Friday, August 21, 2009

My other "home"

We've almost been in Utsunomiya for a month and I must say that time has gone quickly. We've spent a lot of time getting settled in our new apartment and Abe has been practicing a lot already and I've been teaching English.

One thing that is noticeably different from US culture here in Japan is the idea of おみやげ or giving gifts (kinda like souvenirs). Japanese almost always buy small gifts for people when they go on vacations or short trips that usually consist of food or drinks. For example, if I were to visit Aomori (a nothrern area of Japan) I would probably bring back some apples or canned apple juice for a friend as that is the famous product from that area...but I digress....

Since returning to Tochigi, I've already gotten some sweet gifts from students and friends, such as wine, a scarf, some noodles from Korea, bubble bath from Saipan, and most recently, gigantic amazingly delicious grapes:

Although being away from my first home is difficult at times, I'm blessed to have friends and students who were thinking of me while I was gone, making my second home pretty darn sweet.

Happy Weekend!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Little Ladies Sports Club

I remember the first time I met Bri. It was during a one month, one course session our college had called "Jan Term" and I had to take an art class. When I registered for the course, I thought I'd learn how to paint a rad bowl of fruit or a serene mountainscape but the real treat was having an easel next to a ball of energy that gave me inspiration to come to class each morning. We clicked instantly and were quickly inseperable for the summer, spending many days drinking coffee, consuming way too much boba and surfing with kids much younger than us.

Since then, she has done in a few years what many only dream about doing in a lifetime. She's volunteered her time at an orphanage in Nepal, given herself to Ghana and keeps on giving to her local community. When she told me about jumping into her own business, I was so excited for her. If anyone can imagine up a unique and awesome idea and transform it to a selfless nurturing cause, Briana can!

She asked me if I would take some pictures of her and her business partner, Deirdre, who is equally as energetic and easy to get along with. I had far too much fun with these two clicking away as we roamed around Venice Beach! They are going to be so successful in their business...I can feeeel it!

Here are a few of their photos:


They wanted me to get photos of them together, exhibiting their free spirits and energy...ummm, not hard at all when they're so comfortable in front of the camera...




I hope I never get too old to do cartwheels. They're so much fun!


One of my faves from the day:


Bri and Deirdra, much luck and success with Little Ladies Sports Club. Thank you for asking me to take your photos...I had an awesome time!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to Normal Life

Well, after an amazingly perfect four month vacation back in good old Cali, I am finally back in Japan, connected to the internet and ready to face the world again. I have stories to tell, and of course, pictures to share, but where oh where to begin...

We had a wedding last month, but before that we finally had engagement photographs taken by my friend Jen (we'd been engaged for almost three years!).

So we headed out to Whittier College where Abe and I met and got a quick little session in. So for those of you who haven't seen our engagement pics, here are a few:

*special thanks to my dad for letting us borrow his '55 Buick Special*

It was totally weird being on the other side of the camera for this, but Jen made it fun for us. I'm glad we got to take some nice pictures together...thanks Jen!

Wedding pics coming soon :)