All that jazz

Exactly a year ago on this day, I was in this bar listening to a jazz band, imitating the keyboardist and pretending someone’s arm was a set of keys, sipping alcohol like a boss and successfully holding myself up, all the while aware of some things beginning to change.


Fast forward to a year later, I’m not sure I like all the changes that took place, but it’s also difficult not to admit that things took some interesting turns. There were a lot of highs in between the monotony of routine–like two trips and a mountain adventure that I’ll eventually write about–but also some nosedives. Then again, the only natural thing to do afterwards is to come up for more air, so here we are.

Anyway, the good thing is, things are not exactly stagnant. I actually just wish there would be enough time to write!


Mapping the fangirl trail

Can you guess which billboards we were actually looking at?

Hi, I’m Shar. I’m 30 going on 31, I like Japanese boy bands, and I have no shame.

So I’m not the least bit shy in telling everyone that one of the reasons I went to Japan was to breathe, at least for a few days, the same air that Japanese idols breathe.

Except, well…Kat and I are international fans, so we weren’t very lucky when it came to getting tickets for concerts.

Let me explain.

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When I’m in Tokyo

Oh, Tokyo. How do I even begin to talk about how much I love you? Let me count the ways.

1. Five days were hardly enough.

Tokyo has so many wards and we weren’t able to cover even a quarter of them! Most of the time, we were in Shibuya because we had to take the Keio-Inokashira line to get in and out of our Airbnb space near Eifukucho Station. It was pretty good, though, since it was so easy to go everywhere else from Shibuya. Our neighborhood was very nice and quiet too, rather far from the noisy, crowded location that I had in mind.

Neighbor-san, how do we get to the station?

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Lessons from Kyoto

Lesson #1: Do not take Kyoto too lightly.

It was a fun place, for sure. We knew that as soon as we took the subway to Kawaramachi, because the seats were as green as tea:


We couldn’t stop thinking about getting some matcha after that, but maybe after we dropped our bags off at our hostel. So we did that, and then we found ourselves lost in the wilderness of Teramachi Street and Nishiki Food Market. Lost, as in there were too many things to try and we couldn’t decide what to check out first.

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The art island

I can’t think of any other country that has an entire island dedicated to art alone.

I swear, only in Japan. But I could be wrong, please correct me if I am.

Even the way to Naoshima, one of the islands of Kagawa, was already easy on the eyes, even if the weather wasn’t at its brightest. Kat noticed a pothole with flowers painted on it at Uno Port, for one. The dotted ferry that took us to the island was already a fascinating thing to look at, and it matched the first piece of art at Miyanoura Port: Yayoi Kusama’s giant red pumpkin.

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Traipsing through Osaka

Weird location, but really nice beds

Right, so…I finally have time to write about the big Japan trip of 2015. Better late than never!

There was nothing too mind-boggling about Osaka, now that I’ve looked back and decided that I’d prioritize Kyoto the next time I go there. Still, the city was kinder–as in I could really say yasashii in all senses of the word–than I expected.

First off, my friend Kat and I couldn’t find our hostel on our first night. The neighborhood it was in was really quiet, not just because we were out on the streets late at night, but because we were surrounded by office and apartment buildings. There was also the feeling that nothing exciting ever happens here at whatever time of day.

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