Thursday, July 26, 2012

WIWWhen I Wasn't Playing Tennis

The high empire waist of this dress means it can look maternityish.
 I tried to reign it in with this cardigan, which made me entirely too sweaty. 

Unflattering, but necessary: capris

Handsewn by me shirt.  Too bad you can't really see it.
 No, I haven't switched to wearing exercise shoes all the time, though I've been thinking about it.
I was just getting ready to go out for a walk and I was too lazy to change my footwear?  I think?  

Another handsewn by me shirt.  Not the most figure defining silhouette but just the breeziness for a sweltering day.  Which is what we've been having lately.  And which I still prefer to winter!

Dear H and M, thanks for letting me borrow your mirror.
And thanks for selling sunglasses for 5.80 so that I don't feel guilty if   when I lost them.
Note, these are not lost.  Yet. 

I'm not clever enough to flip this photo so you can read my shirt,
but I'm sure you're clever enough to see that it says Pray.  Good idea.  

Handsewn by someone shirt.  Dabbling in seamstressishness (I also dabble in word invention) like I do,
I am partial to hand made creations when I find them in thrift stores.

pleated poppy

Sports Day

Koji's out of school for his summer break, as of this week.  As you may recall, he goes to a Japanese school, which runs on the standard Japanese educational (and business) calendar.  The new year starts in April and is sectioned into trimesters, the first of which runs through mid-July, as I mentioned.  Koji's summer break clocks in at close to exactly four weeks and is actually a bit shorter than many Japanese schools by a week or two.  The second trimester is September through December, followed by a couple of weeks off for New Year's (Christmas is not a big deal in Japan).  The third is shorter, January through mid-March, and is succeeded by a two or three--or in the case of Koji's school, four--week spring break.  And then the cycle starts again.
These are the shirts we wore to Koji's first Sports Day two years ago
One highlight of the first trimester of Japanese school every year is Sports Day.  It's held on a Sunday in early June and is always a whole school competition between the White Team and the Red Team.  This was Koji's third year to participate in Sports Day, but his first to be on the Red Team.  I have a rule that our whole family has to wear shirts in the color of his team, for solidarity.  So I was delighted, after two years of wearing white, which I abhor as a fashion choice, at the opportunity to wear a color that suits us (me?).  Koji was delighted that his team won!  In the aftermath, Aogu wasn't delighted to find himself thoroughly sunburned...
Ready to attack a bunch of balloons

Cheering squad--the cheer "competition" is very serious!

Celebrating with the victorious Red Team

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Have you read this book?
The author is a British man, now in his late 20s (maybe early 30s). He describes his life with Asperger's and the glimpse into his mind is fascinating.
I am most envious of his linguistic ability. I was under the (erroneous) impression that numbers are the primary specialty of people on the autistic spectrum. But Mr. Tammet learned Icelandic in just one week! Isn't that amazing? Becoming a polyglot is a dream of mine...
Oyasuminasai (Good night--because for now I'm just bilingual)!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tea Party

Six friends and I went to The Peninsula for high tea on Saturday.  Also known as a carb fest washed down with a gallon of British liquid!  Can you see the size of that tea pot, there in the left foreground of the photo?  Wow.  
The menu may have been other than my usual eating habits lately but catching up with six friends, particularly the one pictured above, was wonderful.  The truth is, the two of us and our husbands were in the very same space the evening before.  I may be starting a new trend?  Every weekend,whatever I do on Friday, I have to do it on Saturday too?  This is not actually a goal, by the way!  It's just the way my last two weekends worked out....

Sunday, July 08, 2012

To the Scottish Forest and Back~Twice

Having watched it in the theatre twice in the past 24 hours--and that being the most I've gone to the movies in the past year--I would be remiss if I didn't comment on Brave.  Did you see it?  If you haven't, I don't want to give away the story, so my Thoughts below will likely not make sense.  I apologize.  

Without regard for order of importance, here are Thoughts: 
  • Merida's hair is irresistible 
  • As are Merida's mischievous little brothers.  Furthermore, I envy their capacity for eating cookies
  • Disney is to be applauded for allowing Merida and her brothers to have both of their parents around for the duration of the story
  • Is it too late for me to become Scottish, or at least learn to speak with a Scottish accent on command?  I tried practicing during the movie, but that didn't go over well with my friend in the next seat
  • Yes, I will go live in Edinburgh, but only if you make it possible and only if you allow me regular visits to the Highlands
  • Haggis is good for you, as long as it's from pastured sheep--but I'm speaking theoretically
  • A photo would have made this post infinitely better, but I don't know how to copy one without being a copyright breaker
Good night!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Lacking Practice

Here I am, starry-eyed, on stage at karaoke last Saturday night.  Still more friends are moving away, one to Indiana and, you guessed it, two back to Japan.  I think I have more friends in Japan now then I would if I had been there these last 11 years?
Anyway, at some point I've surely expressed my distaste for American-style karaoke.  There you are, in front of a bunch of people you don't know, trying to sing a song you also kind of don't know?!  The horror!  Japanese-style karaoke is much more dignified.  If you can call a situation where you grab a mic and pretend to be Alanis Morissette without even drinking copiously as a warm-up "dignified".... it feels less intimidating to sing in front of one's friends, I guess.  For me, anyway.  
That's not a sufficient explanation of why I like it.  I'm not a great singer, I can't hit all the notes, remember the words, or harmonize (if I get a new talent in Heaven, I hope it's the ability to harmonize). There's something about singing that's so cathartic, though.  Do you feel that way?  
It's like, even when singing Ironic (pictured above), the feeling of belting it out is what God made me for.  Not that exact song!  But some kind of vocal expression~ praise for Him is a more likely prospect, but I have an unholy/improper suggestion: even the songs that seem to be not about Him, at Him, for Him or to Him can be for His praise?  Somehow.  What do you think?  Do you like karaoke?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Independence Day and What Preceded It

Winters are pretty miserable in these parts by my standards. Which are rather wimpy for one who claims to enjoy snowboarding. Thus my policy: no complaining about the weather in the summer. Summer is the sweet season, therefore, I must take whatever it brings and relish it. Every summer I've spent in these parts has found me following said policy with ease. Until now. Because it is HOT. 100ish (38 C) with humidity. I know this is standard summer weather in Japan in August, but the sad truth is I haven't been to Japan in almost two years, and it's been eight since I spent August there. I'm just not tough enough?!
Making matters much, much worse: our main air conditioning unit is broken, leaving us with a teeny wall unit in our bedroom and one box fan. Why no, as a matter of fact, air in our house is not moving around. At all. Last night we finally wised up to sleeping in the basement. And bringing out the dehumidifier. So Happy Fourth of July! I am thankful to be an American, and I know well that is the reason I have the luxury of mentioning my heat-challenged feelings to you on a blog from my iPhone. So Lord Jesus, please take care of all those who are miserable with heat and for myriad other reasons tonight, and have no recourse. Amen.
Without further ado, to the photos, and a good night to you!

Misaki's rather accurate elephant imitation; last Friday at Koji's class playdate
Koji (in blue) and some of his friends at a park in Buffalo Grove
Thanks to our friends, the R Family, who sent us this "movie night in a box".  We love it!
At long last, all bike tires are pumped, and the trailer is dusted off; so on Sunday we ventured out for a bike ride and it was so exhausting for Misaki, she ended up like this
Self portrait at Lee St. Beach earlier tonight while we waited for fireworks, to document my lovely Japanese style neck hankie (used for wiping down my prolifically sweaty countenance) and also the shiner I'm sporting.  Can you see the black and blue knob on the right corner (left in this picture) of my chin?  It was super when I tripped and literally landed on my face yesterday.... 
Last but not least: eats!  Thanks to our friends the M Family and a wonderful Happy Birthday to their newly nine year old son N (we owe you a present, we are doofuses for not bringing you one today).  We had hamburgers, hot dogs, various salads and many great desserts.  I made this fruit salad: apples, cherries, peaches, strawberries and mangoes.  I mixed it with a light syrup of honey, lemon juice and cinnamon.  It was very tasty if I do say so~