☕️ Tea addict
🔜 Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii
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It's #worldmentalhealthday today. But really, EVERY SINGLE DAY needs to be mental health awareness day, because like so many other illnesses, mental health illnesses can be incessant and completely debilitating.
And sadly, in 2017, still not everybody gets that yet. I'm blessed that in the UK things are better than they are in many other parts of the world, and there is free healthcare and support there for those that need it. But even in the UK we still have a long way to go, and in many other places around the world there is no support or understanding whatsoever, and people are living and DYING in silence.
Be there for your friends, family, coworkers and employees. Don't ignore the signs that somebody isn't quite 'okay'. Don't be afraid to reach out to those around you. Stop the stigma. This is a battle we CAN win. Together 💙
🌍 at Kinkaku-ji
So, tourism to Japan kinda boomed while I was gone!!
10 years ago, 4m people visited Japan, last year it was 24m!
It's definitely been most noticeable in Kyoto, where places like Arashiyama and the Fushimi Inari shrine were so busy you could hardly move. And last time I was at these places I virtually had them to myself!
Japan is one of the best places in the world (imo) so I'm hardly surprised by this...
But I wish more tourists would educate themselves in local cultures and customs (this applies to everywhere in the world). I've seen a lot of disrespectful and rude tourists this week, which is that much more grating here of all places, and it's ground me down a little bit.
Meanwhile, Barcelona is literally asking people not to visit anymore. Tourism is a double edged sword, and being polite and respectful is so important if we want to keep it a positive experience for locals and other visitors alike.
Just my two cents 🙃 at Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
An Aizuwakamatsu sunset. (I love saying Auziwakamatsu, such a good name!!).
Pictured bottom left: a novel way to get up the side of a mountain... a conveyor belt! I didn't bother paying for it though, because honestly the steps weren't that long and a bit of uphill is good for toning those glutes 😉👍 at Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima, Japan
Kinkakuji is stuuuuuuuupidly beautiful. ❤️ It was so weird coming back here after 9 years. It was exactly as I remembered it. Other places in Kyoto? Not so much. More on that soon... at いただき 金閣寺
One of the (many, many) things I love about Japan is the beautiful shrines that are literally EVERYWHERE.
Do you know what else I really love about Japan? 100 YEN STORES. They are just the best shops in the world. You can't buy ANY of the things they sell for 100 yen (70p/$1) anywhere else in Japan or the world for that price. And the stuff is awesome.
You have no idea just how much living out of a backpack is killing me. #overdoseintravel #imahoarderatheart #thosebargainstho at 飯盛山
Guys... I'm in New York. Surprise! 🗽🗽🗽 nah just kidding. I don't really get why there's a mini Statue of Liberty in Odaiba. What's that all about?!? at Odaiba Seaside Park お台場海浜公園
I found Aizu castle fascinating. There's such a long (and hella confusing) history to just this one castle. I really need to spend some time reading up on Japanese history.
Aizuwakamatsu was also where the group of young 15-17 year old samurais committed ritual suicide when they thought that Aizu castle had been taken. So sad. There is a monument and fascinating shrine up on the mountain overlooking Aizu, where it happened.
All in all a fascinating city, well worth a visit! One day wasn't even close to enough time here. at Tsurugajo Castle
Bye bye Inawashiro 😢 you've been BEAUT ❤️ at Mount Bandai
Inawashiro consistently has some seriously beautiful sunsets! ❤️🌞💛 at Inawashiro, Fukushima
I love my husband ❤️❤️ but Nick will only take pictures of me if I'm posing in some very specific way which he stipulates to me 😂😂 'you want to just stand in front of the street art? No, you must pretend to look over the fake wall' 🙄🙄 swipe left to see me being stage managed #overdoseintravel at Tokyo, Japan
This is the view on my cycle route through the rice paddies. Guyyyyysss, I'm basically living straight out of a Ghibli movie these days 😍😍😍 at Mount Bandai
Yesterday, Nick and I took a bit of time for us and cycled to Inawashiro lake. It only takes about 45 minutes to cycle to from the cat sanctuary, and it's so beautiful. I'll be posting lots more pictures of this gorgeous part of rural Japan ❤️ at Lake Inawashiro
(Post 2 of 2)
Since we arrived, we've been working night and day (not the four hours a day we expected, hah oh no). I honestly can't not, I'm driven and I need this place to be clean and happy again. You wouldn't even recognise the place compared to how it looked three days ago, and I'm sure I wouldn't recognise it from how it looked a month before that when work had first started. We've come a long way already.
But there is such a long way to go, and it's not going to be easy. I'm so angry that careless people who were meant to be looking after these animals let this happen. These animals have already been through hell, they deserve so much better. Those people also let the reputation of the sanctuary die in the local area, so that now we never get visitors or even donations. How will the cats get adopted? How will we even pay the bills?!
For now I'm going to keep on cleaning and tidying and improving, and every day this place becomes a little less gross and a little more like the home these animals deserve. But the longer process will be getting the sanctuary's reputation back and raising sorely needed money for improvements and supplies.
If you'd like to donate, please message me and I'll let you know how ❤️ at Odaiba Seaside Park お台場海浜公園
(Post 1 of 2)
So for the next two weeks (and as of three days ago), I'm volunteering at a cat sanctuary in rural Japan, near to Fukushima. This sanctuary started up after the nuclear disaster, when people fled their homes and left their pets behind.
Many of the cats here are still from that time, but many new ones have also joined since. Some get adopted, but not enough. Some money is donated, but not enough.
And recently, things got really bad. The process here is for volunteers to come and go, but there is no constant presence (which is crazy when you think about it - no stability and nobody to make sure stuff gets done!). Management don't live even remotely nearby, and so there is little oversight. One month ago, there was a complete changeover in volunteers, and the new volunteers arrived to squalor. Squalor for the animals and for themselves. The whole place was FILTHY, and there wasn't even room to walk around.
Local residents and business owners wanted to write to the council to get the sanctuary shut down, and have the animals killed, because they thought that would be BETTER than the conditions those animals were living in. That's how awful it was.
The volunteers were working hard to get it all cleaned up and turned around, and doing every thing they could, but to be honest when we arrived three days ago I couldn't believe how filthy the place was and I didn't even have a clean bed to sleep in.
(Continued next post...) at Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens
So, he did it! Nick took this picture at the top of Mount Fuji 😍😍 can you even imagine being above the clouds like that?! ❤️ at Mount Fuji
I almost didn't go to Odaiba, because it looked like a lot of shopping centres and stuff I wasn't particularly interested in, but the views and relaxed vibe made it 100% worth it. 💯💯 Also, it was super cute people watching all the young couples on their dates 😄 at Odaiba Seaside Park お台場海浜公園
Guuuuuyyyyyssss, Japanese gardens are BEAUTIFUL 😍 (as if this was news to anybody 😂😂). Also, thanks to the huge raven for posing for this shot. 👍 (Quoth the Raven, 'you're welcome'). at Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens
It's peeing down with rain in Japan tonight, and my husband is somewhere up Fuji-San 🗻 climbing it overnight like the crazy man that he is (and that I love him for being).
Me and my baby sister are doing the more sensible (read: lazy) thing and staying in the air bnb drinking tea and watching stupid YouTube videos.
I already said goodbye to my other lovely sister in Armenia, and now Martha is going home on Thursday - and I am going to miss them! I won't see a single family member then till next March!! 😔 I've never gone that long without my family, and it's scary.
Happily I am meeting lots of friends across the world between now and then, so it won't be too lonely. And most thankfully, Nick is always with me - providing he gets his butt back down from Fuji-San safely in the morning, that is ❤️❤️❤️ #overdoseintravel at Odaiba Seaside Park お台場海浜公園
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