News from AJET: November 2015



Uh oh… What is this odd sensation I feel? It’s been so long, I had almost forgotten about you. We had a respectful parting last time in mid­-April, but I see you have crawled back to me after all these months. It was only when I woke up to my feet being tickled by your breath of needles that I realized you have returned. And so from here on I shall greet you every morning with a well­-thought out curse word as I crumble out of bed only to make the mad dash to the boiling nabe pot of a bath I have waiting for my now numb body.


Welcome back, Winter. And hello Hyogo!!


For November, we begin to say “okaeri” to good old Jack Frost to nip at our extremities. With the change of seasons, however sad it may be at times, we can always look forward to multiple new and unique opportunities in this fine country. Japan has a knack for having special events and activities based on the current season, and winter is no different!


Kyoto, our third enormous city in this absolutely stunning region (go Kansai), will yet again change its appearance to please the eyes of many tourists, Japanese and foreign travellers alike! First, the leaves change colors, thus making the already picturesque landscape look like a scene from the most vibrant of dreams. After that, it can become a lovely winter haven perfectly ripe for lovely Facebook profile pictures. The already exotic temples covered in snow? I haven’t seen it yet (Osaka’s Namba was always calling me last year), but it looks great and I will check it out this year, so you should too!


Though not a November event, you may also look forward to a rather popular occasion in Kobe known as the Luminarie, a giant European­ styled mass of intricate light displays. Erected to commemorate the 1995 Kobe earthquake, it draws a huge crowd every year for two weeks early in December….which is exactly why we will go on a weekday! Stay tuned!


Though of course, if the cold isn’t your style, there is always the option to travel further south in Kyushu and Okinawa, which seem to remain a bit warmer while also losing their humidity. If the summer heat was just too much for you to want to visit, now is the time to go! Check out that Nagasaki War memorial, the absolutely incredible displays of the volcanoes, and maybe even the beaches if you are that daring.


Winter is a season that can either be quite blue or rainbow colored depending on how you use your time. The amount of daylight is decreased, your poor insulation will make you throw your fist in the air when you have to leave your kotatsu, and the constant “さむい” remarks by your fellow teachers may be a bit too frequent, but I promise that winter is a very rewarding time in Japan. This country has a habit of always presenting something new to do or see for each season, and winter doesn’t disappoint.


So Hyogo, let’s have some fun! Adventures await….assuming you get out of bed first.




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