I am going to go all Oprah about my favorite things to do in Japan - but I'm sorry, no one is getting new cars, espresso machines or comfortable slippers. What do I do in my free time in Ojika? I do a lot of reading and writing (no arithmetic, I hate math), and I like to go for walks around the island.
I am lost without my Kindle. I take it everywhere I go and when I have downtime, I just pull it out and read. I am like a 90-year old senior citizen, amazed by technology. It's just shockingly wonderful that I can carry 100 books in something the size of one.
I know that some people say that journaling is for 12-year old girls, but I have kept a journal religiously since I left university. These are all the journals that I have filled up since coming to Japan. It's a great stress-reliever and it's great looking back at the stories and my embarassing immaturity in the past.
I have never been a fan of manga or comics or anything of that sort. It probably has to do with the fact that I worked at a bookstore for about two and a half years and people would always come and sprawl across the floor in the middle of that section to read the books rather than buying them, blocking my path. But I bought this compendium of the Walking Dead comic book series and it's actually quite good, although morbid and depressing enough that I have only made it about halfway through so far. For those of you who don't know Walking Dead, it's about a zombie apocalypse and people trying to survive. Sometimes I just need to put it down and go watch a panda sneeze on Youtube to add some levity to my day. I doubt I will ever actually get into reading comics but my students in Japan LOVE comics and manga.
I also go for walks around the island. I have enjoyed exploring all the roads and walking past all the rice paddies and farms. There was a frightening encounter with an enormous roaming cow on one part of the island. We just stood there and stared at each other for a few seconds while I tried to remember if cows ever charge. I am not a farm girl. But almost anywhere you go in Ojika, you can find a great view of the sea.
And here is just a random picture of a gift a friend gave me for my birthday back in February. It's a model Japanese restaurant. She got it as a kit and she put it together piece by little piece. Super kawaii!