Coco Farm Wine Festival

I ventured outside Tokyo last weekend into Tochigi for a wine festival, and it was a blast!

It was in Ashikaga, about an hour away on the train and then a shuttle out to the winery. When we arrived we got these handy little packages that sling around your neck, containing utensils, a wine glass, and a bottle opener. And got to keep it all for drinking more at home :) Then we each picked up a bottle of wine and some snackage.

The winery is up near the mountains running through the center of Japan, so it was on a huge hill. Climbing was a bit tricky, but there was a nice view once we settled down. Plus, the weather was spectacular; I was in short-sleeves all day!

You can't really see, but the whole hill was totally occupied by wine-drinkers.

This is the main building, for the festival at least. They were selling wine to take home, snacks, and there were many bands playing all throughout the day. There were acapella singers, jazz, acoustic, latin bands and even some flamenco dancers.

Mathilda and Marnie, and all of us, enjoyed a relaxing day outside the city. Would so go back next year!


End of the year

Hello there, so I realize I haven't posted in a long time, but some of that time I was visiting all of you! To come back I thought I would post a few pictures of the past year with students and at various events at Togaku.

From the school trip to Kamakura

Back from the Togaku School Festival in the English for Children Room
Some of the dancers

We dressed up for the Christmas Party :)

On the second field trip to Asakusa...
...where we had lunch on a boat...

...and sang karaoke! Holly and I doing our world-famous "Barbie Girl."

My team from the school softball tournament.

We did watermelon-smashing at the Tanabata event. I got it!

At our going-away party at Shara, an amazing little Italian place right by campus. We received lots of gifts and sweet notes from everyone

Teachers and faculty who came to our party, and many of my friends!

It was a good year :D I'm glad I still can see these people, and have actually last weekend when I went to this year's school festival. I'm also having fun hanging with the two new interns~


March Sakura

This year was my first experience of the sakura blossoms. I knew it was going to be great, but it was even more beautiful than I had imagined! There were many sakura trees on our campus, it was so nice.

Enjoy the blossoms~

Sky Tree through the trees

Looking over the Sumida River, which is lined by two parks full of sakura trees!

The pictures can't really capture it, so I hope you can come see them yourselves one day :) We can go to the park and have a picnic and do Hanami! I think my favorite part was near the end when the petals were falling. It was like it was snowing petals...aaahhhhhhhhhh


Cambodia Day 3: Phnom Penh

So finally, I've come to my last day in Cambodia. I flew about an hour from Siem Reap to the capital city, Phnom Penh and met up with another coworker there. The city had a very different feel from the tourist town I was in before. The traffic was insane! There were more markets, but more the sort that residents would shop at everyday (or go to to get there hair done even!).

We went out for some drinks near the riverside. Can you believe this happy hour??

Here you can see what the streets were like. My favorite was the girls who rode on the back of scooter side-saddle, not even holding on.

And this traffic jam might make you want to buy a scooter too-

Now, one of the best parts of travelling...the food!

fresh, tropical fruits


some dishes were similar to Chinese or Thai


Angkor beer and a Watermelon Dream!


Can't wait to go travelling again~


Cambodia Day 2: Angkor Wat; Part 2

This next temple was really cool because it was sort of being taken back by the jungle. The trees just grew wherever they wanted to, and you could see how the roots grew through the broken rocks.

The color was interesting too. The trees were either white or silver.

This place was where the Tomb Raider movie was filmed, so many people were lining up to get their picture taken in front of this doorway.

This is the entranceway which had been repaired. You can tell because the railing is whole and all the extra rubble has been cleared away. Many other temples around had been repaired or were going to be. I kind of liked the feeling of the broken ones though :P

There were tons of other temples around, but we only got to a few others. The one on the left was falling apart, which is why the trees were cut in half so that they couldn't fall and break it any further. The one on the right was made of red rocks so it had a nice color, and there was another one just like it.

This one was a water temple. There was a very long bridge leading to it (with no railings!) and it was built in the middle of a square pool. It totally reminded me of the water temple in Ocarina of Time ahah

It was a long, hot day but it was so worth it! We were completely exhausted by around 6pm (mostly from the beating sun) so we headed home. My shoes were so sandy from walking!

Here is a picture of me with Mr. Chin, who drove us around all day in the tuk-tuk at Angkor Wat and also to and from the airport. Thank you~


Cambodia Day 2: Angkor Wat; Part 1

The next day we spent exploring the temples at Angkor Wat. We got up really early and went there in the dark so that we could see the sun rise over the temple.

Angkor Wat is a Hindu temple, but some other ones were Buddhist. They were all ruins, although a few were getting repaired to look like they originally did. I think the coolest part was that you could go anywhere as long as it wasn't unsafe. The stairs were very steep and some parts were worn off, so there was climbing involved. 

These were carvings on the inside walls. I can't imagine how long it must have taken to do all of this! The carvings were usually of dancers, Buddha or Hindu gods, or scenes from stories from (I'm assuming) the Ramayana and Mahabharata. 

These snake head statues were everywhere; I even saw some replicas in the capital Phnom Penh.

This is the reflecting pool out in front. It reminded me of the pool at Kinkakuji in Kyoto.

The next temple we went to was called Bayon. It was about 10 minutes down the road, and we passed some wild monkeys on the way! 

There were faces all over this temple, so it was really cool to look at and try to find them all.

You can see that many parts of the temples had fallen down. It reminded me of video games when you reach the end of the world so the way is blocked, but that actually exists! 

Opening the secret door, Indiana Jones-style.