Sunday, June 15, 2014

If you plan a trip to Japan and your itinerary says Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, you are missing a lot of beautiful places that are well worth visiting. Here's a list of my six favourite places I have visited and are missed by majority of tourists and travellers alike.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

When I first read throught the whole GenkiJACS page, I really liked two things: The instant estimate that was quite close to the final price and the chat with GenkiJACS representative. I had all the information I needed before I even asked them for the final price.

I wanted to go to Fukuoka because it seemed like a nice city. It has a small beach and the weather is nice, if you don't mind a short rainy period and hot summer. Fukuoka's rainy period looks like Central European spring, but it's a bit warmer. And since I spent 4 years in Malaysia, hot&humid is what I am used to as well. The city is just the right size to have everything and not feel crowded at the same time.
People are a bit friendlier here and not as busy as in other Japanese big cities. There are also a lot of families with young children. If you've only visited Tokyo or Osaka with a trip to Kyoto, you will be very surprised.

The school is located in a nice district, close to the centre. If you arrive at the school during a lesson, it will feel quiet. Which happened to me when I went to take the orientation test. But during the breaks, you realize how busy the school actually is...

At the entrance there's a shoe rack and you have to change to slippers. Just by looking at the number of shoes gives you a good idea how many students study there. The receptionists are very friendly and if you came for the first time, they will help you get around.

GenkiJACS has a big lounge and it's gonna be the first room you'll see. You can eat there and socialize with the other students. Since you can't eat in classrooms, so this room gets full during lunch break :) It's easy to start conversation with other students, because most of them have similar interests... And they all study Japanese :)

The classrooms are small, designed for a maximum of 6 students. It happened to me that we had 7 students in the classroom, but some of the original classmates left after a few weeks and our class has only 4 people now. It's an ideal number where everyone gets time to speak. And it was actually fine to have more people in the class in the beginning, because there wasn't much talking. I've become a good friend with my classmates in the first few days and it always felt sad when classmates finished their studies and left...

It's been now ten weeks since I joined the school. It's the first half of my study with GenkiJACS and I am going to resume studying after a three weeks holiday that I really need right now :) But I can say that afte 10 weeks studying Japanese I am able to communicate with locals when I initiate the conversation and it feels great!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mt. Aso or Aso-san (阿蘇山) is one of the largest volcanoes in the world and it is the largest active in Japan. It's located in Kumamoto prefecture on the Kyushu island and it's one of the biggest attractions of Kyushu.

Mt. Aso is more an area than just a mountain. What is usually called Mt. Aso now consists of five major peaks. Mt. Naka or Naka-dake in Japanese is the currently active one. I was lucky to be taken to Mt. Aso by friends by a car, which looked like by far the easiest way. There is a parking lot just next to the main crater. Bus tours usually end at the base of a cable car which is used to get to the volcanic rim. It is closed when the volcanic activity raises.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My first visit to Japan happened in 2007. I was a student back themequipped with only a very bad digital 2MPix camera and I did not know much about travelling. It was my first big trip on my own.

I did experience a culture shock when I first arrived to Japan, but I experienced another one when I came back. Japan is really different from any other country. The language barrier can be a problem, but everything else works so smoothly in Japan, I got used to it quickly and then I missed all the little things back in Europe.

In Japan everything is convenient (especially if you understand Japanese) and people who offer any kind of service are always trying to do their best to give the best service possible. Sometimes I was surprised how they already expected what I wanted. Even with zero Japanese I was still able to get around just fine.

During my first visit I got my share of a good food, history&culture and weird Japan. One of the weirdest experiences was a visit to a parasitology museum in Meguro, Tokyo which I happily revisited during my other visits as well.
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