The Taiwan Craving

One of my coworkers went to Taiwan over the weekend
and her stories have me dreaming of going, too.
Actually it’s more like her souvenir snack
and teas have me drooling for Taiwan.
It’s so close to Japan.
Only about 3 hours by plane.
That means that just a long weekend is enough to enjoy it.
Also they have this big lantern festival.
It looks super dangerous
but also amazing.
Apparently they write their prayers on the paper lanterns
and send them up into the sky towards the heavens.
I could use a paper lantern prayer or two
to get through this hectic week.
I guess the trip to Taiwan will have to wait.
But you can’t blame a girl for dreaming 😉
(photos by olvwu via flickr)

The Some No Komichi

Some No Komichi is an event that showcases the culture of dyeing goods,
which was one of Shinjuku’s largest industries in the Showa period.
And this weekend was a gorgeous day to go see
the lovely kimono cloth being displayed in the “river gallery.”

The station had a huge sign welcoming everyone.

A lot of the shops around Nakai Station had
a special entrance curtain we call Noren,
which were also made with colorfully dyed cloth.

Also another part of this event that I love
is seeing people walking around wearing a kimono.

It kind of takes you back in time for a minute.
(until you notice the iPhone they have in their hand…haha)

I love this little neighborhood
and how this event brings people together.
I talked to so many people while taking pictures.
And you know we don’t talk to strangers easily these days.
But it’s like there was a sense of community in that
we were all there to see the same pretty view of the river.
And that was nice.
Even if you’ll never see them again.
You’ll remember you had a nice chat with someone
by the river at the Some No Komichi event.
And that’s what I love.

The Windows of New York

I personally love looking out the window.
The higher the window the better.
But apparently there are those who
like to look at windows.
Like graphic designer José Guiza.
In his Windows of New York project page
he posts an illustration of a window he’s seen every week.
The website says:
A product of countless steps of journey through the city streets,
this is a collection of windows that somehow have caught my
restless eye out from the never-ending buzz of the city.

This project is part an ode to architecture
and part a self-challenge to never stop looking up.

Despite my love of looking below from windows,
I also hope I never stop looking up either.
Aren’t the windows beautiful?

The Maps by Masako Kubo

Masako Kubo draws amazing maps.
I love the way she illustrates.
Like this map of Kamakura below.

And did you know the Tokyo Marathon 2013 is this coming weekend?
Tokyo Marathon was added to the
World Marathon Major Series starting this year.
How exciting is that?
(I’m excited and I don’t even run…except to the station sometimes.)
The others are Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York.
Apparently Tokyo is the first one to join in Asia.
Masako Kubo illustrated the Tokyo Marathon course
for the latest issue of metropolitana.
This marathon course is pretty much a tourists paradise.
It starts in Shinjuku,
in front of the Tokyo Metropolis Government building,
and goes by famous spots around Tokyo,
like the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower,
and ends the race in Odaiba.
I’ve always wanted to go cheer everyone on.
And also see Jesus Christ.
I’m not even kidding.
Every year this guy dresses up as Jesus
and runs the marathon with a cross on his back.
A styrofoam cross.
But still.
Maybe I’ll spot him this year.
Tokyo Marathon starts at 9:10am
on Sunday, February 24, 2013.
Live on Fuji TV.

The Day of Reminiscing

I’ve been looking through my pictures from Okinawa lately.
The last few days have been sort of emotional.
Receiving news of people that have passed away.
It’s so hard to hear news like this.
Then receiving news of a new baby girl joining our world.
And news of a friend who just got married to her love.
It’s always a joy to hear news like this.
I’ve been looking through my pictures of Okinawa
both before and after my grandpa passed away.
I have such great memories with him.
Even though we lived apart.
Across an ocean even.
It made the time we had together all the more special.
And I feel blessed to have had that time with him.
I guess all the recent news and the reminiscing has
reminded me not to take life for granted.
Life is precious.

The Room Portraits

In Japan, apartment leases are usually a two-year contract.
Apparently I’ve been living in my apartment for two years now
and so I went to renew my contract yesterday.
My apartment is super tiny.
I’m not sure about the exact floor space.
I usually explain it as two and a half cartwheels long.
But whatever.
It’s tiny.
And so when I saw these photos by photographer Menno Aden
I sort of felt an instant connection to these photos.
A tiny apartment/room connection.
I love how he captures the room from above as a work of art.
And it makes me wonder what my apartment
looks like from above like this.
I guess I’ve got another two years to figure it out.

(via Inthralld)

The Reunion of Friends

Odaiba is always a fun place to be.
More so this weekend because
Dimitri and Vanessa were visiting from Kobe.
And it was wonderful catching up with everyone!
The highlight of my weekend?
I finally got to meet handsome little Alex!
And oh what a charmer he was!
Vanessa and Dimitri were both nice enough
to let me hog Alex for for the afternoon.
Baby cuteness overload!!!
There is really nothing like the joy of seeing
a sweet little baby sleep in your arms 🙂

Getting to spend time with friends you don’t often see
is so wonderful, the time just flies by.

Speaking of time.

I’d almost forgotten but I got to know Vanessa and Dimitri
when they were working on their Project Biwa charity bike marathon
in support of the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami relief.

They also made a book Japan: lake Biwa
filled with photos taken during their bike marathon.

(It’s a gorgeous photography book!)
It seems like just yesterday
but now they are a jolly family of three!
Oh how time flies.
But I’m so glad we’ve been able to keep in touch.
Can’t wait till the next time we meet!
PS: I forgot to mention our mutual love of Starbucks! xx

The Almost Spring Day

Oh I love that I can feel spring just around the corner!
How do I know, you ask?
Because the pretty plum blossoms
have started blooming in my neighbor’s yard.
We call plums Ume in Japanese.
And plum blossoms blooming in Japan
is a sign that spring is coming!
(Ume Ichirin Ichirin Hodo No Atatakasa)
(haiku about how every plum blossom brings the warmth closer)

– Hattori Ransetsu (1654-1707)