Melissa's Guide

Melissa’s Guide to Japanese Autumn Festivals

A cooling breeze drifts through my open window, bringing with it the scent of the fragrant Kinmokusei trees and the distant strains of repetitive drum beats. This can only mean one thing, autumn has come to the land of the rising sun. Unlike the pictured Japan, autumn does not start with brilliant coloured leaves, but instead starts with something just as interesting, and just as worth seeing, Autumn Festivals (in Japanese – Aki Matsuri). For the first few weeks of October, instead of cars driving down the street, you can see massive Yatai carried by groups of scantily clad men. On certain days, you can watch elaborate religious parades, and if you’re lucky, you can watch a Yatai fight. Thankfully, I live in an area famed for its Autumn Festivals, and I consider them to be one of the best cultural experiences Japan has to offer. Therefore, I’m obviously going to provide you with a Melissa’s Guide to Japanese Autumn Festivals*.

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Melissa's Guide

Melissa’s guide to surviving a Zombie Apocalypse

USJ, which is how cool people say Universal Studios Japan, pulls out all stops to celebrate Halloween in style. There’s themed food, attractions and best of all, a zombie apocalypse after dark. Although this is a simulated apocalypse, I did pick up some handy tips for the day ‘I am Legend’ will occur and we’ll all be faced with flesh eating monsters. Welcome to Melissa’s guide to surviving a Zombie Apocalypse.

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One year in Japan

A little over year ago now, I received a phone call. As I was supervising a class of first year students in a chemistry lab, I left the phone call to go to voice mail, while I rushed to ensure the laboratory wouldn’t be blown up by my students’ slight incompetence. The class having finished with no one minus an eyebrow, but many complaints about my marking of lab reports, I finally checked the message on my phone. Expecting a telemarketer, I was surprised to hear a gruff voice, belonging to a man I had met once before at a job interview. The voice informed me that he might have an opportunity for me, and could I please call him back as soon as was convenient.

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