Sunday, November 30, 2008

I've been challenged

So my friend Anna "challenged" me to put my 6th picture from my 6th album up on my blog. She looked like a sexy-mama in her beach picure in Cancun. Mine, on the other hand...not so sexy. It was taken almost 3 years ago and I'm singing karaoke (AKA Japan's favorite past time) and it looks like I'm really into it. Ahhh, I must admit, I love karaoke. It's fun, and after a glass of wine, I swear I get better. haha...Abe would probably disagree!



It's a split

So Abe's team played Hitachi this past weekend and they split with them. They lost the first, and won easily in the second game. Abe twisted his ankle on Saturday so he didn't produce like he had hoped to. But the weekend was pretty relaxing and I got my first taste of snow! They played in Yamagata which is north of Tochigi so it was much colder and after the game we saw some snow...not enough to photograph, but I got some cool pictures from the hotel window...

Day view:





Night view:




Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2008

a different kind of thanksgiving

This year, while all of my friends and families were in temperatures around the mid-80's, Abe and I were bundled in our winter best deciding if we should try our hardest to find a store that sells turkey deli meat (they don't sell whole turkeys in Japan) or if I should just make plain old chicken. It's that time of year again. The time of year when everyone is at home, getting all excited about Christmas and I am traveling around Japan watching Abe and the team play basketball games. We ended up having a fun little Thanksgiving...with Indian curry, saffron rice, and nan bread. Very international I think! In any case, it was a wonderful day because Abe finished practice early and we got to spend time together. No rushing or stress. Just relaxing. Yay!

As for the next big holiday, Christmas, that may be a little easier to do here. KFC is VERY popular, you know, because that's how westerners celebrate Christmas. Apparently, Japanese people feel that's the best way to celebrate the holiday, so KFC stays open for 24 hours that day and there's usually a line out the door. The shop staff at different locations even feel a connection with the Col. Sanders that they dress him up for different holidays.

Anyway, hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving filled with yummy food and family.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh, the colors!

If there's one thing that the local people here in Japan look forward to around this time of year, it's the foliage. I must admit that I get a little excited now too, since we don't get to experience the full-on colors and weather change in LA like I get to now. And now that I have my Nikon, I can appreciate it a little more.

This past Sunday, Abe had a game in Kanuma (a city near Utsunomiya). Being that the team makes him get to the gym hours early, the other players and staff's wives show up early too. I couldn't let a beautiful autumn afternoon go by without a quick 10-minute impromptu photo shoot with the trainer's wife.



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Meet Mayumi! She is one of the most cheerful and funny people I have met here in Tochigi. She really is always as "genki" as she looks in these photos...



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Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Photographer



I love this one:


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These carp were HUGE...much bigger than the ducks that were competing with them to eat the chips we were feeding them.


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Hopefully, I'll be able to take more photos of people before the reds, oranges and yellows fade away...Thank you Mayumi! :)

a preview of a nice sunday

Sunday was a good day. The weather was nice, the team won both of their games, and I got to take some pictures of Mayumi! I'll post them soon, but here's a preview for now:

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ehhhh?!

So, on some of my blog entries about basketball, you may have started to notice some squiggly symbols (AKA Japanese kanji). That's because I've discovered that I've been getting lots of hits on my blog from Japanese readers. Cool! I think they're interested in the Brex (maybe not so much in my photography, but at least peeps are checking out the blog!) but nonetheless, I thought it would be nice to include Japanese readers. So, if you don't speak Japanese, excuse the writing in some of the entries. And if you do speak Nihongo: 私のページへの歓迎!

Oh yea, I found this sign in a public restroom on a road trip this weekend...so, just in case you weren't sure:



Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I love Nikon! :)

Ok, so anyone who's into photography knows that the two biggest camera makers are Canon and Nikon. I had a Canon SLR back in the day, before I knew anything about cameras. But Abe bought me a Nikon and I just love it...so much. So much that I take it EVERYWHERE with me. And, I was lucky enough to find another Nikon-lover, with the lens that I've been dying to try (18-200mm...you will be mine someday). So I had to take the opportunity to take lots and lots of photos at last week's game against Panasonic. The Brex lost, but it was an exciting, tight game til the very end. So just a warning: lots and lots of pictures (you'll notice more zoomed in than normal, thanks to my new friends!)

Pregame Goodness:







I really like this one for some reason...I like the GO BREX signs in the background...

Fan favorite, Tabuse:

Abe running down court...

Randy...AKA Wandy!

The reason I got to use the awesome lens...Ito's parents. They are learning photography as well and were kind enough to let me use their lens the whole game!


And this is Ito...doesn't he look like his parents?! Abe and I think he reminds us of a Japanese Scott Baio...don't you agree?



Santa, if you're reading this, I really liked that lens. It just felt so right. It fit like a glove.... :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hectic Week

So, this week has been another busy one...lots of students, setting a personal goal of cooking every meal everyday this week, getting ready for a road trip...and the Brex coach left the team, so I've been reading about it online.

I have lots of cool pics to post from last week's game cause I got to use an awesome lens...hopefully they'll be up this weekend.

Til then, here's one from the inside the bus...another record crowd. I love the camera phones! (Sorry about the low-quality...the windows were tinted and the ISO was all the way up.)


Saturday, November 8, 2008

surfing buddies

This is one of my favorite blog posts so far. You see, when I met Ryoko last April, she was interested in taking my English lessons. I was immediately excited to teach her because of her peppy personality, but more so because I discovered she is an avid surfer. When I say avid, I mean almost every weekend, rain or shine, sunshine or icy cold, she's out there with her hubby testing those waves. After our first lesson, she told me she was expecting her first child....she wasn't even showing. She told me she was hoping it would be a boy so she could teach him how to surf, and, God heard her prayers. He gave her an amazingly beautiful little boy who smiles when he dreams and who gives her loving husband another reason to rush home from work everyday.
When I went to her house to meet her baby, I was so excited because I got to teach her (and him!) and watch her belly grow each week. Hard to believe he was in her tummy just over a month ago! So I had to cease this moment and have an impromptu photo shoot (I didn't warn her beforehand...sorry!)



This was taken when she was pregnant. Can you believe she is about six months here?! So tiny, but smiling and happy everyday!


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Look at the glowing mommy-to-be!


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Introducing Kokoro. This is the definition of peaceful.

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A proud mama and her son. She was telling him about her surfing plans for him in this pic.


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I can't go without taking a picture of hands. How I love hands!

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Cool tidbit: Abe and I bought him some shoes and she informed me that they were his first pair! I think he liked them, what do you think?


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One last look at a proud mommy and her son. They are going to have so much fun riding waves together in the future! :)


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Ryoko, thank you for letting me into your house to meet your gorgeous baby. And for rescuing me when I locked my keys in my car...and for giving me a tour of Utsunomiya and the huge park. You are truly an amazing person!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Bittersweet

Monday was a very exciting and overwhelming day. First off, Abe's team won again! It was such a wonderful feeling because it was against his old team, Toyota, and it was nice to see him win against a former team. But it was also kind of sad to see also, because my friends' husbands play on the other team and I know it would have meant a lot for them to win as well. But we play them again a couple more times, so there will be more opportunities for them to get revenge. :)
But it was also really nice to see some old friends whom I hadn't seen since we moved from Tokyo. The players' wives looked really good and their kids got so big! I was happy that some of them remembered me and it kind of made me feel like I had never left.

月曜日はとても楽しくて、大変な日でした。まず、エイブのチームがまた勝ちました!彼が前にいたチーム、トヨタとの対戦だったので、すごくうれしかったです。でも、彼の友人が相手チームにいたので、悲しくもありました。彼らにとってもまた、勝つことは重要なことでしょうから。でも、また何度か試合をする予定なので、彼らにもリベンジのチャンスがあります。(^o^)
東京から引っ越してきてから会っていなかった懐かしい友達に会えたのも、とてもうれしかったです。選手たちの奥さんも元気そうで、子供たちは大きくなっていました!わたしのことを覚えてくれている人たちもいて、離れていたことがうそのようでした。

This is one of the Toyota wives and her daughter. She got so big since the last time I saw her and everytime she saw me, she'd cry. She was all smiles at the game though!
これはトヨタチームの選手の奥さんとお子さんの写真です。彼女は前に会った時と比べて大きくなっていました。彼女は私に会うと、いつも泣いていました。でも、今日の試合ではずっと笑顔でした!



This is one of the Brex fans. He always sits with me and the rest of the Brex family at the games. Look at who is on the program he is holding... :)
彼は、ブレックスファンの一人です。彼はいつも私や、他のブレックスの選手の家族と一緒に観戦します。彼が持っているプログラムに載っているのは誰か、見てください…(^o^)




Another sold-out crowd celebrating the team's surprising victory.

チームの思いがけない勝利に喜ぶ観衆たち。



I know, I know. I keep posting pictures of Abe and his signs. But this was too cool NOT to post...Tochigi fans are so creative!
エイブと彼の応援ボードの写真をアップしすぎているのはわかっていますが・・・アップしないのはもったいないくらい、よくできているんです。栃木のファンは本当にクリエイティブ!



This weekend, the Brex play Panasonic, Abe's first team in Japan. They're tied for first right now so it's going to be a tough one. **positive thoughts**


今週末、ブレックスはパナソニックと試合をします。エイブの日本での初めてのチームです。彼らは今疲れているので、難しい試合になりそうです。うまくいきますように。