Yamagata's little mascot. Akabe is still better. (^-^)

Hello again, everyone. Have you all missed me? It's been a crazy couple of weeks for me because I've been preparing to finally leave Aizu Wakamatsu and head out on a three week trip around Japan before catching a plane to the United States. My last day as a teacher was actually the day before yesterday, and this whole week, I was mentoring the new teacher to take my place and give all of my students some super duper English teachings.

I'm really going to miss all of my coworkers and students, but I know they'll all make me proud! They are some of the nicest, kindest people I've ever met, and I can't wait to come back to Japan and see them again. I think they all coordinated and were trying to getting me to stay here by giving me so many gifts that I couldn't carry it all to the airport. Seriously, the number of gifts I received from everyone was a little overwhelming, but I truly appreciate how kind they are all.

For the next three weeks (or so), I'll be traveling around Japan to see some of the places I never had the chance to visit. Now, I'm sitting here in a station in a small town called Kaminoyama. It's in Yamagata prefecture, just north of Fukushima prefecture, and I'm planning to see Yamadera, a temple complex in the mountains which I've heard is beautiful and has a great view, Zao Onsen, which has some good hiking trails, and Takahata Winery, a pretty well-reknowned winery in the area. And it's right in the middle of cherry season here in Yamagata, too. ^o^

   One more thing before I go; to prepare for my departure, I shaved my faced entirely for the first time in quite a while yesterday. The reason this post and my trip are graced with the title "Man-O'-Japan" is because I'm going to spend the entire rest of the trip growing a rugged, manly beard. Since a lot of my trip includes hiking, I felt it would be fitting to be one with the nature by going all-natural until I make it back to the States. Pictures to follow.

   Well, that's it everyone. My train is coming soon, so thanks for reading and look out for more posts through the next few weeks. I'll try to do one for each city and give you all the fun details. Later friends!

My face was pretty itchy.


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