Friday, March 17, 2017

The Shift

There is a shift in the air.  Expat life is mostly fun and amazing as you have probably noticed. What I don't mention often is when it's frustrating or downright difficult. Expat life is full of goodbyes.  It seems like many we have met or gotten close to have left or are leaving before we do.  Thankfully there are a few close friends that will be here till after we leave.  We are in a season of goodbyes.  Matane means "see ya later".  A Matane party is a goodbye party.  They are bittersweet.

I have one young friend leaving at the beginning of April.  She asked me and "S" to take pictures of her and her daughter in kimonos.  "S" is a much more experienced photographer than I am.  It was super fun to watch how she works a portrait shoot and especially how she handles a toddler.  I don't think I want to do portrait photography, but I really did enjoy it.  Although I felt inadequate and was sure nothing was going to turn out.  I thought I'd show you some of my favorites.  As you can tell, I prefer more candid shots.  This little one looks just like her daddy.

There were also amazing Ume trees (plums) blooming, so I got a few pictures of those while I was there.  This is our last Spring in Japan and I want to savor every moment of it. Ken and I will be traveling to Kyoto and Hiroshima at the end of March which should be beautiful this time of year.  

This week I went to another Matane party for my two young friends that are leaving.  It was a Karaoke party with toddlers!  It was really fun and again, I took my camera. Oh yeah, there were Moms there too.  

 I can't even get enough of this cuteness!
Goodbyes are hard.  I treasure these sweet friends.  Thankfully, I will see some of them again because we will be moving from California to Texas when we return.  Many are going to the same place.  If you've followed me here long enough you'll realize that this means we will be selling our beautiful home and relocating.  That is a hard one.  But, no matter how we plan our days, they don't usually end up the way we think.  God has much better plans than we can ever dream of.  So we are trusting in His direction one step at a time.  

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, February 20, 2017

I know you've done this.

I know you've done this.  We've done it too.  Many Japanese who live by us have never seen some of the things I've seen in this last year and a half.  I remember when we lived in Southeast Texas many, many years ago.  It was our first move away from home and we thought we'd be there about two years.  Nine months later my husband was given a promotion and we would be moving to South Dakota. We had two weeks. It was a huge wake up call.  We hadn't done a thing in the area.  We hadn't driven around to see Galveston, we hadn't driven to Houston.  We had just set up house and gone about our business.  Often it takes having company to go see interesting things around your home.  Stop that, right now!  Enjoy where you live.  Take the time to investigate all it has to offer.  Go on day trips in your local area.  Check out the parks, museums, events and even the aquarium!

My friend took me to the aquarium in Nagoya in January.  You may have seen some of the photos on Facebook or Instagram.  It's super hard to narrow it down here.  I think I almost love the people, especially children, more than the actually sea animals.  Take the little tour in no particular order. 

 This is a new one for me.
 "who are you looking at?"

 Play ball!

 "ichi, ni, san, chizu"

 You just never know what you'll see!

Lesson learned. I'm heading out Wednesday for hopefully an amazing location.  I'll keep you posted! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Light and Darkness

I've been stuck at home for several days fighting a cold.  I'm tired of sitting around and watching television and movies. But, then again, I have a natural affinity for being lazy. Today I actually have sewn a little bit. My sewing machine is old and really not cooperating today. I've also run out of thread and don't feel up to walking to the fabric store for more. So my next plan of action is to write a long overdo blog post. The majority of these photos are from a place we visited called Nabano No Sato. It's a park and a nursery.  There are an unlimited number of begonias on display. For several weeks they light up the entire park in the evenings and droves of people visit in the evenings.  It really was magical.  

See you next time! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fall in Japan

Hello again.  What's up?  It's turning cold here in Japan.  Chilly really, not super cold.  But, I'm finicky.  We are heading to Kansas City over the Christmas holidays.  It's suppose to be arctic cold while we're visiting.  I hope Kansas City lives up to it's reputation and vacillates back and forth between cold and mild when we arrive.  What have I been doing you ask?  I know you've been wondering.

Well, the days do seem to be flying by.  Can you believe we have lived here almost 16 months? When we return from Christmas we will have about 8 months left of our stay here.  Therefore, I'm trying to take advantage of everything I can.  My youngest daughter came to visit in late October.  We crammed as much as possible into those two weeks.  We did glass blowing, pottery and indigo dyeing.  We visited Kyoto and Tokyo along with sites around Nagoya.  It went fast!

I've done some more pottery since then and think I might make several more trips there before I leave.  I pretty much love everything I make.  Here are the pieces I made from this trip. 

I've been doing a lot of knitting.  I have several friends that knit.  We meet often and hang out at a coffee shop or a friend's home.  I have a shawl that I need to finish asap as it will be nice to have this winter.  I know you can't really tell, but its a beautiful chunky Noro yarn that should be nice and warm.  I've got two scarves in process and just added two different shawls to my queue.  Although I haven't bought yarn yet.  I definitely have enough to keep me busy.  Here are the new possibilities, The Parlour and Find Your Fade.
I was also able to explore some new areas and take Fall pictures.  Fall and Spring are very big in Japan.  They take it seriously.  Japan illuminates the beautiful fall trees and it's a site to behold.  First of all, I'll show you some trees from a Shrine out in the country on a rainy day.  

Last night I went to an Illumination and took some fun pictures.  

Fall is now all over and winter is upon us.  I don't have plans to travel to Sapporo for the Ice Festival. I hear everyone in Japan goes to the Ice Festival.  It's too late to get flights and reservations, etc.  So you may just get more photos of knitting.  Sending you lots of love and wishing you all a 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  


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