The year abroad adventures of a Scottish otaku in the North of Japan

Monthly Archives: July 2014

I’m still here! It’s definitely been a tricky couple of weeks.


First, like many people throughout the country (and the world) on July 6th I took the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, JLPT. This test is a globally recognised qualification that checks what level your Japanese is at. The levels go from N5 to N1, and I ended up taking N3. It was admittedly not too bad, but the weather was VERY hot, and the exam lasted all afternoon.


On a lighter note, we also had a Tanabata (star festival) celebration at the university! Tanabata (for those who don’t know) is a celebration centred about 2 mythical lovers, Vega and Altair, who were seperated. Now, they can only meet once a year as stars either side of the milky way, and only if it doesn’t rain/the sky is clear. Every year (on the 7th of July) everyone dresses up in Yukatas, writes their wish on a piece of paper and hangs it on a tree/bamboo.


(I helped with the painting of this)

While the weather was ridiculously hot during the day, we were able to take part in a number of fun summer activities, including a balloon battle (which I won), watermelon smashing and nagashi-somen (trying to catch noodles going down a water pipe.



This is me attempting the watermelon smash 🙂

In the evening, we got to watch various acts perform, including some swing dancing to Banana Phone, a guy doing Rakugo (amusing storytelling) and Yatose (a traditional Akita dance).


We also got to watch our wonderful Kanto team perform again!




This has to be my favourite photo I’ve got from this trip!


Finally, I also had another school trip with my Intercultural class where we had to talk (in Japanese) with people from Yokote city. Without knowing it, we had actually returned to the place I went to for the Kamakura festival in the winter!

Notice a difference?

P1090017 P1080065

P1090021 P1080058

P1090016 P1080067

After we were finished talking, we were treated to a piece of cake at one of the strangest cafes I have ever been to! In the middle of nowhere, in the Akita countryside, there was a little cafe that had a garden that looked like it could have been in the UK. There were Hollyhocks, garden furniture, herbs – it was beautiful.


Well, I’ll leave it at that for now, but I have a rather exciting topic for my next blog post (I’ll try and upload it this evening). Hint: it includes a rather famous Japanese landmark!

Until then, またね!

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