Friday, March 20, 2015

And thus ends Ashley's Japanese Adventure.

Greetings from Canada. It's been a while~ I didn't want to write a final blog post because it just felt so... final. I am happy with the decision to move home, but I still ache with longing for Japan. Some days I'm super pumped to be back at home and other days I just wish I was waking up to go work at Little Wonders with all my cute students. We moved back for a good reason, but that doesn't make me miss it any less...
But, I have photos to share still, so lets get to it!

Before we left to come home for Christmas, the girls and I had a few play dates! We went and got curry at this amazing vegetarian Indian place. On our way there, we stopped at the AER building, because Parm ice cream had a bit of an event going on. You could go and dip your own Parm bar for free. Who doesn't love free ice cream! It was delicious! The curry place was super cheap, too! 800yen for all you can eat! And it was sooooo good!
After eating, we ended up going to karaoke for like 4 hours. Hahaha. It had a base price for free time between noon and I think 8pm? Anywho, we sang for a while~ Drink bar was included and there was also free food! Like, curry, toast and sooo much junk food! It was glorious!
The other big thing in December for me, aside from going home, was thye lolita skating meetup I attended! Kazue and I thought it would be fun to dress up and go skating! Yukari and a few other girls came. We had a really fun time! And I didn't fall once, which is a huge accomplishment for me!
The Pageant of Starlight was on while we were there, so we stopped in the park for some photos, too!
After that, it was time to get pumped to go home! I was sooooo excited to go home for the holidays. Seriously. It was wonderful. I couldn't believe how cold it was, though! For those who don't know, last year was the Polar Vortex year. So, it was COOOOOLD. And I didn't own a proper winter coat, which made things interesting to say the least. Hahaha. We took the shinkansen to Tokyo and we spent the night before we went home in Tokyo with my friend Jenni and her hubby. They took us to Odaiba and David got to see the Gundam all lit up. Hahaha. He was so excited. We grabbed dinner at a nice pasta place, too.

And then it was time to fly home! David and I both opted to wear masks for the journey, seeing as David had a cold and I didn't wanna catch anything. I noticed Mt. Fuji far in the distance as we flew and I whiled away the hours watching Lord of the Rings and Gravity Falls. Awesome.
After arriving home, we promptly made a visit to a Tim Horton's. And it was wonderful! Christmas at home was really nice~ It was awesome to see the family and our friends. And the decorations! Houses with lights! It all made me sooo happy!
The flight home was slightly stressful. Our connecting flight from Atlanta to Tokyo got cancelled. Which, was fine for me, but David had to work! We got put up into the Sheraton Airport Hotel for the night. It was a nice room, but there was no hot water! It sucked. But, we eventually made it home safely.

There was a Mucha exhibit in Sendai that I was dying to go see. So, we went on a date one day in January to see it. It was lovely! Bilingual, thank god, and amazing. No pictures allowed inside, of course, but it was great. We went out for cake afterwards, which was nice too!
The rest of the month was a bit of a blur. I went out with the girls a few times and I had a good month. During this time, though, David and I were making plans to move back home. As much as we both loved Japan, the adventure was starting to wear off. We both wanted to have children, and I flat out refused to even consider having kids in Japan. I know enough about myself to know that I couldn't do it in Japan. It'd be too difficult to do it without the support of our families. So, in January we made our plans to go home.
In February, David and I visited Naruko Onsen in the northern part of Miyagi. It was glorious. I looooove onsens. It was a nice little romantic getaway.
Then it was Valentine's Day! I got spoiled by my kids and fellow teachers. It was super sweet. Literally! Hahaha. David and I made plans to meetup in Sendai after work for dinner, which was nice. We went to the Afternoon Tearoom~ I love that place. We ended up getting really a cute Mickey and Minnie ice cream bag set thing from Baskin Robbins~ Yummm!

There was a pretty hilarious day at work. The kids used to like using the watercolour paint sets after lunch. They'd make some really weird pictures. Hahaha. Then, once day, Haruki decided that I needed more colour! I ended up with 4 kids painting my arm! Daiso paint is hard to wash off, too! It was pretty funny. I treated myself to tea after work for my suffering. Hahaha.

So, March was an eventful month! White Day came and I was given lots of yummy chocolate~ We got chocolate from our students, too, which I thought was really sweet. :D I also got a cute little bracelet from Yuka~!
I went on a day trip date to Mitsui Outlet Park with Mika~ It was warm and lovely outside. We ended up going into this weird little cafe for lunch. I got the chicken and waffles for giggles and it was actually really good! After lunch, we got cake and coffee at the Milky cafe and then we went back into Sendai to see Hikari at Glass Forest.
On my very last day of work, David met me at Starbucks for a snack. It was a VERY emotional day! Everyone cried. The mums all wanted photos and I was given so many gifts! I was truly staggered by their thoughtfulness. And I was truly sad to leave. Chiga saw me to the door and she burst into tears. :( I hope we can meet again someday! Chiga told me if we ever move back to Japan to let her know and they'll give me a job. I was really touched.

The sakura came out around that time. They were so pretty this year! The Aeon grocery store across from our apartment had a few really pretty trees, so we snapped a couple photos while getting groceries.
A few days before we left Sendai, I was thrown a goodbye party by the girls! It was super sweet! We ate at this really nice pasta place on like the 32nd floor of this one building. The food was amazing and it was a really nice night!
And then it was time to leave Sendai. Lets just say our packing was fraught with time issues, but we managed to get it all done on time. We were exhausted, though. And it was quite sad to see the place all empty.
And before we left, I made sure to go say goodbye to Hikari~ I loved going to Glass Forest and she was always very sweet to me. As a goodbye gift, she gave me a trump card ring! 

The shinkansen ride was uneventful, but sad. I looove shinkansens and that was the last one we ever rode. *sadface* But, we arrived in Tokyo safely. I had reserved us a room in the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel for the first night. OMG. Dream come true! It was one of my goals to stay there before we went home. So, I reserved the Alice in Wonderland room. We had a nice view of the bridge/highway/train tracks. It was nice, though! The people at the hotel were so sweet~ And the lobby was lovely! They even had a cute dollhouse!

Since we'd only have have the evening at this point, we bought after 5 tickets and hopped over to Tokyo Disney Sea. It's such a pretty park! It was all decorated for spring~ Flowers everywhere! We rode the Sinbad ride one last time~ That was David's favourite ride! I'm sure he'll miss it. Hahaha. The lines weren't too bad during our visit. We also hit up the Little Mermaid kiddy area. The castmembers who helped us at the jellyfish ride were super sweet.
The perk of staying in the Disneyland Hotel was that we got early entry to the park then next day~ We couldn't DO anything yet, but we go there early! They were all decorated for Easter, which was cute! It was fun seeing the park so empty!
We spent the day goofing around the park and soaking in our last trip to Tokyo Disney. It was a great day! I had booked us a reservation at Chef Mickey's for lunch, which was cute. And we took a tour of the Cinderella Castle! I even tried to fit the shoe... And failed. Hahaha.

That evening, we checked into the Tokyo Kiba capsule hotel. David and I had booked a double capsule for the remainder of our stay. That was... interesting. Lol. I guess cozy is the nicest way to describe it? I think if they had provided better blankets/pillows it'd have been better. I was always cold. Hahaha. They had an 'onsen' bath. Basically, a SUPER hot hot tub you could use after taking a shower, which was nice. However, I probably should've passed...

We had no big plans for the next day, so we ended up at the Ueno Zoo again. David wanted to specifically go to the stork there and ask it to bring us a baby. Hahaha. Seriously. He walked right up to it and said, "Stork, bring us a baby!" We also saw the red pandas~~~ Sooooo cute! We only spent half the day there, however. It was super busy while we were there! We wound up going to Akihabara. Lunch was at the Gundam Cafe, which is always a fun choice. Hahaha. After lunch we hit up a maid cafe, because David ahd never been. THAT was interesting! The maids kept giving me compliments on my rose headband, making a fuss over David's Legend of Zelda shirt and trying to practice their English with us. One maid came over and talked about Disney with us. She said that Mickey was her boyfriend. Hahaha. It was cute.

There was a garden plaza across the street from where we were staying, so we checked that out the following morning before we set off. They had some fish flags flying in one spot!
Our plans for this day included Square Enix cafe, cat cafe and karaoke. We went to the Squeenix cafe for lunch~ Yummm. I got the afternoon tea set. It's supposed to be shared, but I was hungry! I made the joke to the waiter that I was pregnant, so I'd be fine eating it on my own. (Little did I know...)
After lunch, we headed to Ikebukuro to visit the cat cafe! It was super popular! Soooo many cute kitties, too! I think we paid like 750yen each for an hour and we got soft drinks, coffee drinks, wi-fi and lots of kitties to look at! They were cute and fluffy and kinda antisocial, but some of them let us pet them. It was awesome to get some cuddle time~~~
After our hour was up, we cruised on to Shinjuku to visit the adorable Disney Store. I just wanted to cash in my store points and buy a few accessories... but we actually ended up buying tickets for the park for the next day, too. Hahaha... I also got photos of the inside, since the staff were nice enough to allow it!

They we hopped over to Akihabara for karaoke! It was awesome~ I think we sang for about 2 hours. Fun times! We actually had a pretty terrifying experience on the way back to our hotel, though! It was about midnight and everything was closing up shop for the evening. We were walking back to the station and noticed a black, unmarked van with tinted windows. Just as we were coming up beside it, all the door flew open and 3 men in suits jumped out and ran into an electronics store nearby. I saw one of them making a beeline for an employee who was wheeling a bunch of boxes onto the floor. They all looked so serious and it was kinda weird and scary. We're pretty sure they were yakuza. D: David and I just kept walking and didn't turn to look back!

And then, finally, it was our last full day in Japan. And where did we go? Disneyland. Hahahaha. We bought matching headbands (finally) and just spent a great day in the park! We even caught the cute Easter parade. (David hates the parades, but I think they're cute!) We did all our favourite rides (several times!), walked around and took in the scenery and just enjoyed the day. It was an awesome last day!
And just like that, it was time to fly home. We checked out of our hotel and took the train to the airport. We checked into our flight super early, that way we'd ensure having seats together, then went and got our nails done. I got a fancy gel manicure and David just got a MANicure. Hahaha. It was very relaxing!
And all too soon, we were home! It took us a while to adjust to being back in Canada. And even now, I sometimes find it weird. I miss wearing masks in the spring to protect myself from colds. I miss the instant yakisoba and milk tea. I miss the bakeries that were everywhere. I miss my job and the kid. I miss my friends. However, life has been pretty good. I discovered about 2 weeks after we got home that I was pregnant! Our kidlet was conceived while we were still in Japan, so that's pretty special. David keeps joking that the stork really did give us a baby. Hahaha. I gave birth to him on January 4th, 2015 and he is adorable and goofy. I love my little kidlet!
And thus ends Ashley's Japanese Adventure. Maybe we'll go back someday. Maybe we won't. But, I will say it was the best time of my life. I had so much fun. Learned so many new things. Made so many friends. I wouldn't trade it for anything.