April Wrap Up

April, by Jacy. 

Oh April. What a month! We have officially done it all, seen it all, and ate it all. The month began with my Dad spending about a week with us. About a week after he left, Nathan's parents came and stayed for about a week also. We sprinkled in 2 trips to Kyoto, 1 trip to Kobe, 8 trips to the airport, 6 home games, 4 Korean bbq dinners, and 6 temple tours. Like I said, what a month! 

Nathan's last game was bittersweet. We are happy and relieved to be one step closer to going home, but sad to be saying goodbye to everyone. In case you haven't heard, we will be back in Texas at the end of this month! Nathan has to hang around and finish up some last minute team duties, so I will be home about a week before him. It is a weird feeling that this little chapter is coming to an end. This will be the last monthly wrap up that I write from Japan! It is surreal. I am very proud of us. I was petrified before I got here, and now I feel like I conquered it! Forget New York, if I can make it here I really can make it anywhere! 

April, by Nathan. 

April was a month full of excitement. Jacy's dad came to visit at the start of the month and then my parents came a week after him. So we had more than 2 weeks filled with tourist activities. We ate at all of our favorite places and saw all of the best that osaka and the surrounding areas have to offer. I know they had a great trip and that they enjoyed all of what we showed them. So glad that they could experience Japan with us.

As far as basketball, we ended our season in 7th place in our conference and the top 6 make the playoffs. It stinks that we didn't make the playoffs, but I think my body is ready for an off season of rest. It was an awesome experience and the fans were great all year. The off season is always slow without basketball, so I am sure I will miss it sooner then I think. 

May is already flying by and it won't be long til we are back home in the good ole US of A!

Favorite place we visited:

NGoing to a professional baseball game here in Japan was the neatest experience I had.Seeing the differences from Japan baseball and American baseball was really interesting and I had a great time at the game.

J: Too many to choose from this month! I am going to take the simple route and say it was our picnic we went on. Even though the park was only right down the street from our house, it was so nice to finally be outside enjoying the outdoors without freezing. That was the first time my legs have seen the light of day in Japan! 

Favorite food we tried:

NMy father and I tried a both squid sushi (like a whole raw squid with legs and everything) and an octopus sushi (octopus leg). Neither one was good, but they tasted better than I thought they would.

J: Mango jelly from the dessert basement at Daimaru. Technically I don't think that is a Japanese dish. I think it originated in either Singapore or China, but it is SO good. I will definitely be bringing some home. 

Biggest surprise:

N: My biggest surprise this month was that our parents liked all the Japanese food they had during their visit. It is so different from the food we have in America, but all 3 of them were great sports! They tried everything we threw at them, and liked it all. 

J: As the weather gets warmer, everything gets more crowded! I didn't know that was possible. There were already millions of people everywhere we went, and now there are more and more every time we leave the house. Where are these people coming from? Where do they live, and where have they been hibernating? Now, almost every time a train pulls up I think, "Wow there is no way we are getting any more bodies on that train." Even though people are packed in all the way to the doors, and only 2 people get off, somehow 15 more people always manage to get on. It is a pretty entertaining sight to see. 

Biggest challenge:

NDealing with Jacy's visa. There are so many rules and different time durations, and we get different answers no matter who we ask. Dealing with visas a big headache.

J: I am going to borrow one of Nathan's favorite lines for this one: "I can see the beach." He uses it for basketball when the season is close to being done and you start picturing yourself relaxing on the beach. I am using it for the fact that home is so close I can taste it, but we're still here for about two more weeks. We love you Japan, but now you are just teasing us! 

New words learned:

NOh I learned a TON of new words this month from my teammates. But for so long I have forgotten how to say purple, but now I know: mudasaki. This is the one word that I have struggled to remember all year and now for some reason, it finally clicked! 

J: I can't recall any new words from this month! I am ashamed! I guess at this point my mind is back home. I should probably be brushing up on my Spanish vocabulary like, enchilada, fajita, and margarita. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

Missing most about back home:

NSeeing my parents last week was awesome. It had been 8 months since I have seen them so it was amazing. I am really missing my brothers and friends, but it is so close, less than a month now. Also, quality mexican food and Chic-fil-a.

J: Just having conversations with people. My parents, my family, my friends, or even strangers. It is just nice to be able to strike up a conversation, or ask a simple question when you need to know an answer. I am apologizing in advance if I am a complete chatterbox this summer.

Favorite memory from this month:

NSeeing my parents walk through the "International Arrivals" door and giving them each a big hug! I have really missed seeing everyone in my family, and to get to experience a week here in Japan with them was just awesome.

J: Showing my Dad and Nathan's parents all around Osaka. Hearing them say how impressed they are with the life we have created here, and everything we learned made me so proud! We got some great pictures together and I know that those are once in a lifetime memories. 

Looking forward to next month:

NTHAILAND AND AMERICA!!!! We have a week long beach trip in Thailand planned and then of course MAY 26th is the day I arrive back in America! It has been a long 9 months but the end is near!

J: THAILAND!!!! We are leaving Osaka and heading to Phuket for 6 days! Thailand is warm, relaxing, tropical, inexpensive, uncrowded, and basically the opposite of everything we have known for the past 6 months. I can't wait to put away my coat, break out my bikini and do nothing but soak up the sun! 

The Hep 5 ferris wheel, which we conquered this month

The Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto

Finally, the Cherry Blossoms!   
Nathan's parents and us in front of the beautiful scenery in Kyoto, Japan.  
Flowers and picnicers AKA signs of warmer weather! 

View of the city from the Hep 5 ferris wheel

Korean BBQ was a favorite from all of our visitors

Nathan's parents got the pose down

I love this pic of all the umbrellas on a rainy day. Ah, city life. 

My Dad and I in front of Kiefer Cafe. What are the odds?

Our first baseball game in Japan

Dotonbori Canal during Golden Week

My Dad and I in Kyoto. One of my favorite pictures from the trip.