mens clubs"

With my host sister and parents at Aeon Town in Koriyama!! I think this was in September 2008.

September 15, 2008 with my host sister and parents at Aeon Town in Koriyama!!

November 2008 in Ikebukuro (Tokyo) with Tomomi. I went to Tokyo for a day to see Tomo and give her a birthday present before I went to Kyoto.

November 2008 in Ikebukuro (Tokyo) with Tomomi. I went to Tokyo for a day to see Tomo and give her a birthday present before I went to Kyoto.

October 25, 2008 at Jusco in Koriyama with Kimie. We rode the ferris wheel then did purikura. Kimie had never been on a ferris wheel before!

October 25, 2008 at Jusco in Koriyama with Kimie. We rode the ferris wheel then did purikura. Kimie had never been on a ferris wheel before!

October 25, 2008

October 25, 2008

October 25, 2008

October 25, 2008

October 25, 2008. I'm not sneezing, it just looks like it. I was hiding in my white scarf (and white cardiagn).

October 25, 2008. I'm not sneezing, it just looks like it. I was hiding in my white scarf (and white cardiagn).

October 25, 2008

October 25, 2008

October 25, 2008

October 25, 2008

December 02, 2008 in Kyoto with Seth (from Virginia) and David (the Ginger, from Scotland). I met them at Kinkakuji, and made them go to purikura with me!!

December 02, 2008 in Kyoto with Seth (from Virginia) and David (the Ginger, from Scotland). I met them at Kinkakuji, and made them go to purikura with me!!

December 02, 2008. Christmas!!

December 02, 2008. Christmas!!

December 02, 2008. Oishii!!

December 02, 2008. Oishii!!

December 02, 2008.

December 02, 2008.

December 02, 2008. This one's my favorite of the day!! (:

December 02, 2008. This one's my favorite of the day!! (:

December 02, 2008

December 02, 2008

December 02, 2008

December 02, 2008

December 02, 2008

December 02, 2008

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