Travel Magazine

August 2018 Roundup

By Cubiclethrowdown
August 2018 Roundup

What’s this? A roundup post happening on time? Yes my friends – August has just ended, and here I am with the recap!

What I’ve Been Doing Since the Last Roundup

An actual shit-ton of stuff! My last roundup was a mega one that covered January through July of this year. August was a super busy month for me!

First, I finally danced in my prefecture’s famous dance festival that happens every August, Awa Odori. If you’ve been following along, you know I joined a dance team last October with two of my friends and we have been practicing and performing at a local hotel every month. The big festival finally arrived mid-August and for three days we danced and danced and danced and danced. My heart was full… but holy shit did my feet hurt. (I have since found out that I did irreparable nerve damage to two of my toes, what a lifelong souvenir to have from Japan, eh?)

August 2018 Roundup

Seeing faces light up in the crowd when they realized I was a foreigner was one of the best feelings in the world. The women’s dance is known to be particularly difficult (though hopefully we made it look easy) and there are very, very few foreigners on any of the dance teams. I saw people look at my face, widen their eyes, and poke the person beside them, loudly whispering “IT’S A FOREIGNER!!!” and then they would catch my eye and give me a huge smile, and and clap their hands encouragingly at me. It sounds a bit patronizing but I felt their genuineness and it really made my heart swell.

  • August 2018 Roundup
  • August 2018 Roundup

The fact that my team has 3 (!!) foreigners was a big deal, and so we were interviewed by a TV station. It was all in Japanese, so I guess I can check “being interviewed on live TV in Japanese” off the old Japan bucket list. Hopefully I didn’t come across as too much of an idiot. Look how tiny the adorable TV presenter was!! Yeah, we are tall and we are wearing our geta, special platform sandals that we dance in, but she was seriously mini:

August 2018 Roundup

I’ll be doing a separate post about my Awa Odori experience, so I’ll leave this for now!

After Awa Odori ended, the next day I headed off to Thailand for 10 days on the inaugural Wander Women scuba diving + yoga retreat, led by my girl Alex. This was my first time in Thailand and I loved it! I spent the whole 10 days on Koh Tao, but it had me itching to get back and explore more of the country.

  • August 2018 Roundup
  • August 2018 Roundup

All 10 of us Wander Women stayed in two beautiful villas across the street from each other. It was a lot of fun getting to know the other girls, and many of us hit it off straight away. We went diving, we did yoga, we lounged in the pools, we stayed up late chatting the night away, and we learned a lot through presentations and courses that Alex thoughtfully curated for us. It was such a great way to get to know Koh Tao through Alex’s eyes.

August 2018 Roundup

Again, more on this in its own upcoming post, so that’s all for now.

Other than Awa Odori and Thailand, I didn’t do anything else in August other than go back to work! The fall semester at school started a week earlier than usual this year due to the increase in English classes so while I was eager to see my kiddos again, I didn’t love my summer break being crunched into 5 weeks rather than the usual 6. I didn’t get a break at all between the dancing and Thailand trip and the start of school, so I’ve been trying to decompress in the evenings now that I’m back! It’s looking like we’re going to get hit by a typhoon tomorrow, and while I hope everyone stays safe, I’m not mad about school being cancelled.

Where I’ve Been

Other than Koh Tao, I haven’t been anywhere else in August! I had dance practice almost every day leading up to the festival, so I wasn’t able to travel. So basically, just straight to Koh Tao and back!

August 2018 Roundup

Big on Instagram

I think this might actually be my most-liked photo of all time on my Instagram:

August 2018 Roundup

In Case You Missed It

Great news – you didn’t miss anything this month, because I didn’t write anything!

1 Second Every Day

I use the 1 Second Every Day app to chronicle my time in Japan! Not sponsored, I just like this app.

Coming Up

Not much, which is just how I wanted it for September. It’s still hot as fuck in Japan, and that combined with a nasty stomach bug I caught at the tail end of my Thailand trip has thrown my system completely out of whack for the last week. I’ve been spending most of my free time reading in bed.

We have two long weekends in Japan this month (yay!), one of which I’m stretching into an extra-long weekend while a friend from England is visiting. We are planning a weekend getaway to the neighboring prefecture of Ehime, and heading to the capital city of Matsuyama for some exploring and relaxation. Ehime is prefecture #17 for me (I think?) so I’m excited to see somewhere new!

For the other long weekend, I’m still deciding if I’m going to stay home and rest, or maybe sneak in a quick trip to Wakayama prefecture. I went through Wakayama on my way to the airport in Osaka when I went to Thailand, but some poor planning on my part meant I didn’t have enough time to get off the train and see anything there. It’s only a cheap 1.5hr ferry ride away from my town, and I’m really keen to visit the seaside town of Susami. It has an underwater mailbox that you can scuba dive to and deposit waterproof postcards! Who wouldn’t want to do that??

That’s it for August 2018! You can see all my roundups here.

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