Back to Niigata (via Tokyo)

I woke up at about 4:45 am this morning. Why? Because the sun came up at 4:43 am, which I consider terribly early. Still, it’ll continue to inch earlier yet before hitting about a 4:25 am sunrise in mid-June. I really need to find a way to darken my room a little more in the mornings. Sitting at my desk today, it somehow seems like I never left – it’s amazing how consistent the routine of the Japanese school system can be. It’s comforting, actually.

I just returned from hanging out in Tokyo with Star, one of my friends from UW and a fellow Japanese major. She’s living out there doing science research and kindly let me stay with her for a while. We mainly took it easy, treating ourselves to massages, shopping in Shibuya, and a rather leisurely schedule. Grace joined the fun on Saturday. I took a break from picture taking during this trip, but still managed to get one of the more amusing shots of my collection while walking through Shinjuku. A tanuki (raccoon) in a pig’s mask:

Incognito Tanuki and Kristi, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Originally uploaded by kristi-san.

The owner in back adds a lot to the picture.

Sufficeth to say that I had fun. I always enjoy Tokyo – hopefully I’ll make it down there a few more times before my contract is up in July. Things are starting to fly by faster and faster. This weekend, I’m thinking of heading out to Takaoka to see their daibutsu and do the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, two weeks from now is Okinawa with Star, four weeks out is Hiroshima/Kansai with Maria, followed by Tokyo five weeks out… and then I’ll have about a month left in Japan, so I imagine I’ll be desperately trying to pack and squeeze things in.

Anyway, I think that’s enough for now. More adventures soon!