Hana Lowry: Cooling off in the mountains – September 2021

It has been a rather eventful month politically here in Japan with the unpopular Olympics, the high number of covid cases in Tokyo and the resignation of the Prime Minister due to lack of popular support. I covered the Olympics for a paper and it was a very busy but rewarding time professionally.


After they were over, I was able to take a bit of time to enjoy my summer break. I managed to finally secure appointments to get fully vaccinated so I was able to go relax in a little secluded mountain lodge near the resort town of Karuizawa. It is a very famous and popular area to cool off in during Japan’s hot, humid summer months. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were said to stay in the area’s famous Mampei hotel and buy baguettes – or, as they are known in Japanese, ‘french bread’ – from the nearby bakery on the famous shopping street. However, I was happy to be a little away from the popular town area as I was staying in the more mountainous region. It was a lot quieter than living in central Tokyo! The area is also famous for having very delicious soba noodles and I was able to go eat some from a shop even higher up a nearby mountain – so high in fact that I found myself surrounded by mist and fog as I ate!


However, my work for the next year also awaits so I have been making preparations for my final thesis and language learning. This week, I attended and delivered a presentation about my research to graduate school peers across a lot of different disciplines and had a very stimulating discussion afterwards as their comments and feedback were really helpful to drive my thinking forward. I was also able to hear about the research they are conducting in a variety of areas. I have another session scheduled to present my work in front of the professors of my faculty next month so I will be working on making my presentation of my topic watertight before then!

Overall I am happy with how I was able to spend my precious months off – a healthy mix of personal and professional fulfillment!

IMG_9315日本では、人気のないオリンピック、コロナ感染者数の多さ、総理大臣の辞任など、政治的なイベントが多かった一か月でした。私はオリンピックについての新聞記事を書く仕事をして、とても忙しかったですが充実した時間を過ごしました。 その仕事が終わった後、少しの間、夏休みを楽しみました。やっと二回目のワクチンを予約することができたので、軽井沢の近くの山の上にあるロッジでリラックスしました。そこは日本の暑い夏の間の避暑地としてとても有名で人気のあるところです。ジョンレノンとオノヨーコがそのエリアで有名な万平ホテルに泊まって近くのパン屋のバゲット(日本ではフランスパン)を食べていたといわれています。ですが、私は人気の街のエリアより、山の方のエリアに泊まることができてうれしかったです。東京の中心に住むより全然静かでした!また、ここはおいしいそばが有名なので、さらに山の上の方でそばを食べました(高すぎて、食べている間霧に囲まれていました!) ですが、来年の学業があるので、最終論文と言語学習の準備も始めています。今週は、様々な学問を専攻している大学院の学生や教授たちに対して自分のリサーチのプレゼンをしました。その後にフィードバックやコメントを通してとても刺激的なディスカッションをして、自分の考えをさらに深めることができました。また、彼らの様々なエリアにわたるリサーチのプレゼンも聞くことができました。来月に、自分の学科の教授の前でプレゼンをする機会があるので、その前までにしっかりとプレゼンを準備しようと思っています! 全体的に、休みの時間をうまく使うことができてよかったと思いました(パーソナルとプロフェッショナルの充実のいいミックス)!



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