The December Link Love

Ho ho ho December!

It’s the last month of the year and I am excited to be swept away in the holiday cheer. December will be full of Christmas songs and hot chocolate!

In Japan, it is also the peak Bonenkai season. My schedule is steadily filling up. Bonenkai is the year-end gathering of co-workers and/or friends. We love any special occasion to drink together and be merry!

Also looking forward to heading home to spend new years with the family. I can’t wait! It seems like the older I get, the more I appreciate time with the whole family. Especially at new years, which is a family holiday in Japan.

How will you be spending the holidays? I hope it’s a jolly month for you all! x

——————————————————-Link Love——————————————————-

– Here comes winter and this chart explains how I feel perfectly.

– Ever seen a Leaf Man?

– Emma Thompson gets wild.

– I need a vintage wooden ravioli pin in my life.

Histagrams make me laugh.

– Can fist bumps save lives?

Reading positions. Which is yours?

The Friendsgiving Nomikai

There are a lot of things I am thankful for.
But tonight I’m thankful for friends. The friends who have different backgrounds. The friends who are moving in different directions. The friends that, despite all your differences, are there for you through thick and thin.
We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving day in Japan because, well, obviously we didn’t have pilgrims or native Americans who shared their dinner together here. But I grew up loving this holiday and the fourth Thursday of November always reminds me that I have a lot to be thankful for.
So tonight I’m thankful for my friends who all used to be coworkers. We all work in completely different places now but still get together often to support and encourage one another. And it’s just what I needed tonight. Love you girls. x

The Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles

Did you know that the famous Hollywood sign was first there as an outdoor ad campaign for a suburban housing development called Hollywoodland?
The history of the Hollywood sign is really interesting.
You can see it from the Griffith Observatory and because it was so close, we decided to take a drive to get a closer look. Of course we had to take the typical tourist shot with the sign in the background 😀
I was only in LA for the weekend so this was my last day there. R took me to the airport later that night and my flight took off a little past midnight, which it was perfect because I slept most of the way back to Tokyo.
Los Angeles was a beautiful city. I say this about pretty much every city I visit but it’s nonetheless true. I loved the odd weather (a mixture of hot rays and cool breeze), the creativity that seems to be around every corner of the city, and the amazing six-lane highways that everyone drives on.
I’d heard rumors about how awful the traffic in LA was but I think we were lucky and didn’t hit any traffic. Even if we did, I didn’t notice because sitting in the car in LA is kind of like sitting in a cafe in Tokyo, it gives you time to chat about everything from family to life-goals while sipping your coffee. I enjoyed every minute in R’s car and had nothing to complain about.
I think I’m hooked. x

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

Ever since I saw a photo of this building, I’ve wanted to go see it.
I mean, look at it. Doesn’t it look like a great white castle on top of the hill, overlooking it’s kingdom below? I can imagine horses carrying riders on their backs, thundering down the hill. Maybe it’s just me. But it’s a beautiful building that has a power to let your imagination flow.
The Griffith Observatory was opened to the public on May 14, 1935. Since then millions of people have come to enjoy the facility and the ever famous view of the city of Los Angeles. Personally, I had no idea it was such a tourist spot. But I can understand why everyone would want to come here.
For one, the view is amazing. We went during the day and the you could see the whole city spread out in front of you. Also, we went inside the observatory and that was fascinating as well. I especially loved the ceiling mural.
I was so busy taking everything in and catching up with my friends while enjoying the view that I didn’t take as many pictures as I thought. I guess that just shows how much I liked being up there. Next time I want to go right before the sunset and enjoy the city lights at night. On a clear night, you can even get a chance to see the sky through a telescope. How awesome is that?
Here are some pictures:

The Brentwood Farmers Market in Los Angeles

I am obsessed with farmers markets.
As in, I’ve been reading about it everywhere in the blogsphere these days and I have been completely jealous. We have a few in Tokyo, like the farmers market in front of the United Nations University, but it’s still a very new (and expensive) concept here. So as you can imagine, I was in farmers market heaven when my friend R took me to the Brentwood Farmers Market!
They had everything from flowers to hummus to soups to macarons. I could go on. They really had everything. But I was doing cartwheels over how many different fruits and vegetables were being sold in the stalls. Pomegranates, berries, plums, melons, peaches. Like I said, heaven.
And you know what? You could sample literally EVERYTHING!
It was really a glorious morning. I was full by the time we finally made it down the street. I had the best time feeling like a local Californian (in my head) who enjoys the farmers market every weekend. Isn’t this the perfect way to spend Sunday morning?
All the vegetables and fruits were eye candy and I ended up taking a lot of pictures:

The Getty Villa in Los Angeles

I’m finally back on my feet and once again enjoying the glorious blue skies we’ve been having here in Tokyo. This great weather also reminds me of California and how I need to get all my posts up. So here we go.

One of the things I love about my friend R is his sense of adventure. It was his idea for us to go to The Getty Villa, which I’d never heard of before. When I asked him what was there, his answer was “I don’t know, we’ll find out when we get there!” How ’bout that?

Well, what we found was an amazing museum!

The Getty Villa was originally the home of J. Paul Getty, a very rich industrialist. He was a collector of art and antiques and in 1954, he opened part of his home as a private museum. As collections tend to be, it grew. So he built a separate museum on his 64-acre property and it officially opened to the public in 1974. But Mr. Getty, who had moved to England in the 50s, never had the chance to visit the museum for himself before passing away in 1976.

In 1997 the museum closed for renovations and reopened in 2006 as a museum and educational center dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. That means that The Getty Villa provides a variety of lectures, performances, and tours, which we definitely took advantage of. We were just in time to take the last tour of the day, and we chose (or I chose…hehe) the architecture tour. Our guide taught us about the history of the museum architecture, which was designed after a first century Roman country house, and how the ancient Romans used to live.

I personally am not a big art person. I’m the girl that goes to art galleries and thinks, what is that? Or, I could probably make that. Or even ignoring the art and think, ooh the wood floor here is gorgeous.  (I know, I’m an idiot.) But when you have a tour guide explaining the meaning and history of the art piece, it suddenly becomes part of a story and I am fascinated. I loved the tour and I’m really glad we we got to visit The Getty Villa.

Here are some photos:

The Getty Villa is operated by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

I love the bold colors. This was the entrance of the museum and the start of the tour.
The colorfully decorated ceiling of the gallery inside the Villa.

Various busts placed around the gallery.
I felt like my skirt matched the floor a bit.

The central courtyard, which I think was my favorite part of the museum.

We were given earpieces so we could hear the tour guide speaking while we walked around. 

Even if you don’t take a tour, you can read the information displayed about each piece like this.

The statues of women with the slightly creepy eyes made from stone and glass.

These statues were replicas of statues found in Villa dei Papiri.
We learned that Greeks and Romans were all about symmetry.

R and his sister S, who also lives in LA 😀
The details in the design were mind blowing.
The art pieces were displayed in various places around the villa, this was my favorite.

The marble floor with the intricate design.

There were a lot of different plants throughout the whole estate.

Don’t worry we were still listening to the tour while we took a selfie!

A statue of a man enjoying laying out under the sun…he was beautifully naked.

The main courtyard had a long reflecting pool.

The windows along the courtyard all had different designs. Again, so much detail.
Even the fountains were fancy with faces of people or animals shooting water from their mouths.

Subtle hints of fall in the garden grape vines.

Another quirky fountain…don’t you love it?
It really was a beautiful day to take the architectural tour with these two!
Crushing hard on California with all its beauty. x

The Sick Days

Being sick really sucks.
I missed work, missed the beautiful weekend weather, missed an improtant meeting for my friend’s wedding party next Saturday, and also missed having my sister over for the weekend. So that made me think that being sick really really sucks.
But then my best friend came over with homemade cream stew and shoga-yu (a ginger drink that warms up your body like no other). We call this O-mi-mai (お見舞い) in Japanese, to visit someone who is not well. And usually in Japan, when you visit someone it’s considered polite to bring something with you.
Needless to say, this cheered me up quite a bit. I’m definitely feeling very lucky that I have such a good friend close by. And even though my runny nose and cough still hasn’t gone away, I’m ready to start the new week at work tomorrow.
With a mask, of course. x

The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles

Look how pretty the streets of Los Angeles are!
I love the lights. Los Angeles is such an artistic city, there’s art every where you look. I really had no idea…although seeing as it’s such a huge city full of artists in film, music, and who knows what else, I really should have expected it.
So here’s a question. What are some things you always do when travelling?
One of the things I always love to do when I’m travelling is to poke my head into local bookstores. The smell of books, whether new or old, always has a way of making me feel at home. And I don’t think there’s ever been a bookstore that I didn’t like. But I have to say I was pretty excited to step into this particular independent bookstore in downtown LA.
The Last Bookstore is an amazing treasure house filled with a mind-blowing wide-range of books, eclectic vinyl records, and book related art around every corner.
The building itself, which was built in 1914 (in just 10 months!), was originally occupied by Citizens National Bank. In the early 1910s this location was in the heart of the financial district, which was referred to as the “Wall Street of the West.” Today this neighborhood is known as the Historic Core and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I was really interested in learning about how this building evolved over time, and I could go on, but I’ll spare you!
It’s a really massive building though and The Last Bookstore occupies the ground floor and the mezzanine level, which is like a maze. There are books everywhere. I know, it’s a bookstore. But it’s not only on the shelves. It’s used as an art form on the walls, ceilings, and anywhere else you can imagine. I was so enthralled with this place.
You can pretty much forget about just stepping in here for a second to grab a book. Their choices are so deep and wide that it will take forever for you to choose (this was me). Or you’ll just end up walking out with a handful of books (this was my friend R). 
But isn’t that how every bookstore should be? x
Here are some pictures:

453 S. Spring St., Ground Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Mon-Thu: 10:00am-10:00pm
Fri-Sat: 10:00am-11:00pm
Sun: 10:00am-6:00pm 
*Occasionally they are closed early for a wedding (!!!)
or a gorgeous pop-up dinner like this. Love love love.

The Trip to Los Angeles

You know you’re on the west coast when you see flowers like these outside! So pretty!
This was actually my first time in Los Angeles. I never really thought about it but LA is so much closer to Japan than the midwest or east coast. But this was only my second time on the west coast, the last time being a trip to Sacramento when I was in sixth grade.
It’s probably because not very many of my friends lived on this side. But now that my grade school friend R lives there, I had a reason to go visit. It was so much fun! I feel like I got to see this lovely city through his eyes and it was one full of creativity, determination, and love. 
He also asked me what I wanted to do in LA and I had very specific requests. I wanted to go to the Griffith Observatory, a bookstore called The Last Bookstore, and a farmers market. We only had a weekend but R fit all my requests and even more in my short time there. I had the very best time catching up and exploring the city of angels with him! xx
(Pictures to come…)
I got to see where R works as an editor…and also got my first ever fist bump!!! x

The Goodbye to Chicago

American breakfasts are so awesome. I can only eat a third of it…but still awesome!
I insisted I don’t eat breakfast but C and T took me out anyways before heading to the airport. Also, T gave me the breakfast-is-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day-Kaori speech. He never changes.
My stay in Chicago was really short but I’m so glad I came. xx

O’hare airport is so quirky.

Good-bye Chicago…I’ll be back. x