Saturday, November 10, 2018

Happy 101st Grammy

I don't normally post on the weekends anymore. I sit at a computer all day at work so the last thing I want to do is sit on a computer on the weekends. But, I made coffee a few hours ago and even though I'm mostly immune to the effects, it's really keeping me up! So, I get to say HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA! to my grandma who turned 101 on November 6!

A lot of family got to get together at El Torito today to celebrate, and I even had the great honor of sitting next to her during the meal too.



Here's grandma with our branch of the tree...


And here's Khaleesi watching TV with me in the bedroom right now.


Very happy for the three-day weekend, even though I'm just running around taking care of wedding stuff! At least I'll have tomorrow to relax, AJ is going to the Ram's game with friends and I'll just be TCOB'ing (taking care of business...)

28 days!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

November's Big Day

Today was something of a triple threat, and we didn't exactly plan it this way. First of all, it's Election Day! I voted early so we would be free this morning. I should have worn my I Voted sticker today so I don't look like a derelict, but I forgot it at home. Womp womp.

Otherwise, AJ and I had an appointment in the morning to get our marriage license!! You can only get it if your ceremony is taking place within 90 days, so you know it's getting real!


Did you know you have to raise your right hand to follow an oath to them? I wish I had been warned, I had no idea and it was very bizarre, lulz!

And of course, gammy turns 101 today!!! I want to put 101 exclamation points but don't want to count those out.

This was taken at my bridal shower. Yes, that is Shannon
photoshopped in in the back...
So exciting for her today (I think...)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Japan-san

Okay, I did it! I was finally able to compile all my photos from Japan. What a task - sheesh.

Japan was marvelous. My first time in East Asia, and arguably first time in Asia (how are we defining India these days?). Japan was very foreign and yet eerily familiar at the same time. I can't tell if it's because I've just traveled too much lately, or if there really is something calm and familiar about Japan, but it often didn't feel like I was somewhere new. I mean in the way you travel somewhere foreign and the sunlight hits different, the air feels new, the smells are strange and the wind is different... Japan didn't seem to have that. Maybe it's because Tokyo is actually apparently the same latitude as Los Angeles, but sometimes I felt like I was just in a new neighborhood in LA. Never mind the lack of English and often being the only Caucasian in sight at times.

Still, it was definitely still a shock at times. The rough language barrier (worse than anywhere else I've been in a long time), cultural barrier and consistently polite people reminded me that I was not, in fact, still in the United States.

It was so helpful too to have Kathleen there on the trip with me for the first half. It helped make the trip not feel as long and definitely came in handy when trying to navigate the shinkansen... plus, it was just more fun that way too :)

The Washlet was amazing!! Warm seats,
plenty of options, and always music to mask
the sound of actually going to the bathroom!
It was on every toilet everywhere... except for
when I had to go in the metro and there was,
essentially, just a hole in the ground. A porcelain
one, but still. Culture shock!

Greeted right out of the airport by Angel
Shohei Ohtani! He's mah boy!

Kat and I checked in to the hotel and
immediately went out into the Shinjuku
area for some authentic Japanese food...
(and ended up with tapas. It's a long story)

Am I crazy or would this advertising never
work in the United States?!

One of my favorite ads anywhere

Lunch at work in Nagoya!

At the UCI booth in Nagoya with my translator.
Kathleen actually came and sat at the table with
me all day!

Nagoya Castle

The walk around the moat to this vista was
terrifying. There were bats all over the place
that we kept thinking were going to fly into
our hair!



Oh yes, this is Denny's alright

Denny's in America, why aren't you as cute??

At work in Tokyo

I wish we kept track of how much money
Kathleen wasted on these machines. I'm
thinking it was close to $100 and I'm not joking

Purdy building in Shinjuku neighborhood

The shrine in the park right across from the hotel




Senso-ji temple








Lighting sucked

We found an owl cafe!



Poor guy, wait for his reaction...

Sorry bro







Bunnies!

Hedgehogs!

Geckos!


Sugargliders!

Banana water. It was good. Unsure if I'd recommend



Man in a monkey suit. It felt like an episode
of Black Mirror...

Imperial Palace


MarioKart in the streets!

Akihabara, the anime district (with like no Sailor Moon stuff
...**eyeroll**!)

Dressing up in the hotel-provided kimonos

This butter toast was to die for. The best friggin toast ever, anywhere!
We went twice in a row

This huge garden has ground with a English
garden, French garden, and traditional
Japanese garden. 

Don't mind my busted hair

The spiders all over this place (in their webs)
were huge and frightening and plentiful




SPICY RAMEN. OH YEAH.

NYC, Philly, Tokyo!

Shibuya Crossing!

Harajuku's main street

Fukuoka Castle gates

Fukuoka Castle moat

The great stone dragon!






Curry donmen in Fukuoka

Went to visit an agency in Tokyo and look
what school they were representing...!

Grown man playing a Nintendo switch on the subway.
(Also spotted: grown man reading manga comics).
#OnlyInJapan

The sushi bar! (Drool)

Beautiful fountain for washing your hands
at a nearby shrine


Mt Fuji from the train ride to Osaka

Backside of Mt Fuji

Osaka!


Shrine in Kyoto. WHAT A GEM.





Kyoto's Gion district (I was in a rush)


Gion. Cultural heart and center of Kyoto,
the original capital of Tokyo and the true gem
of the country!




My view on the way back to the airport.

Shinjuku Idol street performance


Shibuya Crossing


Me in Shibuya


Me in Shibuya - this time without my horrible shoes


Sushi bar (drooooool)


Japanese Wedding on October 20, 2018

It was a great trip, although there was a notable difference in the trip after Kathleen left. Lonelier, more frustrating, more tiring. But, it was still wonderful. I had a day trip to Fukuoka for work and I was literally the only white person on the plane there and back. And, one of very few women. It was a very eerie experience, I don't recall ever sticking out that much before. It was very humbling. On the way back I even sat next to some children who pointed at me and asked their mother questions. I was grateful for the chance to experience what so many people around the world must feel, which I will rarely have the opportunity to know about.

The food was to die for, everywhere, which is easy when you can't enough sushi, ramen, noodles and anything else Japanese. I will say though that I was sad they didn't have all the fun crazy ridiculous hand rolls that we have here in the States, but I made do.

I also had the experience of visiting a department store and shopping for a tea set. Even though I got over the obstacle of figuring that out, the custom was to then unwrap every. single. individual. piece. and present it to me so I could inspect for any defects or damages. You know that awkward moment at a restaurant when they let you taste the wine first and you know you're just gunna say "yeah it's good" no matter what? This was that, magnified a hundred and lasting ten times as long. So that was fun. In the end, I still got the tea set so all's well that ends well!

I truly loved Japan and would love to return when I am able to leisurely explore it more and not be consumed by work engagements, but I'll take what I can get regardless!