a thousand paper cranes

I started learning Japanese when I was in grade five. It was easy to tell that our teacher, Mr M., was rather passionate not only about the Japanese language but also about Japanese culture and everything else to do with Japan. He’d often teach us random tidbits of information that weren’t necessarily relevant/important to us learning the language. (But I suppose you could argue that fostering an interest in Japanese culture would help keep us motivated and enthusiastic about learning the words.)

Continue reading


Tokyo – part 2a (back to Shinjuku)

I can’t believe it’s already been about five months since my friend and I went to Japan, and I’m barely even halfway through blogging about it. But I’ve come, at last, to one of the highlights of the trip (I probably have too many “highlights” from the trip, but who’s counting and/or enforcing a limit? If you are – stop it. That was a rhetorical question anyway.)

Ok, so after I started writing this, and got a few paragraphs in, I realised I was doing that thing again whereby I write this long preamble, and don’t quite get to the point. So, originally, I was planning to skim over the events of February 9th, and get onto our visit to Mt Fuji (which was the aforementioned highlight), but looks like that’s not gonna happen in this post. Even if you’ve enjoyed reading about my Japan trip so far, feel free to skip this one, and wait for the Mt Fuji post (hopefully coming up very soon). Continue reading

Asahikawa pt 1 – Asahiyama Zoo

I’ve lived my whole life in Australia, in a place that doesn’t snow. Growing up, I’d watch American movies and TV shows (and probably some British ones too), and always see those stereotypical scenes of children waking up to snow (usually on or around Christmas), and I’d think how wonderful that would be (on any day of the year). So you can probably imagine my delight, on the morning February 7th (yes, these posts are taking a lot longer than I’d originally foreseen), when I peered out the window of our Sapporo hotel, and saw flurries of glorious snow falling from the sky!

The snow continued to fall quite heavily as we left our hotel and made our way to Susukino Station. I could not take the smile from my face. (I was probably also still on a high from the Sapporo Snow Festival the day before.)

Continue reading

Sapporo Yuki Matsuri – part 2 (Susukino)

I reckon I could’ve spent the entire day at Odori Park for the Sapporo Snow Festival – just eating, and watching random performances on the snow stages, and drinking hot sake and hot mojitos (yes, hot mojitos are a thing, and they are delicious; plus, with the lime and mint together in a hot beverage, it almost feels like it’s actually good for you) – but, of course, there was more to see, and time was limited!

Continue reading

Thursday Doors – Sapporo Shiryokan

The Sapporo Shiryokan, also known as the Former Court of Appeals, sits at the western-most end of Odori Park. Amidst explorations of the Sapporo Snow Festival, I took a moment to stop and admire this regal building and its neat gardens.

From what I gather from this website, it’s now used as an art gallery and museum of sorts. (Side note: it’s so weird seeing a photo of the gardens (on the website) with so much colour, and none of that snow it was buried under when I was there!)

Continue reading