Friday, March 27, 2009

its overcast & its beautiful.

it is an overcast, chilly & ordinary day. my energy level is low & i would be content lying in bed, reading a book & studying hiragana. my sister, hayley (left), aka: best friend, a gorgeous woman & my forever soul mate, always enjoys these somber days - just as much as the sunshiny, eventful ones. she says there is just as much beauty in dismal fog than in clear skies. i never agreed with her until today, when i managed to crawl out of bed & explore fuji city. i found joy in the gray sky & hope in naked trees. i saw love & it was all around.


i saw a grandma helping her grandsons on their way home from school.


i saw koi in the pond at iwa motoyama (shrine in fuji).


i saw spring.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


daruma: small, papier-mache, eyeless dolls modeled after the Zen Buddhist priest Bodhidharma (left), who was said to have lost the use of both arms & legs after spending nine years meditating. with their round shape & heavy base, these dolls are able to bounce back up when toppled over; this image serves as a symbol of optimism, perseverance & hope through life's hardships. 
the japanese say, "七転び八起き (nana korobi yaoki)" or "fall down seven times, get up eight." the more i live in japan & immerse myself in the culture, i realize how hard working & determined the people are. when faced with a difficult situation, they don't give up or simply quit; but rather tenaciously seek their goals. its no wonder these daruma are regarded as a japanese symbol. 
my student gave me two red daruma when i first arrived in japan. she said i must paint in the right eye & make a wish. once my wish comes true, i can paint in the left eye. it has been three months since those dolls has stared eyeless at me each time i enter & leave my cozy apartment. after contemplating (for far too long) of what my wish might be, i am ready to fill in the right eye & not just make a wish, but set a goal for my life in japan. here's what i'll wish/hope/pray for myself while i paint in the right eye:
  • learn japanese!!
  • make a difference in my students' lives
  • vollgenuss of this beautiful life & my time in japan
  • wisdom for my future & a clear plan for next year
  • roll with my heart (like daruma)
"as he focuses on your goal, he never blinks. he reminds you not to, either." 

Friday, March 13, 2009

quick thought...

"in this life we cannot do great things. we can only do small things with great love." ...mother teresa 

i miss you all & love you so much more. have a great weekend! xoxox

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

its a mini vacation!

me, makensie & anthea eating takoyaki.
i am a firm believer that, if you start out the first couple days of the month with love & vollgenuss, the rest of the month will follow suit. with this in mind, its impossible for this march to be an even slightly bad month due to an unbelievable adventure in osaka with my lovely friends (makensie & anthea) on the 1st & 2nd. although we only had two days, we managed to fully pack our schedule with plenty of excitement. i'll share with you only a few places, which have forever impressed my memory & that i hope each of you will one day explore yourself! 

the infamous dotonbori street.  please believe me when i say: you've never seen anything like this.  we spent hours meandering about the busy, pedestrian street, which runs parallel to the osaka canal. neon signs & illuminated, enormous sea creatures adorned every square inch of each building, which lined the street. venders selling delicious okonomiyaki & takoyaki competed against each other on each corner while souvenir shops displayed copious cell phone charms & sweets. yes, this street is 
complete insanity, but not at all unbearable or exhausting. i can't wait to go back.

the osaka castle was just as incredible, but in a completely different light. its grounds, which are spread over a vast 15 acres (huge for japan), include plum gardens, zen gardens & walking paths. the actual tower is enclosed by a moat & is only accessible by crossing a beautiful, traditional bridge. once we got to the base of the actual castle, i was enamored by its size & historical significance--where i stood,over 700 years ago thousands of samurai fought for the unification of japan. crazy!

finally, the "HEP 5" ferris wheel  was thrilling for me, scary for makensie & glorious for anthea. this amusement park ride has, by far, the best arial view of osaka. not only is the ride huge in itself, but its located on top of a seven story building! it was the best ferris wheel i've ever been on. 

<------here's a picture of the ferris wheel from the street

here's a picture of anthea & makensie boarding the ride. we were so excited!--->

here's the view of osaka from the very top of the ferris wheel. do you see the hand drawn map in the bottom left hand corner? it was pretty much a work of art, & i loved it! of course i tried to peel it off, but it didn't budge. :)