As I was on my way to work today, I realized that today, July 8, marks the two-year anniversary since I left to teach English in Japan in 2011! My summer in Japan was irreplaceable. I learned so much about working in another country and adapting to a new culture.  Japan pushed me past my limits and outside of my comfort zone; I am definitely a better global citizen, teacher, traveler, and American because of it!

Here are some of my Japanese summer highlights:


 I got to see and experience some of Japan’s biggest highlights!


 And frolic through some of the most picturesque gardens I have ever seen!


 And party hard in one of the biggest cities in the world!


Where I got to walk across the busiest intersection in the world!


And karaoke all night long !

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I got to teach English with an amazing staff- and make new friends in the process! (We even bathed together EVERY NIGHT!)


Our FAVORITE roommate had to be this guy- we loved sleeping with spiders the size of our HEADS.


And then dressed in kimonos! 🙂


More often than not, we practiced our squats, using these “squatty potties.”


I also used chopsticks daily, and my breakfasts looked like this!


The bullet trains were quite impressive! I used them to travel all around Japan!


We went to Nagasaki and paid our respects at the Atomic Bomb Museum.


And then eat ice cream that was 4′ high!

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And spent the day swimming on the beach!


 In Kyoto I ate at the same ice cream shop as Leonardo DiCaprio!


We highly enjoyed sitting on the floor to eat and drink at izakayas!


And of course, learning the proper way to throw back a sake bomb…


I made some great friends…

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And on my hard days, my campers made it all worth the work!

Travel changes people, and Japan definitely changed me. Here are some of the habits I developed in Japan & either maintained or broke during the past two years:

1. Body Consciousness: I have ALWAYS had confidence issues when it comes to my body. However in Japan, going to public bath houses and bathing publicly was my norm every single night for two months. Upon returning to the states, however, I dare not to change nor bathe in front of others. This habit has BROKEN.

2. Chopsticks: I learned how to use chopsticks in Japan, and now whenever I go to an Asian style restaurant, I ALWAYS, always use chopsticks. This habit STUCK. 

3. Fans: In Japan, EVERYONE carries a fan to help offset the humidity. I carried a fan too, but upon returning to the states, I no longer do. This habit has BROKEN.

4. Shoes: Japan is very shoe conscious. In Japan, you switch your inside shoes for your outside shoes (and visa-versa) every time you enter a house or go outside. In addition, every time you use a toilet, you remove your inside shoes and put on the designated TOILET shoes. Overall, I find I am more likely than not to take off my shoes when entering someone’s house. This habit has STUCK. 



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