Seasons of Japan – May 2017 | nihonchique

May began with me ending Golden Week in America. After wine country at the end of April, I toured around San Fransisco for the first time and it was awesome! Properly saw the Golden Gate bridge and even had a night tour of Alcatraz.

After I got back to Japan, I went on a short day trip to Arashiyama (嵐山)in Kyoto with a friend and biked up to a temple called Otagi Nenbutsu-ji ( 愛宕念仏寺)in a mountain with beautiful statues. I was then wished away for a day trip for work to Kochi again where I ate Katsuo Tataki (鰹のタタキ), a way they cook the fish and Katsuo is “Skipjack tuna”, for the first time (DELICIOUS!)

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San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge 🌁

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Night tour of Alcatraz!🔦😱

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鰹たたき!🙃🐟 Katsuo Tataki! 👍🏻

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Seasons of Japan – April 2017 | nihonchique

April started off with a bang with the first leg of NEWS’s NEVERLAND tour in Sapporo! I was so excited to go to Sapporo again after 2 years. My friend and I ate all the food there and even went to an observatory that is considered one of the best night views in Japan! (Except I went during the day… but I digress.)

Next came Cherry Blossom season with some amazing views. Spring is one of my favorite seasons in Japan, and I was so happy to experience the Cherry Blossoms in a few different places (Including my first time to see them in Shiga!)with some special people.

At the end of the month was Golden Week, and I decided to make a trip home to America and experience wine country in California for the first time before heading home to Florida for about a week. Emeritus Vineyards was by far my favorite visit and we had a very nice tour complete with a personal talk with the owner himself! Their wines are amazing and the company was awesome!

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Made it to NEVERLAND!!

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Chocolate Heaven! チョコ天国!🍫

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Sapporo Butter Salt Ramen! 👍🏻

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Sapporo! ❤

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Nighttime Cherry Blossom Find! 🌸❤

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桜🌸〜

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Yakisoba under the Cherry Blossoms! 🌸💕

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Let the wining and dining begin!

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Third stop: Jordan Vineyard and Winery!

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Photo Diary – March 2017 | nihonchique

March was even more insane than the previous 2 months before it were. Work took me to Sakai City in Osaka Prefecture a few times and then down to Kochi for a day trip. We also can’t forget about the beautiful Plum blossoms that bloom during March! I caught the tail end of them at Osaka Castle park and thought it was cloudy, I could be happier with how the pictures came out.

I attende Nipponbashi Street Festa for the 2nd year in a row as a Photographer and it was so much fun! There are still more photos to come on my Instagram soon that I will post periodically.

 

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Osaka Castle surrounded by the plum trees!

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More Plum blossoms at Osaka Castle Park!

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Bright Pink Plum Blossoms in Osaka Castle Park!

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Master Roshi@Nipponbashi Street Festa!

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It's time to duel@nipponbashi street festa.

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Take me to NEVERLAND! 🗝

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Probably what Sakai is most famous for, this is a huge tomb in the shape of a Keyhole that was built in the 5th century during the age of “kofun”, or burial mound cultural. This is the 3rd largest tomb in the world, after the Pyramid of King Khufu in Egypt (Great Pyramid of Giza) and the tomb Qin Shi Huang in China, most famous for the terracotta warriors. This kofun tomb in Sakai is said to be the Tomb of Emperor Nintoku, but in reality there is nothing proving it to be his specifically, though it is defiantly known to be the tomb of the person in the highest seat of power at the time of it being built. As you can see, you can’t actually go inside of it, but by just standing next to it and walking around it you can feel how big it really is. To really feel the size, head up to the observatory on the 21st floor of the Sakai City Hall to see it from above, though not a full aerial view.

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Just a few steps away from Sakai-higashi station, on the 21st floor of the Sakai City Hall, there is an observatory that you can look out on the entirety of Sakai city. If you are interested in seeing how big the kofun tombs are, this is a perfect place to get a real feel for the size and the numbers that surround the city, as it can be hard to understand it from the ground. It is not a perfect bird-eye view of the tombs, but even despite that you can see the traditional culture merged with the modern city, which is a pretty amazing site. This is also a great place to take a break from sight seeing, as it has a cafe with food and also a very cute latte with latte art in the shape of a keyhole (for 440 yen), which is the shape of the kofun tombs.

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Photo Diary – February 2017 | Nihonchique

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Japan has so many faces. This month, I was able to see another side of Japan, in a small island called Toshijima, in Mie prefecture. This was for work, but I felt so lucky to go out into nature and experience something that many tourists don’t get to experience. I also went to Ise Grand Shrine on that trip and it was one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to in Japan. You really can’t understand the feeling unless you go personally, so I highly recommend that if you get the chance, go check it out for yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

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Sumiyoshi Taisha in Osaka!

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Fox Statue at Sumiyoshi Taisha! 🦊

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伊勢神宮に参りました〜!⛩

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Mysterious Vibes at Ise Grand Shrine!

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Photo Diary – January 2017 | nihonchique

January  was a whirlwind of traveling for pleasure and for work. I went to see Kanjani8, went to Kyoto 2 times,  and made my first trip to Toba City in Mie. I want to keep up this pace for traveling to areas around Kansai and taking more photos, as it has been a form of healing for me and a way to direct my some of my energy into something that I have had an interest in for a while.

One of the most exciting parts of this month was starting my very first goshuinchō, or special stamp book that you can buy from shrines and temples. With this in hand, you can get a stamp at most shrines and temples that you go to, documenting all of the places that you have been to. January 2017 is the beginning of my journey to see more temples and shrines in Japan and travel more.

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Some of my favorite things ❤

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鳥羽はキレイ〜! Toba is beautiful!!

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Pearl Flower Brooch at Mikimoto Pearl Island!

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Another fun day exploring Kyoto!

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Aqueducts at Nanzenji in Kyoto!

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Photo Diary – December 2016 | nihonchique

December was a very busy month for me at work, so I didn’t post much. It got cold, so I was wearing coats full time since the beginning of the month, thus the dress and coat picture.

I went home to America from December 23rd through January 3rd, and it was special to me because I hadn’t been home for Christmas since 2012. I loved seeing the Christmas tree and having a restful time at home with just my 4 member family.

I posted my Instagram top 9 photos of 2016, and it was nostalgic to see the memories that I had throughout 2016, and it really did highlight some the best memories that I had during the year, including the NEWS LIVE TOUR 2016 QUARTETTO, Onsen (Hot-spring) times, and Fall leaves in Arashiyama. I look forward to documenting  2017 through photos, and I want to take some of those pictures and blow them up and frame them in my apartment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3年ぶりの実家過しクリスマス!🎄

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5 Tips For Moving Within Japan

Within the 3 years that I have lived in Japan, I have moved within Japan 2 times. Once from Kyoto City to Osaka Prefecture, and once to from Osaka Prefecture to Osaka City. When you move within Japan, there are a few things that you need to be aware of. I will be pointing out 5 of these things that will be helpful for people moving within Japan.

Tip #1: Calculate how much money it will take to move ahead of time

Moving within Japan can be expensive; having to deal with many different expenses that we are not used to as foreigners. While at the real estate agency, you should ask all about these various expenses you will have to pay before you submit the application, so that you are not surprised at how much it costs before you sign the contract. The real estate agent should be able to break everything down for you, including the real estate agency fee. If you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask them over and over again until you understand, because it is their job to make you feel comfortable with what you are paying for moving. Also, keep in mind that you also need to calculate how much it will cost for the actual move, meaning to move your things from one place to another.

Tip #2: Give notice on your current place at least 1 Month Before Moving

Most apartment rental contracts in Japan are 2-year contracts, but if you give notice 1 month before you move out, you are able to move with only paying the last month’s rent. If you move out with less than a month’s notice, there will be extra fees incurred, including paying an extra month that you will not be living there for.  Also, keep in mind that extra fees can also be incurred if you move out within 6 months from the beginning of the contract, but this depends on the specific contract that you sign.

Tip #3: Hire a Moving Company

Now, there are many different instances for this depending on how much stuff that you have, but if you have a significant amount of things to move or you are moving a long distance, then using a moving company is very useful.

First step is to call the company and get a quotation for moving. During this process, they will talk to you about all the options that you have. When you use a moving company in Japan they have a variety of options that you can choose from, from simply hiring the company to put your things into the truck, to having the moving company pack up all of your things into boxes for you, to even having them pack AND unpack everything for you. Every time I moved, I used the option of having the moving company pack my things up for me (it cost about 30,000 yen for that option), while I unpacked everything. I find this easier than having them unpack everything for me because I am not yet familiar with my new place to tell them where to put everything and want to unpack everything myself. If you do not have enough time to pack everything up before the move, then this is the option for you. I personally have used Sakai both times when I have moved within Japan. There is also a company called The 0123 that is also very popular moving company to use in Japan. Please let me know if you would like an post about my experience with Sakai!

Tip #4: Change your Utilities over from your old place to your new place

Utilities in Japan usually include Gas, Electricity, and Internet. Water is normally paid with your rent to the company that owns the building, but double check if it is or not. All of these utilities you can either call on the phone or change online. When I moved in September, I changed all of my utilities online, except for the Internet For Gas, if you live in an apartment with auto lock (where the entrance of the apartment has a security door) you have to be there when the gas company comes to read the meter for the last time and also to turn on the gas for the new apartment. (Note that not all apartment buildings have gas). Electricity and Internet do not require anyone to come to the apartment, just a phone call to turn off at your old place.

Tip #5: Move in and Move out Notice to the Ward Office

When moving in Japan, you must submit a move out and move in notice. A move out notice is only for moving from one city to another, but you must inform the new ward office that you have moved into that ward regardless. This is important for foreigners because the ward office has to write your new address on the back of your residence card. You need your address changed on the back of this card so that you can change your address at places like your bank account, cellphone contract and even having mail sent to you. This basically becomes proof of your new address. You have to legally do the move in and move out notice within 2 weeks (14 days) of moving to your new place.

These were my 5 tips for moving in Japan! Please let me know in the comments below about your experiences moving within Japan or if you have any questions that you would like answered about Japan.