21 July 2011

Osaka Ferris Wheel - love!

avThis bright red, 106m high ferris wheel was a great little addition to our recent long weekend festivities in the always raucous Osaka. I loved it! We arrived just in time for sunset and it gave us some gorgeous views of the surrounding city centre. The boarding zone is on the 7th floor of the HEP FIVE complex in front of Hankyu Umeda station, so if you’re arriving at Osaka station it’s just a 5 minute walk from there. The gondolas even include air-conditioning and speakers, so you can plug in your I-phone/I-pod and blast some party music before a night out. Unfortunately in my very stressful panic at getting to an 8pm all-you-can-eat-and-drink dinner reservation I didn’t capture the ferris wheel from the outside so I had to steal one from a travel website. Crediting out the way, isn’t it lovely? Isn’t it wonderful? 

12 July 2011

French dining in Onomichi

If you’re living anywhere near Onomichi, Hiroshima, you have no excuses! If you’re nowhere near Onomichi you should be drooling with jealousy! This is Restaurant aux Herbes. 

I blame my previous lack of dining experience on the bank balance that used to truly reflect that of a struggling student. No cash = no travelling = no international tasty treats. Sad face! Also, dining out usually entailed a quick dash to Steers (South African burger place) for a midnight snack during a late night party. Well all that is changing, and I’m loving every bit of it! A group of us went to Restaurant aux Herbes on Sunday afternoon for the lunch set. It includes a starter (I had liver pate - delicious!!), main (mine was roast lamb), dessert (chocolate cake!) and a coffee. Bread baskets arrive in abundance too, and good bread is such a treasure in Japan. Supermarkets usually sell bread so white it couldn’t be considered bread anymore. So get yourself over there (with this map) and order the lunch set. You won’t be sorry! 

8 July 2011

High School Art in Japan

The Senior High School I teach English at, recently held an art exhibition at their annual school festival. After weeks of joining the after school art club I was beginning to think it was more of a chatting club with an art problem, but somehow the students seemed to whip these gems out just before the exhibition. Now I feel somewhat like a cheesy, proud mom showing off their work like this. 

4 July 2011

Small Town Japan

With all the weekend trips and vacations I’ve managed to squeeze into this year I feel like it might be easy for readers to get a warped sense of my life here. Small town Japan plays a major role in my Monday to Friday life. So in hopes of not overlooking the everyday, I have a few pictures to show you of some buildings I pass on a nearby island that I work at once a week. It’s known as Setoda or Ikuchijima, and is just a 30 minute ferry ride from Mihara port. How many people can say they catch a ferry to work?! A pretty kitsch one at that!

Everything about Setoda is charming in a “holding on for dear life” sort of way. From the bus stop furniture to the buildings I pass en route to work, to the very school I work in each week. It’s a school building that could easily fit 600 students, yet only 60 students actually attend. Smaller towns in Japan have started to suffer as families decide to relocate or school their kids in bigger cities. Many small town schools actually end up closing down because of it. On the other hand, many of the students that go to this school don’t even live on the island. Parents send them from neighbouring cities possibly for quality education and the more “small town innocence” that is often (but not always) missing in city schools. I love being welcomed by a classroom full of waving hands as I walk from the bus stop towards the school building!! Unfortunately, a day at work often leaves me craving food, a bath and my bed, so further exploration of the island is embarrassingly nonexistent on my part. But watch this space yo!

PS. I see a few new faces poking around here, so a big thanks to Kristine (my new blogger friend in Japan) for featuring me and my little blog on hers: “Kristine or Polly.” You can check out the guest post I did for her here and have a mosey around at her outfit posts and cute anecdotes about life in Japan xoxo