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my wings have grown

thumbnail_2hofu12.jpgGathering pictures 
to present on my time in Japan,
I found a photo of myself
in front of the floating torii
of Miyajima

I was there. Of course
I remember my awe
standing before
that gate (between
the profane and
the sacred); still,
seeing myself
there inspired
a rush

That all really
happened! I didn’t
just dream it!
Read more…

The memory of typhoons

In 2004, I experienced my first typhoon in a small coastal town on Japan’s main island, Honshu. I filmed myself standing in the middle of a street while everything shook and swayed around me.

All was silent and still in the eye of the storm. I couldn’t believe the winds would soon whip around me again, but they did. I howled with them when they returned. The windy days I’d loved at home were nothing compared to this.

I enjoyed my later typhoons, too, but none invigorated me the same way my my first one did.

Today, an ocean and a dozen years removed from my first typhoon, I look out my SoCal windows and see the trees thrashing in the wind. The wind rattles my home’s windows, slamming sheets of rain against them.

I don’t know what it is about the wind, but I have always loved it. I will always love it. This wind-advisory afternoon, I’ll snuggle up with my husband and my little boys, content in now … but also remembering the thrill of being one small body standing strong against ferocious winds.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Jones!

The first post in my reader this morning sent me tumbling back in time.

I once lived and taught English in Japan, where I called three separate towns home.

In my first home, I had roommates in a smallish but bustling ocean town. A couple of cats would leap through open windows to visit me.

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In my third home, I lived in a small town-subsidized complex with many of my students. I loved working in a little garden out behind my apartment, and would open the apartment’s front and back doors so my students could run through during their playtime. The town was incredibly rural, but it felt anything but to me!

So, so many hours of work to clear the plot by hand!

So, so many hours of work clearing the plot

Read more…

Learning languages: The priceless promise of adventure to come

I returned from teaching English in Japan eight years ago.

hiroshima9I’ve dreamed of traveling there with my family. I dream most especially of returning to Hiroshima and watching my young sons place their own paper cranes at an angel’s feet.

My husband would like us to visit Australia, where he and other early castaways were sequestered while fellow Survivor competitors finished up their time on the island.

We’d also like to visit places we’ve never been. Time and money are sparse, so we’ve taken to dreaming now of travel later.

I’ll be traveling internationally again soon. My new job will assign me certain territories, and I’ll periodically visit customers within those territories as part of my job.

Which territories? Read more…

19 Novembers

On sleepless nights, I often feel pulled toward the past.

Where was I this day many years ago? How has my life changed? What has remained constant?

Haven't changed a bit

June 1995

Having blogged since June 23, 1995, I’m lucky to have almost twenty years of searchable archives. On a night like tonight, where sleep eludes me and I’m enthralled by whispers of the beckoning past, I meander through those archives.

Think I overpunctuate now? Seventeen years ago tomorrow, I demonstrated a love of punctuation not otherwise seen outside 18th century Germany:

Speaking of worse, my father wrote my mother a note saying that he’s not going to send her child support if she doesn’t “allow” us to visit him. Read more…

Meeting other bloggers: Even better than shouting at the TV!

I loved living in rural Japan, but there were some downsides. Loneliness was first, followed closely by the hit to my English speaking skills.

On the bright side, my poster-making skills improved A LOT

On the bright side, my drawing skills improved A LOT

Sure, I could fake it in emails, but I fumbled my way through phone calls back home. I’d try making some simple statement and realize I just could not find the words. Idioms are hard!

Blushing, I’d scramble to find some alternative phrasing. Sometimes I was even successful.

Japan has felt especially close to heart the last week or so. Thanks to pregnancy leave, most of my discussions the last month have been with a four-year-old, sprinkled with occasional cashier conversations and admonitions to TV protagonists to make wiser choices. Read more…

A trip to Hiroshima

“I wish I could show you all the places I lived and visited in Japan,” I told my fiancee last night. “I wish that we could hop in the car and be there in an hour. But of course, for you to see these places, we’ll have to plan and save for years.”

It’s worth it. We will save, and I will someday show him the places I called home, even if I’m unable to locate most of the people who made the places feel like home. I’ll take him to the schoolyard where I once danced goofy in the rain on a school’s webcam to make him smile. I’ll show him the little market to which I used to bike on my rusty, thirty-year-old bicycle, and–if it still exists–the tiny school up in the mountains that continues to make appearances in my dreams.

fogmountains

Last night’s conversation still in mind, I read this morning an article on the lessons of Gettysburg. One particular paragraph talked about the strange sensation of piling off a tour bus and wondering what you’re supposed to do for amusement in such a place. The words evoked my own memory of such a visit: to Hiroshima. Read more…

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