Oz!… Brisbane

Well it has been ages since I updated the blog. There are quite a few reasons for that though. First I was traveling throughout November, so it was difficult to update it then and once I arrived in Hokkaido it became quite evident that updates would not be happening for the time that I was to remain there. For being Japan and for being a Hilton Hotel, Hokkaido had the slowest internet speed I have EVER experienced. It was frustrating and downright annoying, but there was nothing I could do about it. Now I am back in my apartment in Niihama and ready to update you all with my adventures from the last four months (or at least as much as I can remember). Cheers!

So after a tearful goodbye I left Niihama on November 8th, 2010 (wow, that was a long time ago) and headed to Australia where I met up with 3 of my dearest friends: Jen, Alexa and Sarah. I arrived to Brisbane and ran straight into my friend Jen’s arms. It had been a couple of years since we had last seen each other and it was wonderful to see her again! Alexa was also there waiting for me and we pretty much tried to catch-up on everything that went on in the last year or so in about 3 hours (though that was impossible). My days in Brisbane were lovely. It was the beginning of summer, so the weather while humid and sticky was quite lovely as Japan had begun to feel cold again. I stayed at Jen’s for about a week and we spent a lovely week walking around Brisbane and even took a 2 day camping trip to Moreton Bay where we had the time of our lives snorkeling (we saw a shark!), sandboarding and just lying on the beach… AMAZING! Jen and I also went to watch West Side Story the Musical. I have to say West Side Story is not one of my favourite movies BUT the play was awesome and we both came out singing and dancing to the songs. Afterwards I stayed with Alexa who happens to be one of the funniest persons I know, so never a dull moment with her around.  I met Alexa while living in Japan so it was good for me to be with someone who had already gone through the same emotional roller coaster that I was experiencing at the time and to see her so happy and content with what she was doing now. Overall Brisbane was great, relaxing place to be in after leaving Japan. It was nice to be with people that I love and to remember that there are many places and adventures waiting for me out there. Here are some of the pictures from my time in Brisbane. After Brisbane I went to see the beautiful Sarah in Sydney, but more about that later…

Discovering Shikoku One Weekend at a Time: Kochi

I’m really bad at updating this… let’s see. After returning to Japan from my trip to Vietnam I realized that I only had 2.5 months left before I was to leave Niihama. So I decided that I wanted to see as much of Shikoku as I possibly could in the little time that I had left. I know that 2.5 months seems like a long time but I knew all along that it would fly by, so a couple of us went on a day trip to Kochi.

Matt, Liz, Pamela and I squeezed ourselves into my tiny car and made the trip to Kochi. Loved it there! Kochi seemed so different from Matsuyama and other places I’ve been around in Shikoku. The people are friendly, open and always smiling. It was a little hot.. actually it was pretty hot, but somehow the friendliness of the people, and the atmosphere of the city made me forget how hot it really was. We went out for lunch to this nice Indonesian restaurant, and then walked around the market and did a bit of shopping, and no trip is ever complete without a visit to the purikura machine, so we got some nice pre-Halloween shots (although since we don’t read Japanese we just kept pressing buttons and the pictures turned out WAY too small).

After wandering around the city for a bit we paid a visit to the the Pacific Ocean. I wanted to go swimming, but that ocean is fierce! so we just looked and I discovered probably my favourite place in all of Japan. A little hill along the boardwalk with a red torii at the top. On the other side of the hill you can see the ocean crashing into the rocks with incredible force. I could have stayed there all night, but it was actually getting pretty late and decided that it was time to go home.

Kochi was a great time and of course just as it usually happens I wondered how come I had never been there before and wish that I could have had the chance to go back. Unfortunately I never had the time to make the trip again, but was glad that I was able to see it at least once.