Oishii yo!

I discovered myself suddenly longing for udon tonight… kitsune nikutamago…. all together. It was funny when I was staying with my old supervisor back in January. I told her that one Japanese food I really, really liked was udon. She thought it was surprising and funny, because udon is one of the easiest Japanese dishes to make (in Japan, anyway). So, she said we definitely could have udon for dinner, and she would make it for the four of us. And then, as we talked about the different types of udon, it came out that, really, I would like to have a combination of all of them, please. She and her daughters thought it was a really funny idea – almost like if someone said she wanted all the ice cream flavors mixed together or something – but they allowed me to have it… and boy, did I praise that dinner! They thought it was funny how much I couldn’t get over the amazingness of that dish, but it was one of the best and most satisfying meals I have ever had. It was spectacular – just what I had always wanted with udon.

And now I want some more. πŸ˜›

Please send soon. πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2020

Swirlytop

I don’t have much to say right now, tonight. Except that I feel a lot of that old hurricane season waiting for the next 24-48 hours. It could be disaster, and it could be simply some winds and rain and no biggie whatsoever. It could not even do that much – the storm could turn elsewhere entirely, or dissipate immediately upon landfall. They all have happened in my lifetime, and more than once. I guess that, in a way, growing up in such a place, I find myself calmly in the middle of the total and extreme fear and concern, and of, its polar opposite, utter chill and calm and unconcern – it shall pass. Because they always do pass. Like final exams, next week, they will be over and done with, but there is a huge hurdle to get through them to next week. And all we can do is just prepare and then wait.

As I was saying recently to someone, having grown up in southeast Texas, hurricane season, somehow, always gives me a sense of at-home-ness. I guess it is kind of how I felt so comfortable with all of the earthquakes in Japan, because they happened so often (weekly, was the average where I lived). In a way, they were representative of my home there. So, I have this odd sort of affinity for earthquakes now. (In fact, when still living in Japan, it am earthquake didn’t happen for a couple weeks, I would feel so out of sorts, it seemed nuts. When finally one happened again, I felt like I could breathe more easily, more freely again.) And I think the link between hurricanes and my childhood, being with my family through them (and through their aftermaths), has me feel this sense of homeyness and comfort around hurricane season now.

Also, I am rather fascinated with the powerful display of this planet’s abilities of power. Air and water, two things we need to be alive, are the exact things that can take away this life via a hurricane. Yet there is beauty in their power, both figuratively and literally.

Funny: I just realized that I even felt incredibly at-home when we had typhoons in Japan. Just like home, I suppose was the feeling. Haha. How odd this all is…, but that doesn’t make it so any less.

Over the next couple or few days, there is a potential of two hurricanes to pass this way. We shall see what happens, I pray.

P.S. While this has never happened in my lifetime, I think there has never in known history been two such storms developing in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. She’s kind of a one-storm-at-a-time kind of Gulf. ;P

Post-a-day 2020

Disney repeats

I’ve been considering the film version of the Disney musical “The Little Mermaid” tonight. As I found myself not only singing “Poor, Unfortunate Souls” while readying myself for bed, cleaning my teeth and putting in my retainers, but also saying with accurate intonation all the dialogue that exists throughout it and directly after it, I began to wonder if I knew more than I had passively considered. I hadn’t much thought about it, but I was a little bit surprised at my having known even that little bit of dialogue outside of the one song. Once I truly considered it, though, it seemed silly that I would be surprised at this knowledge, for the simple fact that I very likely could dialogue my way through almost the entire film, and with minimal error. The fact is: I know that era of Disney films quite well.

A Japanese friend once asked me, as I sang along to a Lion King song that was playing over a speaker at a Harajuku outdoor shop, why all Americans know the words to Disney songs. I laughed rather hard at her question before answering. My initial thought was, ‘Well, duh – how could we not?’ But I found the reasoning for such an automatic thought, and explained it to her, how Disney films were such a huge part of US culture in the 90s and early 2000s especially, so kJ so that their music became big parts of pop culture, so even people who didn’t watch much of the movies still knew the main songs from them.

That being said, I was one of the people who watched the films over and over again. When I find a movie I love, I tend to watch it regularly and somewhat often (when I’m in a movie phase or mood, anyway). Only the really amazing movies that actually are sad movies or depressing ones are the ones that I tend not to rewatch. The rest of the ones I love, I probably have seen them loads of times, up to dozens, perhaps. And certain Disney films fall into that category of films I have watched an absurd number of times, “The Little Mermaid” being among them. That and “Aladdin” probably have the highest number of viewings for me among the Disney animated films.

And so, it should come as little to no surprise that I would know so many lines from the film, and possibly could recite the whole darn thing. πŸ™‚

Though, that makes it no less absurd that I can do that in the first place… πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2020

The best way to move

Japanese moving companies…?

Baller.

Need I say more?

Just watch this video.

I’ve been in the receiving end before, though without knowing the standard of how they worked, and so I was quite confused as to why they kept asking me where specifically I wanted everything placed in the apartment, and how they set up the furniture that had shown up in pieces for moving…

I wasn’t planning to keep most of what my predecessor was giving me, so I didn’t really care where most of it went…, proving for an extra-odd interaction about where to place everything… It was kind of great, due to the fact that it was so comical.

Anyway, the US would do well to learn from Japanese moving companies… very well.

Just saying.

Post-a-day 2020

Germs

Tonight, my concerns about bathroom germs were solidified.

In talking with a very experienced and well-read and well-informed nurse, I learned of clear studies that established absurd levels of germage 1) being forced upward (into the air and the flusher’s face) from toilets when they are flushed, and 2) being blasted onto one’s hands and around the bathroom via high-powered air dryers (mostly because a rather high percentage of people do not wash their hands properly or thoroughly [naturally, Japan comes to mind, with the typical quick rinse of water onto the fingertips being as much as most women ever seemed to do]).

Crazy, it is.

And very unsurprising… as I mentioned, I had suspected as much.

It just reaffirms my desire to have toilets more like in Japan, where you wash your hands over the back of the toilet – dual flow toilets – as the faucet pours water into a basin that drains into the tank that holds the water in preparation for the next flush.

That way, you don’t get your dirty hands on the same surfaces where you brush your teeth.

Just saying…

These things I dream… haha πŸ˜›

P.S. I have been awake the past 19 and a half hours… Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!

Post-a-day 2020

To write love on her arms

Well, it isn’t on my arms, but it is on my hand!

I hadn’t exactly intended to put the words on my hands when I started out, but they somehow happened anyway… I still find it an odd place to place them, but it does well to remind me constantly, because I always see the palms of my hands… which I’m not sure I knew before this week, and my constantly seeing the words on my palms.

People always use the phrase of knowing someone/something “like the back of my hand,” but I never understood it fully, because I don’t know the backs of my hands very well.

But I do know my palms, it turns out… I see them all the time. πŸ˜›

Also, this: The San Jacinto Monument, marking the location of the Battle of San Jacinto, which gave Texas its independence from Mexico in 1836.

Post-a-day 2020

Jet-setting oven

Well, here we go…

It has been an interesting day so far, and continues to be so now…

I currently am very annoyed with Air Canada, but I am hoping that they will remedy the nasty problem when they open the counter (as soon as this ANA flight finishes at the same gate, and someone shows up for my flight).

Also, what to do?

Buy the filthy expensive whisky for my dad, a whisky that you kind of can’t get anywhere else anyway?

I think so.

But I have to wait for them to open the counter to remedy the situation with my flight first…, then walk all the way back to the duty free place that had it (because the one here doesn’t have it).

Huff……

God, help me heal through this next bit of traveling (because I also happen to have a fever right now, naturally).

πŸ˜›

P.S. They did not remedy the situation, and it was not a very comfortable flight arrangement… however, my seat companion and I commiserated and laughed about it a bit, and had some great conversation besides, so it ended up being tolerable (fortunately!).

Post-a-day 2020

Snuggle bug

The final night has arrived: I return to Texas tomorrow.

It is weird; I don’t feel like saying, “I’m going home…” it just doesn’t feel quite right.

For at least part of me, this is home – I am at home in Japan… in a way.

No, I do not want to stay permanently.

In dinner conversation, the idea came up of my working at an international school or special private school in Japan… and I almost felt a need to quell a rising panic…

But I reminded myself that I am safe and okay, and that I am perfect as I am, and I was able to remain calm easily and communicate nicely – aka I didn’t shout like a five-year-old, “Dame!” (No way!), but instead moved the conversation forward with a different route, so as not to offend.

(Because who wants to be told, “I kind of hate living full-time in your culture, thanks,”?)

Japan is a place for me to visit, that is for sure.

I even could see myself coming for slightly-extended-stays in the future, maybe for photography or something of the sort.

But not living here again.

I am sad to leave, but I am relieved to be going home to Houston, a place that always will hold a spirit of home for me.

I am nervous to go back to my low-budget life as a graduate student slash tutor slash up-and-coming photographer.

However, I actually am quite excited at the terror of what is to come next with all of it – classes and thesis, lots of graduation announcement photos, developing my editing skills, creating my kimono art show, teaching art & yoga (bilingually at that!), tutoring and teaching French and Spanish And Japanese, studying Japanese… maybe even watching some Olympic Games (I did buy some temporary tattoos and nail art to be a Japan fan during them…)…

Yes, I am looking forward to the next steps.

Especially getting even more fit… the gym has been something crazy for me this past month.

I have been totally fine without it, and even eating anything and everything delicious-tasting… and I have grown accustomed to being comfortable with myself more fully…

I am excited to return to the gym as my more-developed self that I now am… more true to myself than before (which was already purty darn good and true).

I am excited to see and to interact with my semi-crush-ish guy, and to be totally comfortable and okay with our being friends forever…

And to have that place be cleared up for something new and a bagillion times better to come into my life… I am ready to take on this life…

Thank you, Japan.

Thank you, Sara, my once-again snuggle buddy (now aged nine years).

Thank you, God.

Thank you, Texas – here I come. πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2020

Worlds apart

It really is a different world here, in Japan.

I already knew vaguely about bathing in the home, and I had experienced the onsen system of public bathing, but I had never been in someone’s home for it all.

This week, I had one friend talk me through how to shower (per my request) when I stayed with her at her apartment, I had an old coworker explain to me how bathing worked (also per my request) when I was staying at her house with her and her two girls, and then I again had an opportunity to bathe at the house of my old host family.

(Yes, “host family” suggests that I lived with them, but it was just a one-weekend homestay, and they took me to an onsen, so I never used their bathroom.)

I now know how it all works, however, I wasn’t too interested in the bath part, for various reasons, and so I simply did the showering portion of the bathing, and continued on my way to bed.

And, what’s cool to me about that is how I went ahead and told my host family that I usually just shower.

They were shocked, because, well, it’s winter and is therefore cold here.

However, I explained that it is quick, and I prefer showering, and they were okay with it.

My friend who had explained the showering to me the other day actually has a feature in her bathroom that blows warm air when you turn it on, so you can shower and not get cold (because you really don’t leave the water running for showers*, so it can get really cold soaping up after the hot water isn’t pouring all over your body anymore), which I found to be really cool, but simultaneously really silly.

So Japanese, really.

Also, I have noticed that everyone leaves food out, during the day or overnight…

My guess is that it is because it is wintertime, and so, here anyway, it is very dry and there aren’t really any bugs at all.

I think they would be surprised with Houston’s winters… and possibly would wonder when winter was going to start, and wonder what happened to the winter months when it is suddenly February and the weather still feels like early October… πŸ˜›

… anyway…

My old coworker said to me that she can tell I am very ε…ƒζ°— genki (healthy and well and filled with energy) now, and that she is glad for it, that it makes her very happy.

I told her that I believe Texas (Houston) agrees with me very well… thus my being very well.

And it is true: living in Houston agrees with me.

Living in Japan did not.

It broke me down.

Fortunately, I have distinction enough to acknowledge when there is breakdown on my life, and so worked through the total breakdown of myself and my life, resulting in the greatest breakthrough of my life… something for which I likely will be ever grateful.

I am who I am today in huge part due to my time – my horrible, miserable, pain-filled and stress-filled time – in Japan.

And who I am today is someone I love being.

Frankly, she is amazing.

For one thing, everyone lives touching her muscles. ;P

For another, she emits genkiness, the spirit of life, delight at being alive.

And those are both ways I have wanted to be for many, many years…

She is also grateful and graceful.

Double plus there.

I am proud to be the excited, learning being that I am today, and I am grateful for the opportunity to live this life, as well as the opportunity to become the ever-better version of myself that each moment of the future holds for me.

I am here to share my gifts with the world, those gifts that God has given me, and I am finally taking care of myself so that I can do that truly, wholly, and not just in part.

No, I am not sharing them perfectly every moment of every day and night – I don’t believe that I ever will do that.

However, I am sharing them perfectly for who I am and where I am right now, and that, in and of itself, is perfect.

So, tangent coming to a close, thank you, Japan, for being this absurdly different world that only agrees with me on short-term visits, and that pushes almost all my buttons… like every day. πŸ˜‰

I am grateful for all that you have so far shared with me, and I look forward to our future interactions and exchanges together.

I hope I have offered and will offer in kind. πŸ™‚

For now, Oyasumi, goodnight.

*Oftentimes, at onsen, I have seen (and therefore now do myself sometimes) women sitting on the shower stools, using one foot to keep the water button pushed in while washing, so the water stays on for more than ten seconds at a time – so it runs continuously – and they don’t ever have to feel cold while sitting there, showering.

P.S. I only just realized that I need to be putting 2020 on here now… oops…

Post-a-day 2020

When you understand but don’t (but do)

Mother hands her a piece of food, placing it in her outstretched, flat hand.

Food piece promptly rolls off her flat hand, the moment she moves the hand, and plummets to the floor, under the table.

γ‚οΌγ€‚γ€‚γ€‚ε€§δΈˆε€«γ€‚πŸ™†β€β™€οΈ ι£ŸγΉγ‚‹γ‚ˆγ€‚γΎγ»γ γ‹γ‚‰γ€‚

Ah!… daijoubu.. taberuYo.. Maho dakara.

Oh, no!… It’s okay.. I will Eat it. Because I am Maho.

Maho is her name.

Discussing herself in the third person – like almost always – is her game.

Probably around half the time (40%-ish), I don’t really understand what she is saying.

About 98% of the time, however, I get the gist enough to understand the general picture and, quite clearly, her sentiments regarding the situation.

I found it hilarious that this particular situation was one where I understood every word.

And it had me wonder what on Earth was up with her, eating food confidently off the ground, referring to herself in the third person yet again, and confidently declaring her action as odd but normal due to the fact that she is who she is.

Yet, before I really could even finish the thought, I realized that I actually do get it… I’m really the same way in a lot of situations, so I totally get it.

And so, in this odd situation, I understood even more than just the 100% of words used – I understood all of it.

And that was silly, but totally cool.

Much like all of today and last night, spent hanging out with an old coworker and her two girls…. silly, but totally wonderful.

Post-a-day 2019