F U J I

What’s the biggest thing in Japan? I think we should pay to climb it.

I don’t know where this idea came from, but on Friday I found myself, and 5 of my lunatic friends, leaving school and heading to Mt. Fuji! Not just to look at and take photos, but climb that bad boy all the way to the top!

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5pm saw the journey begin and the first two hours were filled with thoughts of ‘woah, this is crazy beautiful’, ‘woah, this is kinda getting tiring’, ‘woah, we have A LOT further to go’, ‘woah, my head is starting to hurt a bit’.

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We soldiered on and as night began to fall and we kept ascending, the end seemed so far. After having a conversation with Alicia about how good we felt, and how determined we are to climb this mountain, things began to start taking a turn for the worst. With the headache starting to pound more and more, the negative thoughts began flowing. Eating wasn’t possible and something just wasn’t right.

Unfortunately, myself and some of the others began to lag. Something that I took a long time to admit to myself. As a very competitive person, to be struggling hurt my heart just as much as my head was hurting. Alicia and Michael took off in order for us to check in time (9pm). 20 minutes from where we planned to sleep the night, things definitely weren’t as they should be.

I left the others in search for the nearest bathroom. I’d had this feeling before, except last time I think I was drunk and had one too many tequila’s. Next thing I know, head in the toilet and my Melon Pan was making a second appearance. If only I could be this lucky all the time….

I finally found the others and explaining my situation was funny…until I started to feel again.

Unfortunately for everyone else, our cute and cosy futons were VERY close together and I wasn’t spending much time lying down in between bathroom visits. Sorry guys! But I guys we just became super close friends that night….I mean, they must’ve been getting used to hearing the big white girl jump out of bed and RUN to the door. I must admit a couple of times i pushed the limit and only just made it outside before even more Melon Pan was coming back again…

Much to my embarrassment I only made it to the front steps the first time and gave the Japanese workers at the Hostel a great clean up job in the early hours of the morning. Much to my embarrassment, the workers continued to bring me plastic bags throughout the night to avoid any more cleaning jobs for them.

Purchasing some canned oxygen I tried to get some sleep, determined to climb a further 1hr at 2.30am in order to see the sunrise. When the others awoke I tried to push the horrible stomach feelings aside by using my oxygen to be Darth Vader “No Luke,,,,I am your father!”

About 50metres into our morning stroll up the top of Mt. Fuji I realised things really weren’t ok.

Admitting defeat still hurts me to this day. To climb 6hours and get so close to the summit of Mt. Fuji and have to quit? absolutely soul destroying, heartbreaking, literal gut-wrenching feeling. I was so disappointed in myself. Why wasn’t I strong enough to get to the top like the others?

This is something that is going to continue to disappoint me for a very long time. But i’m proud of myself for looking after my health.

I returned to the hut and stayed there until sunrise.

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From there I continued down the mountain alone.

After 1.5hrs of descent I took a pit stop, my head still pounding. An elderly gentlemen approached me and asked in Japanese: “is your head hurting?” the look on my face must have said it all as he began giving me perhaps the most painful and intense head/neck massage i’d ever had in my life. I wouldn’t wish that discomfort on even my own worst enemies!

Surprisingly, once he finished I felt must better and spent the 2 hours descending until I reached the bottom.

Here I heard an ‘OH MY GOD’ and Alicia ran over and gave me a hug. It was nice to know someone was concerned about me and definitely returned the smile to my face that had gone Missing In Action over the last 12 or so hours.

I sat down and proceeded to fall asleep on the ground. (More like the middle of the road). When I awoke we made our way inside for breakfast, where i struggled to stomach some toast.

This, according to Michael was the absolutely perfect time to film me and ask of my opinion of the climb and Altitude Sickness. The result was a not-so-classy conversation in which i referred to having Altitude Sickness as ‘Having the Devil Inside of Me’. Eloquent I know.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to get on a bus and get home.

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Catch me in my finest moment here:

http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=76wWq3WnQbY&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D_IMpQnShzgM%26feature%3Dshare

Ready for another week at school?

Not so much. But i’ll give it a go!

Bring it on!

Mikaela より

Tokyo and Family

Sunday Night I took mum into Shinjuku and we met up with my Host Family from 5 years ago! Such an amazing experience for me. To have stayed in contact for so long is something very special to me and a friendship I treasure a lot. Yoko is one of my best friends and I can’t imagine not knowing her! Despite the cultural differences and the language barrier, we just get along so well. Speaking a combination of Japanese and English is always very funny.

After dinner I took mum back to my dorm for the first time. It was nice to have the company, no matter how tired I may have been and it was very special to show her around.

The next morning I had class so Mum came into University with me to explore.

After class I took mum into Shibuya and we went to our favourite local hangout – Genki Sushi. THE SUSHI SHOOTS OUT AT YOU!! Fast food, literally. I cannot get enough of this place and I know i’ll miss it back home in Sydney!

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After lunch, mum and I went shopping, which was really nice as we don’t often get time together to do fun girly things like this. I really enjoyed this. After shopping we heading to the famous Starbucks at the famous Shibuya Crossing and sat and people watched.

After a few e-mails back and forth with dad, it was decided that he was going to come and crash out on the floor on my dorm floor, too! It was going to be a tight fit but i couldn’t wait to show dad my room!

On our way home, Dad picked a ramen restaurant close by the dorm. And i’m so glad he did. Land of the giant Gyoza (think Japanese-style dim sim).

After talking the night away we headed back for a good nights sleep.

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Saying goodbye, albeit only for 3 weeks, was difficult. With a lump in my throat I said goodbye, shed a sneaky tear and headed to school to see my friends and plan our next adventure. A big adventure.

Bring it on,

Mikaela より

Family.

As Friday rolled around I packed a bag and headed back to dad’s place in Narita for the weekend yet again. But this time was even more special, my mum had come to Japan and it was the Gion Matsuri Festival in Narita.

After 10 weeks without seeing her in person I can’t explain how nice it was to see my mum. Having my parents all too myself for the weekend was something very special to me. I couldn’t tell you the last time it was just the three of us together. I am so fortunate to have their support with everything I do, they want me to be happy as much as they want to be happy themselves. They sacrifice a lot so that I (and my brothers) can have the opportunities and life experiences that we have.

As Friday night rolled around I got ready for work. Yes, work!!

I’m sure anyone reading this will have heard me talk about the Barge Inn – a British Pub in Narita, run by crazy ‘Uncle’ Bryan – the most lunatic Irish Man i’ll ever meet. With no RSA, no bar experience and no idea what i was in for, I headed to the Barge.

The next 8 hours were the longest, strangest, most enjoyable 8 hours of my life. Due to the festives, this weekend was always going to be crazy busy, which is why I was asked to help out – an honour in itself!!

Picking up glasses, cleaning glasses, cleaning tables, this white girl was getting stared at all night. I honestly just hope I was a help and not a hinderance all night!

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And when the dance floor re-opened for the first time in over a year, I was jealous. I just wanted to dance!! Maybe next year?

After work (4.30am onwards) we sat around drinking and watching the soccer world cup! At 7am i stumbled home in broad daylight much to the disgust of the elderly couple out for their morning walk – gommennnasai!

As I walked into my bedroom and say that mum had made my bed, left a bottle of water and some food I felt tears well up in my eyes, being here alone it had been a while since someone had looked after me so nicely. And finally my head hit the pillow!

11.30am the next day i arose and headed into town with my parents to our special little Indian Restaurant. Seriously, they know our order now! After this we walked around and watched the parades, ate Festival foods and just caught up. I think it was clear how happy I was just to be somewhere that feels like home with my family. Something about being far away and that making you realise how lucky you are and how fortunate you are at home….

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Unfortunately, I soon had to head home for a quick nap before my second shift!

A night of much the same as the previous, I finally got to bed at 6.30am!

Exhausted, I went to bed planning the next day’s trip into Tokyo with mum.

Bring it on,

Mikaela より

Okinawa!

After a rough nights sleep, seriously, every time I moved the sunburn seemed to hurt more! It was so so hard to get out of bed, I literally had a phobia of the sun! HORRIBLE WHEN YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY BEACHES.

Anyway, we headed out to a beach on the main Island of Okinawa. About 1.5 hours away we found Miburo Beach. Completely outside the tourist area of Okinawa we settled under a cover with the help of a little old lady who spoke no English. Her supportive slaps on the back would’ve been more encouraging if I wasn’t so burnt! Whilst everyone else went in the water, I stayed in the shade, fearing the consequences of anymore sunlight and read a book. I haven’t had such peace and relaxing time since coming to Japan. It got me thinking how lucky I was to have this experience, to share it with Alicia – an amazing friend from home, and my new friendship circle, Amy, Luis, Jamie, Elissia and Michael. Such an amazing group of people, who i feel very lucky to call some of my best friends.
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Unfortuantely the time came for us to head back to Tokyo. We boarded the plane and I braced myself for the most uncomfortable 2 hour flight of my life! #thatsunburn #neveragain.

Seriously everyone, sunscreen, hat, sunnies, anything! I could’ve been a commercial for sunscreen!

Finally getting my head on my pillow at midnight, I wasn’t ready to face another week at school, but i guess that’s the sign of a good weekend.

Bring it on!

Mikaela より

sunburn.

Today we woke up, head hurting and ready to hit the beaches. With a recommendation from the staff at the hostel we were heading on a boat to Tokashiki Island today! The photos looked stunning and we couldn’t wait to get there..but first we had to stop off at the Convenience Store for some brekkie and a hangover cure for some of us batters.

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From snorkelling, to banana boat rides, to swimming, to relaxing, to exploring. Today was such a beautiful, amazing day! The warm weather, beautiful water and good company, I really could not have asked for more.

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However, one issue arose late in the day.

I’d changed skin tone, my white girl skin was now a lovely shade of red. And the discomfort that came with such skin tone change was not my favourite part of the day. However, I wasn’t the only one struggling, Michael had managed to go swimming with his return ticket. So that definitely lightened the mood after a long and tiring day!

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After a dinner out, I headed back to the hostel while everyone was out walking around. (I hurt to wear clothes, ok?!) But instead of going to bed like i’d planned I ended up sitting on the floor of the hostel playing drinking games with the most random group of travellers i’ve ever met in my life. An American, a German, some Japanese people…and of course I met a guy from Perth! That Aussie accent was beautiful to hear and describing everything with swear words was so comforting to hear !!

Soon the others came back and joined in, those spontaneous moments are what i love most about exploring different places.

Couldn’t be happier!

Unfortunately my skin could’ve been much happier so I called it a night and wondered what skin colour i’d be the next day…

Bring it on!

Mikaela より

Okinawa!

So when you ask people to imagine what Japan would be like, they usually conjure up images of bustling Tokyo, the crazy Harajuku girls, vending machines, temples and sushi. BUt one side of Japan I don’t think people see enough is the Southern Island of Okinawa. I’d also been very interested in heading there, but just hadn’t had the opportunity. So when my group of friends here in Japan decided (very early on in our trip) to head to Okinawa in the Summer/end of our trip, it didn’t take me long to book my flight!

So on Friday Alicia, Luis and Myself (lucky us) got to head on down earlier than the others! As we were about to board our flight along skipped Jamie with her staff travel benefits! The three musketeers soon became the awesome foursome.

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After a 2 hour flight we made it Okinawa! And we were definitely there, the heat and humid was something else! I have never experienced anything like that before! We jumped on the train and headed to our hostel. From the outside, the hostel didn’t look like anything fancy, and when we got inside it still wasn’t anything fancy. All adds to the experience! We were shown our beds and quickly changed into our cozzies and headed to the beach! We stopped by the supermarket to get some essential alcohol and crackers off course.

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We found the nearest ‘beach’. I’ll let the photo do the talking…how’s the serenity?

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We headed straight for the water and talked the afternoon away….next minute, Luis’ old friend from back in the U.S strolls down the beach. He’s working in the Navy and based in Okinawa…such a small world!

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Soon after we headed back to the hostel, met up with our friend Amy from school and set off for dinner. $20 all you can eat/drink. Dinner was lovely and it was clear we didn’t want the night to end. Soon after, Michael and Elissia showed up. Finally the 7 of us were all together!

After dinner, 5 of us headed out. Time to explore Okinawa night life.

Let’s just say I managed to explore the Okinawan night life a lot this night. Even the floor of the dance floor.

Keen for the beaches tomorrow!

Bring it on,

Mikaela より