Survived my first typhoon + Terrace House Hangouts
Wednesday August 14 and Thursday August 15
Stayed indoors all of Wednesday and Thursday because of typhoon warnings. To be honest it wasn’t that bad. Our supervisor messaged us and advised us to only get groceries if necessary (which we did when the rain slowed down because we were bored) and then stay indoors. We were lucky because we actually had the entire week off for Obon. Based on asking around, this seems to be pretty rare to have the week off. Most people are stuck sitting at their BOE or have orientation this week, so we tried our very best to stay on good behavior, not receive any traffic tickets and just have some rest and relaxation.
We made Takoyaki on Wednesday because we were stuck at home all day and had nothing better to do. Turns out this is super easy to make and really yummy too! The electric Takoyaki machine got really hot, really fast, so we had to be careful when touching it.
We also decided to start watching a TV show together! Terrace House is our new way of observing Japanese culture through a reality show that is so much more wholesome and pure than Jersey Shore.
Tried to make stirfry with soba noodles. The soba noodles are great! My stirfry vegetables ended up being too sour (oops!) because I added too much lemon juice. In retrospect I’m really sad to say I had a really hard time eating this and didn’t enjoy it because of how sour it was. I learned my lesson and will make another attempt soon! The typhoon hit on Wednesday night and I guess our building is a bit old because the windows were rattling a little bit and the floor felt like it was shaking. It continued to rain and there were heavy winds throughout Thursday but nothing was damaged and there were no signs on flooding. I think they freaked us out too much.
Friday August 16
We took a roadtrip to Yufuin! Taking the express highway from Tsukumi, it cost us about 1780 yen and an hour to get there. A little bit pricey, but between two people it was okay. There were tons of different shops that sold anything from Studio Ghibli to Hello Kitty to a Snoopy store, cat store and a dog store. It was pretty busy on a Friday, so I don’t want to know what it’s like on a weekend! On the way back, it was my turn to navigate and Tori’s turn to drive. I admit that I’m horrible at reading the signs and following the GPS so we accidentally got off the highway early and paid around 800 yen although we hadn’t gotten so far. We then decided to take the scenic route, which takes an hour more but is completely free, bypassing Beppu and Oita city. We played some oldy but goldy music and enjoyed the ride home.
Saturday, August 17
We decided to drive to Youra Peninsula in Tsukumi and check out 3 of the beaches I spotted on google maps. I’m silly and only took photos of the first one. The first one was called Takahama Beach and is shown in the photos below. It took about 30 minutes to drive to and our poor little car struggled on the uphill. It was very mountaineous on the way. Close to the water, it gets a little bit rocky. There was a ton of parking, as there was only one other group here. We saw two adults and 4 kids happily splashing around so we deemed it decently safe to swim in. Tori and I stuck our feet in the water and were pleasantly surprised by how warm yet refreshing it was. The next beach was an 8 minute drive away and it was called Ohama Beach Resort. Originally, google maps announced “Your destination is on the left!” but all we saw was a cliff so we continued driving for another minute until we saw a sign that looked like an entrance. We decended down to the beach and was disappointed by how dirty the water was (probably because the recent rainfall and storm had pushed garbage inland) and were surprised that there were boys swimming in the water. Off we went to the next beach, Odanohama Beach. As I was driving, I was amazed to see 10 huge hawks flying, swooping down very close to us. As I looked over it looked like there were some fish nets. Maybe there was a family of hawks because the food source was easy! 5 minutes later we arrived at Odanohama Beach which was half the size of Takahama Beach but so amazingly clean, clear and blue. There were at least 2 or 3 families here enjoying the water and we decided that we should definitely come back here.
Sunday August 18
I made a really yummy tuna casserole dish and ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner because I loved it so much and was way too lazy to cook anything else. We went back to the beach! This time we arrived prepared with swimsuits and pool noodles. We wanted the same floaties as the kids but couldn’t find any at the Seria (insert sad face here). The water was so refreshing and clear, and although it was cloudy, it was warm outside. We grabbed some yummy icecream after from the conbini!
Monday August 19
Back to the BOE we go! One of the elementary school teachers took Tori and I to lunch and we had a yummy donburi with sashimi. In the afternoon I went to one of my junior high schools and spent the afternoon practicing recitations and speeches with students for their upcoming speech competition. I had a lot of fun getting one of the students to do tongue twisters to practice pronunciation. I hope he didn’t hate me after all of that torture. In the evening, we went out to dinner at a local Chinese restaurant with ALTs from Tsukumi and Usuki.
Tuesday August 20
I’m an absolute derp and should have made lunch for myself. I had been so spoiled with eating out on Monday that I didn’t prep anything for this day. I ended up having some bread with peanut butter and watermelon. I bought an iced coffee for 160 yen from the vending machine on the way to work to prevent hunger and to make sure I didn’t fall asleep at the BOE in the morning while studying Japanese. Thankfully I got to visit the other junior high schools again and practice speeches in the afternoon. I’m always super impressed at how quickly the students improve on their pronunciation after imitating me and practicing certain troublesome words. They definitely struggle with the sounds of “r”, “l” and “th”. But we practice a lot and they pick it up pretty quick.
In the evening, I rushed home from the BOE to try to eat some snacks because I was starving. At 5:05PM we were going to be picked up by our supervisor to bring us to a Fan Dance practice. We have a festival this Saturday and for some reason Tori and I said yes to participate. I would love to say that we look like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VfAmS2NWK but honestly, we look more like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gqtc1AenRXA. We were supposed to have another practice on Thursday but we won’t be able to because we have to go to Oita City for a Prefectural Orientation. Hopefully Saturday goes OK.
Before dinner we made a run for the store because I realized how low on food I was. Found some interesting drinks, inspired by a familiar place. For dinner, I made a coconut curry with onions, shrimp, okra, potatoes and thankfully I didn’t fuck it up! I also finally learned how to use my ricecooker. Wins all around!
Well, that’s a week worth of updates and this post has enough photos so lets call it a day, shall we?
Lots of love,