Back when we first came, there was a trip planned for the end of orientation to go to Unzen! There was a whole schedule of things to do, but due to rain, we had to switch up the schedule a little bit (which actually ended up being a lot better)!
First stop was to the Aino lookout!
There was a little shop to buy souvenirs and also a place to look out into the ocean! It was gorgeoussssss. Things were a little expensive here so I didn’t really buy anything, but there were mimikaki (ear picks) with cute things on top of them! Like ramen bowls! I really wanted once but I already have one…
Next stop was to lunch! It was suuuuuuuuper yummy! The white blobs were mochi, which I surprisingly ended up not liking so much.
Our next stop was to see some houses buried by the debris flow caused by one of the mountains collapsing. It was interesting!! I really wanted to look inside urgh… you could kind of peer through the entire first floor of one of the bigger houses…!! I’m so in love with traditional Japanese houses and really want to see one…!!!
After that we went to the mountain! It was going to rain the next day, so we switched mountain climbing to today instead of the next day. There was the choice of riding the cable car up (for about 1,100 yen roundtrip), or walking up.
Walk up the mountain they said. It’ll be easy they said. It’ll be fun they said. (It wasn’t, it was hell).
Of course, I somehow made it up with my friend, and we sure did take long breaks… The great thing about walking up was being able to look down past the trees on occasion. It was gorgeous views all around, not to mention a super chilly wind that was the GREATEST relief for our gross, sweaty selves. Hilariously enough, a few of my friends and I stopped at one point to stand and take a break for quite a bit. When we started out trek up again…. we reached our destination right around the corner…!! And to think we stood there for about 6 or 7 minutes thinking we still had a while to go…
There was a little stairway to go up to the veeeeery top of the mountain! Even though I was ridiculously tired, it was a great feeling of satisfaction to say that I hiked all the way up that mountain! Also, I’m a poor and broke college student.
It was suuuuuper foggy so it’s not like we could really see much of anything…
There was also this thing.
I cheated and took the cable car down, more out of fear of hiking down rather than laziness. Some parts of the hike up were steep and a little tricky even going up, so I was constantly thinking of how scary it would be to come back down…!! One of my friends who trekked down actually slipped and fell…!!!!! It was nice to record the way down just to see the great views though! There were only a few moments were we could see the view while going through the foresty hell that was that mountain trail.
After that we went to the hotel!! My room was a huge western style room, where each of my roommates and I had our own beds. Visiting my friends room, some of them had only a tatami room (with futons in the closets), or half western and half tatami… I’m so jealous!!!!!!!! I’m actually still very upset that my room wasn’t even half tatami…..
Our rooms were so nice and spacious though~ and had great views!! This was from the morning we left www Only one girl who went out to party with some other students slept in her friend’s room, so only her bed is neat and made…
They gave us yukatas to wear, and a huge number of us went to the public bath downstairs!! This is really why switching mountain climbing to today instead of tomorrow really worked out so well. Had it been tomorrow, we would’ve all been sweaty and disgusting on the bus the entire way home!! Thankfully, we were able to all bathe together and sit outside just chatting.
Initially, many girls were hesitant to go outside without even at least a small towel covering themselves, but some of my friends and I were already used to it from going to the public bath in the hotel in Fukuoka! We had chats about various things (a lot of which I don’t particularly remember…) and boobs. When we asked some of the guys the next day what they talked about (since we talked a lot about being comfortable in our own bodies and how beautiful we all were- we wondered whether the boys did the same thing), they said they just talked about boobs. Nice to know how everyone appreciates a nice chest LOL.
After getting out, we went to dinner!!
!!!!!! I was so excited about it haha.
Afterwards, they made us play games! A lot of the NICS students don’t really speak english, so I think it’s kind of cute how we’re forced to speak Japanese to each other in order to communicate! Of course, their Japanese is waaaaay better than ours. One of the activities was introducing ourselves to each other, and a NICS student asked me if I was American and said my face looked Asian. I told him I was chinese! Being in a homestay and being forced to communicate in Japanese, I’m a lot more comfortable speaking in Japanese with other students, even if it means abandoning all grammar rules in order to get my point across!! (Later on, we’d always see each other on campus and politely greet one another… I wish we could have spoken more!)
There was some karaoke, and a lot of students went out to go get drinks. Sydney came up to where karaoke was taking place and said she went down to the public bath, but no one else was there, so I offered to go with her! The karaoke book was published in 2011, so none of my favorite songs were even in there… surprisingly, Alice Nine wasn’t either…!!!
Another friend joined us and we spent the rest of the night together chilling out in first the public bath, and then in our friend’s room! I then went back to my own room and slept there for the nice (even though the futon was sooo much more squishy and comfortable!)
The next morning, I woke up at 5:30am in order to go to the ~*~*special onsen*~*~. This one changed everyday, so yesterday it was for male use only, and today it was for females! It wasn’t anything special or that much different really lol. I showered and went to the outdoor pool (??? hot spring??) and immediately the cold morning chill hit my body and I was freeeezing!! The water was so warm and it really made everything feel suuuuuuper nice!! Eventually my body was so warmed up that the chill didn’t even faze me anymore haha. I eventually got out, and when I got back to my room it was already 6:30am!! I can’t believe I was there for an hour… it barely felt like it!
Anyway, I got ready with my roommates and we headed to breakfast… or attempted to lol. We had forgotten where it was, and asked one of the coordinators who pointed us to it. They let us in early, and we ate breakfast! It was a mix of Japanese and Western dishes. I have a hard time eating breakfast as is, so I ate a little bit and also some castella cake!! Cake is a totally appropriate breakfast food when your an adult. Yep. Totally.
We left to go see Shimabara castle!
They had renovated it, so it was more like a museum with display cases showing armor and weapons and artifacts. It was actually a little bit boring… Museums are really fun things but I guess I had my hopes a little too high since the outside was so cool! Seeing all of the stuff on display was still cool… just a little underwhelming though. At the very top of the castle was a lookout though! It was cool to see the surrounding area.
Afterwards we had lunch!
Tatami room again! Lunch was totally delicious~
We were allowed to explore afterwards and I went out and followed some other students.
There was this huge open path into the ocean. It was soooooo cool! There were amazing views. It was a little frightening how there were no rails whatsoever…!!! Aren’t they afraid of people jumping?
Such gorgeous views~
I walked to the very end and tried to peer down to see the wall, but got too scared… Eventually I just bent down and held my hands out on the floor in front of me in order to look over… it was super scary!! I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture out of fear of dropping my phone!! Walking back, I attempted to from the side… but I still couldn’t…!! It’s really scary!
The bus came to pick us up at 2pm and we drove on to our last stop, Chijiwa. On our way there, there were these gorgeous views of the ocean! It was a little hard to get my camera out in time…
At Chijiwa, they had these potato snacks!! Super yummy~
I bought a castella cake as a gift for my host mum! I also wanted to buy this set of keychains for my friends and I, but there were only four…