A while back, my good friend Kelcie (who I've known since I was in Elementary School), told me she had a short break from grad school and was planning to come to Japan in March. The timing worked out perfectly since my schedule is a bit more relaxed this time of year! A bonus was that Kelcie brought along her friend Michelle (who everyone calls Shimmy) and the three of us hit it of like sisters! 

A throwback photo for reference (this was at GVBC summer camp). Kelcie has always been one of my friends that makes me laugh the most. This might have something to do with the fact that we grew up going to summer camp together where we found the most random and creative ways to occupy our afternoon free time. I clearly remember this one day at Alpine Camp when Kelc, Naomi, Dresser, Jamie and myself did this dance video around our cabin. The cabin was comprised of three rooms that made a circle, so we set up the video camera on the floor and opened all the connecting doors so we could strut around in a continual circle while dancing. We were busting up laughing for hours doing this. Pure ridiculousness... and some of my best childhood memories. You could imagine the adventures Kelc and I were about to have in Japan...

First stop was Disney Sea! We spent all Saturday here and it was perfect. I love friends that love Disney. A few highlights were being able to rock my pink fuzzy mickey earmuffs, seeing a group of random girls perfectly posed wearing matching pink pig outfits, and grubbing on the cutest Alien mochi. GOOD DAY! 

On Sunday, Kelc and Shimmy joined me for church and we had a blast worshiping the Lord together!! My favorite thing is bringing all my friends to meet my church family here in Japan. After service we grabbed some udon (with mini curry on the side) at the station and headed down south an hour or so to our next destination...ODAWARA. 

This is a fun travel story...Kelc and Shimmy weren't quite sure their whole itinerary when they arrived to Japan, so on Friday night Kelc and I literally sat down on our computers and said "Where do you wanna go?" I recommend playing this game with friends, it's pretty fun hah! We decided to stick within an hour or two of the Tokyo area and settled upon the Odawara/Hakone area. We pulled up Airbnb and booked this place called "Plum Hostel" for $20 a night. dope! 

more on this hostel later in the post...but i mean, how cute is the entrance?? 

We unloaded our backpacks at the hostel and walked around town to find dinner. Look at Kelc giving me the "SMIZE" here - diva!

And then we found this shop, famous for kamaboko (fish cakes). I grew up around kamaboko and always avoided it as a kid (wait, I still avoid it as an adult) but I had to appreciate the CAR AND BARBIE SHAPED KAMABOKO for sale. Whaaaaat?! That is next-level-Japan status. 

We cruised around a few shops at the station mall, and then ate bentos for dinner (since they were one sale!). Kelc got that maguro bowl for literally $3 (unreal) and Shimmy and I ate a yummy beef bento for $4. dowwwwn! 

Ok now a little bit more about this hostel... It was cute, cozy, clean and perfectly Japanese. 

The hostel entrance had a reception desk, a kitchen and a little upstairs hang out area. So cute right!?

We stayed in the "female dorm" which was basically a TINY room with 5 beds (bunks). Since we took up 3 of the beds, it kind of felt like our own private cabin and we goofed off for an hour or so just taking photos. 

The beds were super cozy and they had a little night light, bedside shelf, outlet plug, and curtains to close off your area to feel private. 

Sunday after dinner and taking a bunch of photos...we spent the night chatting about all God is teaching us in our lives. There was this moment when Kelc was up in the bunk above me and Shimmy was in the bunk next to me and we realized, "doesn't this feel exactly like church camp?" We had a good laugh at that moment...that Kelcie and I grew up together bonding at church summer camp, bunking together as kids, and there we were 15 years later in bunk beds in the middle of Japan doing the same thing. I love how God works!!! 

many more photos coming...