I’m back in Japan! Suddenly the whole world seems cleaner and quieter, haha. But seriously, the whole trip was great and London was a super fun city. I would definitely be up for another visit someday.
By the way, I celebrated my 31st birthday this past Sunday. Time rolls on, doesn’t it? Despite the feeling of taking a firm step into my 30s, I had a really great birthday. I got to meet a bunch of friends in London to celebrate. The first thing I did was go bouldering with an old friend from the JET Programme.
The guy I’m hugging in the above picture is Richard, one of the first friends I ever made on the JET Programme. He and I arrived in Japan the same year and he also lived in the Goto Islands. He lived on the upper island, Shinkamigoto, and I was on the lower island, Fukue. He married another JET from that island and now they live near London together. I was so happy to see him since it had been nearly two years since our last meeting! Also, he was a stud at bouldering. I couldn’t keep up.
After bouldering, we went for a picnic in Hyde Park and met up with even more friends!
Several more friends from JET came as well as a few of Almas’ friends. We had a really nice time eating food from M&S and chatting. For my birthday they even got me a Colin the Caterpillar cake! Apparently, this cake is a mainstay of British culture. If you look closely in the background of the picture you can see droves of people walking through the parks paths, I believe on the way to a public concert. That park was beautiful and enormous.
On our last full day of our trip we got a guided tour!
This is our tour guide Kazuko standing with Almas in front of Tower Bridge. Kazuko was born and raised in Japan and came to work in London as a tour guide for Japanese people. She was exceptionally knowledgable about the city and was a wonderfully pleasant person. She and her husband Jon took us around London in their car and we saw the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, a Sherlock Holmes themed pub, and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace! The whole experience was a real treat.
I hope you all have a great week! I’m on my way to the realtors now to sign the lease for our new apartment with Almas! Once we get settled in I’ll be sure to show you all what our new spot looks like.
Here’s some other pictures from the last half of the trip!