31 July 2012

Thailand

I didn't ever sit down and write those travel guides I briefly mentioned in my last post. Sigh. Maybe one day soon, yes? I'm in the middle of summer here, which is killing my motivation to do anything but sit on the couch with my feet up, firmly planted in the air-con's path, glass of tea in hand. I'm mother-effing worthless these days.





But we did go to Thailand. It was a great trip; dare I say it, better than I was expecting? From the movies on the plane, to the quality of food, to our ability to avoid scams, to our string of mostly-good weather, we seemed to take in some of the best the country had to offer. We even recovered a Kindle left (!) on a plane (!!), and I discovered a love for fruit smoothies I never knew I had. You know what we call that? #Winning.

(Did I just do a hash tag that was made popular years ago by a self-destructing Charlie Sheen? Yes, I just did. Whew, that was embarrassing).


We landed in Bangkok, a city that in certain elements reminded me of the proverbial cousin that you can't help but love but who is always inappropriately drunk and finding themselves in bizarre and sometimes terrible situations, but who is just so fun that you don't mind sitting next to them at the next family reunion because you never quite know what you're going to get. Yeah, that's Bangkok. It's a beautiful, crazy, mess of a city where we managed to avoid most scams, stood in several lines that went nowhere, found very stinky sewers, beautiful palaces, cool and comfortable malls, and tuk-tuk drivers that wanted to give us the run around. We almost found every place we were looking for, and we didn't have anything stolen in the process, which I consider a very successful visit. We also had a lovely family friend show us around the first night, and I think that helped a great deal. (Hint: Insist taxis use their meters. Always. Unless you're by the Palace, ten taxis have turned you down on said meter-requirement, and one taxi offers you a fare that is very inflated but 75% lower than all previously offered fares. Then you take him up on that shit and hop in. Remember, taxis not tuk-tuks, and police men can be liar-faces. That temple is. not. closed.)

Whew. Bangkok! Google scams before you go, so you know what to look for, dive in, and hold on. I actually really liked the entire experience.



We took the train up to Chiang Mai, which is the second biggest city in Thailand but so much smaller than Bangkok. The train was long and a little run down, but I have an inexplicable affection for trains and I can't help but forgive them even when they are slow and late and a little gross. It was an old decommissioned Japanese train, so all the signs were in katakana, which made me laugh a bit. We got to sleep on a train, which no one in our group seemed to love as much as me (and perhaps the jolly and singing-at-1-am-Germans next to us).

In Chiang Mai we were supposed to go to an Elephant Reserve, but I accidently booked us for August instead of July, so we let ourselves be talked into going to pet tigers and visiting Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep instead. My PNW little heart wasn't sure about the tigers -- who were not drugged and looked well cared for, kept satiated by being fed constantly -- but I can't help but assume that they probably are not achieving their tiger life-long dreams when they being petted by tourists all day. But I may be making incorrect assumptions of the tigers, who could be stoked to eat all the time and then lie around and do nothing. I mean, I'm American. I can get behind that lifestyle.


After Amos' cousins had to head back to the Philippines, we stuck around Chiang Mai to go mountain biking. Since we are athletic and outdoorsy and apparently full of ourselves, I signed us up for the "intermediate" course even though neither has been on a mountain bike before (we road bike! same thing!). Um, no. It was really hard. We both fell multiple times. In the end, we were coved head to toe in mud and have several scrapes. I didn't realize that going down would be so completely exhausting. We're now both hooked on it. Amos is already planning a bike purchase when we return back to Seattle. Also: The mountain biking took a pit stop at a coffee plantation, which was just as cool as it sounded.



We ventured into the old City on that last night and ate at a place called the DaDa Cafe, which was a combination of Chiang Mai, Thailand and Boulder, Colorado. I loved it. Tofu green curry, with an avocado-mango-wheatgrass smoothie? Oh man, be still my little hippie heart. (If you listen closely, you can hear my dad pretend to vomit.)

We then caught a plane and flew down to Koh Samui, an island in the Gulf of Thailand, which we picked since it was one of the sunniest islands in Thailand (we were heading there in the rainy season) and had enough stuff to keep us busy should it monsoon while we were there (we're realists). Our big goal was to sit on our butts, read books, and drink Singha. The weather cooperated, I read Wolf Hall, Amos tackled 1Q84, and we had a fantastic time rotating from pool to beach to hammock to cabana deck and back again. There was that one time that I convinced Amos to go explore with me and we ended up walking along a busy, decidedly not picturesque road for an hour. I love walking in the same way I love trains, so I was okay with the situation. Amos, justifiably, was ready to return to said pool-beach-hammock schedule that we have previously agreed on. He course corrected by insisting we turn around and getting a dragonfruit smoothie on the way back to the hotel. We stayed 3 days on the beach, which we have realized is the perfect amount of R&R time, especially when I can't help but turn a nice shade of red, no matter how often I lather up with the 50 sunscreen. The trip ended with a majestic storm rolling in on our last night, and we were able to sit and watch the lightning over the angry ocean. It thundered so loud the windows shook, and I loved it. Thunderstorms are up there with trains and walking for me. I am a simple girl at heart.




On one of our last nights there, we went to a very touristy Fisherman's' Market (note: no fisherman, lots of white people) and ate dinner on the beach and then walked around and drank Pina Coladas out of plastic cups that cost about 50BHT, or a little over $1. We made an early toast to our upcoming anniversary and wondered how we managed to stumble into the life that we're currently living. All I can do is count my lucky starts, cheers my husband, and enjoy it for all it can offer. On that cheesy note, it's time for me to sign off and try to figure out how to get smelly jungle mud stains from our laundry. That shit is rank.

17 July 2012

Out of Office :: Bits & Pieces

Lately:

I woke up dehydrated this morning and, after a pathetic two sips of water, I'm contemplating my second cup of coffee. This one would be iced and not hot, so I can almost be convinced that it's okay. One of these days, I'll take better care of myself. Until then, coffee. With ice. Which counts as water, right?



I made delicious coleslaw last night. It was a take of Smitten Kitchen's, heavy on the mustard and vinegar, light on the mayo. It filled my little Midwestern heart* with so much joy. I have this terrible habit of assuming that anyone who doesn't like coleslaw (or potato salad or macaroni salad) formed their opinion on crappy supermarket deli takeout and don't know what they are missing. For that, I will forever-and-always hate supermarket delis, except for Whole Foods, because we all know that their coleslaw is slammin.'

[* Midwestern by way of grandparents and extended family and long summer vacations, I should say. Colorado is not the Midwest, and don't you dare say it is. But I love me some 'slaw, 4th of July, Madras plaid, and a little headband action now and again.]



I have a pair of brown sandals from Payless. I got them 5 years ago, and they just won't die. They're like the little sandal that could. They are made out of this weird plastic-lookalike-to-leather and, while comfortable and practical, I am ready to move onto another pair. (It's been 5 years already! I've gotten my $15 worth! Any natural material would have worn out long ago!) I finally caved and ordered this amazing, much-more-than-$15 pair of Frye's, and my sister is bringing them to me in August. Don't remind me that our shoe closet is already full, Japan has tons of cute shoes in my size, and I have promised myself to only ask Meg to bring the most important things from America, like a new pair of running shorts, Stumptown coffee, and a decent IPA. These things happen to the best of us. No sense in looking back.



I've yet to nail the perfect air conditioning temperature for our apartment. 25° seems to cold and wasteful, but 26° is too warm. I keep trying to do the automatic 2° colder then outside, but it seems to make our place frigid, even though it is hot as balls here (technical term). In an effort to be eco-conscience, I tried to turn it all off yesterday, open the doors and use the fan. I was sweating and disgusting within 15 minutes, and it's back on. I'm so sorry, Japan. I'll try and conserve energy other ways, like washing dishes less.

I have also realized that I am totally willing to get on board with this line-dying-clothes-outside gig that the rest of the world embraces. However, I am American enough that I insist that my towels be fluffed in the dryer. Everyone has a limit.



If we are too be honest, I usually walk around with a running, inner monologue in my head, just like this, which is to say totally it's a hodgepodge of random observations and thoughts. It's this that I blame for my general lack of coordination, constant gracelessness, and occasional "Hmmm, what was that?" that I'll interject into ongoing conversations. That must be so annoying to my loved ones, and for that, I am very sorry.

Usually, it's decently good stuff and most of it ends up here, on Jackson Riley. However, in the past week or so the monologue has been there but nothing is coming out on coherent sentences when I sit down at my beloved Macbook.

It's frustrating because I know what it means: I need a break. Not a long one, but a little one. A bitty-break. We're going on holiday soon, one where we meet up with cousins and swim with elephants and eat our weight in street food, so I was going to up and disappear on you then anyway. I'll be back, with photos of exotic locations and, perhaps, a fancy-pantsy travel guide or two from all the trips we've been taking. Until then: coffee, coleslaw, grant writing (not all at once... don't be gross.). xo.




[Mini Buddha photos taken along Mt. Misen on Miyajima. I might have been obsessed with them, and my in-laws were so kind as to wait while I took photos of every. single. one.]

13 July 2012

My nemesis


Hokay.

So.

Well, um... yes.

You see, it's 3:30 here, and I've been meaning to write this post since about 9AM. I blame Downton Abbey for that one... and Tom and Lorenzo. Holy moley, that website is addicting. I'd hyperlink to it but I don't want to get sucked back in. Just Google it, darlings, and consider me well versed in the ins and outs of celebrity high fashion.

Sigh.

You win some, you lose some, and, thank you lord, today is Friday so I'll consider it borderline acceptable. Ladies and Gents, what I wanted to tell you today is that I have gone to battle. 

Ahem.
Let me clarify: I have GONE TO BATTLE.

This stint over to Japan has brought me into contact with -- for the first time in my little life -- a devilish beast called humidity. Raging, incessant, terrible, no-good humidity. While I've done stints in the Midwest to visit family, I've pretty much been a West Coast girl my entire life: my Colorado hometown butts up against the Utah desert, Spokane sits on high plateau, and Seattle is perma-cardigan weather, all breezy and cool.

I've done 100°+, dry, desert heat. I've done freezing rain cold. I've done rain, even that misty shit that attacks you from under your umbrella. I thought I was made of tough stuff. That I could handle things.

This. This is bad. This is 90% humidity in weather approaching 90° Fahrenheit.

Add to that the on-and-off heavy rainstorms of the tail end of the rainy season. Check out the fourth line from the bottom and you'll see what I mean.


You guys, this is damp. And a little sticky. It's taking a lot of effort, pep-talks, and bribes of iced coffee for me to even leave the house.

I've been learning lessons like One must wash one's gym clothes the minute one returns home. (They stanky, dude.)

And 
Do not run out of your favorite hairspray because the hair situation was tenuous at best and now it is just tragic. 

And Even if those towels have dried on the line all day, don't you dare put them back in the linen closet until they run through the drier because, well, see stanky comment above.

Some of these lessons have come in the hard way. Some I've been able to foresee. Some I've tried and failed to YouTube my way through. (I'm looking at you, hair.) I even went on a goose chase yesterday to try and find Aveda hairspray, only to come home with a container of oatmeal instead. These things happen to new expats, you see, or at least that's what I'm telling myself.


I know that I'll evolve. If one can manage the months of dark that Seattle winters bring, one should be able to stomach a couple months of never fully drying off, right? RIGHT?

Or I'll spend the next couple months avoiding the mirror, chomping down on oatmeal cookies while rounds of laundry cycle in the background, complete with sticky knees and elbows. (Okay, that was a touch dramatic). 



Here's to you, September. I'll be ready for you with open arms.


---

[PS: I just ran downstairs to grab an iced coffe and incentivize myself to finish this post and along the way, caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Yikes. I didn't even know hair could go that puffy. Oh man...]


---

12 July 2012

Fuji-San (in photos)

Hello lovelies. Writing to you from a windy and rainy Nagoya this morning. I thought I'd share some Mt. Fuji photos from our climb last weekend. We did the Yoshida trail, which is steep but short. We took off from Nagoya around 11PM on Friday, arrived at Station 5 just after 4AM, summited around 9:15AM and were off the trail by 2. The day was windy enough to almost blow us over, and we never saw real sunshine until we were almost down to the bottom. The infamous noodle shops and beer vending machines were not open at the top, and the cloud cover was so bad we couldn't even see the crater, or any view to speak of.

We have a great time anyway. Hiking in Japan, with the colorful gear, impeccably maintained trails, and well developed bathroom system is always a treat. I'm thinking that it's high time for me to begin putting together some travel guides on Japan. Look for them, including a detailed one of Fuji, soon.

Until then, xo.

Beginning the hike at 4AM from Station #5
Early sunrise and a momentary break in the clouds. Station 7 and summit in the background.
Reaching Station 6 with my walking stick, which properly identified me as a tourist.

10 July 2012

Noriko-san's Tanabata Party

It's officially summer here in Nagoya, which means that the notorious heat and humidity have settled in, but it also means that festival season has begun. While I'm having trouble adjusting to the 85% humidity, I am adapting rather well to a culture that puts the words "festival" and "season" together. Good form, Japan. I knew I liked you.



We kicked it off this weekend with a Tanabata party at my sensei Noriko-san's house. Noriko-san is a teacher of mine and probably is one of the nicest women I've met. Every other week, she invites a bunch of gaijin women into her house to learn how to hand sew yukatas, which are light cotton summer kimonos. Norkio-san used to be a professional kimono maker, sewing for dancers and geisha who always needed last minute adjustments. She'll tell stories of her and her mother sewing throughout the night for geisha who needed their kimono the next day. 

I know, I know. You all want to come to Noriko-san's house too, and I don't blame you. It's rather fun. 

I've started hand sewing a yukata. As I've never sewed anything before in my life, it's a little slow and, well... let's just say the stitching isn't going to win any awards. It looks like a distracted 5 year old did it. I couldn't be more proud. 




Noriko-san's favorite holiday is Tanabata, so her and her husband Daiichiro host a party where all her students can wear their yukatas. Since mine is far from done, I ran down to Osu Kannon, a funky shopping district just next to my neighborhood, and bought Amos and I yukatas to wear. (We're a bit of cheaters, but that's okay.)

Amos and I with my prize for winning the memory game.

Tanabata is a festival of the stars, and it celebrates the meeting of two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are represented by the Vega and Altair stars. Legend has it that the Milky Way separates the two, and only on the seventh day of the seventh month are the lovers allowed to meet. On that day, July 7th, the Tanabata festival is celebrated.

We wrote wishes on pieces of paper and placed them on bamboo trees, which were also decorated with origami and paper lanterns. We played memory games with seashells and sung the song Sasa no ha sara-sara. We ate and drank more then was good for us, including some wine that had a dead snake in the bottom of the bottle. I don't really know what that was about.




Sasa no ha sara-sara
Nokiba ni yureru
Ohoshi-sama kira-kira
Kingin sunago
Goshiki no tanzaku
watashi ga kaita
Ohoshi-sama kirakira
sora kara miteiru 
The bamboo leaves rustle,
shaking away in the eaves.
The stars twinkle
on the gold and silver grains of sand.
The five-colour paper strips
I have already written.
The stars twinkle,
they watch us from heaven.

It was such a fun treat to have Noriko and Diichiro pull out all the stops and host such a great get-together. One of my favorite nights so far in Japan, to be sure.  


09 July 2012

Dirty Laundry

Kids. Brace yourself. I'm about to start talking about my dirty laundry here. You may see a photo or two too. Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's Monday morning, and our place is a disaster. Backpacks and gear from Fuji are dropped and scattered in our foyer, yukatas and obis are left in piles on our bedroom floor, and laundry is hanging from the towel rack in our bathroom. Pots from making lemon curd tarts are still in the sink, and there is hardly any food in the house.

It was a good weekend.



I've always found that you can judge the type of weekend you had by the sheer amount of chaos around the apartment on Sunday evening. Sometimes, on a more relaxing one, the place will be pretty clean, except for the couch and coffee table, which will be littered with snacks and blankets. On these quiet weekends, maybe, maybe, there are gym clothes in the laundry basket (as a way to check off that you 'did something' besides movie marathons). This weekend? Oh, man, it was so busy and fun that I'll be cleaning it up for hours. Half our closets ended up in the dirty clothes pile.

Back in the States, Sunday evenings always had an agenda. Amos and I would clean, laundry, and grocery shop, trying hurriedly to get all the things that needed done. Should we arrive from from a trip late on Sunday, our bags would sit in the corner of our bedroom, sadly waiting for days for us to find the time to unpack.



Yesterday evening, Amos asked me if we should start cleaning up. He offered to help as he looked around at the destruction of our place. "Meh," I said nonchalantly, "Don't worry about it. I'll get it done tomorrow. Hey, want to go on a bike ride tonight instead?"

Here's the thing: for as sad sack as Mondays around here can be, and for the occasional job-loss angst I may have, it's rather great to be able to be 100% present with my husband during the weekend and know that, come Monday, I have leisurely clean the apartment and get our errands done. It's like we somehow shifted the work/life balance to be more in our favor. Our weekends are reserved for fun, yet our sheets are washed, our towels are clean, clothes are (mostly) ironed, and we somehow manage to even have dinner at home.

I'm still amazed.

Days like today, when my schedule is open, I remind myself to luxuriate in the time here in Japan. To appreciate what days are like here, and be thankful. A time will come when we are back in Seattle and our lives will move quicker. That will be wonderful, too, and I'm looking forward to it. But today is a reminder to appreciate the unexpected and unusual period of time that this country is affording me, which I will ponder with I paint my nails, apply nail stickers, and Skype to those I love back home. Life, dirty laundry and all, is pretty good.

05 July 2012

Keemo The Archer


Hi again. 

Yesterday I shared about the EyeWriter and Getting Up: The Tempt One Story (have you seen the trailer yet? If not, you definitely should. Watch it here.)

The other project I'm working on is called Keemo the Archer, and it's an award-winning play written and performed by kids with cancer. The Not Impossible Foundation is partnering with Livestrong, and together we have a goal of performing the play 100 times in September, which is National Childhood Cancer month.

Keemo the Archer is told from the perspective of a young girl, Nicole, who battles her cancer in a post-operative dream where a monster is chasing her. It’s scary, and Nicole is worried that she cannot outrun him. With the help of her friends and family, she realizes her inner strength and bravely faces her fears and the disease. Along the way, the play explores other sides of cancer. A little snail loses his shell and worries about looking different than his friends. It is hard to be different, especially for kiddos. In the end, the little snail learns that, with or without his shell, he’s a special snail and his friends like him just the way he is.

Cancer is scary. Having it as an adult is traumatic. As a child? It’s even more confusing, challenging, and difficult to understand. Childhood should be about having fun, running around, hanging out with your friends, and being outside, not in a hospital. We hope that this play can help create a place for children to talk about their feelings.

The script is just a jumping- off point. It’s totally opened-ended and can be taken anywhere the imagination wants it to go. Performances can be high budget, low budget, or no budget. Children can perform on a stage, in a coffeehouse, or in a classroom. They can use props or not; they can be a reading or a puppet show. Heck, they could be a series of drawings or animation. It’s totally up to the kids. This is their play.

To get started, all you need to do is download the script. It’s totally free.

Where can we use your help? Well, we'd love it if you spread the word about Keemo. Know kids who might be interested in performing it? Download the script! Pass along the message. (This is a pretty easy one.)

Thank you so much for listening the past two days while I caught you up on what I'm working on. It's really exciting to be partnering with an organization like the Not Impossible Foundation. If you want to say caught up on what we're up to, feel free to follow us on Facebook.

All right, that's all from my philanthropic heart today. Back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. xo.

04 July 2012

Getting Up: The Tempt One Story

Friends. Hello.

I have to say it's not often I combine personal and professional on this blog. Actually, I think this very moment might be the first, but I couldn't help but share about a new project I'm working on. Well, I'm working on a couple projects, all related to one organization called the Not Impossible Foundation. I'll share one with you today, and one with you tomorrow.

video

The project I want to share with you today is called The EyeWriter. In 2003, LA graffiti artist Tempt One was diagnosed with ALS. He came home from a run one day and had a tingle in his legs. Today he is almost completely paralyzed.

But that sad stuff isn't really Tempt One's story, or at least it doesn't end there. A group of really smart (like, crazy smart) people stepped in. Using inexpensive cameras, cheap glasses, and open source software, they created the EyeWriter, and it enabled Tempt One to draw and communicate using only his eye movements.


"This was the first time I've drawn anything for seven years. I feel like I've been held underwater, and someone finally reached down and pulled my head up so I can breathe." (Mick Elebling, quoting graffiti artist Tempt One.)


I know. Incredible, right?

Time magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2010, and there has been a ton of buzz around it, but I had never heard of it. Until now.

It wasn't ever a goal to make a movie, but as the EyeWriter was being built people realized that this had to be put down on film.  Getting Up: The Tempt One Story tells this fantastic journey. It's about hope and perseverance. About human perspective, and the importance of art and creativity.

The film is now in post production and is nearing completion. There's a ton of great press going around about it. Right now, we are working to fund this movie through post production and into distribution.

While we're building up corporate sponsorship, we also are reaching out on a grassroots level and running a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.  If you have a dollar or two to spare, please consider donating. Stories are important. True and inspirational stories are even more important. They bring hope and spark ideas.


Even if you don't have anything to give right now, please click over and back the project with $0. It'll help this project be promoted on Kickstarter, which is huge. I hate asking for money, but I think this is an awesome story, a hope filled story, and something that should be told. 

If you want to know more about the movie, the Eyewriter, or the Not Impossible Foundation, please visit their website or their Facebook page. I'd also suggest watching Mick Ebeling's Ted talk on the Eyewriter. It's pretty powerful stuff.

Thanks for listening, guys. I hope you're as moved by this project as I was. xo.

03 July 2012

My Thoughts on 'Why Women Still Can't Have It All'

I sat down to write a blog post on the widely discussed article Why Women Still Can't Have it All that is blowing up the internet. What came out is not a post, but much longer and more nuanced piece. I'm posting it here anyway, and invite you to read (warning: it's a long one). Please remember that I wrote it at my dining room table, without an editor. I guess I want you to know that it's not a standard blog post, but it's not a polished publication-ready article either. It's just my take on an incredibly important issue. Thank you.




"All my life, I’d been on the other side of this exchange. I’d been the woman smiling the faintly superior smile while another woman told me she had decided to take some time out or pursue a less competitive career track so that she could spend more time with her family. I’d been the woman congratulating herself on her unswerving commitment to the feminist cause, chatting smugly with her dwindling number of college or law-school friends who had reached and maintained their place on the highest rungs of their profession. I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in. Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot)."

I just finished rereading Annie-Marie Slaughter's article Why Women Still Can't Have It All and, after days of mulling it over, a couple false starts and incoherent drafts, I think I finally have something to say.

My first reaction: Thank you. Immediately followed by: It's about time. 

I understand that people think her title was inarticulate. That the artwork of a baby in a briefcase trite. I heard (and disagree) that because her subject matter is the so-called ‘DC elite’ the entire article is inconsequential to the ‘average’ American mother, a self-absorbed rant of the privileged.

Acknowledging the criticism, I found Ms. Slaughter’s article refreshing. Her departure from the ‘You can have it all’ mantra rang truthful and honest in a way I haven't seen much of (aside from a rare moment of my own mother's candor). In the same way that the world facing a young Ms. Slaughter was different then the world that faced her mother, the choices young women of my generation must make are not the same they were years ago. The basic acknowledgement of this fact alone is huge. 

The question is then raised: If what we used to hold true -- that a dearth of women in positions of power is due to misogamy from the men and a lack of ambition from the women -- is not, where does that leave us? What needs to change in our society for there to be equal representation of women in leadership? Where do we go from here? 


"When many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating ‘you can have it all’ is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk.”


I don't think this article answers these questions, but I found it hopeful and inspiring that they were even being asked, especially by someone so accomplished and intelligent as Ms. Slaughter.

* * * 

To be entirely truthful, I found many of the points in the article a bit obvious. Flexibility, spousal support, meticulous time management and planning… I knew these were not the surefire secrets to ‘having it all’ long before I picked up The Atlantic. It was eye-opening that Ms. Slaughter had to come into this knowledge, to realize that these ‘answers’ of feminism aren't addressing the questions of today.

02 July 2012

June 2012 :: A Wrap Up

Shinto wedding procession at Meiji-jingu Shrine

A-Bomb Dome

Hiroshima, my favorite city of Japan

Miyajima Shrine at high tide

Miyajima Tori Gate seen from the Shrine

If only every sign was so detailed.

View from Mt. Misen

Yukata fabric

Hiking in Kamikochi

Kamikochi

an early toast to celebrate 30 years!

You guys, the geranium came back to life!

yukata shoppin' and tea drinkin' on a Friday afternoon.

Planning some dinner

I come in. I drop. I am my mother's child.

Grampos soccer!

Beer gardens are none too shabby.

Mastering the art of baking in a toaster oven.

My attempt at an origami kaleidoscope. BAM.

Yeah, beer gardens are really not too shabby. Happy Summer, y'all.
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