Random thoughts:Or, Liveblogging my brain

Last night the weather prediction said that it was supposed to rain today around 11 am. When I woke up this morning, the sun was bright and the next door neighbor had her laundry hanging out, so I decided to risk it. (Pertinent facts: It’s supposed to rain for the next couple days, our dryer is not effective so we have to hang clothes out, B just came back from a week long trip so we have a decent amount of laundry to get done, and I trust my neighbor implicitly on all things laundry hanging related.) As it got closer to 11, the sky got darker and darker, and I began the game I like to call, How Long Can I Leave the Laundry Out? It is sister games with How Dry Will the Clothes Be? As it turns out, all but 1 pair of pants were dry by the time the rain started, so I think I win that round.

I’m planning our school curriculum for next year. It’s a bit early, but my parents will be visiting during April and May, which is when I would generally start working on it, and we’ll be traveling/busy/moving during the summer months and I want things all set and ready to go when the school year starts. That means preparation now. We’re continuing the artist and composer study that we’re doing this year, but without the guidance of a specific curriculum. I found that a lot of the activities that were provided with the composer curriculum that we’re working off of this year are just distracting to the girls and weren’t really serving a purpose. So I’m creating activities that will work better for them. We’ll be focusing on classical composers- Bach, Handel, Beethoven (“It’s under Beet oven in the index”), Mozart, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, someone else I can’t recall at this moment, George Gershwin, and John Williams. (I realize those last two aren’t classical.)  As I’ve been pulling out songs to use (I now have a very long playlist of 8 songs per artist) I have been so humbled as I listen to this gorgeous music. It’s just so very beautiful. And breathtaking to think that it came from someone’s mind. I really think that people who say they don’t like classical music either haven’t actually listened to any, or listened to the wrong stuff. Baroque stuff that’s heavy on the harpsichord I can see going a little sour on you. But how can this not make your heart sing at least a little?

For our artist study, we’re focusing on women and Black artists. This year we only had one woman artist in our study, and Tiny pointed out the inequity (be still my heart). I was going to do only women next year, but there aren’t nine women featured in the books we’re using as the spines of our study (to be accurate, there are, but we’ve done a couple of them already), so I figured we’d fill out the year with other non white male artists since we’ve already done lots of those.  I love that I have the freedom to impart values to the girls as they’re learning about things. They’re learning about art, yes, but they’re also learning that anyone can be an artist (and thus, THEY can be artists), and that it’s important to be purposeful and aware in our consuming of art. So we’ll be doing Mary Cassatt, Dorothea Lange, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Paul Klee (our token white male, but Tiny will LOVE his work), Frida Kahlo, and Grandma Moses.

We’re also continuing our Shakespeare study, which means I have to sit down and put it together. That’s the one that takes the most work, because I’m creating it all. But it’s fun to put together and the girls enjoy it, so it’s worth it.

While putting together the songs for music I was reminded of Josh Groban (I’m using his version of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring along with a classical version). Somehow I’d forgotten he existed. Well, not that he existed, because I recently saw a thing about him and Kat Dennings dating, which DELIGHTS me to no end, because I adore her. Her rapport with Thor is far more entertaining than Natalie Portman’s. BUT ANYWAY. I’d forgotten that I really enjoy Josh Groban’s voice. So now I am listening to him. This song just came on and it’s my favorite.  (And I’d totally forgotten about the Corrs too! How does this happen?)

This is good, because I’ve been obsessively listening to Paloma Faith, and I’d gotten to the point where her songs were on constant repeat in my head, which gets a little old. But seriously, listen to this song, it’s SO good. The video has a parent advisory because there’s a skotch of a bare bum and a lot of rolling around on a bed. But it’s very pretty rolling around on a bed. I just realized that it also amuses me because she kind of looks like Billie Piper when she has the blonde hair.

Her pipes are just stunning- she can belt so cleanly.

I watched the 2008 version of Brideshead Revisited, finally. The book is in my top 5, so I had really high expectations. It suffers from the problem of many adaptations- there’s just too much to fit into a 2 hour movie, so a lot of the character development and plot get shorthanded. If you’ve read the book then you’re solid, but if you haven’t then I have to think it would be a bit perplexing. “Why in the world did he do that??” kind of moments. But visually- whoa nelly. It is breathtakingly gorgeous. The casting is perfection. I mean just look. So painful to watch two hours of these people, you know?

brideshead

brideshead2

brideshead3

Matthew Goode is Charles Ryder and plays his hopeful obsessive part to perfection. Hayley Atwell is Julia Flyte, and while this should not surprise me because she’s an actress and it’s her job, she plays her so drastically different than her brilliant portrayal of Peggy Carter in Agent Carter. Her Julia is fragile and struggling with her faith and her obligations and she’s just so so good. And Ben Whishaw. Oh my giddy aunt. He plays Sebastian Flyte, who is easily one of my very favorite characters ever, and he SLAYS him. The bravado covering deep insecurity, the fear, the faith, the terror of being a disappointment, the flaws, oh goodness. He’s just so good.

The story, if you don’t know it, is pretty straightforward. It’s set in that magic time period in England between the wars. Charles comes from a modest family and goes to Oxford. He meets Sebastian (who is riiiiiiiiiiiiich and whose family lives in the Brideshead manor of the title) and they tumble headlong into that combination of friendship and love that seemed to happen at men’s colleges a lot. Sebastian doesn’t want Charles to meet his family, wanting to keep him for himself, which turns out to be a good plan, because as soon as he meets Julia (Sebastian’s sister) he is smitten, and when he meets his mother she tries to conscript him into influencing Sebastian the way she wants. Lady Marchmain (played briliantly by Emma Thompson) is staunchly Catholic, worrying more about her children’s eternal happiness than their happiness in this life. That Catholicism runs up against Charles’ atheism and her children’s doubts. Charles makes some hurtful decisions in the direction of Julia, Sebastian makes some hurtful decisions in response, and it’s all more complicated and complex than the movie can sustain, but they do their darndest. Lady Marchmain’s cry of “I just want to see my children safe, and all they do is hate me!” is so heartbreaking.

I read the other day that the most effective scenes are those in which everyone is right (I want you to know that when I read that, I thought, “I should copy this because I’m going to want it at some future point”. But I didn’t. So just now I tried to go through all of the websites I would have looked, in order to find it. And I thought, “if only there was some way to go back and look at the history of all the websites I’ve looked at. Oh wait.” And I just went through my browser history to find it. You’re welcome.) It was Beau Willimon about House of Cards, a show I don’t watch. But he said,

David Fincher told me this maxim and it’s so true and one of the best writing lessons I’ve ever learned: In a great scene everyone is right. And I think they’re both right in that scene. When both people are right, but not right to each other, then you have conflict.

And that’s at the crux of the story of Brideshead Revisited, everyone thinks that they’re right. It’s such a compelling story, and you should read the book and watch the movie because they’re both glorious.

I’ve been struggling with reading lately, I think I’ve started 6 different books and not finished them. It’s gotten to the point that I’m not starting books that I really want to read because I know I’m in the wrong mood for them. I’ve been reading the new Catherynne Valente book for 3 days, which should tell you something, because I inhale those things in hours. (The book, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, is lovely, the problem is totally me.) I need to get over this because I just got new books early for my birthday, and there is a new Gail Carriger book coming out soon (Prudence (The Custard Protocol) ). My continued existence on this Earth depends upon me reading it as soon as it comes out.

I play a little game when I read the synopsis for books (or movies) that consists of seeing how many words into the blurb I get before I am definitively in or out. Gail Carriger’s books are always within the first sentence of the blurb. My friend was telling me about a book the other day and said, “I’m just giving you two words. Clones and opium.” and I was in. Sometimes it takes more than that- for example, the book  Our Ecstatic Days by Steve Erickson. The synopsis is this:

Our Ecstatic Days begins as the memoir of a young mother desperate to forget a single act, committed out of love and fear, that has changed forever the world around her. In the waning days of summer, a lake appears, almost overnight, in the middle of Los Angeles. In an instant of either madness or revelation, convinced that the lake means to take her small son from her, Kristin becomes determined to stop it. Three thousand miles away, on the eve of a momentous event, another young woman — with a bond to Kristin that she can’t even know — meets a mysterious figure who announces in the dark, “The Age of Chaos is here.”

Are you in, or out? I’m in, at “convinced that the lake means to take her small son”. The lake appearing is good, but her take on it is what makes it interesting. But then you have something like Aurorarama:

New Venice–the “pearl of the Arctic”–is a place of ice palaces and pneumatic tubes, of beautifully ornate sled-gondolas and elegant Victorian garb, of long nights and short days and endless vistas of crystalline ice. But as the city prepares for spring, it feels more like qarrtsiluni— “the time when something is about to explode in the dark.”  Meanwhile, a mysterious and ominous black airship hovers over the city like a supernatural threat–is New Venice about to come under assault, or is it another government ploy?

And I’m close at “the pearl of the Arctic” and fully in at “ice palaces and pneumatic tubes”. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Or The Rabbit Back Literature Society:

Only nine people have ever been chosen by renowned children’s author Laura White to join the Rabbit Back Literature Society, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: a young literature teacher named Ella.  Soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual known as “The Game”? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura White’s winter party? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, as Ella explores the Society and its history, disturbing secrets that had been buried for years start to come to light. . . .  In Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen’s chilling, darkly funny novel, The Rabbit Back Literature Society, praised as “Twin Peaks meets the Brothers Grimm” (The Telegraph), the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways.

I’m in solidly at “the Game”, and the rearranging words, secrets and comparison to Twin Peaks are just icing on the cake.

Conversely, it’s similarly innocuous things that put me “out”. For example:

Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-1990s, when a young Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an aggressive anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a ten-year-old boy while struggling with an angel-dusted berserker on a crowded street.

“Aggressive anti-crime unit” did it for me. Not interested.

Or:

On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband, and her two surviving children, determined to start over.

Yeah, no. Out at locking the kid in the car, further out at starting life over.

U., a “corporate anthropologist,” is tasked with writing the Great Report, an all-encompassing ethnographic document that would sum up our era. Yet at every turn, he feels himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions, willing them to coalesce into symbols that can be translated into some kind of account that makes sense. As he begins to wonder if the Great Report might remain a shapeless, oozing plasma, his senses are startled awake by a dream of an apocalyptic cityscape.

Out at “corporate anthropologist”.

Those were all from books Amazon recommended for me based on previous purchases, so it’s not like I couldn’t possibly like them- that’s what makes it interesting to me. Just the question of what draws people in and what doesn’t.

Speaking of what draws me in, I’m super excited about the new Sherlock Holmes movie with Ian McKellen as an older Holmes. It looks so good.

I’m going to go work on curriculum. What’s going on with you?

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.

god help

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.

under the skin

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.

adv style

 

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!

DSC00122

DSC00134

DSC00144

DSC00126

DSC00155

Decorations around the Tower.

DSC00146

DSC00148

DSC00150

DSC00159

DSC00164

DSC00165

 

We found Santa!

DSC00188

DSC00189

DSC00195

 

The view from the top.

DSC00183

 

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

DSC00175

DSC00190

DSC00191

DSC00192

 

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

DSC00207

DSC00212

DSC00215

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!

 

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.

IMG_6086
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

Halloween at Tokyo Disneyland

While my parents were here we went to Tokyo Disneyland for the day. (They went for two days to celebrate their anniversary.) It was all decorated for Halloween, and was pretty fantastic. During the month of October, anyone can wear costumes at Disneyland Tokyo, rather than just kids, who are always allowed to wear them.

IMG_4800Baby Donald.IMG_4803The Haunted Mansion, decorated for Halloween.
IMG_4809 IMG_4810 IMG_4815There were “pumpkin” characters all over the park, similar to the “egg” characters that they had out for Easter/Spring.IMG_4821 IMG_4822 IMG_4823This was a huge Halloween display in the center of the park.IMG_4907 IMG_4909 IMG_4910This is always there, it just makes me smile.IMG_4913 IMG_4915 IMG_4916I was going to catch a picture of this group of girls, and when they noticed, they lined up and posed for me.IMG_4925These high school boys crack me up. They’re straight out of a manga.IMG_4933And these two friends were decked out as beauty queen princesses.IMG_4936Alice and the Queen of Hearts.IMG_4958