{ Japan! | Out of Office }

I will be flying to Japan in 24 hours and will be out of the office from April 5-12. I won’t have any phone access at this time, but will be checking email as regularly as possible. If anyone is around Tokyo and wants to meet up or is interested in a shoot, let me know! I leave you with a bit of background on my trip and if all goes well, will be updating with pictures and stories during our week there!

Sumeba miyako | “Home is where you make it”

After graduating from college I moved to Japan to live for a year. I lived in Maebashi, a windy little valley city 30 minutes north of Tokyo by bullet train. I was on the JET program, and taught junior high and elementary school students English, which consisted of a lot of holding up flashcards, handing out stickers, and being SO SO thankful that English was my first language (since it is just the most IMPOSSIBLE language to learn ever!)

I had been to Japan to visit before but living there proved to be quite a different experience. I have so so many fond memories and experienced so many adventures (crazy nights in Tokyo, riding my bike along the river by my apartment, picnicking under falling cherry blossoms, climbing Mt. Fuji, the experience of which can definitely be summed up with the famous quote: “one who never climbs Mount Fuji is a fool, but one who climbs twice is twice the fool”!) But when my one year was up, I was definitely ready to come home. For one, winter was cold and long and this California girl was no match for weather that you can’t wear flip flops in. I wore two pairs of pants for 6 months and debated just turning off my fridge and keeping all my food in a box by my doorstep. The language barrier was difficult at times, making things like paying bills, setting up a bank account, having furniture delivered a little awkward (for some reason they don’t teach you vocabulary for setting up your cable in Japanese classes?). Everyone in Japan was so sweet, but I got a little bit tired of being a “foreigner” and always being asked if I knew how to use chopsticks and if I liked sushi. I missed burritos and In-N-Out hamburgers and greasy late night delivery. I missed my family and friends.

It’s been about 3 years since I’ve been back in the states and about 2 years since I started really missing things about Japan. I’m lucky that I live right smack dab in a sushi-munching, ramen-slurping, green-tea-chugging city or it might have happened a lot earlier. I started missing the frantic streets of Tokyo. The hum of trains, the smell of the subway, and all the sleeping bobbing heads inside. The 7-11s on every corner where you could actually buy a delicious lunch at any given hour of the day. I missed the seasons and how they were celebrated so intensely – the leaves in the fall, the cherry blossoms in the spring. And I started missing the people – my host family, the teachers at my school, the students who tried so hard and made me laugh in class everyday. The one student who NEVER paid attention in class, but who tugged on my arm during my last day at school and told me “you can always come back to visit us.” I missed oily ramen and Gusto hamburgers and greasy food at izakayas. I missed my family and friends.

So after 3 years I’m going back. My mom wants to take my sister and I to see our grandmother and it just so works out that Scott and my sister’s boyfriend will be coming as well. “Excited” is an understatement! I feel I can appreciate Japan in a way I never would have if I hadn’t spent the one year there and am so excited to show Scott around, see familiar faces, and load up on delicious food! Will hopefully be updating along the way!

I leave you with a montage of pics from my year there of the river that ran by my apartment…

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12 Responses to “{ Japan! | Out of Office }”

  1. Vanessa - V3 Weddings & Events Says:

    Wishing you safe travels :) Have an amazing trip!

  2. ohana photographers - david & kimi Says:

    have a safe and fun trip adrienne!!!

  3. Joan Solitario Says:

    Have a safe trip Adrienne! I know we’ll be seeing some awesome photos from your trip!! ;o)

  4. Solana Says:

    This was SO much fun to read Adrienne!! You are a fantastic writer..and I don’t say that lightly : ) hee hee
    I hope you and Scott have an amazing time!!

  5. Muriel Says:

    Japan is a top destination of mine. I really wish I could visit and live there for a while… along with France. Can’t wait to see the photos from your trip! Tanoshinde! ;D

  6. Jordana Says:

    What a great trip! I studied abroad in Greece for 4 months and feel the same way. It was sooo time to come home at the end, and now, I’m so ready to go back. Hope your trip was uneventful and that you’re having a fabulous time!

  7. Stephen Grant Says:

    Enjoy the trip! You deserve the break :)

  8. Cathy Crawley Says:

    OMG, have a fabulous time! You’ll see the most gorgeous displays of blossoms, I’m almost green with envy ;)

  9. Kim Takeda Says:

    I hope you’re having a wonderful time here in Japan! Thanks for bringing the California sunshine with you~ the weather has been so nice this past week! I wish work wasn’t so busy with the beginning of school here or I would have loved to have met up with you somewhere in Tokyo! (Numazu is about an hour away.) I’m looking forward to your photos and hearing all about your adventures. Safe travels~

  10. Jaenee Says:

    Adrienne, that’s so exciting! I hope you a fantastic time there. Take a lot of pictures, of course. :) I will be getting in touch with you soon!

  11. Adrienne Gunde Photography | Los Angeles Orange County Wedding Photographer » Blog Archive » { zena + dennis | downtown LA wedding } Says:

    […] lived in Japan during the same time I did, also teaching on the JET program, but for some reason our paths never […]

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    […] the resulting aftermath happening somewhere in the world. But when it’s a place you’ve set foot in and lived, where you’ve met the people and created ties and formed friendships, where currently so many […]

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