Hello everyone, This post should give you an update about our daily life in the past weeks and show you some nice pre-spring impressions of Kanazawa. After a long winter spring seems finally to start! Gradually, day time temperatures began to rise and the sunshine certainly started to feel powerful. We can’t wait to experience another spring season in Japan.
Transition to spring
As always, The first thing I noticed was the fact that the days started to get longer and the sun was shining more frequently than ever! Such a relief.
Slowly, the nature has started to turn into a fresh shade of green and I am so happy that the depressing brown will be gone soon. Every day you can discover more flowers and also admire the gardening skills of the Japanese people who are - as always - outdoing themselves.
In this transition period, we can also start to use our balcony again (until rainy season comes), so I try to use it as much as possible, before it will become too hot. I could already sit on the balcony for some time to either enjoy my afternoon coffee or for working on my computer. The atmosphere is not really nice as we live above a busy road but it’s so great to sit outside again without freezing feet and feel the sunshine on your body. However, I am always the only person who sits on their balcony, which is still kind of weird for me.
We also went on a long city walk to see the beautiful plum blossoms (the strongest sign that spring is around the corner) and enjoy the sunny atmosphere. On that day, we saw many people walking around and enjoying the sun. After long weeks of winter, everyone was eager to get out and to enjoy the city life again. On the one hand it was nice to see that people seemed to feel positive and engaged with each other, but on the other hand I am afraid that the spring will bring a new rise in COVID cases as everyone is going out and very relaxed with all the anti COVID rules. But we will see…
The famous plum blossoms, the symbol of Kanazawa
I also had the chance to see some students that were dressed in very traditional Kimono and who celebrated their graduation at the Oyama Jinja Shrine. I was really happy to see how happy they looked and how excited they seemed to be for their future. :)
Forest Bathing tour
Additionally, a more stable weather means that we can experience nature and outdoor activities again. I recently joined a forest bathing tour that was organized by my friend Sumie, who is a certified forest bathing instructor.
The group - 10 women from my GGI network came to enjoy this tour (we all had to wear masks throughout the whole tour, but for this photo, we could take them off)
I got the opportunity to not only relax in the forest atmosphere but also to discover how the nature is preparing for spring. Although the forest was still quite brown, you could see many small spring flowers or fresh leaves coming out if you looked closer. It was so nice to see how the forest was waking up and preparing for the next season.
Can’t get enough of the high trees in Japanese forests!
We hiked along the Futamagoe trail (read about it here) that I visited last September (however, at that time, it was raining heavily). Due to the clear air, we could even see Mount Hakusan which was still fully covered in snow. It was a beautiful sight!
You really have to look very closely to discover those tiny flowers
Everyone enjoyed the tour very much, especially the meditation part where you lie down on the forest floor and listen to all the sounds for several minutes. It amazes me every time how big the impact on your body can be after such an intensive mindfulness session. Lucky for us, we didn’t encounter any wild animals. The bears have been waking up recently, so we were a bit nervous (obviously, they are really hungry right now) about them. ;-)
View from the ground
Sadly, Sumie will move away soon and I am not ready to say goodbye. Of course, I plan to visit her in her new home in Nagano prefecture soon, but I will miss our spontaneous coffee dates, lunches, Tabitaiken meetings, etc. Now, I am looking forward to a spring trip to Nagano and for hiking in the Nagano mountains in the summer time.
What else happened?
I am very happy to tell you that I got a teaching job at Kanazawa University! For the whole summer semester, I am going to teach young Japanese students in German. As you can imagine, I am really excited and very grateful for this opportunity. My courses will be twice a week and always in the afternoon, so I can still continue to work with my private students without any problems. I’ve heard a lot about the shy Japanese students from other teachers at the university. For example, they seem to be really quiet and never ask any questions. Unlike to German university students who actively engage in discussions, Japanese students tend to spend the lesson quietly and will never speak up. However, when learning a language, you have to speak at some point so I am really curious to see how I will engage them in discussions.
Due to the pandemic, it is also not yet decided if the semester will be completely online, offline or a mix of both teaching methods. So I am preparing for every possible outcome which is not easy. But better to be prepared in advance… Updates about my new university teaching life will follow!
During the past weeks, the COVID numbers have been dropping gradually - our prefecture Ishikawa even had only very few infections per day. The state of emergency had been lifted in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures as well, so for a short while, it looked really good. I also saw lots of tourists during the past days in the city. After a long period of no visitors at all, you could feel how the spring weather started to encourage people to travel again. Sadly, now numbers are rising again in several prefectures. Especially the new virus variants seem to be spreading faster and faster. Vaccination still hasn’t started (don’t ask me why), so some officials and doctors are really nervous. But as we are living with this dark threat for more than a year, many people don’t seem to care anymore. Of course, many people still comply to the various rules of this “new life”. However you can see that everyone is tired and exhausted from this pandemic and find it difficult to carry on with their everyday life. It’s been more than a year since this pandemic has started in Japan and I just wish for it to be over, although it doesn’t look like the situation will change anytime soon.
I certainly hope that the situation stays safe enough so I can at least enjoy these nature trips in the next months!
Sakura season has started, so be prepared for lots of pictures and impressions from countless city walks and park visits.
Sakura coming soon
It’s one of the most beautiful time in the year! Due to the pandemic, we cannot enjoy it (again) like we imagined, but we are trying or best to do as much as possible. In the meantime, follow us on Instagram to see more pictures of our daily lives.