August 2012

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tsubame: (sleepy)
Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 12:57 am
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Fresco map of Italy, from the map rooms in the Vatican

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8月21日 )

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bir var mis, bir yok mis )

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8月30日 )

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9月2日 )
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:15 am
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Here's a truly exotic location, at least by the standards of my journal . . . my hometown. Yep, that's just outside the local Greek restaurant in April of 2008. They have an AMAZING lamb kokkinisto, the dish that taught me that adding a pinch of cinnamon to your average tomato-based sauce results in awesome.

Picture taken to prove to a politely doubtful Japanese colleague that yes, there are blossoming cherry trees in the United States, and they are in fact beautiful-- as beautiful as their Japanese counterparts. The difference between cherry trees in Japan and cherry trees in the US is of course their extreme cultural significance in one place, and near total lack of cultural significance in the other. Sure, people in the US think that the cherry blossoms are pretty, but they're no more significant than other flowers, and a great deal less significant than some (the rose, for instance). Whereas I couldn't even begin to convey just how significant sakura are in Japanese culture.

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I find myself preoccupied with memories often lately-- I who have always been a child of the present moment. Always with me it has been today's dream, not yesterday's or tomorrow's. But again and again my thoughts drift backwards, and I wonder-- what am I seeking there? And why now?

Memories connect one to another, like beads on a string. I think of my brother, digging in the sand-- the sand at the pool that day we three escaped, trying to pass the painful hours-- the gritty, sticky sand at the Jersey shore, the drumming surf-- summer heat-- walking down from Kiyomizudera under the July sun--

Near my house in Japan, a street corner with a traffic light. I would ride my bike out to begin the day's adventure under a bright blue sky. Fly out across the street, standing on my pedals with the wind in my hair, swoop into the turn that would bring me arrowing down the road through the brilliant green of the rice fields. None happier than I, my heart singing inside of me--

A hundred times surely I did this, and now every time is one time, one moment, a single elation, an eternal singing joy.
Thursday, January 20th, 2011 12:54 am
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Last spring I was able to go to a huge roller coaster park in Japan with some of my friends. Among the ten coasters in the park they also happen to have the world's largest wooden one; this is a view of it from the nearby Ferris wheel. I rode it once, but found that it gave me a pounding headache. Looks like I've gotten too old for wooden roller coasters. I did fine on the modern ones, though.

I might also have been more prone to headaches at the time, seeing as my parents were visiting. When my parents visited me in Japan I was usually in a state of high stress and constant sleep deprivation/exhaustion.

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Wednesdays are going to be my busy days; biweekly that means class from 9 AM to 9:30 PM, with an hour's break for lunch and dinner/transport each. And then walking 40 minutes home. Today was the first of them, and actually I found myself enjoying it. I like being busy; it makes me feel useful. Which explains why I so mercilessly over-scheduled myself while I lived in Japan; I did in fact enjoy it.

I've actually been rather lazy since coming to Scotland. I think I need to take further steps to remedy this.

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Over the vacation I had a chance for some long talks with my various family members, some of which were quite interesting.

Regarding a conversation with my little brother with attendant thoughts which cover socialism in Sweden, the causes of the American Civil War, rappers, and lottery tickets. )

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I had half an hour during my busiest busy day in which to procure dinner. I wanted to go to the Black Medicine coffee house, because its name is so cool, but I ended up wandering the wrong way. I was thinking thoughts of going into the KFC-- I was running out of time-- it would be easy to order there-- but at the last second I gave in to the terrible yellow plastic beacon of a down-at-the-heels middle eastern place with cheap battered tables and faded posters of deserts on the walls.

And glad I was to have done so. Their baba ganoush was LOVELY. And I found out that the "sh" sound at the end has a bit of a hard "g" sound in it. I am enlightened!

. . . okay, nowhere near. But I get a little closer every day!

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I found some fun and interesting things on the internet recently. Let me share them with you!

A friend who is obsessed with a cartoon show called Phineas and Ferb linked me to this episode which makes reference to Carmell Dansen. At which point I told her that about two years ago Japan discovered this song in its original Swedish. And before long ALL OF JAPAN WAS INFECTED. It caught on so hugely that every anime currently on the air (and many who just have extremely obsessive fans) was making their own version of it (Jack Sparrow's at 2.16, fyi).

The same friend taught me a new French phrase!

déjà moo - the distinct feeling that you've heard this bull before

My stock of French phrases is growing once again! I can now add this gem of wisdom to my recently-acquired "tes moeurs crapuleuses" ("your sordid morals") and "tu cherches à corrompre mon paresseux" ("you are trying to corrupt my sloth"). Thankee, Patrick O'Brian!

This picture is my current desktop walllpaper. About which I said . . . )

To which my adorable sister replied... )

She's so cute! <3

This comic is quite adorable.

Reading through Pandora Hearts led to this string of (mostly) non-spoiler comments on Facebook:

Comments Ahoy! )
tsubame: (reading)
Sunday, January 16th, 2011 04:31 pm
Continuing on yesterday's theme . . .

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This is one of the meals that I ate at the Copain Copine, my very favorite Korean restaurant in Tokyo. It's near Tokyo Station on the outskirts of Ginza, tucked under the railway tracks with a bunch of other really cool little restaurants and cafes. Except I never went to any of the others because I would always go back there after the first time. Made it a point to eat there every time I was in Tokyo. The wait staff were very friendly and kind, the host was really pritty, and the decour was homey and yet lovely. Oh, and the food was awesome, too.

And, while I'm at it . . .

The First Dream, by Billy Collins )
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 01:18 am
This is an interesting article about being a grown-up . . . and ties in with some points of my Theory of Being a Responsible Adult, one major point of which is taking responsibility for your own well-being. I liken it to what I learned in the first aid course I took, which specifically addressed how to approach a crisis situation. When faced with a situation where a person is lying before you, injured, the first thing we were taught was to look around, checking for hazards or potential threats before we went to help the person. The reason for this was that if you rushed in without looking around, you could be hurt yourself, and then you would be adding to the problem rather than solving it. Basically, if you really want to help others, make sure that you yourself are taken care of so that you won't become someone else's burden.

And so I look out for my own mental, emotional, and physical well-being. For instance, I try to eat right and get exercise, to go out when I feel restless and stay in when I'm reaching the end of my endurance. When I start feeling sick, I stop drinking coffee and start drowning myself in orange juice. When I'm sad, I pursue those activities most likely to return to me my mental equilibrium. When I need company, I arrange a dinner or time with my friends. I do many things for the simple reason that I enjoy them.

So in keeping with my theory, as I would be unhappy if I didn't have a birthday party each year, I make it a point to arrange one. And while I take other people into account somewhat (I try not to choose anywhere too expensive, and people can come or go from the festivities according to the demands of their schedules or wallets), I always do things that I enjoy.

This year was no different, but of course. I was so excited beforehand that I was practically bursting at the seams over it. I was actually dreaming of it before the fact. And it was just as awesome as I hoped!

A very merry Be-Day to MEEEEEEEEE! )

And that was my wonderful, fabulous, exciting, fun birthday. <3