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A 20-something Singaporean embarking on a journey as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) under the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET)

♥ Sometimes i wish i had a photographic memory. It would allow me to record those fleeting moments that infuse me with so much emotion, from quiet bliss to rapturous euphoria, that i can feel the everyday drudgery of modern life fate away...

June 2012
July 2012
September 2012
October 2012
December 2012
January 2013
April 2013
June 2013
August 2014
March 2016
April 2016

August Kiss goodbye


  Another Amazing Trip Back To Japan   Sunday, April 10, 2016

I've been to many really beautiful places, but somehow Japan is still the only country that holds a very special place in my heart. No matter how many years have passed, a part of me will always be left in Japan. The beautiful memories could only be created by forging meaningful bonds with amazing people I met there. These are some photos with the amazing people that I have crossed paths with in Akita :) Seems like nothing has changed at all...

The current fifth graders! and in 2013 when they were in second grade, in Fujiki Elementary School

Spot the differences! Current fourth graders of Fujiki Elementary School. I still remember it was a lesson on Christmas and they had fun dancing to some Xmas tunes!

The kiddos when they were in first grade, in 2012 :) Moments like these make me relish teaching in Nihonland even more, where English is not gradable and elementary classes were all about fun and games.

The Genki teachers who came to Singapore last January :) It was a reunion for them too as some of them had been posted to other schools since last April, and Kocho sensei has retired since. So thankful of all the meaningful friendships forged with them. It was really great that Kocho sensei and Itou sensei could take time off to attend my wedding too in December. 本当に 感謝しました!
The Link bunch! Friendships forged over alcohol!

The daily route to Omagari Minami Junior high school. It has stopped snowing when i visited, but it's still so cold that the snow has not melted on the padi fields.

The beautiful scenery of Omagari. Having lived in a concrete jungle almost whole of my life, waking up to this scene every single day was indeed a refreshing change for me.

 The fifth graders who are now in Junior High school! Their cheery demeanour and keen attitude in learning have always been etched in my mind! I'm glad I didn't wait too long to go back, else I would have missed them totally! (the kids move on to different high schools after graduation, so it's unlikely I will see them again)
 The baseballers! They have grown too fast!
 The band members! Sweet kids!

The oh so familiar Omagari Station - next to the famous hanabi no machi aka the fireworks town. Omagari is famed for its fireworks festival in August every year. I'm glad I took a snap shot of this this time round! and the familiar chime from the train station - things like these i'll never forget!

The one and only major shopping mall in my town. The next nearest one is an hour's drive away! The place to go for our Starbucks fix. Or when I'm in the mood for some retail therapy, or to ogle at some cute cats at Aeon.

 The first time I am walking to Omagari Elementary School. Took a bus for the first time too to attend the farewell ceremony. A drastically different view from driving to school, I actually get to slow down and enjoy the surroundings.
The facade of my favourite school. Didn't have the time to visit Omagari Higashi Elementary School though, drank a bit too much the previous night :( and it's a shame I could only have the car for a day! Should have planned my time a bit better!
The Farewell ceremony. I could only make it to schools on the second last day of the term and missed the sixth graders.

Pretty much most of the ALTs who came in together with me have left. Am glad to catch up with Stacie! and that's Shuri, Ikumi's daughter! What a pleasant surprise!

With Ikumi dear! Seems like we just met yesterday and nothing has changed

The usual quiet streets of Omagari!

Miss all the times chasing Cherry blossoms and autumn leaves too in the nearby prefectures. Every weekend was an adventure then!
A last minute catchup with Sachiko! Miss those times we had so much crazy moments with the rest of the Alts in the city

The pride of Akita :)

The new bus terminal in Omagari! And so exciting to take a bus here haha

Their warm hospitality makes me feel at home all the time - no exception this time round

So many memories!

  Dusting Off The Blog   Tuesday, March 8, 2016
A few updates of what's going on in my life, yes I have gotten married last december! Something I have never imagined will happen to me, afterall, my free-spirited personality will never allow that to happen. Still, I have come to terms that I came back to Singapore because of him and I shall accept my choice with no regrets.

Also, I have finally booked a trip back to my old home, in a week's time, after close to three years. Feels like my friends have never left, thanks to cheap airfares and social media, I have seen a couple of them these few years and kept close contact with those I havent. Still, it's exciting to be back to my favourite place, and seeing those familiar faces. Also, am looking forward to reminiscing the good ole times with everyone. C's gonna join me in Tokyo, and we will be heading to Karuizawa and Fujigawakuchigo (What a mouthful!) It's time to update the prefectures list from 2012!

Got this idea from :)  Travelled to Japan 3 times in the past 5 years and am aiming to visit all, if not, most of the prefectures. I swore to not step foot on Japan again after last year's trip but here I am again, embarking on another one in less than a month's time!

1. Hokkaido(北海道) - Sapporo, Asahikawa, Otaru, Nooboribetsu

2. Aomori(青森県)
3. Iwate(岩手県)
4. Miyagi(宮城県)Sendai
5. Akita(秋田県)
6. Yamagata(山形県)
7. Fukushima(福島県)

8. Ibaraki(茨城県)
9. Tochigi(栃木県)
10. Gunma(群馬県)Stopped by a SA in Gunma. Does that count?
11. Saitama(埼玉県)Stopped by a SA in Saitama. Does that count?
12. Chiba(千葉県)
13. Tokyo(東京都) 
14. Kanagawa(神奈川県) 

Chubu(中部)15. Niigata(新潟県)
16. Toyama(富山県)
17. Ishikawa(石川県)
18. Fukui(福井県)
19. Yamanashi(山梨県)Fujigawakuchigo
20. Nagano(長野県)Karuizawa 
21. Gifu(岐阜県)
22. Shizuoka(静岡県)
23. Aichi(愛知県)

24. Mie(三重県)
25. Shiga(滋賀県)
26. Kyoto(京都府)
27. Osaka(大阪府)
28. Hyogo(兵庫県)
29. Nara(奈良県)
30. Wakayama(和歌山県)

31. Tottori(鳥取県)
32. Shimane(島根県)
33. Okayama(岡山県)
34. Hiroshima(広島県)
35. Yamaguchi(山口県)

36. Tokushima(徳島県)
37. Kagawa(香川県)
38. Ehime(愛媛県)
39. Kochi(高知県)

40. Fukuoka(福岡県)
41. Saga(佐賀県)
42. Nagasaki(長崎県)
43. Kumamoto(熊本県)
44. Oita(大分県)
45. Miyazaki(宮崎県)
46. Kagoshima(鹿児島県)

47. Okinawa(沖縄県)

still a long way to go..24 out of 47 prefectures!

  One Year On   Monday, August 11, 2014
One year on, back in hot, sunny Singapore. Still reeling from the nostalgia...everything about Japan still excites me, every post by my lovely friends I've known in Akita still brings a smile to my face, and an occasional tear will still roll down my cheek while browsing photographs of the wonderful times I've had. And so now it's back to reality and the year has indeed been tough...after going through the ups it did crash to an abysmal low. But Japan taught me to let go what doesn't serve me anymore, and taught me that there's more to life than work, money and status. True happiness really is in pursuing passions, spending ample time with loved ones, and having sufficient me time amidst the busy schedule. I'm glad I've taken that leap of faith again, just like what I did by going to Japan, and for the second time, it proved that faith can bring one to places, and open doors to opportunities. I believe my adventure with Japan certainly won't just end here. Awaiting a more exciting chapter ahead!

  Things I will miss about life here   Saturday, June 8, 2013
Before my personal adventure in Japan comes to an's a few things (in no particular order) that i will sorely miss when i leave japan. :'(

 1. Onsens. esp during winter in a rotenburo (outdoor bath) at sub zero degrees with snow falling on my shoulders. And having tete-a-tetes during onsen sessions <3

2. Izakayas. Feasting, boozing and endless bantering like there's no tomorrow. i'm so gonna miss you yuzu umeshu! Uotami is my most frequented izakaya in my humble little town. sg izakayas are not even anywhere close to what they have here!

3. convenience stores. nuff said.

4. weekend or vacation trips to the most rural parts of Akita (not like akita is not already inaka enough) :D

If you are wondering, that's me and  lover spending some quality time at Tazawako hohoho

5. Real sushi made of possibly akita komachi rice :D wasabi nashi/ nugi (without wasabi)..the life savior phrase at kaiten sushi places

and thats my all time fave - aburi engawa sushi and salmon toro (belly). so sinful but oh soo good!

 6. The orderliness and kindness of people here

7. The friendships forged and the wonderful friends here:) I can go on and on about this. but lets just leave this till the final farewell

 8. the service culture. ill definitely miss the ritualistic expressions and almost robotic greetings of the service staff here. boo to lousy customer service in sg

 9. Kyushoku - school lunches! the main reason that attributed to my weight gain

 10. My kids! esp the ES students. they are

11. the scenic natural beauty. The Hanami (cherry blossoms) at Kakunodate, Aomori and Sendai were a visual treat, and were the best times spent doing hanami-gari with my folks who came to visit me.

The koyou (autumn leaves) at Dakigaeri and Yuzawa, and the copious amount of snow was quite a sight to behold.

12. feeling the tremors of an earthquake - yeh thats coz the ones i experienced are minor ones

13. festivals! winter and summer festivals are oh so awesome. They rid the seasonal affective disorders in me. The action packed Bamboo fighting festival in Feb (below) is one of the most unforgettable ones..and this Kanto festival in Summer is one that I wouldnt want to miss this year!

14. PLL during free times :) dont judge me. i was hooked onto this and im done with all 3 seasons.: P

15. Amazing trips outside Akita...Gifu, Takayama, Nagoya, Yokohama, Hiroshima, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Hokkaido, the reason why i fell in love with this country before i came lol. Gonnna miss those side trips to Aomori and Sendai and getting a bit of the city life :)

16. 飲み放題!!! drink all you can!


  2 more months   Sunday, June 2, 2013
It suddenly dawned upon me that I am really leaving Japan. I am trying not to be too emotional (given my predilection for drama), but I am apprehensive about how I will fit back in to the little red dot. Reverse culture shock, they call it.


  In solitude, where we are least alone.   Sunday, April 14, 2013
One of those rare weekends where i spend finding contentment in moments of solitude, mulling over life over white wine.

“I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel."
Audrey Hepburn


  First Year LDR   Wednesday, April 10, 2013
So today marks our one year of being together.

It wasnt easy maintaining an LDR, but the daily skypes and his frequent visits made it possible. I hate all the teary farewells and I miss him so much at times it hurts.

One thing that undoubtedly exists between us both, something that lingers unspoken, is fear. I fear that one day we will get sick of the distance and the devoid of emotional and physical contact.

But im glad we rode the highs and managed to tide through the tough times the past year. He has been a good friend, a confidante, a source of inspiration and a sturdy pillar of support. I love him and he's the main reason why I have decided not to stay on another year in this inaka.

skype dinner date tonight. sounds silly but it means so much to me. cant wait :)

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