Thursday, May 31, 2007

I feel like a natural....

What is it with nature? A part of you gets more in touch with your senses and your appreciation for stepping out of the city. I like Tokyo but I love when all around is green and flowing with life....
An old man stopped at our campsite and taught us all how to use his fishing pole. We caught a lot of fish (just little guys). It was a lot of fun. (mamo and saaya with the fisherman) Saaya shows off her catch! Woo hoo!!
Fish Kiss!!

Look what I got! It's a keeper!!And yes, Idid eat my fish for dinner. I had a deep desire to eat the fruit of my labors. :)
Kyle preferred just grossing us all out. Ha ha!
Yaya joined us for the camping night. He enjoyed all the food and ate his fill with the huge hot dogs we brought.
The campfire was a lot of fun. Kong, Jennifer, and Ty enjoyed the games, the food, and the good conversation that we had around the campfire.
Ohhh please warm us up! (Jo and Saaya)
The next day Saaya and I hung out a lot in the river. It was freezing but sooo wonderful on a hot day. We wanted to cross to where it was deeper and the current was faster.
Saaya and I really wanted to go down the rapids, so after we decided that it was deep enough and we wouldn't scrap our bottoms, we took off.
SaayaOkay, so this is me. I don't know why but right before I headed down the rapids, I always dipped down into the current. Without fail, I always went under and then popped back up. No one, however, caught me popping back up. Ha ha! So I have all these photos of me sucking on the water. ha ha!
Mark going down...
Mark and the guys decided to build a raft out of a tree they found. Mark let Saaya and I help with some of it. :)
Mark and Dan building the raft.
Saaya and I are trying to, once again, figure out, "What's the best way to take this down the stream?"
Mark was the only one to take the raft down the rapids... it was a little scary.
Mark surfed the raft when the water calmed down a bit. Isn't this a beautiful place? The water was so clean and clear. The grass was so green.
Saaya and I took the raft down the current. It was so much fun.
An overview of our camping site. It was so much fun and what a beautiful place. It's only an hour and a half by train and easy to access. I was so happy with it. I think we'll head back in August.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Quite Convinced

Mary, Jen and I pose with the Harajuku glasses we found today. A little over 100 dollars and you can take these home with you...
We went downtown today with Keigo and Masashi to go to the Tokyo Dome, aka Home of the Giants. We enjoyed a baseball game. It was a lot different, fan wise... they cheer a lot and stand up. There is a pep band of some sorts and people are kind of crazy wild about it. Luckily we were in the "sitting" section of the stadium. It was a lot of fun. But after this evening I am quite convinced of one thing...
I have an unique response to somewhat boring moments or "downtime"... don't be alarmed. I don't do these every time it's quiet... in fact, I have become a lover of alone time. But this night was different... the staff was exhausted after a weekend camping trip. So I was already a bit looney...
add to it the fact that i cannot understand anything that is happening via the announcers...
And the fact that it is Dan's last night in Japan,
Keigo and Masashi are two crazy guys and
Kyle is fun to be with....
you got all that? All that tension and tiredness rolled into one little gal?
And the fact that the person I was sitting next to, Mrs. Jennifer Witthoft, happened to be tired herself and was randomly telling me hilarious stories which shall remain untold
although a small hint would be robots and huge cameras...

And then picture that the bored, tired, somewhat looney, giddy (always) Joanna is starting to get the giggles. At first, it's just a funny picture...

"Let's make angry faces..." we said.

So take all that and then add in the guys behind us who are avid Giants fans, rooting for them with their business suits still on (they just left work)...
and THEN not only do I feel the need to entertain but i feel their need to be entertained. Okay, so my need was stronger but really, is that the point... oh yeah, and did i forget to mention... one of them had a hat?

a mascot hat!!!

So I've realized something about myself... when I'm tired, somewhat looking to be entertained, giggly over robot stories, and in a large crowd... my "entertainment" radar is smoking. I'd like to "blame" this on someone. Tell you a story about my brother Jordan... tell you how my Dad made friends with the old lady at the baseball stadium... anything to get the focus off of me.

But then I realized something... I like my cookiness. I like being different. I like being able to use Mary to translate, "I like your hat. Can I borrow your hat?" to use my powers for good. :)

Overall, it's been a success Joanna day. I'm quite convinced I love my life.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Okay that settles it... I am quitting my job and beginning a new one as Planner Extraordinare!
I had a lot of fun helping my fellow staffers (k and jwitt, mar bear) plan Mark and Jin's Anniversary. It was SOOOO much fun.Mark and Jin were so surprised. For a couple of weeks they had been receiving secret messages preparing them for the night. It was all about a "look back" into their marriage with a Hawaiian theme (since they honeymooned there).
I, especially, love this photo of them laughing. At the door of the "restaurant" two lovely ladies greeted them with Hawaiian leis.
They were served a delicious bubbly with a fun decorative pail.
Oh, prom photos are always a delight.
They were served warm bread with olive oil, pepper, and parmesan cheese.
Skits were in fun form. The students took turns impersonating Mark and Jin at different stages in their relationship. It was fun to "look back".
Kyle emceed while Yuki was the amazing server.
After all the skits finished, the students lined up and everyone got an opportunity to thank and affirm Mark and Jin for all the things that they have done for us. The whole crew! What a fun night!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

To Lenora

The smallest of wonders
The biggest of dreams
Your world completes itself
in the sunlight it streams.

Straight from your toes
curved in your smile
it's no mystery
that your beauty is fragile.

You seem tough and fierce
but it's expressed in your joy
you give way to abandonment
and laugh like it's coy.

Your beauty surprises me
for it's not just in your face,
but the sunlight that echos
straight through all the space.

Now apart we must be
and it's really not fair,
for i long for the time
to laugh and be pair.

Soon, my friend, we'll be
together as aunty and niece
this is just a portion of dream,
of my heart just a piece.

A deep longing to sit with you
to laugh with you...
to sneak away is my ploy
to learn the sweet abandonment
of your child-like joy.

Monday, May 21, 2007


today is the day of birth for my beautiful friend, Kanako. She celebrated by coming to Tokyo to hang out with mary and i. What a sweet friend. We went out to eat at our friend's restaurant. Hmmm... it was good. We didn't order a thing. Kenji just came up with the entire planning and made all the food. It was so good and an appropriate amount of spoiling for Kanako on her birthday.
Friends for such a long time... I have SO many good memories of kanako. We met in 2003 when I was on a summer team to Shizuoka (where she lived) and then she came to America for one year and studied at Penn State. that year, she and I went skiing/snowboarding in CO with a group from Nebraska. we have soooo many funny moments from that trip. She and I are crazy together. :) We egg each other on.
Atsushi came and "represented" all our Shizuoka friends.
Okay, totally unrelated to Kanako's birthday. I just received these pictures from my sister-in-law. This is the raincoat and matching boots I sent my niece... but it's a little hard to gauge her size so I always go bigger. She can grow into them, right? Needless to say, she can take the next 12 years and grow into these.
what a sweet, sweet baby.

Cutie Lenora!!