Thursday, April 30, 2009


last weekend i was invited to an incredible festival, which celebrated the first tea leaves of the green tea season. it was undoubtedly one of the most memorable adventures i've ever had. the festival was held in a quaint town, who's green hills & picturesque views of mount fuji made for an unsurpassable day. the festival had an abundance of different tea related activities, nearly all of which, i experienced.
  • picking: i filled a small bag with tea leaves, which was a simple task considering the field had rows & rows of kelly green bushes, all with ready-to-be-picked leaves. absolutely beautiful!!!
  • tempura: after my bag was stuffed to the brim, i brought it to a man who deep fried the leaves. yes--i ATE my freshly plucked, little blades. never had i ever before indulged in green tea leaf tempura, & it was... interesting. my student, kohana, loved the fried leaves, despite their bitter taste. 
  • preparing the leaves: with the remnants of my pick, i actually made green tea. well, i did the first step of the intensely long process. you must consistently "roll" chopped up leaves on a large table, in order to remove the moister. there were a few men working at the table & i tried to help out, but never imagined how difficult it was! i only rolled my leaves for 10 minutes & was absolutely exhausted. later, my friend told me, those men roll one batch for over 6 hours in order to remove all the moister. crazy, neh!?!?
miss y'all dearly...wish you could've experienced this with me. x

Saturday, April 18, 2009

quick thought...

(keizoku wa chikara nari).
don't give up. continue to hold on. 
perseverance after a setback is 
its own kind of strength...

japan has been amazing.
the people, the land, the culture.
lately, i've missed home 
& my loved ones.
loneliness has found 
a little nook in my soul.
a bit of bad news has 
shaken my happiness.

...but as soon as sorrow seems unbearable, 
something unexpectedly beautiful happens & lifts my spirits back up: 
today my precious student fell asleep on my lap & snuggled with me throughout an entire class.
at the supermarket, i was holding too many bags & an old woman helped me with my groceries.
i saw these gorgeous  origami tied to a bamboo post at a nearby shrine (photo).
yep, every thing's gonna be alright. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

熱海市, the hot ocean

atami: a traditional japanese city with a mediterranean vibe. known for its hot springs, mandarin oranges & beautiful beaches, this place is close to paradise. it lies on the sugami gulf of the pacific ocean & resides on craters of the extinct volcano, mt. atami. i went last weekend with my friend & we had an amazing time, i didn't want to leave! fortunately, its only a 40 minute train ride from fuji, so i'll be back soon. especially in the summer!

<----women dressed as geisha, waiting to pick up important people at the station

a woman washing her feet in the natural springs right outside the station ---->

walking on the moon terrace along the ocean.

we took a rope way up the mountains to a gorgeous castle. here are photos from inside the small rope way car & the view from the top. how cute is this couple, by the way? 

the final view of this unbelievable city. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

yoyaku & maegami. reservation & bangs.

so, i finally got a hair cut. it was about time! my friend from my favorite coffee shop recommended a salon that her two friends (husband & wife) own. this salon = amazing: it's located on the 4th floor of an obscure, pastel pink building, situated along the kano river in numazu. the actual salon is gorgeous. open ceilings, eclectic furniture & huge windows revealing the gorgeous city skyline. initially, i was a bit nervous about my actual cut. considering the language barrier, i could picture them completely misunderstanding me & chopping my hair off all together. but once the woman started washing my hair, my skeptical thoughts were quickly shampooed away. she massaged my head for a glorious 20 minutes (yes, i almost fell asleep) after which, i was lead (deliriously) to the center of the salon for my actual cut. i couldn't believe how much time this man took to cut my hair. he seemed to artistically maneuver his way around my chair, paying attention to every delicate detail, in hopes of a perfect outcome. i was mesmerized. & i can't wait to go back.

the chair, where i nearly fell asleep. 

the salon. my hair on the ground.

i realize this isn't the most flattering photo of me, but it's great of my cut. i wish i took one after i left the salon...i guess this will have to do. more to come! 
one more thing. while i was in the salon, they were playing one of my favorite singers' albums (yael naim). i mentioned to them i really enjoyed the music, & before i left, they took the CD out of the stereo system, & gave me the copy! how incredible. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


its sakura season & i've never been more excited. i spent the past weekend hopping from one cherry blossom viewing to the next & partook in an ohanami (a picnic, for the sole purpose of admiring the pink trees). its unbelievable how gorgeous this country looks right now. wish you all could see... 

Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
On Meadow-hills and mountains
As far as you can see.
Is it a mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the morning sun.
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Flowers in full bloom.
Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms,
Across the Spring sky,
As far as you can see.
Is it a mist, or clouds?
Fragrant in the air.
Come now, come,
Let’s look, at last!