Having a friend on the other side of the world is something very special. I first met Ayako when I was 16, during a school exchange, during which she came to live with me and my parents for two weeks. The following year, I travelled to Japan to stay with Ayako and her wonderful family for just over a fortnight, and to say I was devastated to leave would be a rather large understatement. The thought of never seeing someone again, when we had become such good friends, was heartbreaking.
Reluctantly dragging myself through Osaka Airport, tears tumbling down my face, it would seem I had forgotten that we live in the 21st Century and that, really, there is no need for contact to be lost.
Having spent four years messaging updates to one another and posting the occasional gift, I was ecstatic to learn that Ayako would be studying in the UK and could not wait to organise a much-needed reunion.
In the four years which I have lived in and around Cardiff, I had never visited Cardiff Castle until Ayako and I ticked it off our ‘To See’ list. I had always wondered what stood behind the walls, so was excited to become a tourist in my own hometown and enjoy the historical tour around the grounds.
Apart from the picture-postcard exterior, the inside of the castle is in itself breath-taking, and equally just as cold.
No Girls’ Weekend would be complete without brunch. One of my favourite spots for brunch in Cardiff is Cosy Club, where we enjoyed a lazy Sunday morning. With rain beating against the window, 20s jazz playing and bubbling glasses of Prosecco, there was no better place to put our two, very different, worlds to rights.
After Japan’s stunning performance against South Africa in the Rugby World Cup, Ayako was keen to see the home of Welsh rugby. Although we weren’t lucky enough to catch a match, ambling down the Taff embankment provided the chance to see the tiles commemorating each country that has played in the stadium. Our two favourites were, of course, an easy choice…
If you haven’t enjoyed a glass of wine in Cardiff Bay, have you even visited Cardiff? As per usual, Cardiff’s weather was rather inclement over the weekend, meaning we couldn’t quite enjoy sitting out on the terrace of a bar, looking out at the sun setting over the bay. But rain aside, we made the most with a drink and a stroll.
Spending four years oceans apart, made our time together all the more valuable. With Ayako staying in the UK until June, I cannot wait to see my beautiful friend again soon for another tour of another town!