December Wrap-up // I went to Japan and experienced snow for the very first time!!

This post is late, but for a good reason.

Hi, friends! I know we’re already halfway through January and I’m just posting my December wrap-up now. I had to publish all of my end-of-the-year posts first, so here we are!

Something happened to me in December that made me really sad for like, the whole month, and I’d rather not talk about it. Other than that, I had a decent month complete with two (!!) school breaks. First, I had one week off school because the Philippines hosted the 2019 Southeast Games, and second was Christmas break!

During Christmas break, I went to Sapporo, Japan with my family, where I experienced winter for the very first time!

Now that I’ve experienced it, I can definitely see why some people hate it. The number of layers you have put on before going out is TIRING. And sometimes it’s cold to the point that it’s unbearable. But I did have a lot of fun playing in the snow—something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child.

I will share one sad (but funny) anecdote from my trip: When my family and I were walking back from the park, I was going to take a picture of something, but I couldn’t find my phone. We had to retrace our steps back to the park, and there my dad found my phone buried in the snow. (Miraculously, it’s still functioning, and it seems to have retained no damage!)

You may be thinking that this is a happy story, right? Welllll, my phone was not the only thing that fell out of my pocket. It wasn’t until later, riding the bus back to our hotel, that I checked for my powerbank, and realized that I had also lost it in the park. But wait! It gets worse (but also more hilarious).

I was going through my phone’s camera roll a few days after I’d lost my powerbank forever. (I didn’t get to look for it anymore because by the time I realized it was missing, we were too far away.) And….. I found my powerbank…. in a picture that I took.

Well, I’m never getting that powerbank back. I’m mad at myself because I could’ve zoomed in on the picture while I was in the park and realized that my powerbank wasn’t with me, but no—I had to find out when I had already left! At least I didn’t lose both my phone and powerbank, right?

Interesting story aside, I had fun on my trip, even though traveling makes me super tired. I ate delicious food, admired a bunch of winter animals, and got to experience the wonders of the Japanese subway system.

I read eight books in December! I had planned to read 10+ books (reading 10+ books in a month is a dream of mine), but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to read much during vacation! I also read almost all Asian books during December because I was rushing to meet my goal for the Year of the Asian reading challenge.

  • The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco- This was such a fun, creative and diverse read. The characters were all super lovable, but I didn’t connect with them as much as I wanted to. โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett- This was a dense read (I mean, it’s adult high fantasy), but it was also amazing. โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜† I talk more about it here.
  • Top Secret by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy- This was really cute, but also really steamy. I loved the two main characters so much!! โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram- This was such a quiet but beautiful story. I kinda got bored while reading it, but only because I’m not a contemporary person. โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†

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  • Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay- I truly think that everyone needs to read this—it’s so relevant to what’s happening in the world today. โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜† Goodreads review.
  • Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love, edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond- The first eight stories were SO GOOD, but then this anthology went downhill. Why??? โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜† Goodreads review.
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee- I can see why everyone loves this so much, but it was so damn dense. ๐Ÿ˜ญ โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†
  • The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee- The writing was trying so hard to be funny, but it failed big time. โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†โ˜† Goodreads review.

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Favorite Posts from the Blog:

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I had so much fun screaming about the amazing-sounding 2020 releases on my TBR ๐Ÿ˜

most disappointing books 2019

Spilling the piping hot tea. On Christmas, no less. ๐Ÿธโ˜•

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I accidentally took this post down, so I had to republish it! Sorry if you saw this on your Reader again. ๐Ÿ˜… This post was months in the making, and I finally got to publish it in December!

I wish you all a lovely rest of your January!

HOw did you find the month of December? Any highlights? Favorite books? HOw did you celebrate Christmas and New Year’s eve?

43 thoughts on “December Wrap-up // I went to Japan and experienced snow for the very first time!!

  1. Great wrap-up, Caitlin. I’m glad you enjoyed the snow – we get it perhaps once a year where I am in the UK and it usually brings the country to a standstill lol. Congrats on reading eight books, and a lot of four-star reads! I haven’t read 10 books in a month before – my highest is nine.

    Hope you’re having a wonderful January! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, I would love to visit the UK sometime. Thank you, Stephen! Haha, I canโ€™t believe you noticed the amount of four-star reads I had! I noticed it at the beginning of the month, and I wanted the streak to change.. but unfortunately it changed for the worse.
      Ahh, nine is good! I think my highest is eight!

      Hope youโ€™re having a wonderful January as well โค๏ธ

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AHH I’m glad you enjoyed Japan!! I’m really looking forward to visiting it again someday! we were planning to go in January, but then we heard from my relatives there that it’s unusually cold there that (or this) winter! And well done for 500 followers!! That is such a milestone!! โค

    I'm so sorry you lost your power bank ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I remember seeing your tweet about it!! At least you have your phone!

    I hope your January has been good so far, and will continue to be!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, sorry your trip got canceled :0 It is really cold there though, so maybe you dodged a bullet? Hopefully you can go in the spring and summer or something! Thank you!! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

      Haha, Iโ€™ve made peace with it, but Iโ€™m still the slightest bit salty ๐Ÿ˜… glad that I didnโ€™t lose both though!

      Thank so much! Wishing you a wonderful rest of your January ๐Ÿ’–

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aaah, congrats on reaching 500!! It’s so well deserved, here’s to 500 followers more! ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฅ‚

    Hahaha, I am very well versed in losing phones in the snow. It has happened to me maaaybe 3 times? One time it was lost forever (RIP), but the other two times it was recovered! I have very mixed feelings about snow, having been a child that loved snow days, and now being an adult that still has to go school and work even when it does snow ๐Ÿ˜ช

    I got Jade War to read like three months ago, and still haven’t gotten around to it (I’ve been sucking at getting around to doing much of anything book related recently ๐Ÿ˜‚) but maybe I’ll read it this weekend, you’ve inspired me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hope you have a wonderful January!! ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Chana ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ’— Missed you and Malka so freakinโ€™ much!!

      Omg, Iโ€™m glad Iโ€™m not the only human in the world who lost their phone in the snow! Sorry one was lost forever, but recovering two is amazing! Honestly, same? I mean, I live in the Philippines, where it NEVER snows, so as a child, my one wish was to experience it. Now that I have, I think Iโ€™ve had enough of winter for like, the next ten years & Iโ€™m fine right here in temperate weather ๐Ÿ˜‚

      hope everything sorts itself or soon (but always put your mental health first)! And I hope you enjoy it if you didโ€”canโ€™t wait for your thoughts!

      Wishing you an amazing rest of your January, Chana! ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ


  4. Awww, I am so happy you got to experience snow for the first time! It’s totally annoying and a pain, but I love it. Then again, I don’t have to live in it, but it is just a 2-hour drive to get some winter fun in!

    Congrats on reaching 500 followers, and it looks like you had a good reading month barring that one 2-star read. I hope this month treats you wel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too!! It was such a magical experience that I’ll never forget, because it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child โค Yeah, I kinda wouldn't want to live in it ๐Ÿ˜‚ It's nice to experience from time to time, but it's also a little hard to deal with!

      Thank you so much! And I did—I can't believe I had so many 4-star reads, because I always rate books 3 stars, haha! I hope you're having a wonderful rest of your January, Kal โค


  5. So glad you got the chance to experience snow for the first time! Also Jade City is DENSE I liked it but it was quite a bit to get through sometimes haha. I keep seeing The Never Tilting Worlds on peoples blogs and feel like I need to read it soon!! Great wrap up ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg yes!!! I donโ€™t know why everyone who loved it didnโ€™t think to mention that itโ€™s slow-paced and denseโ€”maybe I couldโ€™ve gone in more prepared. No joke, I think I lose about half of my brain cells reading Jade City :/
      You really do!!! Itโ€™s such a unique fantasy read with so much diversity and great commentary on the environmental issues we face today!
      Thank you ๐Ÿ’—

      Liked by 1 person

  6. CAITLIN THE SNOW!! It’s so pretty.๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ’“I’m so glad you got to experience it, and it’s so cool you went to Japan! I’m really sorry about your powerbank, but glad your phone didn’t get messed up from the snow as well. (:

    “Quiet but beautiful” >> the best way to sum up Darius the Great!! I can see it not being a favorite if contemporary isn’t your thing, but I’m still happy you enjoyed it because it’s definitely a book I scream about often. XD

    CONGRATS ON 500 FOLLOWERS!! You deserve all the love and more!! Ahh, I’m just so happy for you~ sending you all the hugs and confetti and cupcakes right now, my friend. I hope you’re having a really good month!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, thank you ๐Ÿฅบ It was literally a once in a lifetime experience! Yeah, that’s what I tell myself whenever I get salty about my powerbank :”)

      I can see why you and Taasia always scream about it! It’s so important, and I feel like every teen can gain something from it. I really wasn’t expecting it to be such a quiet story (and somehow I thought there was going to be a romance between Darius and Sohrab before going in?), but now I know the power of quiet YA!

      thank you so, so much ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ’— sending those and more right back at you, friend! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your January—you deserve it โค โค

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on 500 followers, I am so so happy for you and you deserve it SO MUCH โ™ฅ Here is to 2020, another great year for you I am sure!
    I’m so glad you got to experience the snow, and your trip seemed to have been a lot of fun, even if it was tiring. I get really tired on trips, so I relate to that a lot. Snow is gorgeous to look at, and it gives a stunning atmosphere. However, having had snow where I lived when I had to go to university and do things, it can get very annoying. I remember my uni closing for one day because they believed it was just too dangerous to go out, public transport was a mess and pretty much non existent… France does not function when there’s snow. Everything shuts down haha But I personally love the cold, so I can’t complain.
    I hope you have an incredible year in 2020 Caitlin! โ™ฅ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Noรฉmie! ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ’– I hope 2020 is a great year for you as well, because you deserve it!
      Yeah, I feel a little ungrateful because not everyone gets to visit foreign countries regularly, but I’d honestly be content to just stay at home to read and blog, which makes me sound like a stereotypical introvert, but I’d really prefer that to walking around for hours on end and seeing stuff that I don’t really care about… I probably wouldn’t get tired if I got to go to Europe though ๐Ÿ˜
      Yes, I’m so excited that I got to experience snow already! now that I have, I think I’m content to stay away from snow for like, a good few years, because it’s pretty hard to deal with! I can’t imagine experiencing it in university! Sorry you had to go through that, but at least you love the cold (I’ve realized that I have low tolerance, haha)!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m glad you liked the snow. I agree that layering up is very tiring, but there is still something so magical about snow.
    Reading 8 books in a month is an accomplishment! At least I think so.
    I hope the new year is kinder to you than December was โค

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I told myself I was gonna get a lot of work done in December but I was barely free of exams so I just kinda halfheartedly tried but failed; from the 20th onwards I had a really nice week long break though. And yay glad you liked snow; I still find it insane that some people have never seen snow, even if it hasn’t snowed probably here for about two years, thanks climate change ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MOOD. I always make to-do lists that are a mile long, and then proceed to do about two things from it. And I saw your exam thread on Twitter, and it seems like they were pretty intense :0 I’m so glad that you did well in them though (from what I can tell from your reaction video)! And it’s so wild to me that your summer break is in December, haha! It must be so weird to have opposite seasons to most other countries!
      lol, the Philippines has never seen anything close to snow. I’ve wanted to experience it since I was a child, and I’m so glad that I finally have!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. ahhh, thatโ€™s so exciting you got to see snow! it is one of my biggest dreams too. i have experienced winter to a certain extent, because when i went to nyc last year, the temperatures were the lowest iโ€™d ever felt – like 2ยบ/3ยบC. but unfortunately, iโ€™ve never seen snow. iโ€™m glad you had fun, even though it must have been really sad to lose your power bank. iโ€™m glad your phone is okay though!
    itโ€™s funny because this december i actually had the opposite experience. i was in an outdoor pool, listening to music in my phone, and it shut off and i couldnโ€™t turn it back on. every time i tried, a warning popped on the screen saying that it was too warm to function and i needed to cool it off immediately. thankfully, i got to put it on the shade asap and there was no further damage, but iโ€™d never gotten such a warning before!
    it seems like december was a really good reading month and reaching 500 followers is such an awesome milestone!!!!! iโ€™m so happy for you!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I’m a little jealous that you were able to to go to nyc! I went there once as a child, and I’m dying to go again! In Japan, the temperature actually reached -9 (and probably even lower) lmao. it was so. freaking. cold. And thank you โค
      Ah, I had no ideas phones could warn you if the temperature it's in is too hot! It's funny that we had opposite experiences, but at least both of our phones are fine!
      it was!! which is funny because after my like, fourth 4-star read in a row, I was like, "please let the pattern break," and then it did.. for the worse. and I barely have any 4 star reads so far this year, so be careful what you wish for :")
      thank you so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I saw the tweet about your powerbank and laughed out loud on it – sorry – but the fact that you discovered it on your pictures after leaving is ๐Ÿ˜‚. Also, as someone who leaves in a country with winter I can fully confirm it sucks. ๐Ÿ˜‚ The cold, snow, ice etc. are a nightmare. Though so far this winter has been mild here. I’m glad you had fun in Japan. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Okay, but are we bound to have different thoughts on books forever!? ๐Ÿ˜ญ I adored Hungry Hearts, with the exception of maybe one story that didn’t really fit in with the rest. I’m glad you loved parts of it at least! I also really enjoyed The Epic Crush of Genie Lo – it was cute and entertaining, though yeah, I get how it felt forced. Jade City, though!! My favorite!! ๐Ÿ˜ญ

    I read Darius this month, and that’s one we agree on, haha. I really enjoyed it, but it was quite slow and boring at parts? I think I went into it with the wrong sort of expectations, so that didn’t help. (For one, I thought there would be a romance, haha.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. don’t worry, if it weren’t me, I would’ve laughed too ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m glad that I was able to experience winter once, but I definitely wouldn’t want to go through it regularly, especially ones as intense as yours are! I’m glad that right now it’s pretty mild though (but maybe that’s the fault of climate change ://). thank you โค

      ahhh, I don't know why I don't like most of your faves ๐Ÿ˜ญ Hungry Hearts was such a good anthology!! I don't know, the last few just felt like a drop in quality from the rest of the stories. Yeah, I see Genie Lo's appeal, but the author's attempts at humor were not doing it for me. It ruined my entire experience :// I'm a character driven reader, so the fact that Genie and Quentin would just snark at each other 24/7 instead of communicating and doing something besides crack jokes was a major hindrance to me connecting with them. And yeah :(( I'm so sad about Jade City! I was 99.9% sure that I was gonna give it 5 stars, and at first, I thought I was, but the slow pacing never let up, and reading it felt like wading through mud. I see how it's a good book, but unfortunately, it just wasn't for me (maybe I would've liked it more if I was prepared for the slow pacing?). I have high hopes for Jade War though, but I don't think I'm gonna pick it up any time soon!

      Ahh, yay! We finally agree on something! Yeah, I thought there was gonna be a romance too! Some people but it in LGBT book lists, so I thought that Darius and Sohrab were gonna fall in love, so i was shocked to discover that their relationship stayed platonic. And yeah, I wasn't expecting how quiet it would be! It's the kind of story where nothing really happens, but it's beautiful in its own way. Probably won't be picking the sequel of though, honestly ://

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I went into Genie Lo expecting something like this, based on a review I read, so I enjoyed it. But yeah, it’s definitely not a very deep book. ๐Ÿ˜… I’m looking forward to reading the sequel nonetheless, and hope it won’t disappoint.

        Haha, I get it regarding Jade City.. but, uh, be prepared for that slower pace to resurface in Jade War too. ๐Ÿ™ˆ

        I’ve added the Darius sequel to my tbr, but I doubt I’ll get to it. As far as I understand he’ll have a boyfriend but will be getting closer to one of the guys who bullied him… I don’t much care for that story.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. At least you were warned! I went into it completely blind, sadly :(( I do hope that it doesnโ€™t disappoint you!

        Ah, I just donโ€™t get why I didnโ€™t come across a single person mentioning it before I picked it up, so that I couldโ€™ve had the chance to enjoy it more ๐Ÿ˜ฉ Thanks for the warning though! At least Iโ€™ll be prepared for Jade War, I guess :))

        Ahh, yeah, itโ€™s a touchy subject & I hope the author makes sure to highlight that bullying is wrong ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m sorry that a sad thing happened, but I’m happy to hear that you at least got to have a lot of fun on your trip and experience snow for the very first time ๐Ÿ’— I love snow but we didn’t get any in December and not in January either ๐Ÿฅบ I also kind of laughed at your power bank story, it’s sad that you lost it but also a bit hilarious at the same time ๐Ÿ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you so, so much, Caro! โคโคโค It’s okay! I’ve gotten over it by now. And I hope that you get snow next year! Climate change sucks!
      Honestly, same. while I’ll forever mourn the loss of my powerbank, I can’t deny that it’s a funny story and I am glad that people got a good laugh out of it ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad to hear that you’re feeling better now ๐Ÿ’— Still no snow, all we got was a storm … but maybe in February or December? I just really love snow ๐Ÿ˜ญ

        The real question is, did you manage to get a new powerbank? ๐Ÿ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m sorry to hear that something happened to upset you, it sounds like you had a wonderful time in Japan though. I can’t believe you took a picture of your lost powerbank, I am sorry that you lost it though. I’m glad you got to experience the snow – I never get over much where I’m from. Usually just enough to cause havoc. When it first falls I love how pretty it looks though. Plus it’s fun to play in ๐Ÿ˜… also congratulations on reaching 500 followers, thats amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great wrap up, Caitlin! Oh my gosh, I’m so happy you found your phone, but it’s a shame about the powerbank! It’s so funny that you happened to have the photo of it in the snow. Haha! If only you had seen the picture before you left! ๐Ÿ™ˆ I’m so glad that you enjoyed the snow though! I’ve only ever seen it a few times, and it’s always so much fun to play inm but I could never imagine living in a climate where I would have to deal with it every winter. Me and the cold do not mix well. lol!

    So many of the books you read are ones that are on my tbr!! I did read Jade City recently as well, and it was good, but very dense. I wish it had been about 150 pages shorter, because my attention span was not holding out by the end!

    A huge congrats on 500 followers!! I hope you’re having a great 2020 so far! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! Lol, that’s exactly how I feel about losing my powerbank and snow! Snow is fun for a while, but i caNNOT imagine living with it regularly!

      Yes! There’s no doubt that Fonda Lee is a master of her craft, but I wish that I could’ve been more prepared for the slow pacing and density of Jade City. Maybe that way I would’ve enjoyed it more :/

      Ahh, thank you!! I hope your 2020 is going amazing too–you deserve it โค โค


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