Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Headed Home

This Saturday I will be headed back to LA to spend the holidays with family and friends. I am especially looking forward to it as last year I was in India, where it felt like the holidays never happened. I`m excited to play catch up on Christmas, New Years and my birthday.

My mom emailed me to ask me if their was any food I wanted in the house when I got there, I made the mature request for Frosted Mini Wheats and cinnamon rolls. Then I started thinking about all the other reasons I am excited to go home, and came up with quite a list.

Here are a few...


Runs along the strand.
This guy.
The word `HEY!` rather than `Hello`.

You have no idea how much you miss it till it`s gone.
That was actually a sincere statement.
My mom even said I could have the middle one.

These two.
El Burrito Jr. A Redondo Beach legend.
Jamba Juice.
These 6, as well as my actual Friends.

Coffee Bean`s Ice Blended.
Need I say more.


Homeward Bound,

[The Latest]

Must Read: Paris Jackson on her Father Michael---an interview with little Paris
Google Search: how to make a warm compress...I just couldn't warm up when I got home
Accomplishment: a successful final Japanese class for this term
Obsessions: my Christmas tree candle, eggs and green tabasco sauce

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winter Weekend

This past weekend we had a Christmas party in Kashiwa, organized by the lovely Olivia. It was a two hour pre-set menu and nomihodai (all you can drink). We invited friends and co-workers from all comers of our lives over here in Japan, and I think it`s safe to say it was an epic night.

Place Setting
Food Galore
As if to remind us how successful Saturday night was, Sunday morning was a little rough. But it was a beautiful Sunday out and we were all determined to spend some time outside. So we layered up, created a little picnic for ourselves, and enjoyed each others` company beneath the bright blue sky.



[The Latest]

Google search: Hong Kong
Accomplishment: cooking the past few meals
Obsessions: the Japanese hand warmers that heat when you shake them, garlic cream sauce-splurge from the foreign goods store

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Touch of Christmas

Yesterday, after getting home from school I packed up a book and headed into Tokyo. I wanted to get out of Kamagaya, to be in the city, in the mix of things. On my walk from the station to a cafe I had been wanting to try, I enjoyed the beautiful touch of Christmas that has fallen on the city, as well as in my home.

Tree at the bottom of the Mitsubishi Building
Safe From the Cold
[Christmas at Kate`s]


[The Latest]

Must Read: 11 Things to Know at 25(ish) ----thanks Tori!
Google search: dry eyes
Accomplishment: cheaply decorating my apartment for Christmas
Obsessions: popcorn from the foreign goods store, cold weather and Christmas deco combo

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Contemporary Art

This week, the students are finished with school at one o`clock, while the teachers have to stay and work on report cards. I fall somewhere in between teacher and student, and when I found out this week's schedule, I was curious as to how it was going to effect me. My Kyoto Sensei (vice principal) came over to tell me that, if I wanted, I could leave at one as well, though I would be using my nenkyuu (paid vacation time). I weighed my options and decided to take the time off, otherwise I would literally be sitting at my desk until four. So all week I am done at one! It's a lovely change of pace and I have decided to make the most of my hours off, creating half a day ahead of me to explore.

So, yesterday I walked off campus with the kids, and headed home. Grabbed my umbrella, and after a quick change of clothes was off to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I had been once last year and loved it. About a 30 min train ride away, the building itself is nestled among the autumn colored trees. It started to rain during the 10 minute walk to the museum, but with my umbrella and ipod I hardly noticed. Once inside, the rain made my few hours there that much more cozy.

Free umbrella locker. Genius.
Rainy Tuesday Afternoon
Soil Sample Art

One of my Faves
One of my permanent faves,
strung from the ceiling continually welcoming guests

Outside the Cafe
Cozy Thai Cafe


[The Latest]

Google search: Tokyo Parks
Accomplishment: decorating for Christmas, exploring new parts of Tokyo
Obsessions: The Holiday, Glee Christmas Album

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fresh Faced

I was cleaning my apartment the other day and started to realize just how much stuff I have. Not only that, but how much stuff I have that I appear to be saving for a special occasion, which let's be real, really means it won't ever get used. So, I decided to make a conscious effort to use what I have in my house before buying more. Not sure why I took almost 25 years to come to this seemingly obvious revelation, but better late than never.

I went around taking lotions, shampoos, socks and other `special items` out from their safety spots, and put them in a more obvious and easily accessible location.

One of the major things I was determined to use, though it would take some effort, was the lot of face creams I won along with the title of Parade Queen back in March. The massive cellophane bag contains about 8 bottles of face cream, valued at over $800. It is all in Japanese of course, so before Maya left in the summer I had her come over and tell me what each one did. I put post-its on each box and numbered each bottle with a permanent marker. Then put them back in the bag and back in my closet. No way do I have time to use 8 bottles of anything every night.

But in my recent effort to use what`s in my house, I dragged them out last week, set them up and have been making myself use them daily. The first night I washed my face with all 8, I ran to the mirror to see if I looked different. I did not. Not sure what I was expecting, but since I essentially just rubbed my face with a 100 bucks I thought something magical might happen.

I am determined to use them consistently at least until I go home for Christmas which is in two weeks.
We'll see!

Putting my freshest face forward,

[The Latest]

Must Read: Not so much reading as looking, The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011
Google Search:  Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Tune: Take Over Control By Afrojack
Accomplishment: Washing my face with my 8 items daily. If this is why Japanese women have such nice skin, they`ve earned it. 
Obsessions: Christmas movies, the Love Actually soundtrack, my new super long, white, thick knitted scarf

Thursday, December 1, 2011


In case you need a reminder, Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Japan. The Pilgrims and Indians didn't make a pit stop in Tokyo after a lovely meal in Plymouth. I talked to a few people who were surprised I wasn't getting the Thursday off over here...

Since Tori and Claire were going to be here over the holiday we thought we`d have our own Turkey Day. So, I invited everyone I knew in my little town, both foreign and Japanese, over for dinner. Everyone brought something and we had a very international, very eclectic group, producing an amazing meal.

We had chicken not turkey, (Japan doesn't do turkey) stuffing, gravy, and cranberries, shipped from the US, green beans, salad, mashed potatoes, rolls, sweet potato pie and amazingly, pumpkin pie from Costco. We held hands before dinner and Kim said a lovely little grace, then it was time to eat. We didn't go around and have everyone speak, mostly because English was not everyone's first language. Instead we set up a wall where people could write what they were thankful for. Last year I wrote pages and pages of what I am thankful for. You can check that out, here. And while I meant every word, I thought this year I would step back and listen to others.

Appreciative people, surrounded by great food and great company, their is a reason why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. 


[The Latest]

Must Read: This is more of a must watch, powerful. Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got 

Google search: Simple cheesecake recipes 

Tune: You Make Me Feel By Cobra Starship
Accomplishment: Coming up with an idea I'm excited to put into action, vague I know, when it gets going I`ll share more. 
Obsessions: The Family Stone movie, buying red, green and white things, Straight No Chaser`s Christmas Album


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