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Wow, am I really back here again?

I have survived (and enjoyed) my first weekend back in Kanazawa. The bullet train pulled into the newly revamped Kanazawa station at precisely 1:59pm--exactly one minute before the annual Kanazawa festival--Hyakumangoku--was slated to begin. As we left the station, dragging our suitcases, the rhythmic pounding of taiko drums was already filling the air and the area around the station was utterly packed.

Flashback to the parade...I didn't stick around to watch most of it this year. Instead I avoided most of the crowds and walked with Nick, who's also in JE at Yale, around Kenrokuen garden, which was blissfully deserted.

After spending the night at the ANA Crowne Plaza hotel (which was mandated by the prefecture) I met up with my host family this morning. Luckily I have the same host family that I did last summer, so I already feel right at home in the same room and with their puppy. Mostly their puppy. For lunch we went out to kaitenzushi--conveyor belt sushi--where I consumed a small tower:

Then after lunch I went to walk off my enormous meal along my usual jogging route. It was definitely a day for domestic bliss in Japan: there were so many families out and about with their kids and small dogs playing catch or flying kites or just running around enjoying the (pleasantly) cool-ish weather and the sunshine.

And that about sums up my weekend. Tomorrow I have one late-day into the newspaper office upon which I will have an orientation and then my currently-mysterious training will begin. I can't wait to see what I'll be doing and I hope that I'll get to cover some really cool events! That won't stop me from heading to a shrine tomorrow morning to make a quick prayer though...

One last note. I know I occasionally put up photos of arts and crafts that I do, but this time I want to showcase a really amazing gift I received:

This is a shadow box that Nick made of a 3D silhouette of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" that I can switch on and off. It's amazing and I probably had too much fun just playing with the switch.
I guess engineers are good for something after all...


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100K Announcement


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In celebration of Riceandramen finally hitting 100k views, I am pleased to announce that I will be running a giveaway!

I will send one lucky person a custom box of goodies from Japan that could include (but isn't limited to): snacks, stationary, character goods, traditional Japanese crafts and more. The only limits are weight and size and your imagination (I'll be keeping everything small and light to keep the shipping costs down).

Without further ado, the details and rules of the giveaway are as follows:


The giveaway will run from today, February 25 2018 JST/ February 24 CST to March 11, 2018 JST/ March 10 CST.You don't have to be in Japan to enter: since almost all of my readers are international, this giveaway will be, too. The winner will be picked at random and notified via p…