In the meantime, we still have just over five months left in Japan. We've managed to fit a lot into the last 7 months, but there are a lot of things I still really want to fit in before we go. Both sets of parents are visiting in the next couple of months, so we're hoping to do lots of these things with them.
Things local to here
- Climb Mount Zao - We've skied down this gorgeous volcano, but now I want to hike up it and marvel at it's lovely lake.
- Visit Yamadera - A temple on a mountainside, only 20 mins by train from our house. It's a disgrace that we haven't been yet, but we haven't. It'll happen!
Visit Matsushima Bay- We did this today. Photos coming soon!
- Visit Zuihoden Mausoleum - Sendai isn't exactly chock-a-block with historic buildings, but Date Masamune founded the city, and is buried here. Since I have had a love of him and his onigiri head since I first got here, I think I need to spend an hour or two
See what I mean about the onigiri head?!
- Celebrate Tanabata - Most of Japan celebrated tanabata last week, but the biggest and best is yet to come! Sendai has the most famous festival in Japan, held at the start of august. It conveniently falls on my birthday, and I planning to celebrate hard!
- Go to the statue - It's a little know fact that Sendai has the 6th tallest statue in the world. It's of the Buddhist bohisattva (enlightened person), Kannon. However, it was built for tax avoidance, rather than religious motives and so people don't like it. It's not mentioned in most tourism info, and is apparently surrounded by pachinko parlours. Sounds like it has the potential to be an amusing, if not enlightening experience!
- Buy LOTS of stationary/origami/bento/craft items and send them home - I love all these things, and Japan is a paradise for them. I plan on buying a good few years supply. Good thing my parents have a big attic!
- Play pachinko - It's loud, it's garish, it's expensive, but it's apparently regularly played by 1 in 6 Japanese people, makes up 40% of the Japanese leisure industry (including bars and restaurants) and it's revenue is 4 times that of all the casino gambling in the world. It seems to be an essential Japanese experience.
- Take couples purikura - I love purikura. John hates it, but I just need to get a few beers in him, and I'll have some photos that will make all the Japanese people I know go kawaiiiiii for about an hour!
- Stay in a love hotel - Not as sleezy as it sounds. They're not all about prostitutes here, but provide privacy for couples living with extended family, plus they're a cheap and convenient place to stay. another random only-in-Japan thing!
- Visit Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea - I love Disney. I plan on going in November, on a school day. Hopefully that way I can have Mickey (and Duffy) all to myself.
- Get a good view of Mount Fuji - Climbing Mount Fuji was on my list of things to do before leaving Japan, but I don't think I'm going to have time during the open season, plus various blogs about it make it sound less enjoyable than a lot of other climbs, so I've given up on the idea. It's gorgeous and iconic though, and the small glimpse I got from the Shinkansen isn't enough. I want to go and revel in the view sometime.
- See the Pandas at Ueno Zoo - Panda's are cute, and there aren't any in England.
Anyone got any other suggestions? I think it's a fairly achievable list so far. There are a few other things I ideally want to do (visit Hiroshima and Nara, climb Mount Iwate, visit Kinkasen island (it's pretty close, but I don't know if you can get there post tsunami), visit Hiraizumi, see the 5 coloured lakes), but I'll see how I go.