Wednesday, February 24, 2010

new things with old friends

Two of our closest friends from Japan came to LA for a visit last month, just in time to celebrate our five-year anniversary of moving to Japan. We had an incredible time catching up with them and doing some fun things in LA, including some of our old favorites (the beach, Hollywood, the farmer's market), as well as a whole bunch of new things (pictured below). It was crazy how quickly our little bit of Japanese came back to us...within no time, we were speaking in a weird Japanese-English mix. I was grateful for a chance to reconnect with our past life in Japan through Mio and Tetsuo. Here are some of the LA activities that we did for the first time:
Touring Dodgers Stadium - including the dugout, stepping on the field, and some of the exclusive spots inside. The seats are the original colors that had been chosen when the stadium was built in the 196os. They represent sand, sun, and sea.

Eating at Pink's hot dogs - an LA establishment since 1939.
Disneyland - Jesse and I have both been to Disney World in Florida and to Tokyo Disneyland, but it was a lot of fun to go the original Disneyland from 1955.
Whale-watching! We caught a boat in San Pedro Harbor, itself an interesting place to hang out.

We were super lucky to get to see four or five gray whales (currently migrating to Mexico), a pod of very playful dolphins, and lots of sea lions.

Other new things that we did included celebrity home drive-bys, watching (and participating in) the taping of a TV show, and visiting the Getty art museum at night (with a tremendous view of the city).

It was really sad to say goodbye to Mio and Tetsuo in the LAX airport, but we already have plans to meet up again back here, in Japan, or (who knows?) in Paris.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

i can't believe.... was ten years ago in January that I headed to Oxford for a semester. I wandered cobblestone streets, old bookshops, and ancient colleges. I learned to row on the Isis. I went to a rare book library for the first time. I ate a lot of curry and pasties. I traveled to seven other countries. I met some of the coolest friends ever. Oh yeah, and I studied.

This photo was taken just a few days after we all got off of the plane, on a field trip to the Tower of London. I am so grateful that ten years later, these girls are all still a big part of my life.

...AND it was five years ago that I arrived in Japan. I was cold and hungry for a few months. Then I was happy. Really happy. I loved onsen baths, sashimi (raw fish), festivals, Japanese pottery, Tokyo, architecture, trains, rice fields, the bamboo grove behind our house, my orange bicycle (until it disappeared), Kyoto gardens, ryokan inns, my students (most of them!) and cherry blossoms.

This is the first picture of Jesse and me in Japan, on the grounds of the temple in Narita. It's also clearly (...or rather, not clearly) the first arm's length picture that we took with our first digital camera.