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December 31st, 2008

Happy New Year!

"If you have lost your true self, all phenomena bring you nothing but annoyance. If you discover your essence of mind, you can follow nothing but the true path."  Zen Master Renkei Doryu

December 30th, 2008

Yamate 2

We went back to Yamate for another long walk.  ~And lunch at The Best Cheesecake.  Delicious shrimp au gratin.  It was a beautiful day, I think it may have hit 60 degrees!  We just walked through the various parks and lots of interesting twisting side streets.  We found the Korean consulate and a few mysterious unmarked, well secured, compound type places that we couldn't help but wonder about.  I was wishing for a tour guide. ;) 

On the way home we found another hidden area with a gorgeous temple and shrine. 

Last day of 2008! What a great year!! We're thinking about heading to Kamakura for the day.

Here's the pics...

Map of Yamate.  Notice the flying pigs. 

Remains of McGowan residence, destroyed in 1923 earthquake.

Huge swimming pool in Motomachi park

More newly discovered temples and shrines near Negishi.

G. got this cool pick attempting to get a pic of the bird sitting on the headstone.  You can just see Mt. Fuji in the distance.

December 28th, 2008

Last few days

Can it really be four days since Christmas?  With G. on holiday, it feels like one long Christmas day.  We had a really nice Christmas day.. very quiet. We cooked, we ate, we opened gifts throughout the day, played games and took a walk in the park.  It was a beautiful sunny day. 

As for Christmas loot... G. didn't remember, but somehow knew, that I'd love the DS Cooking!  Yay!!  And he completely surprised me with an itouch.  I've barely explored it, but already love it.  He also got me a perfume that I mentioned I liked "Lovely", and it turns out that he really likes it and I had myself a shadow for two days.  ;)  Some of G's gifts STILL haven't arrived.. though they were ordered Nov 30th.  But.. he got sneakers that he's loving, some clothes, Othello and a watch that he's been lusting after.

We got lots of cards and some really sweet gifts in the mail and stuff keeps arriving each day, which is so nice.  My sister sent me mittens.. thank goodness! cuz it's starting to get cold for real now.

Day after Christmas we went over to our neighbor's house for dinner... delicious Indian curry! Yum! They are so nice... and so laid back.  I think we'll end up being good friends. They are from Sweden, so we learned lots about life in Sweden. The next day they had to go to Tokyo for a Lego tournament so we babysat their dog. He's the sweetest golden retriever.  We took him to lunch at a cafe and for some doggie socializing in the park.  We were pretty sad when they came to pick him up that evening.  ~Though we've made a definite decision.. when we get a dog it will be short haired (allergies) and female.  This stopping at every pole nonsense is tedious. 

Yesterday we took a long walk.. some miles.. from Negishi to Yamate to Motomachi.  We've driven through this area, but never explored. It's historic as a place that many foreign merchants, ship captains, importers and such lived. It was also the home of some foreign consulates, but many of the buildings were lost in the big earthquake of.. 1924? 1928?  There are some surviving bulidings though and a graveyard for foreigners.  We'll probably go back there again today or tomorrow and spend more time since we got a late start yesterday.

The pics start pretty close to our house in Negishi, at a temple/graveyard/mortuary that we'd never noticed (it's sort of tucked away), and then skip to the historic Yamate area. 

In Yamate...

December 18th, 2008

Disturbing news

Went to Yoshi's house for coffee and Scrabble yesterday and was surprised to hear about multiple attempts (and some successes) at break-ins at her condominium complex. One of the times the thugs even rang her bell and, when she answered the intercom, walked away.  Yikes. Particularly scary considering that my house is right next door to her condo.. and doesn't have gates or security cameras! 

Then this morning she sends me an email telling me that Shinko's car tires were "drilled".. all of them!  I'm baffled by this especially because Shinko is so sweet.. and because, compared to the other cars around here, she has such a tiny, boring, hardly noticeable car.  =(   I can't imagine why someone would do this.

Maybe I've been living in a false sense of security that it's much safer here than in the states? 

In happier news..

Yoshi loved Scrabble. I'm gonna get her and her husband a game for Christmas.  

G. is taking vacation time through the holidays!  Yay!! Road trip!

It's a sunshiney day out there!!!

December 16th, 2008

(no subject)

Lots of Christmas cards have arrived and each one makes me so happy. (Thank you!) I like my life in Japan very much, but it certainly does have it's moments (many) of missing home, and it sure is nice to get a card in the mail.  So the cards are getting hung by the front door, the cozy half mittens and scarf that L. knitted and sent are being worn with love, and the tree lights are keeping me in good holiday spirits.. even with all the gloomy rain that arrived today.

All is good with us. I'll bring the last of my Christmas cards to the P.O. today and hope they make it there by Christmas.  G. has hurt his back, so I also need to pick up some of those stick-on heating thingys and some comfort food for dinner.  I'm currently working on (and avoiding as much as possible) my closet.. and the decisions of what to keep and what to give away. I've happily gained 10 lbs in the last year and don't plan to go back to being so small, so I'm going to give away everything that wont fit. Some of the stuff is hard to give up.  My favorite cords.. never more, never more.  Meanwhile, G. has lost 12 lbs just by quitting soda! Amazing. It's surely not from anything else, as his previous attempts to diet (starve himself) showed almost no results and now, after 1 month with no Coke, he's just shedding the tummy.

It's still raining. I don't want to go out there.  In Arizona rain was something wonderful and glorious.. here, it's just dreary.  ;)

Maybe another cup of tea first...

September 10th, 2008

(no subject)

What a great day!  Yoshi and I went for a walk around Negishi Park and then went to the "new" coffee shop for coffee and a snack.  We have no idea how long the coffee shop has been there, but we just noticed it, so it's new to us.  It's such a sweet place!  Cozy and good food!  I had an avocado sandwich and vichysoisse - both delicious. And, the best part, we can walk there from our houses.  We only have one other restaurant that we can walk to and it's a bit high-end, so it's great to have a casual place to go.

On the way to the park we found two kittens living outside an empty house down the street from us.  They were so cute.  Yoshi always has a little packet of cat food with her.. just in case... and so we were able to leave food for them, but we couldn't get them to come close to us.  I know that Yoshi will attempt to catch them to have them neutered and find them a home.  I'll certainly help her if I can. 

When we got back to our street the veggie vendor's truck pulled up so we each got some fruit, veggies and tofu.. all with his love. :)  He's so sweet. He, like most people, chuckles at my attempts to speak Japanese. 

As we finished the walk home Yoshi was talking about putting dicon radishes in miso soup (I've got dicon that are near ready to pick) and so I told her that I love miso.  She asked me to stop at her house for a minute and upon arriving proceeded to put about 1lb of freshly made miso into a tub for me. Apparently her parents make it and had just brought her a bunch the day before.  Wow.  Then she took some more miso and added garlic and some kind of alcohol (not sake, but she suggested using sake for this as well) and gave it to me telling me to use it as a marinade for pork. Yum!! The miso is going to make great soup through the fall and winter! 

And.. just to add to this terrific day... I noticed that Aimee Mann has a new album and purchased it from itunes.  Love it. Her albums are so consistently good.

September 1st, 2008


August 12th, 2008

It's been so hot and humid that I've really avoided being out in the garden for long. Today I ran into Y. and we sat outside talking long enough that I felt comfortable in the heat and decided to do some work in the garden. The carrots need thinning and they've got weeds invading them. The tomatoes have all sorts of grass growing below below their jungle, plus they need some pruning. So after about 2 hours I pause to take a breather, squatting amongst the tomatoes, and look straight ahead.. directly at a huge spider! I can't believe I didn't at least bump it's web, nevermind go right through it with all the work I was doing around it. I have a feeling I'm damn lucky I didn't bump into it.

Check out our new garden helper...

August 10th, 2008

Oh Baby!

Awww!  Our first baby watermelon!  So cute!


August 3rd, 2008

Yokohama Fireworks

The 18th annual Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival was amazing.  I've never seen such a big show.  We got back from Korea and had just enough time to change clothes and head out to see the show.  The view of Yokohama from across the water was just gorgeous. It is such a beautiful city.  It seemed especially beautiful after a week of the view of Seoul from the hotel window.  The next day we walked along the water down to the ferris wheel (which can be seen lit up in some of the pictures) and took a ride for the first time.  Amazing views.  (I think it's the 8th biggest ferris wheel in the world... until next year when 3 really big ones will be completed in various cities). 

Add to this bowling on Sunday and lots of time lazing and reading in the park.. oh and yummy Mexican food at El Torito after the fireworks!..  what a great wknd.

If you click on the picture you can view it larger.  I like the last one cuz it looks like Yokohama is under a chandelier.

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