Welcome to Aomori, Japan! (Day 1)

Just a few days ago, I had the most memorable experience in my life. I was given the opportunity to travel to the “Land of the Rising Sun” for a total of 6 days. This trip was fully funded by the company where I work at (CNE1 International Language School) and our partner school located in the said prefecture (Hachinohe Gakuin University).

Variety of Bentos sold in Tokyo Central train station

Our first stop was in Aomori, Japan located in the northern part of the main island of the country. The place is roughly 3 and a half hours away from metro Tokyo by Shinkansen.

Every minute counts!
Hayabusa
My meal on our way to Aomori

During our first day, we were asked to participate in the school’s Culture festival. This made me super excited because I have never really imagined myself joining such activities abroad although I have seen a lot of these scenes in Japanese animations and being there physically and mentally made it more overwhelming. I met former students and future students. Made new friends and tried new things.

Students sell different kinds of Japanese food and snacks along the main road of the university. Students and guests can participate and buy food and drinks using either tickets and/or real money. There were also performances from different bands and probably avid karaoke fans.

Fire drill

There were also other things to try like the firefighting activity and the earthquake truck. If you’re not into these kinds of things, I saw a VR room, a cafe, and an outpatient clinic kind of setup. As a nurse, I wanted to check my health so that’s why I tried their health checkup room. In this place, I learned that I am allergic to certain kinds of alcohol (like wine) and one mentor described my health state to be like an athlete’s health condition (this made me feel really happy).

Wanna know how strong a magnitude 7 earthquake feels like? Try this!
Young children can pretend to be firefighters
Delicious dumplings!

However, because we had a very tight schedule, we couldn’t stay longer at the university. After grabbing a bite, we head on to one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen in my life – Oriase Mountain stream.

First stop

The mountain was a 2-3 hour drive away from Hachinohe city. The stream, although far, is a popular tourist destination. The place is only open from 3PM onwards to vehicles but you can actually enter and hike the mountain by foot before the said time. Being a Filipino, it was my first time to experience and see autumn in such a wonderful place. The temperature was something I normally couldn’t take (8 degrees!). We went to 4 different stops before ending the trip in Lake Towada.

Second stop
Third stop
Lake Towada

After the hike, we went back to the city for another 2-3 hour drive. We ate dinner at a traditional sushi conveyor belt restaurant wherein I tried eating different kinds of sushi and sashimi. I was even asked to try Nihonshu!

Conveyor belt sushi restaurant
Food stalls in Hachinohe
No-alcohol Mojito

Thank you for all the souvenirs from our friends in Hachinohe Gakuin University! We hope to see you guys here in the Philippines again! Thanks for making us feel special on this day!

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