Monday, March 4, 2013

Sankeien, Snowboarding/Onsen, and Interac

Hello everyone!! So, my first week and a half of not working was very eventful! I bought some stuff for the apartment, relaxed, and did a lot of cycling around. I'm at the point where I'm getting bored, but I just have to keep reminding myself: You start working again in less than a month, ENJOY IT!! DON'T COMPLAIN!! Due to boredom, and the time of the year, I decided to try and find a park or garden with some plum blossoms in Yokohama. After a quick Google search, I discovered Sankeien. The garden is located about ten minutes by bus from Negishi Station. So, if you live on the Keihin-Tohoku line, it's a piece of cake to get to. However, I live on the Yokohama Blue Line, so I live a bit out of the way. I ended up taking a bus from Kaminagaya Station to Konandai Station (my old station!!), which took about fifteen minutes. From Konandai, about ten minutes to Negishi Station, and then another ten on the bus. You can also take a bus from Yokohama or Sakuragi-cho station, but the rides are quite long. They charge ¥500 for the entry, but it is totally worth it!!!

Not only were the blossoms nice, there are a lot of old buildings etc., that have been relocated from Kyoto to the garden. The house above used to be a home of sorts for the Tokugawa Shogun. Or something like that. It's really cool and I spent a good two hours there. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't so nice. Either way, I plan to go back there again during cherry blossom season.

This past weekend, I went snowboarding in Karuizawa. I forgot my camera!!! T_T I noticed it after I had already left, unfortunately. I went with Aki, and two other college friends. We met at Tokyo Station at 7:45 which meant I was up and on a train at 6:45. From Tokyo Station, we took the shinkansen out to the resort. The train ride took about an hour, and we just had to take a quick free shuttle bus to the bottom of the mountain. Once there, we changed into our gear and then went to get our equipment. If you don't have any proper clothes, you can actually RENT coats, pants, etc. Which I thought was really neat, but can run you up to about ¥3000 depending on what you need. After we had our stuff, we went up to the slopes. I hadn't been boarding in about two years, so it took me a few runs to get back to my normal, but bad style. I am a terrible snowboarder, and don't do it properly, but I don't fall so much and I enjoy doing it the way I do it. Unfortunately, the little grip on the board where you place your foot for getting off lifts etc. what so slippery that every time I got off the lift, my foot slipped. So lifts were my big issue. I had never had so much trouble before. Either way, we had a great day just going to the different runs on the mountain. What made the trip even better, was afterwards we went to an onsen. Hoshino Onsen (link to the website!) to be exact. Aki's mom later said it's quite famous. We took a taxi to the place after we were done for the day (about ten minutes from Karuizawa Station). The bathhouse charges ¥1200 for adults, and you can also buy a towel set if you want for ¥300. Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are already inside, so you don't need to worry about that. It was actually my first public bathhouse experience, but really wasn't that big of a deal. No one cares about naked people! Either way, Aki went to the house for men, and us girls went to our area. After a day of snowboarding, an onsen was a great way to relax the muscles and unwind. There was also an outdoor section as well, and a sauna. We survived five minutes in the sauna, but chickened out of the cold water pool. After we finished getting squeaky clean and relaxed, we went back and got dressed. The place has hair dryers, face lotion/milk, and water of course, so all you would really need is a hair brush. After we met up with Aki again, we ate dinner at the restaurant next to the onsen. It was amazing. We drank some local beer and ate some awesome nabe. Hoshino Onsen is a bit on the pricey end, but it was worth the expense. We took a taxi back to the station, and headed home after that. It was quite eventful and amazing.

Also this week, I officially signed my contract with Interac with the Yokohama BOE in a JHS. I'm so happy that got taken care of. I got involved with Interac through a referral, so I didn't go through the normal application process. Basically, when you get a referral, the person gives your information directly to the branch you are applying to. Then you do the normal interview (or what I assume would be the normal interview??) at the Branch's office. This consisted of a grammar test, some information about the job (salary, hours, etc.), and then a short ten minute demo that they recorded. Luckily, the Yokohama Office is on my train line, so when I go to training, it's only about fifteen minutes from my house (well, 25 if you count my walk to the station). I do my week-long training from March 25-29, then officially start my job on April 10th where I go to the BOE. I'm kind of excited because there might be some Texas people I know at the training (unless they are training in Narita...). Hopefully it will be more information about work life than teaching so much. I'm really hoping my experience with Interac is a good one. The people I know who work for them have not had any issues, and I hope the same happens with me.

Well, I guess that's all for today. Until next time!


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