More photos at my Flickr set!
Got back from the lovely Japan a couple weeks ago! It was a celebratory quitting-my-job, my-friend-is-living-there, heck-I've-never-been, trip all rolled into one, and tickets were quite cheap to boot!
Tokyo was very clean and very quaint in some places, as well as ultra-sleek and modern in others, and everyone I met was friendly and very willing to help, or at the very least, extremely polite. I was actually expecting it to be more crowded than it was, although when it did get crowded, the crowds mixed with the unbearable heat and humidity were a bit much for me. I was grateful to have a place to stay at a friend's house in Akasaka, which was rather nice and quiet. My friend also took me to a fancy sushi place, and a luxuuurious full-out onsen day spa!
(Meiji shrine entrance)
I went to visit another friend who teaches with the JET Program in Kiso Valley, in Nagoya, which was just amazingly refreshing after the past couple years in Beijing. Finally, I got to see mountains and valleys again!
(Nojiri festival in Nojiri village, Okuwa, Nagoya)
While there, I also got to live at my friend's tatami-matted/paper-walled house, watch my friend participate in the Nojiri festival, drink sake out of a little box with the town mayor, go swimming for hours by myself in a gorgeous little river valley, and get beaned in the face by a flying mochi ball (part of the festival) (well, not the getting beaned in the face part).
If (hopefully when!) I go back, I'd love to visit Osaka and Kyoto, and definitely see more of the mountains and countryside. Until next time, it's kind of nice to be back in Beijing, where it's not quite as humid, everything costs less, and I can jaywalk as I please :P
I kept a small journal every day and was hoping to draw a few comics about my experiences there, but now I'm trying to focus mainly on practicing digital illustration and learning animation. I downloaded the free trial of Digicel Flipbook and have been tinkering with it - it's a fun program! If anyone's got any digital art/animation-related tutorials you'd like to suggest, I'd love to add it to my bookmarks!