Because we haven’t really posted a whole lot of pictures of where we live, I’ll start with a few shots of the outside of our apartment. 🙂
Our view of Mt. Katasone:
The outside of our apartment block, Pure House B, is pink and I love it.
The front of our apartment:
Our little tree is doing well inside of its planter. Little sprouts are growing.
Okay, moving on.
What is Golden Week anyway?
Golden Week is the celebration of four national holidays in the span of seven days. The four holidays are:
- Showa Day (Showa no hi): the former Emperor Showa’s birthday, who died in 1989.
- Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi): the day the new postwar constitution took effect.
- Greenery Day (Midori no hi): a day to celebrate the environment & nature, and basically a holiday created just for me. It was actually created because Emperor Showa loved plants and nature, and was previously celebrated on his birthday.
- Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi): A day when families pray for the health & success of their sons. Parents hang up streamers and samurai dolls that symbolize strength, power, and success. The Boy’s Festival is also celebrated on this day (the Girl’s Festival is celebrated on March 3rd).
(**This information was found HERE**)
Golden Week is one of the busiest travel times in Japan, so traveling anywhere becomes even more expensive and crowded. Like other holidays celebrated in Japan, hotels and other accommodations are booked out months in advance. Along with wanting to save money to put towards apartment things, we decided to stay local to avoid the travel rush.
Now, for our exciting Golden Week adventures!
1. A trip to Daiyu 8 (think Japanese Home Depot), to buy planting materials. We each carried back a 55 pound bag of dirt, and Caleb carried three planters and a bag of fertilizer. Something I want to stress, no, need to stress: we walked home with these things. Walked. We’re practically super-humans. While I’m sure we’re not the only ones to have done this, it did make us appreciate all of those times in Pennsylvania when we had access to a car.
A few weeks ago, Caleb’s dad sent us tomato seeds; on Tuesday we planted a few in the egg cartons above, as well as in the three green planters below. Hopefully the weather continues to stay warm, but if they don’t take, we’ll try something else. Here’s to hoping they grow so that we’ll have tomatoes to eat.
2. The Dollar Store + Grocery Shopping: I know, super boring. I never said this would be exciting. Okay, maybe I did. But hear me out: last time we spent close to $100, but this time, we were able to buy two weeks worth of groceries for around $80. Saving money and budgeting is always exciting! 😉 We got more meats and vegetables, plus really delicious & fresh gyoza (a.k.a. dumplings/ pot stickers) that cost $11. That’s really expensive gyoza, but how could we not, when the man who MADE the gyoza seduced us with free samples? It was worth it. This is the Lord’s work.
The picture on the left is from our first major trip to Lion D’or, and the picture on the right is from our trip this week. It still doesn’t look like a lot of food, but here we have enough food for two weeks of planned meals. We also picked up a few prepared meals for lunches and extra dinners when we don’t feel like cooking. And yes, those are Oreos (individually wrapped, of course).
I also got this cute little plant to add to our growing plant family:
3. Our things arrived! Our things arrived! On Saturday, we took a trip to Koriyama to go shopping for home furnishings. Because we bought too many things to carry back with us on a bus & a train (I guess we’re not super-humans after all 😦 ), we had it shipped. For everything else in Japan being so expensive, shipping was surprisingly only $15.
On Wednesday afternoon, a nice deliveryman brought us our curtains, our bed sheets, and the really comfy pillow topper that we found. Wednesday was also the day we discovered that we bought too many curtains – apparently the “2” on the front of the package indicated that it included two curtains. Who knew?!
4. Fishing + an unintentional Cinco de Mayo celebration: thanks to our fellow teammate Cristina, we were able to meet Naoya, one of her Japanese friends from Bible college that currently lives in Niigata, a city about 2 1/2 hours away from us. We started the day by making fajitas and listening to Mariachi music (Olé!), and then went to a small pond to fish. There were other places to fish nearby that were also less crowded, but they required a fishing license. 😦 Even though we only fished for about an hour (it ended up being $8/person/hour), it was still a really nice and relaxing afternoon. Unfortunately, we only got a few bites, but Naoya caught two decent sized fish.
Naoya, Caleb, and our Mexican feast:
We also stopped by a nearby lake and found a snake, a crawfish, and a few beautiful flowers.
And with this we ended Golden Week.
Today we went back to work, and tomorrow we celebrate my birthday! Yay!