Hi from Osaka!
It has been getting close to 30°C this week – I already have the best tan that I’ve had in years, and it’s only May! This week was Golden Week, a small holiday period towards the end of spring that includes lots of different national holiday days in Japan. Shōwa Day celebrates the Emperor’s birthday, Constitution Memorial Day celebrates democracy in Japan, Greenery Day is a day to spend celebrating nature, and finally Children’s Day is a day to celebrate the happiness of children. When I go back to work after this weekend, there will be another nine weeks of work before summer school begins in mid-July. I’m not too sure how my holiday will work during this time, but I know that I will have my birthday off during Oban Festival in August, and our wedding anniversary during the school summer holiday later that month.
Dillon and I decided to spend some time during the holiday getting on top of tasks that we had not found time for during my first few weeks of work. We got a new key cut for our apartment (so now we can both go out at once!), and we visited the Chuo ward office to apply for health insurance. I got all my work done for my first week back at work after the holiday, including some general administrative work and planning that always seemed to get pushed to the bottom of my priorities list. I feel ready to get back to work – these first three weeks have flown by, and I am looking forward to building on the work we have done in the next part of the term.
We also had the chance to visit Kyoto for the day. Kyoto has a special place in my heart because it was after Dillon travelled there for a work conference in 2015 that we first started considering moving to Japan. To get to Kyoto we travelled by train from Osaka, a very easy journey through rural countryside. Kyoto was very different to how I imagined! Central Kyoto reminded me a lot of the large towns or small cities in southern France and southern Spain – wide, dusty boulevards, palm trees, European restaurants, and mountains in the distance. We visited the Botanical Gardens, which is in the centre of the city, and you can see some of the photos we took here.
During the holiday Dillon and I also visited Tsurumi Ryoukuchi Park in Osaka, a huge public park filled with various themed gardens from different countries around the world. I’m going to post about our visit there separately, but it was a lovely day, and it’s a place that we plan on going back to visit regularly. I love that in Japan you can often go out for the day with the assumption that you will only pay subway fare for a day out, and any food you want to buy when you are out, as often entry fees to even the top tourist attractions are low or non-existent.
I get my first pay cheque next week, and we have a few things lined up on the horizon for days out over the weekend. There is an exhibition of Matisse artwork at Abeno Harukas, the tallest building in Japan; we want to go back to the Tempozan district to ride on the huge ferris wheel there; and of course there are so many shrines and temples we have not had a chance to visit yet. Lots to look forward to!