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Nomming my Way Through Kiyosumi

A few days ago I found myself in the Kiyosumi neighborhood, an area on the far East side of Tokyo, with my fearless companion Troy (his blog is HERE if anyone is interested). To some of you long-time readers the name "Troy" might sound somewhat familiar and that is because Troy and I met in Japan six years ago when we were both exchange students with AFS! I went to find a photo of us from then, just for the comparison, but after seeing what I looked like (have I ever mentioned that I gained approximately 15 pounds when I lived in Japan the first time? No? I wonder why...) I think I'll pass on that front. Have this picture of the view over the river in Kiyosumi instead:

Our Kiyosumi day basically consisted of walking around the quaint neighborhood and popping into interesting stores. The first was a local chocolate shop called Artichoke Chocolate. I had the most divine raspberry hot chocolate that, to my knowledge, contained no artichokes whatsoever.

It did have this ama…
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Home & Garden

Today was a proper, fall day--the sort that's half pleasant and half not. It was cool and windy, but the leaves won't really start changing here until November so all the trees and plants are still pretty green. But it gets dark around 4pm and the air just has that "fall" smell to it, if that makes sense. The not-pleasant part of the equation was the cold rain that fell for half the day and made walking home from the train station a bit of a soggy affair.

And of course, since it was this sort of cold, rainy, fall day I decided to spend most of it walking around outside.

Disclaimer: everything I did today was the result of picking my friend Frances's brain for stuff to do in the Meguro/ Naka-Meguro area because I knew she'd spent a lot of time here this summer.

The first thing I did was a quick stroll through the Meguro Sky Garden.


It's actually pretty hard to describe, and even harder to get a decent picture of. Basically it's this massive concrete sp…

Parks and Recreation

Hi, guys. Long-time-no-write. I can't believe that it's already October. Back at Yale, it's (if I remember correctly) already midterm season (the season that never ends). People are, theoretically, buckling down to study or finish that pset or that book they were supposed to have read. I'm also starting to study for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) that I'll be taking on December 3. Trying to cram numerous grammar points, vocab words, and, arguably most importantly, kanji (the Chinese character-portion of the Japanese alphabet) into my brain is going to be a massive undertaking. Theoretically I'm supposed to be on an 8-week study program but we'll see how much of that I actually make it through.

Yesterday I met up with a friend in Akihabara, also known as the mecca for anime/manga nerdy stuff and (though perhaps not as much as it once was) Tokyo's "electric town."


Here I am awkwardly nomming on a taiyaki--a fish-shaped pancake fil…

Aoyama Cemetery

I have officially survived three months at my job and am closing in on my 100th day in Japan. I haven't been in Japan for this much continuous time since my junior year in high school...

The past few days I've been on a training retreat in the mountains with the other summer hire and the incoming class of fall hires. We spent four days in a training facility, wearing business suits, and having information pounded into our brain all the while this view taunted us:


The area the facility is located in is known for its hot spring resorts. While we weren't exactly staying at a resort, per se, there was a bathing room that used natural hot springs water.


I love onsen (hot springs) so, so much so having this was a definite perk.

I was fortunate enough to have today and tomorrow off so I can fully recover and relax from training and ready myself for the next month of work. I decided to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)--it's sort of like the Japanese equivalen…

Here Kitty, Kitty

Welcome to fall in Japan! It IS technically fall, right? (No, wait, I just checked and the Almighty Internet says the first day of fall is technically September 23 so I'm a smidge off...) Either way, I love fall. Japan is great because it has all of the joys of fall (beautiful leaves, warm days and cool evenings) and none of the pumpkin spice.

Today I went to visit a temple in another part of Setagaya ward called Gotokuji, which I discovered via the Instagram of one of my friends who was in Japan for the summer. Even though I also live in Setagaya (fun fact: Setagaya is the most populous ward in Tokyo) it's so big that it STILL took me 40 minutes to get there. Being in Tokyo really redefines what I consider to be a reasonable commute. When I was looking up train schedules to get there I thought, "Oh it's ONLY going to take me 40 minutes to get there? Great!"

Gotokuji is located in a sleepy, charming residential area of Setagaya. It's a beautiful temple comple…