The first day, I walked around a lot of cool places in Kobe, and we went to the top of the mountain.  It was a lot easier than I had anticipated getting around the city, and the language barrier isn’t that bad.  Almost every street sign and building has the english translation on it, and most people can speak some English.  We went to Chinatown for a little while, and saw some of the new year festivities and celebration.  There, we sat down and had one of the best meals I have ever had, I tried all of the traditional Japanese dishes.  Everything was so good, and most of the things I ate, I had no clue what it was.  Afterwards, I caught up with a couple of friends at a different restaurant and had sushi with them.  More good food.  Then we went out to different bars and met some more semester at sea people.  We went to one international bar where a lot of the Japanese people could speak english.  I had a number of conversations with them, involving topics on Derek Jeter, Star Wars, and how much I look like Shawn Mendes.  They all wanted to take pictures and dance with me.  It was really awesome, I had a great first night, and I’m looking forward to the next four.

The second day I took a bus to one of the smaller towns and we went to one of the hot springs.  The water there was 44 degrees celsius, and it was filled with brown minerals, but I enjoyed relaxing for a bit.  Then we had Kobe beef burgers, and they lived up to the name.  Probably the best burger I have ever had. I walked around the town for a little while afterwards and went into a lot of the shops.  I love trying all of the drinks at the vending machine, because I pick one and I never really know what it is, but they are all really good.  Another thing about Japan is everyone dresses really well, and the streets are always clean.  Children also walk home from school, even in the city, alone, which is definitely different than America.  Another interesting thing about the city is nobody ever honks their cars, and most people talk softly.  Kobe and Osaka are huge cities, but everything is very quite, which is very strange and unlike New York.

Today, we just took off from the port of Kobe, and are heading down to Vietnam.  I had a wonderful time and I wish I could spend some more time wondering around.  The previous two nights I’ve gone out and went to different markets and temples.  I bought a new hat, which I am very proud of it.  Today I went to Kyoto, which is one of the three biggest cities in Japan.  It is filled with ancient temples and buildings, and because of the fact that it was not fire bombed during the second world war, a lot of old structures remain.  We went to the golden pavilion which is a beautiful temple that a lot of people visit.  We also went to the oldest market in the city, and I tried all the best food on the street.  I loved everything about Japan, and I would gladly go again.  The food and the culture here are amazing, and far different than anything I could have expected.

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Day 4 and 5

The last two days everything has gotten into a good rhythm.  I’ve been meeting more and more people and going to class.  I met two guys that have their pilots license and fly all over.  They explained a lot of how it works and it was pretty cool hearing them.  I also met two of the most California surfer kids you can imagine.  One of them was named Cade, and the other Van.  They showed me all the coolest surfing pictures and videos they had, and were  really nice guys.  Another girl I met is fluent in six languages and is working on a seventh, polish.  Its hard to keep track of everyone but I am slowly getting better with names.  We are getting closer and closer to Honolulu, so the weather is getting warm.  I’m very excited to get there and spend some time on the beach.

Day 3

Today I woke up to the sounds of the ocean, and the sunrise peaking through my port hole.  The closest solid earth is 11,000 thousand feet below me, which is fun to think about.  It was the first day of classes, and I really like both my teachers.  The work doesn’t seem to bad, and I have now met a lot of the folks who will be my classmates for the voyage.   Its awesome how diverse and different everyone is.  All of my classes are today, so tomorrow I have the whole day, which will be nice.  Meeting and talking to new people is how I spent most of today.  I think I have adapted pretty well to the lack of internet, and am instead focusing on the current moment.  It is still hard to believe that I’m on the ocean, almost as far away from land as possible, but the gentle rocking of the boat is a reassuring reminder of how crazy of an experience this is.

Day 2

Today was also crazy.  It started with a lot of orientation stuff.  I got to know my roommate, Will, a lot better.  He’s a film major and has done semester at sea before, so he knows a lot of stuff and has been a ton of help.  At dinner, we decided to try and meet some new people so we asked to sit at a random table.  It turns out that everyone we sat with was latino, and they were all fluent in Spanish and English.  Each of them was from a different country and it was crazy hearing them switch back in forth between accents and languages.  I counted it up and I met people from twelve different countries today, ranging from Ecuador to the Philippines.  Everyone is pretty excited about going to Japan and Honolulu, and everyone is interested in meeting everyone and making plans.  I decided to try and join the astronomy club at the club fair, because its awesome sitting up on the top deck and looking at the stars with almost no light pollution.   Seasickness is a real issue that is really messing with the other kids, but I am having no problems.  From my room, I can look out and see the ocean at all times, and it puts me right to sleep.

Day 1

Today was my first day on the ship. To start the day,  was driven from San Diego, past the border through customs at Tijuana, down to the port of Ensenada.  It was pretty surreal leaving the country for the first time.  At the border, as soon as you pass everything switches.   I got a window seat on the bus and got to see a lot of the Mexican coast.  Ensenada was beautiful, but I had to get on the ship quickly.  Being on the boat is a little shakier than I thought it would be, but I haven’t suffered from any kind of seasickness yet.  I met my new roommate and he seems pretty cool.  He’s a senior who goes to the University of Santa Barbara, but he’s from the UK.  We have a pretty big room and definitely lucked out compared to some of the others I’ve seen.  I’ve met a lot of people, and I’m sure their will be plenty more.  Overall I had a very big day with a lot of firsts, and I am excited to see everything that lies a head.

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