Saturday, September 16, 2017

Update from Japan

It's a rainy Saturday here in Nagoya, and I'm curled up on top my bed drinking some coffee while my laundry dries around me. It smells pretty good!

So, my life since returning hasn't been very photogenic. That should be changing soon as the weather starts to get nice enough for outdoor activities. I've also been doing a lot of archery. There are only so many pictures one can take on the range! Haha!

But it's been fun to go shooting anytime I want with my equipment. Am I any good? Not really! Turns out that I'm gonna need a LOT of practice before I'm good at shooting without a sight.

What else is happening in the good old Nagoya? Well, school's back in session, so we are back to school lunches (yay! no cooking! no dishes!). We had a special lunch on Friday for the harvest moon. The dessert was jello that looked like an egg.

Oh, I also made it out to the beach one weekend!

 I was really glad that I went! It turns out that I need nature and beach in my life!
Besides this, my life is pretty much teaching, going to the gym, and going to Japanese lessons! Haha! It's hard to make a pretty blog without ferries!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Kayaking on sunny days

Well, it's my last day in the good old US of A for a long time. What a day it has been! It started early this morning when Mom knocked on my door and asked if I wanted to go kayaking. Naturally, I said yes!

We loaded the kayaks into the car, drove them to the water, carried the kayaks to the water, and got in all by ourselves! They are heavy and unwieldy, so it was no easy feat. But we did it.

Here's Mom, demonstrating how to float.
 Kayak selfie!
 Mom paddling into the diamond path.
After our paddle around, we headed back to shore and I headed off to catch up with an old friend. I got back to the house before the eclipse started, which was my big goal. At the last minute, I decided that I wanted a pinhole camera, so I made a huge one out of an Amazon box.

Here was the view from the start of the eclipse. Ahhhh!
 Modeling my new hat.
Mom and I spent a lot of time on the porch just chatting and watching the world go dim. We did NOT look at the sun!
 I caught a handful of eclipse inside the box.
 Now I'm just sitting on the floor of my empty bedroom feeling a little sad. These past few weeks have been absolutely jam-packed, but they've been great! And tomorrow, I head out for the second half of the school year.
See you on the flip side!

Saturday, July 1, 2017


This short story is about the best $40 I have ever spent (I think).

In April, I was doing some gym research and came across a blurb about an upcoming 8 lesson archery class at the Chikusa Sports Center. I was immediately intrigued and intimidated. The participants were to be picked by lottery, and everything was (of course) in Japanese.

Well, I trundled over to the gym to figure out how to enter and managed to enter the lottery. 2 weeks later, I called the gym and found out I was in! That was a Cloud 9 afternoon!

Finally, the first class arrived. I was pretty nervous that I would misunderstand something important. I was pretty bad that first day. My first shot went in someone else's target. I was pretty sure that I wasn't built for archery and would just have to muddle my way through. But it was really fun and I loved it!

Now it's time for all the pictures because they are too hard to move around the blog. Argh.
Here's me after the first class practicing my archery 1000 yard stare

And my first injury

Here's my silly bucket hat that has been an important part of my shooting career and a large contributor to my general dorkiness #howisshesingle

My first sneaky class selfie - missed most of the bow

My humdinger of an elbow bruise. It looked worse in person, and it seriously impressed my students.

Warmups today

A slightly better sneaky bow selfie!

After class, glowing from happiness and too much sunshine and humidity. Also notice how my hair expanded from the morning!

Well, second lesson came and I slowly got a little better. And third...and fourth. It was amazing to see myself actually improve! 
Last week we played archery bingo in teams of three. It was pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Shooting with a team is scary because you might let your team down if you do something weird. team came in first! 
So, today came and I really wasn't looking forward to it. Yep, last class. And today was hot! It's hard to hold a bow with a sweaty hand!
First warmup round...I put 2 arrows into someone else's target! At least I was aiming at it this time! And one was in the yellow zone! Maybe I need glasses. Bahahaha. It made me nostalgic for day 1, anyway.
We shot for a while and I got a helpful tip from one of the instructors that seriously messed up my shooting. Haha! When I started archery, I thought that wherever you aimed your arrow was the place it would go. Er, nope. Feet, hips, elbows, chin, fingers, and thumbs all matter (to name a few)! Annnnnnnnd...shoulders. Apparently, I've been lifting my shoulder, which makes my arrow go down. When I learned about dropping my shoulder, my arrows went up! So I had to start readjusting life.
We broke into pairs to do some shooting with scoring. My partner was Green Guy, one of the members of last week's Bingo team. We shot 6 rounds - I had some good ones, and one wild one when I adjusted one little thing. Every little thing makes a difference in archery!!!

Green Guy and I did pretty well, I think! We stayed within a few points of each other each round. He finally won by 3 points. But I was thrilled with my score. We took down the targets and the instructors gave them to us. But I got one that wasn't ours. Oh, well.

The instructors collected our scorecards and announced the results. I came in 4th! I was super proud because I came behind two really good guys who have their own equipment and Green Guy. It was a great 4th to get. And first place among the girls! That made me really happy, because I beat my nemesis by 2 people. She's someone who is pretty good, but reeeeeeaaallllly slow. We all have to wait for her at the end of every round.

When I left class today, I was pretty much glowing, and it wasn't just from heatstroke. And even though today was the last class, it's not quite the end of my archery career. Next week, a bunch of us have entered a beginners' archery "festival" (I think they are trying not to scare us off). We prepped all of our gear at the end of class, and I'm really looking forward to it!

And who knows, maybe I'll buy my own bow someday when I save up the pennies (or yennies).
After class, I went for a shop but the target was too big to fit anywhere else...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hello birthday!

 My birthday turned out to be pretty fun! It started with one of my favorite fast breakfasts - bacon cheddar cream cheese and a blueberry smoothie.

But then I got caught in a storm on the way to school. I got soaked in the rain.
 The wind didn't do much for my hair, either.

Things improved at school, though! Classes were fun, and school lunch was great! Got lots of happy birthdays from my little ones - lol. Curry and rice is one of my favorite school lunches and we got a chocolate mix-in for the milk! We only get those once or twice per term!

After classes, my coworkers surprised me with cake in the file room! I had some suspicions that something might happen, but I wasn't expecting it to be there! It was such a fun surprise!

Here's the cake right before it was eaten at dinner! So gorgeous and delicate and delicious.

After the birthday party, we had a coding seminar for an hour and a half. It was cool! I want to learn to code now!

This evening, I was just going to chill out and relax, but I wound up having dinner with a friend instead, which was a fabulous way to spend the evening.

It was a lovely day, and I'm enjoying finishing it with a birthday facemask and a book from my coworkers. I'm excited about the year ahead and coming adventures!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Back in the Saddle


I haven't been blogging lately, and I really have missed it. So, I'm determined to get back in the saddle and get back to blogging. Here we go!

So, what's been happening in Nagoya lately? Summer is slowly coming, and it's slowly getting hotter. I'm always surprised at how long it takes to get really hot here. After church today, I went for a walk across the city. It was a heavy gray day, but that's ok!

Here's a big shopping district - Osu. There are a lot of fun and unique shops to poke around in!

I found some gorgeously fragrant gardenias along the way. They always make me think of Mom!

As I was wandering, I came across a walled garden. It was open to the public, so of course I went in. It was full of people, but refreshing in the middle of the city! Sometimes I just get tired of city city city.

I also went through the middle of a Brazilian Festival! It was fun and loud and full of delicious looking food, which I didn't eat. I just meant to take a crowd shot, but I really like it.
I finally ended my wander at small group. It was kind of a weird day, but it was a good one. I needed some time to think and pray, and I got it!

See you soon!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Last day of Fall 2016!

So, it's been a little while, and a few things have happened. And here we are at the end of the fall contract! My new contract starts tomorrow, and I'm heading to Tokyo for orientation.

Spring is almost here! It's still pretty chilly, but things are starting to bloom. Just barely starting!

This spot is going to be so pretty in a few days! I hope I can find it again.

Little white flowers blooming.

These trees have been blooming all over Nagoya. 

The trees along the Yamazaki River are so close to bursting into bloom.

Look at those buds!

Hello, blossom!

 A few were popping out along the river.

 I love the trunk blossoms.

Well, I'm sure more blossom pictures will be coming soon as we head into flower season! I'm definitely looking forward to some warmer weather and being able to enjoy the outdoors again!

Happy Spring!

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Here's another blizzard of pictures from December 30 to New Year's Day

Here come a ton of pix from the train ride from Horonobe to Sapporo (2:30 to 8:30)




  Train change!

Adventure toilet!

 Finally! Tomoko! If I look exhausted, it's because I am!

The next day, we wandered around Sapporo

 Bye, trolley!

Hi, snow!

 Watercolor sky
 I went to Hokkaido Orientation here!

New Year's Eve dinner! Steamed egg custard, sushi, and soba

 Tomoko and I rang in the New Year with a TV countdown and a phone call to the US. That was fun!

 Early the next morning, we went to see the first sunrise. I don't know why I took this selfie! Exhaustion?

It was cloudy, so we couldn't see much. But it was a fun party!

Look at the reflection!

New Year's Day dinner - a traditional Japanese meal called osechi

Everybody squished in to one pic!

A traditional soup called ozoni - yum!

Dessert shaped like a chicken (this is the year of the rooster)

I'm not sure why I felt disgusted enough with this pile of snow to take this selfie

Yay! Meeting another friend!

When I can, I'll try to send the next chunk!