Writing this blog right now feels quite surreal as ever since I arrived here in Japan I feel like I am living in a movie or that I died and was reborn again! Although its been a week already I still get excited at the sight of a streetside vending machine or the sound of the daily city announcements.

and the journey begins

Now where to begin is the difficult question as despite being here for just a week I could be writing this blog for weeks and still not see the end of it. But I guess I must start somewhere so here we go…My first impression when I got of the plane was…wow japan is hot..not that I had not known already but coming from a cloudy miserable day in Ireland…my body had culture shock before I did. I found it so strange but exciting to hear japanese being spoken all around me and at many times I found myself thinking wow they must be japanese before it clicked that I was in Japan.

I’m pretty sure the taxi driver thought he had collected the wrong person as after 13 hours of flying my vocabulary was limited to hai (yes) and iie (no) and whatever he was saying to me I just nodded and followed. However although I had little or no energy to work I couldnt beleive my eyes when I saw the Tokyo skyscrapers in the distance. After about an hour of driving we stopped for a bathroom break which for me didn’t go as planned…Japanese toilets are so high tech that it took me 10 minutes before I found the flush button ( even though it was a huge button with flush written in capital letters ) And so the journey continued and I was fighting with my sleepiness to enjoy the beautiful Japanese scenery which I’d describe in one word as magestic. Suwa is located in the Japanese alps…nothing like our own mountains in Ireland but like something out of a fairytail book…grand and green…Words don’t even do them justice.

Now to speak about my Host Family which I quickly decided are some of the kindest and nicest people I have ever met. The entire household atmosphere here is so friendly and happy that I never want to think about leaving this place. Although my house is on the other side of the globe…it is very hard to feel home sick when they have already made me feel so at home. I am having some of the best experinces in this house and with this lovely family that I feel like they are somehow my long lost relatives. Needless to say the food is amazing and I can honestly say that I have never eaten so much in my life! My only problem now is finding ways to repay their for their kindess which is probably impossible because they have all ready done so much for me and I will be forever grateful.

The Sunday after I arrived we visited Suwa Taisha which is a beautiful Shinto Shrine here. I had seen pictures of it on the internet but nothing could compare to the real thing. Japanese Architecture is unbeliveably elegant…so much so that it was hard to take my eyes off things to see the others. My host mother and father and myself went up to pray and did the usual customs when praying at Shinto shrines (First you throw a coin into the donation box they you bow twice, clap twice and bow once again) I was slightly nervous though as People were lining up behind me and I was afraid I’d do something wrong and cause a curse on the shrine or something….luckily all went well and we headed off for my first Japanese lunch…

the journey begins

katie power journey

If you think you have had Ramen before in Ireland think again….I’m not sure if it was just the ramen restaurant we went to but I don’t think I have tasted anything as heavenly tasting as that before ( alright I might be exaggerating a bit but seriously it was amazing )

After our delicious meal and on a full stomach we went to a foot bath which although turned my legs a sort of luminous pink, was really relaxing. I was quite surprised though that some people were wearing cardigans in heat that to irish people is worthy of the littlest bit of fabric that is socially acceptable to wear.

Japan’s convient inventions and ideas are something else I still can’t get used to. All windows are fitted with a sort of invisible net that allows you to see through but allows no bugs to come in. This made me wonder why us Irish declare war with a fly and run around the house like maniacs with a swotter when such a simple idea could be adopted

Anyways I better finish for today as dinner is calling so until next time…ジャアマタ (^O^)

~Katie Power