Random thoughts

I’m trying really hard to eat healthier, but it is difficult to convince oneself to partake in a green smoothie with frozen ingredients when it is raining (borderline snowing) outside and the house is cold. It’s so much easier to listen to the very loud voice that is saying that hashbrowns are exactly what is needed. Dear reader, I listened to that voice.

I’m not going to go into how that thought process led to reminding me of this routine (it involves the heart wanting what it wants, and Selena Gomez, and then I lost track and don’t feel the need to explain my art to you, Warren-)  but I was reminded of this routine so I share it. It’s SO good. This was the routine where Janine showed up to play. Before this she was good, but she made herself known in this one. Brandon was always brilliant, and together they kill it. The big move at 1:16 is just breathtaking. I remember calling my sister the first time this was on and telling her that she had to watch it, and then she had to watch it again and watch whichever one she didn’t watch the first time. Because you can’t watch both of them the same time, they each bring something so different to it.

I haven’t posted about what I’ve been reading this month because I’ve mainly been reading one book- it always takes me longer to read non-fiction than fiction. This one is about how the development of English as a global language is influencing national literatures. It is FASCINATING. I wish I’d read it in college. But it didn’t exist back then, and I wouldn’t have appreciated it as much. I’ll write about it more once I’m finished.

We’re looking at possibilities of housing for when we move back to the states, and can I just say that the variety of quality of pictures on people’s listings is drastic? Upside down pictures, blurry, all the way to super high definition resolution madness that looks illustrated. Those pictures look artsy, but make me question the integrity of the house.  But I am getting to the point when I am almost literally offended when there aren’t any pictures, just one of the outside of the house. That’s just ridiculous. Why would I pick that house?

We’re learning about Canada this week, and the girls now want to go there. There’s a great series called Globe Trekkers where the host explores a different country each episode, and it’s excellent for getting an overview of different parts of a country.  So we watched a part about gold mining in the Yukon, and making maple sugar in Quebec, and the forests and lakes of Prince Edward Island and the polar bears in the arctic areas. And of course the Edmonton Mall- largest mall in North America. And of course, that’s where the girls want to go. :)

The girls are watching Fantasia right now for the first time. It’s rainy and cold, perfect time to hole up in the living room with the heater on and kick back. Z is putting together her lego kit as she watches.

I’m sleepy. I had one of those nights where the whole night you’re dreaming that you’re awake and doing things that you normally do and talking about things that you’re thinking about in awake life, so when you wake up it feels like you didn’t get any sleep, you were just awake for 12 hours but didn’t actually accomplish anything. Maybe I was in an alternate dimension.

I finally got to watch God Help the Girl last week, a lovely little movie about a girl with issues who wants to make music. She meets a boy and another girl and they decide to try being a band. It’s a musical, in that people stop and sing, but everyone notices that they’re singing. The songs are sweet and the people and clothes are pretty, and the whole movie is just an enjoyable watch.

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We also watched Under the Skin, which was atmospheric and odd and thought provoking. A woman lures lonely men into her van and home and “consumes” them. The first line of dialogue doesn’t happen until like 15 minutes into the movie. It’s definitely odd, but effective sci-fi, I think. I’d recommend it, but only to certain people.

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I also watched Advanced Style, which is a documentary about older women (from 62-95 years old) who live in New York and are fashionistas. It’s so inspiring to see people embracing creativity and living their lives to the fullest.

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We just hit the point in Fantasia with the unicorns. The girls are about to die.  Z is arguing that since centaurs have 6 appendages they could be insects.

And I’ve just been asked to help with Legos, so I shall go help construct a mall.

What’s going on with you?

 

Random thoughts

It’s Jan. 2 and we’re all lounging about, doing not much at all. I got to sleep in until 9:45. It’s a nice  way to start the year.

Bruce and I watched Ascension (the Scyfy mini-series) last night. It was so thought provoking, and I just can’t stop thinking about it. I hope that they bring it back for a full season, because I have questions and theories. Did you watch it?

I just read this article about the problem with reading challenges (like to read a certain number of books in a year) and I agree with it, even though I have reading goals for myself. (Go read it, so you know what I’m agreeing with.)  I want to make clear that I don’t post about the books I’m reading here to boast, but because I love books and I love hearing about books I don’t know about, and figure that you might too. Besides, writing about them helps me sort out my thoughts. I have thought about having a year where I just read really long books. I’d only finish like 20 in the year, but they’d all be massive.

I do have two reading goals this year. The first is that I want to read more books by women. Last year, almost exactly half of the books I read were written by women, but I’ve been thinking about the #readwomen2014 movement, which encouraged people to read more women authors (you can read more about it here ) and about some of the people who chose to read only women authors in 2014. I’m not going to make that complete of a commitment, as I have already pre-ordered at least a couple of books written by men that I’m dying to read, but I am going to aim for 80% of the books I read to be by women. I think that’s completely doable. I even went through all of the books on the Haunted Kindle of Doom (I got a new Kindle Voyage for Christmas!) and put all of the books by women into their own collection, so I can just go in and pick what to read next. There are a lot of books in there. I’ll be covered for quite some time.

This is good, because my second goal is to only buy one book a month. Last year my goal was to buy no new books, and I failed so laughably. I have come to the realization that I function with a scarcity mentality when it comes to books- I’m always looking for the next perfect book, and if I don’t buy books right now then I’ll never have the chance again. This is obviously disproved by the backlog on the H.K.o.D. So my goal is to focus on the collection of books I already have, and to allow for one purchase a month, of a book that I really really want. It doesn’t take into account a couple of books that I have pre-ordered that are all coming out in January, but I won’t buy an additional book in January.  We’ll see how it goes.

Speaking of goals, this is an awesome list of goals that have to do with writing, although they’re pretty awesome goals for anyone. My writing goals for the year involve editing, revising, and hopefully publishing at least one novel (maybe 2).

I’m also trying to step away from sugar. (I’m phrasing it that way so my brain doesn’t freak out.) I went all yesterday with no sugar, and frankly, I’m pretty amazed.

I also have the goal of doing something creative every day. Writing, sewing, painting, doodling, taking a picture, something. Doesn’t have to be good, just has to be something.

make 4I read a post about being embarrassed to still love the musical Rent, (which I think is ridiculous- you can think the bohos are kind of full of it for not wanting to be responsible adults while acknowledging the emotion and struggle as real and valid) and have had songs from it stuck in my head all week.

I love that music so much I can hardly stand it.  I’ve loved it ever since I saw the cast perform on the Tonys in 1996 and the soundtrack wasn’t even out yet, and I waited and waited and waited, and then it finally came out and I listened to it over and over until I’d memorized every word. Look at Idina’s hair!

I have also had The Phantom of the Opera stuck in my head. Apparently my brain wants more musicals. Speaking of which- this looks SO good. I have the soundtrack and it’s amazing.  Her songs go backwards, from the end of their relationship to the beginning, and his songs go from the beginning of their relationship to the end. So you piece the story together as you go. It’s beautiful and so sad. And I’d love to hear Anna Kendrick sing all the songs.

School starts again next week. We’re finishing up units on Monet, John Phillips Sousa, and Twelfth Night.  We start a unit on Duke Ellington in a couple weeks, which I’m really excited about. And we’ll do Hamlet as well, which will include references to both Nightmare Before Christmas and David Tennant, so that will be enjoyable.

If you haven’t watched this version of Hamlet you should, it’s so incredibly good. The portrayal of Ophelia completely changed the way I saw the play. Her genuine madness reveals Hamlet’s for the shadow it is. He’s not crazy, he’s grieving. Ophelia, on the other hand, has lost the plot, as they say.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Got to go start rice for dinner. Why is it always dinnertime?

Christmas Eve at the Tokyo Skytree

We spent Christmas Eve day at the Tokyo Skytree because the girls wanted to show B the Christmas market set up at the base that reminded them of the Amsterdam Christmas market that we learned about in school. So we went for the market and ended up going up to the top of the Skytree!

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Decorations around the Tower.

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We found Santa!

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The view from the top.

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Fuji from the top of the Skytree. It looks like some futuristic movie still.

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There’s a Ghibli store at the Skytree with giant Totoro.

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On the way home we stopped for dinner in Ebisu and saw this huge chandelier that’s out for Christmas.

DSC00218It was a wonderful day!

 

Our trip to Nagano

Earlier in the week we took a trip up to Nagano. Nagano is about 150 miles north east of Tokyo, so we took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to get there. It took about an hour and a half and was a lovely ride. Once in Nagano, we went to our hotel, which was within the Zenkoji temple complex. It was incredible. This is where we stayed.

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Our room.

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The girls especially liked the “royal” tissue holder.

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Around Zenkoji temple

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This is a memorial pagoda for deserted graves- ie. deceased who have no more living descendants to care for their graves. This is intended to console their spirits.

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We are not sure which Maks this is referring to, or whether or not the well wisher actually knows him.

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The girls were delighted with the snow. Zoe just wanted to throw snowballs and make snowmen all day. Tiny wanted to throw snowballs and eat snow.

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It’s so hard to say goodbye to snowmen.

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Little kodoma snowman we found.

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Apparently the Heatmeister makes appearances here, only to be scared off by … houses in hats?

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The street our hotel was on.IMG_7373

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There’s a story that a raccoon dog wanted to worship at the temple and dedicate a stone lantern, so it made itself look human and came with a group of people to worship. Through a course of events it got embarrassed and ran away without dedicating the lantern. The chief priest heard about what happened and had a stone lantern built for the raccoon dog, and the lantern is there to this day, on the west side of the main hall. I love this aspect of Japanese culture. The shinto/ animism elements are so fascinating. IMG_7392

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The next day we got up early and caught a bus up into the mountains. After a 40 minute bus ride we hiked for an hour (it takes most people about 40 minutes- Tiny has little legs and the trail was covered in ice and snow) to get to the hot springs where the snow monkeys hang out.

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I was expecting to see some monkeys up on the hillside, or in the hot springs, but these monkeys were out walking around everywhere. It was obvious that we were in their environment, not the other way around. They’d just walk up to you or past you- to the degree that they almost seemed tame, but you knew that they were wild animals. It was crazy.

This one kept walking up to B like he recognized him- we’re wondering if the coat made the monkey think he worked there and might give him food. It was seriously disconcerting how close he got.

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You can see in this picture how close people could get to the hot springs. When the monkeys wanted to get out, if there were people in the way, they would just push past them, and either you moved or ended up smelling like wet monkey.IMG_7469

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It was so incredibly beautiful.

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Books I read this week: the rest of December

Since it’s the last day of the year, I’d better catch up on the last books I read in December.

Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers, and Swells: The Best of Early Vanity Fairis a collection of articles from Vanity Fair written between 1914 and 1936. They’re on a variety of subjects by a variety of people- a number of which were members of the Algonquin Round Table, which was why I picked it up. Not all of the pieces were overwhelmingly interesting, but what did spark my interest was the consideration of the word “modern” and its ramifications. Also of interest were the articles looking at women’s place in society.

Woman’s historical position does not invite critical analysis. The fact is that men have not been treating her very fairly. We very chivalrously called our wife our ‘better half’ but always regarded her as inferior and kept her in strict subordination. – Hyman Strunksy

Perhaps, some day, he will let the world know to how many of the checks, sent by women in payment of their income tax, was attached one of those spevially printed little blanks, which the suffragists have circulated so widely, reading, ‘I pay this tax under protest, in obedience to a law in the making of which I had no voice.’ – Ann O’Hahan

 

and then there’s the poetry.

Suicide’s Note

The calm,

Cool face of the river

Asked me for a kiss

-Langston Hughes

The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse: A Flavia de Luce Story by Alan Bradley doesn’t count as a book, it’s only 27 pages long, but it’s a lovely little mystery story featuring one of my very favorite detectives.

Satan Came to Eden: A Survivor’s Account of the “Galapagos Affair”by Dore Strauch is fascinating. It’s the account of a couple who left Germany in the years before WW2 and went to the Galapagos island of Floreana. They wanted solitude, and that’s what they got- they were the only human inhabitants of the inhospitable island. They worked hard to create a home, and the beginning of the book is so interesting as you watch them do battle with the elements. But other humans move to the island, and before long there’s a situation reminiscent of an Agatha Christie novel, with a self-entitled baroness moving onto the island with her two lovers and unsettling everything. The baroness and one of her men disappear (others say that they left for Tahiti), and Strauch has pretty compelling evidence that they were murdered (they didn’t see any boats, one of the Baroness’ prize possessions is left behind). Life continues and Strauch’s companion (they were never married) also dies, and she decides to leave the island.

The book is a fascinating look at a period of time where living in true isolation was possible, when millionaires were traveling around the world in yachts for years at a time, and there were still areas of the world to colonize. It’s also interesting to watch how even then, the media was sensationalizing things to sell papers- German and other European papers got wind of the scandal from visiting boats and blew everything out of proportion.

But it may also be that in a wild place like Floreana, the primitive character in each person comes out more strongly than elsewhere, so that everybody shows his own true face- a rare sight in this world, and rather disconcerting.

Floreana: A Woman’s Pilgrimage to the Galapagosby Margret Wittmer is about the same events, written by another of the women on the island. Her account of what happened is so different from Strauch’s that it’s clear that someone is lying. But this book is about far more than just the murder mystery. Where Strauch was on the island for about 4 years, Wittmer and her family came to the island intending to stay for two years (for their son’s health) and ended up staying for life. This book covers most of Margret Wittmer’s life- of which the scandalous years only make up a small portion. So this book ends up being more about homesteading on an isolated island, dealing with the government of Ecuador (who own the islands), worrying about the war (they were German, and could have been deported or interred as enemies), and raising children away from civilization. It’s a really fascinating life, and I really enjoyed it.

Meat, coffee, sugar, salt and everything that went onto the table was obtained and prepared only by our own labors. I sometimes reflected how much everything is taken for granted in civilization, how little people think about the mass of work and worry and effort, of mistakes and setbacks that go into the food that they buy in shops and put on the breakfast table.

I’ll Give You the Sunby Jandy Nelson is a devastating, wonderful book. It’s about twins, Noah and Jude, who are extremely close at 13, and who by 16 are barely speaking. The story is told in two timelines- Noah’s perspective at 13, and Jude’s perspective at 16. When the book begins, the walls between the two siblings have already begun to rise- Noah finds himself attracted to the new boy at school, while Jude worries that her art doesn’t measure up to her brother’s. While they love each other desperately, they compete in everything, including their parents’ love. Major, life changing events happen over three years, and while both siblings are think that the secrets they are keeping are at the heart of everything, they’re both missing major parts of the story.

The voices in this book are so raw, so beautiful. The pain and grief and anger are so honest, so real. There is an abundance of the magical thinking so inherent in teenagers, but also elements of magical realism that give the story a glittery, ethereal feel. The language is gorgeous- two or three times I literally burst into tears because the sentences were so beautiful.  (I know, I know. But I did.)

This is a young adult book, and because of that I’ll add the caution that it’s definitely one to be discussed if you give it to a teenager. Jude’s loss of virginity at age 14 is complicated and problematic (to her, not just from my moral stand point) and it would be a great opportunity to discuss issues of consent, age, etc.  The ultimate conclusion of this story point is the one weak link in the book in my opinion. But the rest of the story is so lovely.

Because I can see people’s souls sometimes when I draw them, I know the following: Mom has a massive sunflower for a soul so big that there’s hardly any room in her for organs. Jude and me have one soul between us that we have to share: a tree with its leaves on fire.

Everytime Grandma S. read Jude’s and my palms, she’d tell us that we have enough jealousy in our lines to ruin our lives ten times over. I know she’s right about this. When I draw Jude and me with see-through skin, there are always rattlesnakes in our bellies. I only have a few. Jude had seventeen at last count.

I sneak a glance at Jude. I can tell she’s crumpled up in a corner of herself, just like I do in emergencies. There’s a crawlspace in me that no one can get to, no matter what. I had no idea she had one too.

A Long Spoonby Jonathan L. Howard is another short story. It takes place in Howard’s Johannes Cabal mythos, and in this story, Cabal has summoned a spider demon to accompany him to Hell to ask a long dead sorcerer a question. It’s reminiscent of John Constantine in Hellblazer, and I highly enjoyed it.

Annabel Schemeby Robin Sloan is a gorgeous little novella. Sloan is the author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, one of my favorite books of all time. Annabel Scheme is a private investigator with an unusual assistant, in an unusual world. It’s similar to ours, but a massive computer company figured out how to make quantum computers, which caused problems, and there are demons, and ghosts in the machine, and electric detectives, and it’s all a gorgeous mix of technology and the occult and you really should just read it.

Sometimes you settle for a profession. Sometimes you reach for a profession. And sometimes, Miss Nineteen, you create a profession where none existed before.

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales / With an Introduction by Lemony Snicketby Chris Van Allsburg is based on The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, which was one of my favorite books when I was younger. The Mysteries is a book of strange illustrations, with one sentence on the opposite page. The idea was that a man had brought these illustrations with the captions, and promised to come back with the stories that went with them, but never did. So as a reader, you were supposed to come up with your own stories. I love that book so much. My stories were always super creepy, while my friends’ stories were happier.

This book is a collection of  stories that go with those pictures, written by some excellent children’s (and not) authors. The stories are strong, and most tend toward the creepy side that I saw as a kid. My favorite of the stories is The Third Floor Bedroom by Kate DiCamillo, about a girl sent to live with her aunt while her brother is off at war.

My wishes for you: Last night, the moon was very low in the sky. It gave off a strange light that made the wallpaper birds seem to flap their wings. Take that and turn it into a wish for yourself, Martin.

Aunt Hazel listened to me with her mouth hanging open, as if I were speaking words she had been waiting all her life to hear. I have never been listened to that way. It’s an absolute shame that what I said didn’t make any sense.

 

Other strong contenders, A Strange Day in July by Sherman Alexie, The Seven Chairs by Lois Lowry, and The House on Maple Street by Stephen King, who pulls off the near impossible by taking on the story of the house taking off like a rocket and making it completely plausible.

Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980sby Lori Mejewski and Jonathan Bernstein is a fascinating look at the stories behind some of the most memorable New Wave songs of the 80s. I loved most of these songs as a teenager, but I never knew much about the bands behind the songs. We didn’t have MTV until late in the game, so the only place I got to hear music was the radio or 1 hour a week on TV when CMC, the California Music Channel, came on. Contrary to its name it was only an hour of music videos, not a whole channel of them. So it wasn’t until much later that I put together that the same groups played a lot of the songs that I loved. (Those groups being: OMD, Erasure, Tears for Fears, Thompson Twins, Duran Duran, and later Depeche Mode.) This book is a lot of fun, it’s got gossip and drama, but also some really interesting music history and theory.

Broadly speaking, the artists who came up through this period took their influences from the same pool of musical predecessors. Yet there is no doubt that if all the members of those bands gathered together, opinions about the merits of those performeres would vary enormously. That said, I am supremely confident that there would be one exception: We would unanimously agree upon David Bowie being the common pivotal influence on all of our collective musical styles.- Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran

No wonder I love New Wave.

In America, new wave was an umbrella the size of a circus tent. It was a Tower of Babel populated by American bands who wanted to be British, British bands who wanted to be German, and German bands who wanted to be robots.

It’s really a fun, light read, and if you love music from that time period, I highly recommend it.

And that’s it for this year. I really don’t think I’ll finish another book by midnight tonight (although I suppose it’s possible) so that puts my year total at 111 books read. 55 were written by women, 54 by men (2 were complilations.)  I started 9 that I didn’t finish, and am still in the middle of The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. Over the year, I read 33,551 pages, not counting the pages in books I stopped reading.

I already posted my favorite books of the year- though I would add I’ll Give You The Sun to that list.

Feel free to comment with your favorite books of the year, I’d love to hear them.

More adventures

While my parents were here we took them to a bunch of awesome places.

We went to the Open Air Museum in Hakone, one of my favorite places in Japan.

This is Van Gogh.

IMG_5362 IMG_5350 IMG_5342By PicassoIMG_5320 IMG_5305 IMG_5303There’s a huge tower surrounded by stained glass walls. I could spend all day looking at it.IMG_5299 IMG_5298 IMG_5291 IMG_5289 IMG_5286 IMG_5283 IMG_5282 IMG_5281 IMG_5280 IMG_5278

I may have liked it a little bit, what do you think?IMG_5247 IMG_5241 IMG_5240 IMG_5238 IMG_5236 IMG_5233We went out to the Tsukiji Fish Market, but we got there late in the day, so we explored the areas around it instead.  We found this cool temple. IMG_5215 IMG_5213 IMG_5212Tuna.IMG_5211We also stumbled across the Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple.
IMG_5202 IMG_5199 IMG_5197We went to the Museum of Natural History and Science in Ueno.IMG_5191 IMG_5188 IMG_5182 IMG_5181 IMG_5179We went to Kappabashi where they sell the plastic models of food that the restaurants use to advertise the food they make. The models are really detailed and really expensive.IMG_5178Kappabashi is the restaurant supply district, there are stores with anything you might possibly need for a restaurant.IMG_5176 IMG_5175This building is just cool.IMG_5169We went to Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, and while we were there we met two women who work at Disneyland. When we asked what they did there, they glanced quickly at the girls and then explained that one of them is “friends” with Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Esmerelda, and the other is “friends” with Tinkerbell and Alice. They were such sweet girls, and told us to keep an eye out for them the next time we go to Disneyland.IMG_5168 IMG_5154 IMG_5152 IMG_5151 IMG_5150 IMG_5146 IMG_5144 IMG_5143 IMG_5142 IMG_5135

Adventures

While my parents were here we went to a bunch of different places.

We went to the Shrine of the 47 Ronin:

IMG_5385IMG_5387IMG_5388My dad acted out the story for the girls- this is the well where they washed the head of Kira Yoshinaka before laying it on Asano Naganori’s grave (which is in this cemetery complex).IMG_5401The girls are so sad that the polar bears are so sad. The polar bears are so sad because of the environment. This is in Odaiba.IMG_5406-001Also in Odaiba is Legoland. It’s much smaller than other Legolands, but the girls had a great time.

Godzilla over Shibuya. (The buildings are right- we walk past that 109 building all the time.)IMG_5432IMG_5436We also went to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which is incredible. It’s full of dioramas of the history of Tokyo, which you can either walk through or that are in miniature.

The girls are in front of a massive kumade, which is a symbol of good fortune.IMG_5448IMG_5454IMG_5466IMG_5475The following three vests are what students would wear if Harry Potter took place in Japan.IMG_5486IMG_5487IMG_5488IMG_5508IMG_5517IMG_5518They’re trying to steal the gold.IMG_5523IMG_5615IMG_5621Female knowledge in a new era”IMG_5643IMG_5644“A notebook used in a foreign style dressmaking school”
IMG_5669We went to the giant Buddha (Diebutsu) in Kamakura.IMG_5704IMG_5680Our friend Kaoru came too. IMG_5683

Mt. Takao

Towards the end of November we hiked up Mt. Takao to see the changing leaves. The pictures in this post are backwards, so they start at the top of the mountain and go back through our adventure.

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A manhole cover.IMG_6085This (the red one with three v shapes) is the kanji for calamity- Zoe’s middle name. (No, really, it is her middle name.) (That kanji is actually only part of the kanji for calamity- this by itself is “woe”. But shhh!)IMG_6077 IMG_6066 IMG_6060 IMG_6057 IMG_6051 IMG_6040 IMG_6035 IMG_6033 IMG_6032 IMG_5995 IMG_5993 IMG_5991 IMG_5987Mt. Takao is considered a spiritual mountain. There’s a temple on the mountain (Takaosan Yakuoin Temple) in which a Buddhist god, Izuma Daigongen, is said to be enshrined. He has a beak with wings. Tengu (creatures with red faces and long noses or a beak) are said to protect the temple. The long nosed tengu is called daitengu, and the beaked tengu is called shoutengu.

Daitengu

IMG_5979 IMG_5974Izuma Daigongen
IMG_5972 IMG_5968 IMG_5965 IMG_5963Daitengu and Shoutengu and a flying squirrel. And a horse.IMG_5955 IMG_5954 IMG_5951Izuma DaigongenIMG_5949DaitenguIMG_5948ZoetenguIMG_5933 IMG_5931 IMG_5913 IMG_5905Shoutengu, Izuma Daigongen, DaitenguIMG_5899

BuddhaIMG_5896KannonIMG_5893 IMG_5890 IMG_5885 IMG_5878 IMG_5864You can hike all the way up the mountain from the bottom, or you can take a cable car or a chair lift up to half way. We took the chair lift.
IMG_5798We reminded each other the entire way up to “don’t shaking”.IMG_5785A kid gave tiny a balloon sword. It popped part way through our adventure.IMG_5766 IMG_5753 IMG_5746 IMG_5742 IMG_5740TenguIMG_5735

The train station where it all started.IMG_5734

Imperial Palace grounds

We took my parents out to the Imperial Palace grounds. It was really beautiful. It’s always rained when we went previously, so we never went inside and looked around.

The moat.

IMG_4983The dolphin that used to be on the gate to guard the castle. As my friend Jon said, this was obviously sculpted by someone who had only a passing idea of what a dolphin looks like.IMG_4989Tiny had some ice cream.IMG_5006 IMG_5007 IMG_5012 IMG_5016 IMG_5019 IMG_5025 IMG_5038 IMG_5042 IMG_5046 IMG_5072The foundation of the old Edo castle.IMG_5086The Tōkagakudō (Peach Blossom Music Hall)IMG_5095 IMG_5127 IMG_5128