Former Timaru Boys' High School student Brennan Galpin has been keeping busy in Japan while on his year-long exchange.
Once again I have been so busy I have barely had time to sit down and rest. But that's the way I like it.
I've been into some of Japan's most reclusive and rural areas and then in the same week gone to the mass of buildings that is Tokyo.
I started off June with a trip to the world heritage site of Shirakawago and looked at these massive houses made of wood and straw.
We had the best weather and an amazing time walking about this village in the mountains like something out of a fairy tale.
The other exchange students and I hung out in Nagoya again, but this time there was a whole tribe of us.
There were Kiwis, Americans, French, Australians, Germans, more Americans, Finnish and another American. We made a huge noise as we moved about the city and attracted many weird looks but we didn't mind.
It's always a good time with friends.
Very soon I'll be sitting the "Japanese Language Proficiency Test".
I've been studying in school and reading as much as I can so I can hopefully pass this test. There are five levels and I will be doing the fourth. (Level five is beginner and level one is fluent).
It's hard work but I'm lucky because I'm in the best environment to learn Japanese.
My host mum and I visited a waterfall that was deep in the mountains where you could swear you were on a different planet in comparison to the likes of Tokyo or Nagoya.
We went for a really nice walk through the forest path and then up an old set of iron stairs to the top of this waterfall.
It was refreshing to get out into nature and breathe in the clean air.
In the same week my friend and I went back to Tokyo and spent a few nights looking about the city which was as alive as the waterfall I had just been at.
We spent three days looking around different parts of the city and finding all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
We were in the sea of people in Shibuya where all your senses are assaulted by the concrete jungle. It's loud, it smells odd, people are always bumping into you, you can't look somewhere without seeing the flashing lights of some store and you don't have to go far to find a good feed.
We went to Asakusa and looked at the big temple and its Kaminari gates.
It was a more traditional side of Japan. It was just as crowded as Shibuya was, but it smelt a bit better.
- The Timaru Herald