Sunshine and spring vibes

Are we still living in Kanazawa, one of the rainiest places I know? I often asked myself this question in the past weeks as it has been so sunny for such a long time! Something that is really rare for this area. This year, spring really felt like spring and we could not only enjoy many sunny days but also beautiful flowers, long walks without sweating or freezing, lots of outdoor coffees and finally, no more freezing cold nights!

Spring life

After the Sakura blooming season had ended, the nature started to really show off and soon, the whole city was covered with so many different flowers. I enjoyed many walks around my neighborhood and found myself intrigued by the variety of colors and shapes. I don’t think it has been this beautiful last year, where we had been mostly at home due to the state of emergency. Also, it had been raining a lot during April, while this year we rarely had any rainy day at all.

My favorite spot in my neighborhood

But you can also discover spring in the city center

Samurai District

During my sunny outdoor walks I took a lot of pictures of beautiful blooming flowers.

Beautiful colors everywhere

City and nature

Red Magnolia

Higashi Chaya during spring is also a special and beautiful place.

I also visited the Higashi Chaya Shrine where we celebrated New Year’s Eve in 2019

Favorite coffee spot in the city

At Asanoriver, you can watch many birds and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

Nice view of the mountains, still covered in snow

Resting after a long day at Higashi Chaya

However, the amount of visitors and tourists has been increasing since early April, which resulted in serious COVID consequences some weeks later…

Short Oyabe daytrip

Originally we had planned to go on a big weekend trip in April to Mount Fuji, as that is the best time to see the mountain without any clouds (and with lots of flowers). However, due to so many problems with our rental car and a lot of bad luck on that day, we had to cancel the trip and were really sad about it. That day had been extremely stressful and we spent a lot of money for nothing but annyoing things, but sometimes life just happens and you have to accept it!

Therefore, I tried my luck on smaller trips and went to visit my friend Kavita in Oyabe at Toyama prefecture. Oyabe is not only famous for its massive Outlet Center, there are many more attractions that can be discovered.

Of couse, there were also many flowers that I enjoyed!

Kavita showed me around and I learend a lot about this town, e.g. that some of the buildings are built in the “Merhen style” which comes from the German word “Märchen” and means fairytale. The reason why? I absolutely don’t know! At Oyabe, the famous Oyabe milk is also produced at a milk farm that is located on the Inabayama mountain. We went up to the Inabayama Observatory Viewpoint 稲葉山 展望広場 from which you have a fantastic view over Toyama Bay and the whole prefecture. And you can take a picture with the cute cow mascots.

View from the top

I really love those little cows. They can be found everywhere in the city.

Afterwards, we drove to Oyabe Crossland Tower. This tower (118 m) is located in Crossland Oyabe, a multi-purpose park where you can have picnics and relax under cherry blossom trees. From the observatory platform of the tower, you have a great view of the Tateyama Mountain Range, Hakusan Mountain Range and the Toyama Bay.

You can see how high this tower is, compared to me

At the end, we went to see the cherry blossoms at Shiroyama Park. This park was so beautiful and I defenitely want to come back soon!

Cherry blossoms were still in full bloom

Thank you Kavita for showing me your beautiful home town! Now I learned that there is so much more in Oyabe than the outlet mall. ;-)

Work update

The semester has also started and both Niklas and I are now teaching classes at university. I teach two German classes and the first thing I learned was that I have to speak way more Japanese than I intented to as no one really understands German or English. It’s a good exercise for me but I have no idea if the students really undertstand what I am trying to explain to them.

Campus impression - the building on the left is where I work

Kolbe Sensei

Teaching during a pandemic is also a bit different then the usual experience. Everyone is wearing a mask, making it sometimes difficult to check if the students are still following what I am saying or not (I only get to see their big and scared eyes when I am asking them a question). All windows and doors have to be open, therefore everyone in the hallway can listen to my crappy Japanese lecture or the countles German phrases we are practicing. The students are really young and giddy, sometimes I feel more like a high school teacher but I enjoy the work and the experience! My boss and my colleagues are super nice and helpful, thanks to them I had a smooth start.

Teacher’s room

On my way home after work

Niklas is also trying to use more Japanese in his math class as the students seem to have a hard time follwoing his English lecture. As you can imagine, it’s really tough for both him and the students.

We are extremely grateful to experience this opporutnity of teaching in another country, I think we really learn a lot about culutral differences which will help us to continously adapt our own point of view in the future. Also, it’s a great challenge to hold a lecture in another language that’s not English.

On my way home, I can often enjoy great views of the sky

In spring we can also watch beautiful sunsets

COVID is on the rise

Sadly, the COVID news are not the best for Japan. During the cherry blossom season, numbers in Osaka and Kobe started to rise dramatically and by now, many prefectures have gone back into a state of emergency while seeing the highest case numbers ever. The 4th wave seems to be the worst so far, even in our prefecture, we now returned to a state of emergency as well with parks an muesums closed, some schools closed (as soon as there is a COVID case), all small activities canceled and lots of “stay at home” orders. Hospitals see more and more younger people who are really sick and need urgent treatment. It seems that most of the cases come from the British variant of the virus. We are now seeing the impact of the Golden Week holidays which is huge as many people went traveling around Japan. But also, many people got tired of the situation and the fact that the measures of the government are not serious enough as well as the constant promotion of the Olympic Games, an event that the majority of the population wants to cancel as soon as possible. I can undersetand that people are frustrated and angry but still, the virus situation is far from over. Also, vaccination is not happening at all in Japan… Many structural problems seem to slow down the process significantly. So, all we can do is wait and see what will happen next.

Up next

This year, Golden Week set the record for the worst weather ever! Read more about our rainy adventures and desperate attempts to find activities that would protect us from the rain and from the virus. Also: Franzi went back to winter! In the meantime, follow us on Instagram to get more pictures.

In May, the beautfiul Azalee flowers are in full bloom and we can’t get enough of the different shades of pink everywhere :)