New Year’s Eve at Kashihara Shrine

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It was a blessing to bring in the New Year at Kashihara Shrine. The place was packed with people amongst what seemed like limitless food stalls filled with delicious treats. I feel like Josh and I tried just about everything. We also got to celebrate with some local ALT friends which made the night all the more special. Cheering along with the crowd and standing next to the huge bonfire at midnight was a great feeling.

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Christmas Evening in Nara!

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We met up again with our friends Ashley and Joseph in Nara City on Christmas afternoon. Unfortunately the sun got away from us and we barely missed the Giant Buddha exhibit, but we got to pet and feed a lot of deer!

They got a bit overwhelmed by the presence of food a few times, though.

Afterwards we had some delicious omurice (rice stuffed omelette) together at a cafe near Nara Station that I can’t recall the name of. I believe ”turtle” was in the name…

From there, they headed back to our house to stay the night (many a youtube video was shared, and we had chocolate pie!).

It was a Merry Christmas indeed, even if the atmosphere didn’t feel much like Christmas at all.

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Christmas Eve in Kyoto!

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I am so glad that I got to meet up with my fellow Tennessee JET and friend Ashley as well as her boyfriend Joseph during Christmas break! She was placed in Nagano (quite a bit a ways from Nara), so this is the first time we have been able to see each since Tokyo Orientation!

We first met up in Kyoto around lunch time, saw a few shrines and temples, and then headed to Atarashiyama to see the Bamboo Forest (I was really hoping to feed a few baby monkeys at the Monkey Park nearby, but it was better suited for another day)! I haven’t seen much of the Kyoto area, but so far I think this place is the most beautiful! The station nearby was breathtaking- it contained a lit up ”kimono forest” for guests to walk through. There was also a freezing cold dragon fountain that stated if you put your hands inside and made a wish, it would be granted. Hopefully I didn’t freeze my fingers for nothing haha. On the way back, we met a few Santa-sans who gave us Hi-Chew candy and wished us a Merry Christmas. It was a magical day. Next time I want to see the Fushimi Inari Shrine (the place with ”infinite” red gates)!

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