Hi everyone, as you’ve seen in the last posts, we were often on the road during the last weeks. But besides from those interesting weekend activities, we were of course living our daily life and dealing with various tasks. Today, I wanted to give you an update about our current life in Japan and the challenges we face, now that the hot summer days are gone.
Fall has arrived
The warm days are really over, the evenings are getting cooler and cooler and we are freezing in our house - this can mean only one thing: fall season is in full swing and winter is already waiting for us. So far, the fall season this year has been okay. In October, we experienced quite a few days with really heavy rain which is a bit unusual for this time. Last year, we had a more sunny and clear days but this year, no such luck (it is 2020 after all). During those rainy days, we couldn’t do much, only sit inside and wait for it to be over but luckily, there were also some really sunny days in between. And finally, with the beginning of November, the weather suddenly got better and more stable and we could go out and enjoy the fall leaves and the autumn atmosphere.
During this time of the year, the air finally gets drier so we don’t have to use our dehumidifier anymore. Instead, we had to switch our air conditioning to heating mode and I had to install my heater for my office, as the apartment is really cold inside (average temperature: 17 degrees). It’s still strange for us that we went from sweating to freezing in such a short time.
While the last winter was really warm compared to the average (and we didn’t have any snow), this year most people predict that we will have a cold and snowy winter. Therefore, the winter preparations have already started around the city in early November and the trees and various other plants are getting their “winter costume” which is called Yukitsuri.
It’s a Japanese garden technique to prevent the plants and trees from collapsing from heavy snow.
I watched the installation process in Kenrokuen and it was super interesting to see how they were climbing on those trees and putting all those bamboo ropes around. Let’s see how much snow we will really have this year.
Always nice to observe the changes in the nature of this park
The best part of this season is definitely watching all those beautiful fall leaf colors around us. The leaves are turning bright red or yellow, it really looks spectacular. I enjoy walking around a lot these days (when it’s not raining).
I love those colorful flowers that you can see everywhere during October and early November
It’s Niklas birthday
October also meant another birthday celebration for us.
Sadly, we couldn’t have a party this year (again, thanks to the pandemic), so Niklas and I went to a wonderful Sushi restaurant and to a craft beer place (which closed at 9 pm due to the Pandemic! :D ) to celebrate his special day. :)
We also went to a short trip to Fukui prefecture (our neighbor prefecture in the South) on the next day, but I’ll publish a separate post about that later. It was really a nice weekend and we enjoyed it, although the weather was pretty bad during those days.
It’s strange for us to celebrate his “second” birthday in Japan. It’s been more than a year that we’ve been gone and on such days, it is really a strange and emotional feeling when we think about it. But it’s not only us, who are in this situation right now - all over the world, people are not able to visit their families because of this situation, so the only thing we can do is stay positive and be patient. And lucky for us, we have so many ways of communication today, all those messenger apps that allow you to even video call with no problems - that’s a big luxury I think and it helps a lot to keep in touch with everyone at home. :)
Mask reality of birthdays in 2020
How is our work?
Our work is quite busy, for both of us at the moment. Niklas is writing various papers for his research and has many calls with different project groups. Also, he will participate in another online conference and needs to prepare a lot of stuff for that. Not being able to meet all those researchers in person is really tough and attending online conferences can also be a bit challenging. It’s just not the same as the “real” experience. Hopefully, it will be possible again soon…
I have many students who want to learn German and many lessons during the week and the weekend. It’s really fun but at the same time also quite intense as it’s always private lesson and each student is different. But I enjoy talking to so many interesting people and I am learning a lot about their home countries and culture in this process.
Additionally, I work a lot on the homepage project as well, not only during my fun trips but mostly at home, at my desk. So not that glamorous, but I learn a lot about homepage building and web development.
I am also managing my international women network (which is growing bigger and bigger every day). I am still able to host at least one event (however very small) a month and have also started a certification course to receive the official badge “certified online community manager”! It’s a very interesting course and I have already learned a lot for my own online community. I’ve also been featured in the article of the GGI magazine, talking about how becoming community manager and building a community from scratch has changed me. You can read it here!
We are also going to participate in the next JLPT Test in December, therefore our free time is now dedicated to our textbooks and vocabulary practice… My teacher is really trying to motivate and support me, but it’s tough. Here you can see how “motivated” I look on his facebook picture HAHA! Needless to say that this is also not super easy. But at least, it helps a lot to be disciplined enough to continue learning Japanese, which is helpful as we now can communicate way better than one year before.
At least I can have a nice lunch after my lessons because the school is located directly in the city center and there are now some outdoor options (if it’s not raining too much). This burger was delicious :D
Therefore, time really flies by and we sometimes wonder how it can be that it’s already end of November!
COVID situation in Japan
The pandemic is back in Japan - since the last weeks, cases have been rising and sadly breaking records on a daily basis. More and more prefectures report sudden cluster outbreaks while Tokyo and Osaka are hit even stronger than in the past two waves. The winter wave seems to be different from the other ones we experienced so far, the hospitals are starting to get overwhelmed and people are really nervous. In our daily life however, we don’t really feel any difference. We are always wearing a mask, wherever we go and frequent hand sanitizing or washing as well as temperature check after entering a store or a restaurant has become a normal habit. Also, we still don’t visit any small restaurants or crowded bars. Now, as the situation has getting worse, we try to refrain from big trips until the numbers are getting better again. Lucky for us, our whole area is so diverse in nature that we can discover a lot without even leaving our prefecture. :) And we know a lot of places without crowds! We have been really lucky that we could do so many things in October like our numerous day trips. I fear that this time is over now. :( We don’t know if there will be another state of emergency soon, but we also try to be mentally prepared for that kind of situation. It feels really strange - we have been in this situation since February and there just seems to be no progress at all. But we have to keep our mind in a positive spirit.
We hope that this winter will be not too tough but we will remain careful, as always. Hopefully you are all safe and healthy - let’s hope, this time will be over soon!!
Let’s hope we soon can enjoy this view without any worry again.
Read more about our recent visit of a famous temple in the mountains and enjoy pictures of the fall season. :) In the meantime, follow us on Instagram for more pictures.