Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everybody an amazing 2017.

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2016 has been one of the most incredible years of my life. Hard work really does pay off. I can still remember the moment I was accepted to study at a university in Tokyo. I mean… OMG WHAT TOKYO??? I never expected to be able to do this, but I did it. This is what all Japanese Studies students strive to when starting in their first year: that one year abroad in Japan. It was really stressful and took a lot of work, but eventually I got there. Thank you to everyone who helped and supported me during those times. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.

My time in Tokyo up till now has been amazing. I’ve been able to induldge in the Japanese culture and history and my Japanese speaking skills have dramatically improved. And OMG, the food! Japanese food is just amazing!

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I just spent my first Christmas and New Year’s away from home. I have a big family. So back at home these holidays are always big family feasts, and I love it. Therefore, this was a very emotional time for me to be away from my family. I miss my grandma’s spaghetti and my mom’s homemade tiramisu. I miss the funny discussions I have with my brother and late night movie watching with my boyfriend. I miss my uncles and aunts who make New Years day the most hilarious day of the year. I miss my grandpa’s very deep speeches about life. This is the time of the year I usually look forward to the most.

To my mom, brother, family: I MISS YOU!

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I was really lucky to have my boyfriend, Dion, visiting me during the holidays. I’m so happy to see him again after four months of being apart. Let me tell you: long distance isn’t easy! I’m so thankful that our relationship is so strong that by the second day he was here, it already seemed like we haven’t even been apart at all. Him being with me made this whole winter break a lot easier. Thank you, Dion, and I love you so much!

Also a shoutout to my dearest friends back at home who are all studying really hard for finals now. I love and miss you guys! Good luck with the exams!

But it would be unfair of me to not mention all the amazing new friends I’ve made here in Japan. I don’t know what I would do without them. Through hard, funny, sad, great, emotional times, we are always there for each other, because we’re all in the same boat. We’re all away from our families and from what’s familiar to us. Meeting these people also gave me the opportunity to learn about customs and cultures from other countries. We have an amazing group with a ton of inside jokes and great moments that we’ll probably remember for the rest of our lives. You guys are amazing!

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On Christmas Eve we organised a wine and cheese night with the whole gang because this is familiar to pretty much every one of us. Wine, cheese, bread and fruit is actually really expensive in Japan so we all chipped in and were able to make it a lot cheaper this way.

Also, for Christmas I decided to cut off my long ponytail and donate it to the Think Pink organisation. I hope they’ll be able make good use of my hair to make a wig for a woman suffering from breast cancer. #geefomhaar

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For New Year’s Eve, Dion found a Kitsune (fox) festival at the Oji Shrine. I had no idea what to do on NYE except for maybe counting down at the Tokyo Tower. So me, Dion, Kayleigh and Denmark (this is Michael’s nickname and it kind of stuck, poor guy, but not really, because it’s hilarious) went to this festival. There were a lot of food stalls and I had some warm sake (no champagne this year). At the strike of midnight the procession started. Everybody in the procession was either wearing a fox mask or fox-like makeup and wearing traditional clothing. They played music and danced and it was absolutely beautiful to watch. This was a very special and traditional way to spend NYE.

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Today, the 1st of January 2017, me and Dion had a very relaxing day. The past weeks have been pretty hectic because I’ve been showing him all around Tokyo. But nevetheless, it has been grand. He is leaving again in three days and we will not see each other again for another six months, so we’re going to enjoy the little time we still have together.

I hope 2017 will be as good as, or even better than 2016. I’ve already made a lot of travel plans.

I hope everybody had an amazing and safe New Year’s Eve. Have an awesome 2017!!! ♡

H.

PS: I want to thank Dion for taking these beautiful pictures. He has a blog too: Ninetalis. Be sure to check it out!

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