Thursday, February 21, 2008

**Don't disappoint my pictures**

This past week I went to Okinawa with my friend, Megumi. It was my first time to see tropical beaches. Too bad the weather was more like spring so we couldn't swim... but we experienced a lot of Okinawa life. They have a saying to live "slowly" when in Okinawa so Megumi and I definitely enjoyed relaxing and goofing off there. Mazamo (it looks like an elephant)
We went to Pineapple Land... yeah, Pineapple Land.
We saw so many beautiful things in Okinawa. Everything is decorated and designed so intricately. Even the sidewalks are fun to look at.

And the seaside. I really enjoyed these "wave protector-thingys" :). The cross shape really caught my eye and then the blues, greys and green really worked well together. I happen to be a fan of fun patterns.
The narrow streets...
Megumi and I each made a "glass" by glass blowing and shaping. My glass is blue but it was SO hot it looked orangey-red.
Here I am shaping the "lip" of my glass. It was so much fun.
Megumi shapes her glass.
We watched a live show of original Okinawa music. It sounds a lot like Hawaiian/Regae/Asian wailing of some sort. It's really pretty so wailing is not the best description... There is even a dance from Okinawa. It's part hula and part waving your arms in the air...
we found seashells...
we enjoyed beauty (ikei beach my favorite)
we acted silly and made all the locals question our sanity...
we tried to...
.... make a heart.
So SO many good memories with this beautiful girl.

I love being outside. You can't keep me caged indoors for long. I love the sun. The way your skin smells when you've been in the wind and sunshine. The way the ocean looks, the calm and peace of it begets your heart to become calm and peaceful in return.
So actually it's the "joanna interpretation of calm and peace"...
what can i say? I live life uniquely.
We ate AMAZING food. This is umi-buro or sea grapes. It's really good. Not sweet like fruit but more like a salty yummy snack. mmm mmm mmm taco rice. (minus the shells plus rice)
my favorite? the avocado burger we had at Seaside Jet City Burgers. it was AMAZING!!!
Okinawa is not only a fun place to relax and enjoy. It's also full of deep history and culture. Okinawa was actually separate from Japan until the 1800's. So the language, writing and culture is slightly different. Okinawa is also a culture that carries a sadness from WW2. Here the General of the Japanese military set up a tough defense. I read online that it was said he knew he could not defend the entire island but he wanted to make the allies pay for every yard advanced. They stubbornly defended their country, although they could not win.
I found this sad because so many civilians (over 100,000)were said to have lost their lives because of the intensity of the fighting all around them.
Here is a picture of Himeyuri Monument
Himeyuri was the name of a girls school. During WW2 the government requested that the girls be trained in first aid to help the military with their wounded. When the Battle of Okinawa occured they were subjected to so many horrors of war. They thought they would be in a hospital instead they were placed on the front. After 90 days working in a cave, the army dismissed them with nowhere to go. Over 200 of them died... go to this link for more information: here
This is the site where the Battle of Okinawa was fought.
It was crazy weird to stand where my Grandpa had stood as a young man in the Army Air Corps.
This was the coolest part of the "Peace Park". This is a sign for peace. If you look closely the triangle is actually "okinawa" on a map. See Japan above it? (it's not the best photo) but from the triangle Okinawa flows water "into the world". This is a symbol of peace beginning in Okinawa like a stone dropped in the water, it ripples out and reaches far into the world. (see the ripple type stones in the sidewalk?) I liked this.
For our last day we went back to the beach just to sit and enjoy...
I was SO ready to be home after four days of traveling.
I loved my time with Megumi. Thanks everyone who prayed for safety. It was a great trip.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

i'm a sucker

Tonight I was watching Japanese television with my roommate, Ayano. I could hear Ayano laughing from my bedroom so I came in to see what was happening and I caught the end. It was a Comedians Contest. They were competing for the title of #1 funniest in all of Japan. When they announced the winner, the guy got all choked up and started crying.
I had a HUGE lump in my throat and I almost lost it because this man was so happy he won #1 Comedian. I realized I am a huge sucker for people who cry... people who cry for sad reasons and people who cry because they are SO happy. I almost lost it right there at the dining room table when they brought out the huge award.
What has gotten into me lately?
This reminds me of the time in college when Holly Bartlett (sorry holls but the story must be told) cried during a VISA commercial. In her defense, they were showing how with VISA you can do anything and in this particular commercial they were showing how you can set up a baby's room, buy a plane ticket, and go to pick up your small adopted child in an Asian country... so in her defense, it was a sentimental commercial.
But still, I love people who get all choked up.
I'm kind of feeling sentimental or lonely or just weird right now... so I'm sure crying over the man winning #1 Comedian has to do with many things... but I just love how precious life is.
And since I couldn't find the youtube clip of the man winning (really would you want to see it?) I am going to post other pictures of things I am a sucker for.
I am also a sucker for my froggy nephew... my cuter than cute sweet potato niece....
and my "pretends-to-be-her-mother-eating-cold-pizza-while-talking-on-the-phone" niece
i love the moments that make you cry...

Friday, February 15, 2008

and the snow kept coming...

The BEST club had their annual snowboarding trip... it was freezing cold and it snowed constantly during the three days we boarded.
Oops, the group shot didn't turn out so great. Let's try the group shot one more time...
now that's better.
I was so excited to start using my new board. The Burton Feelgood is by far an amazing board. It is SO fast. I really loved it.
Masashi and I
The first night we tried to have discussion but the guys fell asleep waiting for the girls and one of the guys was harder to wake up than the others. So Tomoko poked him with a key... but nothing could wake him up...

Jumbo toast was an interesting new find. A jumbo piece of toast with egg and mayonaise baked on top.
Mamo, Mark and Masashi dig in.
Mmm mmm mmm so good.

Without even knowing it, Sae and I brought the same pair of pajamas.
Thank you Jordan for my snowboarding pants. They rocked. They were so warm and lightweight. I could move around so easily. Thank you so much.
Thanks Mikey for my board. I love it. It's awesome. I can't believe how fast and sleek it is. I am able to carve easily and try some new tricks. I love this board.
Jo, Megumi and Mamo
Snow seat. Mamo and Jo
The last picture before we left.
The snowboarding trip was awesome. It's always my favorite trip of the year.
Although this year, I sorely missed Mary. No joke.
Dear Mary, I missed you SO much on this trip. It just didn't feel like the normal yearly trip this time without you.
I miss you friend.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

chotto sabishii

I may sound like a broken record for all my "goodbye" posts but alas, tis the season I am in.
I am not sure if it is me "being a woman", if the way I am feeling is because I have a romantic heart, or because I am me...
whatever it is...
I nearly cried tonight seeing Kie work her last shift at Tullys.
For some reason, I couldn't (or didn't) stop my mind from all the memories that dear ol' Tully's has had for me. Too many to write about before bedtime... but my favorite memory was meeting Kie for the first time.
I can remember seeing her and being attracted to her sweet personality from the start. I liked her instantly. It was also the TULLY'S manager that told Kie and I we looked and acted like sisters. What a compliment...
Oh Kie and Tullys, Tullys and Kie... I'll never read the Tully's Times again... (not that I could read it, it's all in Japanese)
Never see this glistening sign again with Kie's face behind it beaming...
Never see Keigo greet me from the counter...
with his odd sense of humor. (Oh, Keigo, how I adore you!)
Never going to see this sight again...
my favorite barista who always made me a cafe au lait, even though Tully's doesn't make au laits.
Look at her work...
Dear Tully's....
Thank you.
As for Kie and I... our friendship continues. She moves home for a month and then starts her job in Hachioji which is about 20 minutes by train from my station. So, Lord willing, I will have many more happy times with Miss Kie Kinoshita.