User Manual

Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. I am bellelene, the author of this blog. I write mostly about my daily life in Japan and sometimes about my trips abroad. Have a look around, I am pretty sure you will find something of your liking -or okonomi as they say in Japanese.

A new post is available every week (in English or Greek, don’t be scared, you can use ‘translate page’). Short format posts are up twice a week. I update my instagram (almost) daily. If there is a specific topic that you want to find out more about, don’t hesitate to contact me.

You can use the menu button in the top right corner of the site and search for interesting posts by category, date or a search bar. There is a sample of available posts down below. The images displayed in the posts are all captured and owned by me, unless noted otherwise. I must warn you that I hardly double-check my posts due to time constraints, so if you find typos or grammatical errors, please don’t judge me too harsh. 

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Posts about Japan in Category “Japan

noboribetsu

Roadtrip to Hokkaido: The stinky valley (Pt. 3)

A surprise to no one, it seems like Hokkaido’s north is pretty cold, even when judging from spring’s average weather. That’s why, it is time to head to the south, where belated hanami blossoming (compared to the rest of the country) awaits. The first stop is Noboribetsu (登別), which with your new-found Ainu vocabulary skills … More

A throwback

These days, I’m more stressed out than ever. I think my decision to eat that bite, was a bad one. If there is a single piece of advice that holds for everyone, that is “Don’t ‘Bite Off More Than You Can Chew’”. Thinking about that, I am reminiscent of my first month in Japan, when … More

Bontan Candy (ボンタンアメ)

Lately, I came across a strange citrus flavoured candy with an interesting twist, as expected from japanese sweets. Bontan candy is a mochi-chewy style square candy with pomelo and mandarin flavour. The candy comes in a small paper box and each candy piece is covered with transparent wrap. However hard you try to unwrap the … More

紙で結ぶ絆: A letter set for building relationships

NTT is a ginormous company in Japan, with research facilities and factories all around the country. One of their employees gave our laboratory the following gift: a handmade letter set made from Japanese paper (washi or 和紙). This letter set was made with great care at an NTT factory called 塩山 or “salt mountain”, whose purpose … More

For those who want to keep it short

bioluminescence in Kamakura

Info Bites: Bioluminescence

[GR] Ο αφρός των κυμάτων του ειρηνικού ωκεανού ήταν γαλάζιο φωσφοριζέ και η εγώ η καψερή τρόμαζα ότι ήταν μόλυνση.

[EN] We noticed that the foam of the waves was glowing with a neon-blue colour.

Info Bites: La Cittadella

[GR] Ενώ η Ιαπωνία άρχιζε σταδιακά να ανοίγεται στον έξω κόσμο, αποφάσισαν να φέρουν το έξω μέσα. [EN] Someone thought it would be a good idea to import the spirit of overseas

Info Bites: The beginning of Spring

[GR] Έχετε αναρωτηθεί πώς είναι το σύστημα εισαγωγής σε πανεπιστήμιο στην Ιαπωνία; Οι υποψήφιοι δίνουν εξετάσεις σε μια επιλογή μαθημάτων ανάλογα με το πανεπιστήμιο στο οποίο στοχεύουν. Όλοι δίνουν ταυτόχρονα πανϊαπωνικές εξετάσεις σε δύο μέρες στα μέσα Ιανουαρίου, μια για τα θεωρητικά και μία για τα θετικά.

Info Bites: Modern Day Ronin

[GR] Έχετε αναρωτηθεί πώς είναι το σύστημα εισαγωγής σε πανεπιστήμιο στην Ιαπωνία; Οι υποψήφιοι δίνουν εξετάσεις σε μια επιλογή μαθημάτων ανάλογα με το πανεπιστήμιο στο οποίο στοχεύουν. Όλοι δίνουν ταυτόχρονα πανϊαπωνικές εξετάσεις σε δύο μέρες στα μέσα Ιανουαρίου, μια για τα θεωρητικά και μία για τα θετικά.

Posts about mountain hikes in Category “hiking

hatonosu gorge

Day hike from Tokyo: Sidelining Okutama

At that point, people realized that Tokyo does have a lot of mountains and nature reserves, with most prominent that of lake Okutama. Suddenly, the normally comfortable trains and buses in Ome city became crowded with first time hikers and families with children.

Day hike from Tokyo: Mt. Otake

I always come across the sign that leads to Mt Otake, but I’m usually short on time with the sunset looming. This time, I decided to hike my way from Mitake (御岳山) to Otake (大岳山).

The golden boy and the mountain

Maybe it’s time to unbury the hatchet. Or perhaps not, since it’s standing right there, as if looking at you from the rock’s edge. Who’s the one who used to carry that hatchet, who did he fight with, and which mountain are we going to hike today? In the south part of Kanagawa lies the … More

Posts about mountain hikes in Category “Roadtrips

Roadtrip to Narai-juku in Nagano

As the holiday of Culture Day draws near, every year without fail, I’m planning a road trip. And every year, without fail, the planning is going to be so last minute that the most accessible destination from Tokyo is going to be the same: Nagano prefecture. Starting backward, I’m going to describe my latest trip, … More

Roadtrip to Hokkaido: All is white (Pt. 2)

At the end of last post, we left lake Akan to head towards Biei, which presents itself as ‘the most beautiful village in Japan’. tldr; it may well be, but I visited in the wrong season. Nevertheless, despite being known mainly as a hot photo spot for the seemingly infinite flowering fields, there are plenty … More

Roadtrip to Hokkaido: Looking for the natives (Pt. 1)

If you are good with hints, then you probably noticed already that a post about Hokkaido was long overdue. In previous posts, you already got a sneak peek of what spring roads look like in the far north, as well as understood more about the climate of the northern parts of Japan (use google-translate if … More

The roads of Hokkaido

Japan is made up of 4 main islands and thousands of smaller ones. One of the latest acquisitions is the northernmost island of Hokkaido, “courtesy” (more like genocide) of the indigenous Ainu. In the past, it used to be refered to as Ezo by Japanese and Ainu Moshir by the Ainu. Hokkaido (北海道) means northern … More

Posts about General travel abroad in Category “Culture

The Gundam Moves!

In Japan, early spring is the best time of the year to move around, since it’s the only period of the year that the sky is clear from clouds and rain. The highlight of the season is obviously the cherry blossoms, but what to do if they haven’t bloomed yet? You go to the Gundam … More

The hidden Japanese art of Onsen

What my years in Japan have taught me is that after a tiring hike, there is always a hot spring at the foot of the mountain to relax and freshen up. The abundance of volcanoes in the country is related to the numerous natural hot springs all over the country. And the Japanese people make … More

Omiyage, meibutsu; there’s a bit of everything

I am pretty sure that everyone knows what a souvenir is. Do you happen to know what an omiyage is? Omiyage (お土産) is basically the japanese version of a souvenir. Traditionally, when someone from work or the lab goes on a trip, regardless if it is for business purposes or casual vacation, it is common to bring back small gifts for the team.

Salt to shield you

[Ακολουθεί κείμενο στα Ελληνικά] This cone of salt is called morishio (盛塩) and I came across it for the first time a few days ago. In the past, salt was extremely valuable, and as a result it was offered to the gods together with sake and rice. Salt supposedly has purifying properties, thus it used … More

Posts about General travel abroad in Category “International

Hiking in the dawn at Bali: Mt. Batur

[Visited on August 2019, Greek version follows] The island of Bali, Indonesia is home to a couple of very active volcanoes, among which Mt. Batur (Gunung Batur) stands as the second tallest. At the foot of the mountain lies a wide lake, a byproduct of a past violent explosion together with a caldera. The path … More

Hong Kong in four acts

Hong Kong IS the definition of multiculture. Located on a convenient location for sea trade, it thrived as a British colony and as financial metropolis in the recent years. Although tiny, everyone is on it. The culture of Hong Kong is a weird mixture of British post-colonialism, strong Cantonese influences and the increasing addition of … More

Red hot chili peppers

Visited in August 2018 Walking around culture village in Busan during the summer, one can see red peppers filling up floor space in balconies and yards. Korean cuisine makes extravagant use of hot spices and the prime selection is always red hot peppers. Of course, domestically grown ones are even better.

10 days in Thailand (Part II)

Part I of travelling in Thailand (about Bangkok and Ayutthaya) is here. Elephants are must-see in Thailand, aren’t they? Thai people adore elephants, so they put everywhere statues or drawings of elephants, called Chang in the local language (like the popular Chang beer). But how can one spend time with elephants responsibly? I chose to … More

Random rants in Category “Rants

Year in Review 2020 a.k.a. how I lived through covid19 in Japan

[Feature photo: Robo-dinosaurs serving as receptionists in Henna hotel in Osaka] I still remember the day that people around me in Tokyo started feeling anxious about the then new covid19. All eyes were set on Asia and Europe was still quiet. On the 25th of February we were preparing to set off for a trip … More

Tokyo: A house in the city

The other day, I asked a girl why balconies and doorsteps in Tokyo do not have any kind of illumination source most of the time. She responded that the basic concept is that you are out at work the whole day and when you return you draw the curtains, turn off the lights and stay … More

Hiring paperwork highlights in Japan

Recently, I had to be re-hired from a Japanese company i have been working with as a part-timer for three years. All this time, my employment was handled stress-free through a dispatch company – for a hefty amount from the employer’s side. Apparently, in Japan there is regulation mandating that one is not allowed to … More

Should I go study in Japan?

Usually, people decide to pursue graduate studies in another university or even another country rather than the one that they obtained their bachelor degree from. For many, Japan seems like an ideal choice; an opportunity to live in the orient without the pressure of work. Especially now that European institutions are highly competitive and with … More

Random images out of context in tag “Instead of Insta

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