|Tanabata Festival, summer 2011|
... aka the infamous Osaka summer.
Those scorching hot, languid summer days are fast approaching, and in a mere few weeks I'll be waking up to the sounds of cicadas. I've had a relatively low-key and wholesome past few weeks, confined in my room and slightly overwhelmed with deadlines. Yet, procrastination is what I do best, and I've been daydreaming about my first summer in Tokyo. I came up with a list of things I want to do this summer, and plan on achieving it all:
I'm heading there in a few days with my sister, and I'm very much looking forward to shopping, foods, cocktails, a swimming pool, the skyline, and a sensory overload.
Camping on Niijima
Niijima is an island located off the coast of Tokyo, and is renowned for its beautiful beaches. The ferry ride itself seems like an exciting part, and I'm surprisingly the camping type (I think).
I've been wanting to climb Mount Fuji since I arrived in Japan, and despite how crowded and touristy it gets, I'm determined to get to the top. I love hiking, and I miss doing it regularly like I used to back in Korea. Mount Fuji should be climbed in the summer months only, as it's very cold at the summit.
I haven't been home since I left over two years ago, and I'm long overdue for a visit. I miss Canada and all its greenery and open spaces. I want to spend time with my family and friends, and lounge for hours in the yard by the pool and eat strawberry shortcake (my mom makes the best) and feast on all kinds of berries. Summer in Canada is quite wonderful. And I miss my mom.
Japanese Festivals (Matsuri)
The various festivals taking place all over the country are the best part of Japanese summer: people get dressed up in the traditional summer kimono (yukata), watch gorgeous fireworks and eat festival foods such as yakisoba. Almost every locale has a summer festival, usually related to rice harvest in late August. There is something quite magical about it.
I plan to attend Fuji Rock Music Festival for both professional and leisurely purposes. Fuji Rock is the best music festival in Japan, and it's held at a ski resort tucked in the mountains of Niigata prefecture, a few hours north of Tokyo. It's a long weekend of camping, music, drinking, and... whatnot. This year's line-up features The Stone Roses, Radiohead, along with a string of cool bands such as The Specials and Toots and the Maytals.
I've never really lived near a beach (except in Shikoku), so I plan to take full advantage of the coast of Japan. Kanagawa prefecture is lined with some nice beaches (Enoshima, Zushi, Kamakura, Oiso), and even though it probably gets crowded with loud teenagers, it's a cheap train ride away and I hope to go as frequently as I can, and get a healthy glow.
Fireflies + Countryside
In early June, fireflies (hotaru) come for a very short time and they are best viewed in the Japanese countryside. I was lucky to see them in the rice fields of Shikoku two summers ago, and to this day it's one of my most cherished memories. I'd like to take a weekend trip to the countryside, perhaps to a northern prefecture.
I wish to keep running in the summer months, even though it's difficult in the heat. In summer, I usually run at nighttime, and the stifling humidity only adds a bit of challenge to my workout. Running is still the best way to explore my local area, as with every run I find more treasures. Last week, I found my way to Yoyogi Park through the back streets of Shimokitazawa.
What's on your summer wish list?