KEEPING RESOLUTIONS: 2017

Ybor City wall mural

So, it’s January! The end of January actually, so I suppose it may seem a bit odd that I’m making a post about resolutions now. To be honest, it’s partly because I was procrastinating on finishing my last post (not surprising), but also because I was curious to see just how well I’d be sticking to my promised resolutions by this point. Rather than just boasting about the things I intended to do, I figured I could wait a bit and see if I actually started doing any of them. (Which I have! No, I’m not lying.)

{1} Procrastinate less.
As mentioned above, I have a slight procrastination problem (read as: it’s rather severe). This month, however, I have started making an effort to regularly put my assigned tasks before other things that I might feel like doing in the moment. For example, right now I’m focusing on writing this post rather than binge watching YouTube videos until I fall asleep, laptop still on my stomach. This is a true change of routine.

{2} Put more effort into maintaining friendships.
So, I’m pretty bad at this; I really am. I’m sure there’s someone out there reading this right now, nodding their head “yes” and feeling slighted that I no longer talk to them regularly. They wouldn’t be wrong in doing so either, as I am absolute rubbish at keeping in touch with people. The thing is, it’s not that I can’t be bothered or that I’m not interested in what they’re up to, but more that I’m just really, really shy about starting conversations. I’m not sure why I always feel so hesitant to just ask someone how they’re doing, but I’m now trying to be the one who reaches out rather than always waiting on someone else to speak first. Hopefully this will help me to not only dust off some forgotten friendships, but to also make (and keep!) new ones.

{3} Continue traveling.
Just like I have for the past few years, I’d like to make sure 2017 is full of frequent explorations and adventures. I’d also like to vacation to new locations more often, rather than traveling back to the same spots again and again. (Japan is always an exception to this, so don’t tempt me; I would get on a plane right now.) As some of you know, I’ve already taken a trip to the Bahamas this month, so I think I’m doing fairly well on this one. I’m also planning on vacationing to California for the first time in September and I can’t even express how excited I am to finally see the redwoods! ? ⛺️

{4} Get a tattoo.
Not much to say here other than I really do want one and need to go ahead and take the plunge. Actually, I very recently made a pinky promise regarding this topic, so there’s absolutely no dodging it now. (The repercussions of breaking said pinky promise are quite distasteful.)

{5} Make an effort every single day.
Not to sound like a complete mess, but I’ve never been the best at getting up early, styling my hair, or putting together an outfit devoid of wrinkles. Most mornings, I place more importance upon getting coffee than getting ready. In 2017, however, I thought it would be nice (for myself, as well as others) to wake up each day and actually try. I’m proud to say that as of right now, I have successfully given myself enough time to look presentable every day this month. (Yes, here is where you applaud me for just showering on a regular basis. It’s a big deal.)

Also, I’d like to mention that by actually trying to make myself look somewhat nice every day, I’ve found that I feel a lot better on the inside too. If you’re someone with mediocre self-esteem like me, try brushing your hair occasionally. Or maybe change out of that pizza-stained sweater? It does wonders!

{6} Studierò italiano e giapponese ogni giorno, come facevo.
A couple of years ago, I was making a lot of progress with both languages and setting aside time to study them on a daily basis. I was honestly impressed with how much I was learning and genuinely excited every time I found myself able to read something new. While I still remember a good chunk what I learned, I have let my study habits slip to basically nonexistent levels since then. This resolution also seems to be the one I’m struggling with the most. Since the 1st, I’ve probably only picked up my textbooks about 3-4 times. Can someone please start harassing me about this? Can you all just start speaking to me in only foreign languages? Thanks.

Fingers crossed that I can look back on this post in December and feel proud and accomplished! This is actually the first year that I’ve bothered making resolutions and I think it’s really something that works for me. Of course, I say this when I’m only 4 weeks in, but so far, so good! What about you?

Ybor City wall mural

TRAVELING TO ŌKUNOSHIMA (aka BUNNY ISLAND)

In the summer of 2015, I found myself traveling back to one of my absolute favorite places on earth: Japan. The group I was with spent a little over two weeks taking trains from town to town, hiking mountains, eating ramen, and (possibly best of all) celebrating my birthday on an island inhabited by hundreds of bunnies. Yes, bunnies.

Bunny

Ōkunoshima is a small island off the coast of Japan, just southeast of Takehara and an easy day trip away from Hiroshima. Luckily for me, we were staying at a hotel in Hiroshima for several days leading up to my birthday, so getting swarmed by bunnies was an obvious excursion.

After getting up insanely early and snagging an iced coffee from one of the train station shops, we took about an hour long train ride out to Mihara and then a second train down to Tadanoumi station in Takehara. When we arrived, the tiny costal town was covered in a cool fog, keeping the summer sun at bay and giving me the opportunity to try a banana-flavored hot cocoa (something I never knew I needed in my life until then) while we walked to the port.

Tadanoumi station

Takehara boat docksFerry

Ōkunoshima is only accessible by boat, but a ferry ride there from Takehara is inexpensive (¥300) and arrives about every 30 minutes. While Bunny Island itself is quite an experience, the ferry ride was honestly one of the most unforgettable moments I had while in Japan. As our boat drifted out from the dock, I wandered to the front of the ship with my cocoa and stared out at what looked like the landscape from a fairytale: mountainous islands loomed out of the water in front of us, their tops hidden behind low-hanging morning clouds. I honestly would have been happy riding around on that boat for half the day, but after 15 short minutes, our ferry glided up to the coast of Ōkunoshima and bunnies could be seen speckled along the beach.

Takehara, Japan

Ferry rideCalm waters

I'm on a boat

Island welcome sign

Rabbits, rabbits everywhere

Rabbit

From the actual moment you step off the boat, bunnies are hopping all around your toes. After getting over the initial shock of seeing so many free-roaming rabbits at once, we made our way over to a place where you can purchase small bags of rabbit food (¥100). All of the pictures and videos I had seen of Ōkunoshima previously proved to be completely accurate, as the bunnies literally began to swarm, climbing all over each other and us to get some food.

Bunny cluster

Holding a rabbit

Feeding bunnies

Brown rabbit

Bunny nose

Swarmed by bunnies*Protip: Instead of sprinkling the food around to the bunnies like you’re supposed to, plop down and just dump the whole bag right on yourself. There’s a slight chance of rabbit poop, but it’s worth the risk, right?

After feeding and cuddling what seemed to be every rabbit on the island, we all decided to explore a bit and take a walk along the coast. I happened to turn around at one point to see bunnies trailing behind us, hoping to get another snack or two. (Maybe I still had rabbit food stuck in my hair?)

Bunnies following

Bunnies on the sidewalk

Bright blue water

Cave on the beach

Warm waters, cool air

Paper cranes

Bunnies eating

After walking down the beach for a while, we stumbled across the Poison Gas Museum (entrance charge ¥100). Before Ōkunoshima became known for its bunnies and beautiful beaches, it actually served a unique military purpose shortly after WWI. Beginning in 1925, a secret program was initiated to develop chemical weapons on the island and a gas manufacturing plant was constructed. During the next few years, the plant produced several kilotons of mustard gas and tear gas and to ensure secrecy, the island was even removed from most maps. If you’re brave enough to venture down a rather eerie-looking tunnel, you can see the ruins of the old gas manufacturing plant, with ivy clinging to its sides and bunnies darting about the rubble.

Eerie tunnel

Factory ruins

Power supply building

* If military history and chemical warfare isn’t really your thing, Ōkunoshima also has bicycles for rent, camping, and a hotel with a restaurant.

And so concluded what is very likely the best birthday I have ever had. The next time I visit Japan (2018?!), I really hope I can make my way back to this amazing place. I’d like to think that I’m adventurous enough to try camping here, as doing it for even just a night would be such an unforgettable experience. (Plus, scary ghost stories by the abandoned gas factory? How fun and spooky would that be?) Until next time, Japan! ?

White rabbit

THE BLOG BEGINS

Welcome to libracc.io! While I haven’t written in a blog of any sort for quite some time, I’ve decided to try and set up a permanent spot for all my varied interests and ramblings. For anyone who happens to stumble across this tiny site somehow, here are a few things about me to get you started:

I work in a library! Even though I spend a lot of my free time on my laptop, books will always be my favorite form of entertainment. I’ll probably be rambling mostly about young adult titles here, but I do occasionally read other genres. (Like really rarely though. Non-fiction? I have enough real life on a daily basis, thanks. Give me dragons or parallel universes.)

book and coffee mug

Secondly, I absolutely love traveling, so prepare to be inundated with posts about of some of the most fantastic and breathtaking places I’ve seen! It will probably be a bit Japan-heavy, however, as I’m sure you’ll understand. BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE THIS:

floating tori gate; miyajima, japanThe “floating” torii gate; Miyajima.
AMAZING

close up of deerFeeding the deer outside of Todaiji Temple; Nara.
WOW

okunoshima, japan (rabbit island)A quiet coast, Ōkunoshima Island.
MOVING THERE BYE

And lastly, I’m obsessed with pugs. And that’s putting it mildly.

achievement unlocked

If that last photo doesn’t scare you off, then congrats, you might just be as weird as me! Grab yourself a cup of coffee and read on. ☕️