“Extended Vacation”

After much discussing with my Japanese “family” a 3 month stay is now in the works. 

It started with a conversation about visas which is always stressful for me and is sad for them. Always coming up with new master plans etc. at the end of my お母さん’s (Japanese mama) weekly English Lesson.  

We were discussing when I would go back for a visit…..which prompted me to tell them I would like to go visit for 3 months.  Rent an apartment off AirBnB and just actually LIVE there.    I told them about AirBnB and showed them listings…….

Their response?

「めっちゃたかい!(very expensive!) You don’t want to stay at our house? You are always welcome to use your room!!」 This went on for about 10 minutes while I asked if that long was really ok.  

Their response to that?

“Of course it’s ok! You don’t want to? You’re always welcome at our home for as long as you want!”

So basically I got scolded lol and questioned if I was ok with staying with them that long.  Of course I am lol. 

I didn’t want to impose on my friends for that long.   Thought it would be rude…..little did I know it was rude of me to consider staying somewhere else hahaha   

Ashlynn, what about your job?

Oh! Thanks for asking! 

I currently work as a group sales assistant manager for a local hotel/golf resort.  While it is a decent job I don’t get paid THAT much and there is a lot of down time. And I figure that if I’m going to do a test of living there and basically jump ship for 3 months I figure when better to do it than now? 

I turn 19 in October. I live at home. I’m not in a relationship.  I’m finished with school and I really don’t have that many bills.  And truthfully while my job can be fun  not that attached to it. 

So why not?  When I come back to America I will simply find another job. Just like last time I went to Japan. 

Isn’t that terribly expensive to go somewhere and not work for 3 months?

Yes.  Yes it is.  

It’s a really good thing I’m a saver. Otherwise it would be impossible. 

Isn’t it stressful to plan a trip that long?

Yes.  You should see all the excel spreadsheets I have already made.  For expenses while there. And for how much I am allotting for things per month such as food (I always help with groceries etc. At my friends house and cook often XD) and bus/metro fare etc.

For 3 months and not working (not allowed to without a visa) I have to be EXTREMELY ORGANIZED. 

Already putting a binder together to take with me that will be filled with required travel documents, english lessons, print outs of my spreadsheets I can fill in as the weeks go by, and new recipes for my お母さん。

When are you going?

We were originally thinking March-may.  But now my friends want me to tour a college in kyoto.  But that only happens in June. 
SOOOOOOOOOO per request of my “family” who want me to go on a tour of a college (they want me to study abroad there lol though I am already finished community college because I started at 15) I will most likely be going APRIL-JUNE. 

Another spring in Japan? This will be #3 of my spring expeditions and my 4th trip to Japan total. 

Are you nervous for being away from the USA and your family that long?

I’m excited. I’m excited to see my friends. My favorite sights.  Eat my favorite foods. Experience it all over again.  I’m excited to not have to worry about the dreadful countdown of departure day as much. 

I’m just a little nervous/stressed about the planning process. Just want to be sure I can save enough money to not have to worry about anything while there.  

What’s with the title of this blog?

It’s always funny to me and my friends. Everyone in Japan assumes they are my “home stay” family. And that I’m a foreign exchange student. So when we were talking about me quiting my job and going over there they kept laughing because people will think I’m a home stay kid even more now because of the length of time. So when we were discussing what we would be calling this trip…..I let apparently the joke of the century slip out I said “it’s just like an………..I know! An extended vacation” They just let loose hahaha 

“Extended vacation??? まじ?!HAHHAHAHAHAH”

So despite it not really being a vacation because I won’t have a job to be on vacation from, that’s what we are calling it.  It’s actually just living abroad for a short period of time. 

I think extended vacation just sounds more……positive. 
Are you ready for something this serious? 

Who knows if a person is ever really ready for something.  Sometimes you just have to go for it.  It’s been my dream since I was little to live in Japan.  It’s just time to take the first step.  3 month trial here I come! 

 (Toei Kyoto Studio Park)  

It’s time to figure out what the plan is for life. How I will get a visa etc. But at the same time I don’t want to stress about that.  

Sometimes things just work out.  Figure I go there for a while and maybe that will give it a little push.  
I’ll do my best! 


(Any words of encouragement etc. Would be warmly received!) 

 We shall be reunited!!! 
Wearing kimono   
  Cooking in their café  
I miss my giant Kansai style bread 


I can’t wait to touch the sky once again. 


Somewhere to go back to

As humans, 

I feel like we all like to have a sense of being welcomed somewhere.  A place to call home. Somewhere to go back to and just be yourself and have those you love embrace you for it.  

I love it every single time I am reminded that I have a place like that.  

My best friends mom, and the entire family’s home in Japan provides that place for me. And I just think it’s incredible.  3 and a half years ago we had only been email buddies.  We then met up in person when I went to Japan the first time in April/March in 2012. Since that day we have messaged each other everyday.  Since then I have stayed at their house for over a month total.  And they’ve stayed with me In California. 

I have my own chopsticks, plate, slippers, apron, futon, and room at their house. 

My お母さん (my Japanese mama) knows my favorites Japanese foods to eat, my clothing size, my interests, my problems, my dreams, my crushes, my hobbies.  We bond.  Every day we say good morning and good night.  Every week we have a Skype English lesson and gossip and news catch up.  

My お父さん (Japanese papa) makes my favorite coffee in the world…I swear he’s a coffee genius. And he is pretty quiet until he cracks probably the funniest jokes ever that no matter how hard I would try to explain them in English I can’t get them to translate. 

The daughters. All three are my absolute best friends in the entire world.  Literally.  We all can nerd out together over anime. Play the taiko game at the arcade, and do Purikura. Just hanging around with them. Even though we are all adults with serious type jobs. Spending lazy days and just doing their normal routine is the absolute best.   I love being able to say “おかえり!” (welcome home”) to them when they come home from work. And I love being able to say “ただいま” whenever I go back to Japan. 
They are the most hospitable and loving family I could ever hope to be friends with. And pretty much included in.  In their city I know about 60 people through them.  And they all basically just consider me as one of their family.  

It’s so nice to have a place to go back to. 
Everyday I get asked when am I coming back to visit again? Saying I am “welcome anytime.”  I was just there 3 months ago.  We are all going through withdrawals of each other’s company already. 
When my company shut down….and I was sad….they picked me up. Told me “never give up” and that they are there for me. My お母さん even sent me some companies I am going to look up. 
Thinking of going back in November….let’s see if I can con one my employer to let me jump ship for like 3 weeks. ^^;
I hope you too have found your place…..your somewhere to go back to. 
I know for me….even though my best fiends live on the other side o the world. We still act like we are next door.  I always see the sky and instead of seeing the distance….,I see the connection to them instead. 

Because the thing is….it doesn’t matter how far we are from each other….we have a bond. A connection. A comfort level with each other that allows me to just go visit them.  It’s no different than if they did live next door. If I want to go see them….I will.  Nothing can stop me. If there is such a thing as people being meant to be friends… This is it. If I hadn’t ever met them my life would be a whole lot different.  I wouldn’t be trying to fulfill visa requirements to move there. I wouldn’t have gone there as many times for sure. I would be a lot more lonely for sure. 

How happy I am that they are in my life. めっちゃありがとうみんな!thank you for being in my life :) 

For now…. 

I’ll try my best!




Laid Off

So the English Company I was working for laid off a bunch of teachers because the company wasn’t doing too well…….looks like I’m one of them ^^;

There went my way to get a visa. 

If anyone hears of a good online English Company please send me the link! 

The Broken Pieces 

When your dream shatters what do you do to pick up the broken pieces? 

I have to remain employed at the online English conversation school I work for until I’m 21. 


Strict visa requirements. 

I have to be a “professional” for 3 years to get a work visa in my required category. 

What does this mean?

I’m basically frozen where I am for another 2 and a half years. 

I’m thinking about going and living in Japan for 89 days (amount allowed without visa) and just hanging out.  

But it was definitely a reality check. Time to grow up even more I guess. 

What’s next for me? I finish school May 22nd.  And then I will start looking for a full time job in June.  

I finally broke down yesterday. 

And after many loving and encouraging words from my best friends/basically adopted family, I was able to “woman up” a little. 

It’s just hard when I finally found a place to belong…..and I’m kept away… Because of policies, paperwork, and international laws.  

The word “ganbaru” (trying my best)  had never been so literal for me until this moment. 

My Japanese “mama” said this to me yesterday……「あきらめないで!」

Meaning “never give up!” 

And I never will, until I have my visa in hand.  

And until then, I will continue to study, work, and make delicious bentou.  


Moving Forward


A tiny word that can make so many people uncomfortable, unsure, and stranded.

Till about yesterday, I was one of those people. I could have shouted it from the rooftops: “I hate change! Screw you, you mess everything up!”


I quit my waitressing job.

You would think I would be completely mortified at the fact that my only income is now coming from tutoring Japanese students in English……which I haven;t devoted too much time to obtaining many students (well that’s gonna change real quickly huh?)

But in reality……..I am SO EXCITED about this new chapter in my life.

Why did I quit?

Well, I worked a lot of hours, and it was usually my boss, me, and one other waiter. Every so often, my “manager” or whatever she is, would show up on random days I worked. She always gave me dirty looks, takes my turn when I should be getting a new table, and said rude comments to me when my boss was not around. And she put me down when talking to all of my coworkers.  My boss, who everyday I worked would tell me how dependable and hardworking I am. But two days ago, at work, as soon as I get there, she tells me I am doing horribly and that I am so impossibly slow.  I keep on working thinking it will just be another crappy shift with her, but trying to remain positive. At every turn she stole my tables that night while she also had a group of 20. (I usually have 20-30 tables a night….that night I had 6) I had volunteered to help her and she says in a malicious tone “I don’t NEED any help from YOU”. Since she was preoccupied with taking the orders of the large group, a table that had only been seated by her and obviously forgotten, were sitting there waiting…..and they asked me for some water.  So i promptly brought it to them. But I didn’t take their order or anything because I didn’t want to take her table from her. About 40 seconds later…….it happens……………………….She begins screaming, cussing, verbally abusing me. Calling me “Stupid” and many other things, I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.  Her reasoning?      I gave her table water.

My boss didn’t witness it. But the other waitress did (the one who is still being trained, tells inappropriate stories, and can’t multitask…we will come back to her)

She yelled at me for a while.    I am not one to feel too many emotions. I don’t believe in cussing, and I didn’t want to be confrontational. I did what I never wanted to do at work.

I cried.

And had an anxiety attack.

I have never felt so badly about myself.   It would have been different if I had severely messed up or something…..but there was no basis.  She is just always so hateful to me.

About another hour goes by, and I am still there. I didn’t want to ditch my tables and leave them hanging…………I’m in the back typing up a receipt and she says to me, and I quote, because it will never leave my head

“Do you need me to do that?”

 “No, I’ve got it” I answer

“You are so slow, even (other waitress name insert here) is faster than you (isn’t true…she doesn’t know any of the prices).  HERE we do things a certain way. And with you moving so slowly, I’m gonna have to do your job like always! .”

She continues on…….spewing crap…..all of which is untrue…….she only worked with me like once a month………she has no idea how I work. She calls in the other waitress to laugh at me. And I walk out. I couldn’t take it anymore at that moment. All that night she had pushing me out of her way, telling me to move, giving me horrible looks, and when my boss saw me crying and I told him “I quit” he knew it was something she had done. Every chance she got that night she would come up with a new insult, find a new way to make me scared of her.   My boss pulled me aside.   He was so pissed at her.   None of my coworkers could understand why she was screaming at me. Why she would say those things……my bosses mom hugged me and the guys in the kitchen were so confused as to why she would try to make me miserable.

My boss gave me my tips, asked what happened and when I told him….he understood. But he didn’t accept me quitting just then. And he said I could go home. And that he was SO SORRY. He felt bad he wasn’t there to defend me.

Yesterday, I went to my work, and quit. Gave my two weeks….which is really only one because I leave April 1st for Japan!!!

And THAT is why I quit.

I’m actually very happy about it though……sure I may not really have a steady income currently, but I’m excited about it ^^   livin on the edge! lol just kidding

That’s the good thing about living with your parents….not too many bills :P

I finish college in may, I’ll be in Japan this spring break, and I will now have time to do my TEFL cert. I also may have a job opportunity with my sister….but that’s on the D.L. right now ^o^

I don’t know why I was so worried about change……it’s a part of life, and I am just so excited for what the future holds for me! It was freeing to quit….and while I am dreading having to go to work tomorrow (Monday 3/23), Friday, and Saturday….. I am happy to be closing that chapter in my life.  I want to see how far I can go trying to get more students and teaching and just winging it, Might as well figure it all out when I’m young and have the time.

Let’s do this!

Come and Gone

my friends from Japan have already come and left again. 

But we all had an absolutely amazing time together as always. We are loudest together. The most fun together. And the most loving together. 

We may be over 5,000 miles apart, but for me…..I don’t feel the distance. 

The sky is our connection, we share the same sky, and the same ocean. 

When you talk to someone everyday it’s hard to feel like you’re apart even if you are.  

I feel so loved that they would come all the way here to visit me. And I can’t wait to be welcomed back to visit them April 2nd (JST). 

It’s alright to grow up

I decided…..and had a sudden realization the other day…’s ok to grow up.

I think I always had this fear about it.

But now….for some odd reason I just became fine with it.

Sure I still live at home, and I only have a permit…(I can’t park to save a life…I’m height deficient lol at 4’11”)
But I realized in many ways I am an adult.

I have a job
I go to college
I buy the things I need etc.
and I could go on with boring details but I shan’t make you weep from reading unnecessary words

In the words of ke$ha I think I’ve finally “got my big girl pants on and up” hahah

I’m excited I’m moving forward….I’m going back to Japan (all by myself I might add), today I bought a whole new wardrobe (since yeah, it’s time to retire the t-shirts), and I just feel like I can do this being an adult thing. (Today I even made kale chips and blueberry compote to put on my Greek yogurt…I feel like these are adult like foods)

I’m ready.

I guess it’s time for the next step….finding myself a husband!

Just kidding, but the cute new clothes may help in that department.

I’ll try my best!

April 1st

I’m leaving for Japan April 1st and will be there until the 12th (^○^)

I got a GREAT deal on a ticket and I am now psyched!!!

Let’s do this. Japan trip #3!!!

I’ll try my best

It’s just so easy…

To get discouraged.

I purchased a new book

And so I’ve been doing some hardcore research about renting an apartment in Japan.

And it’s just starting to seem impossible. Of course I’m still planning on expating (is that a word?) there, but my idea of perhaps renting a room is seeming more practical.

Have you ever heard of key money?

Well it’s probably one of the few things I hate about Japan……so basically you give 1-3 months worth of rent to your landlord as a “gift” (meaning non-refundable). On top of the 1-2 months worth of rent as a security deposit (meaning refundable). And then 1-2 months worth of rent money goes to the real estate agent (non-refundable, and you MUST use an agent). And there are also other fees depending on the complex. Along with the fact that many rentals don’t have appliances, A/C, or light fixtures.

So anywhere from 4,500-6,000 in money just to GET the keys for an apartment. And then I would have to buy all the other essentials. Furniture, appliances, etc.

And some landlords won’t even give a tour of an apartment to foreigners because they don’t want to rent to “gaijin.”

My plan has just gotten a whole lot harder.

I’ll try my best.