japan, part II

I never finished Japan, so here you go.

a bomb dome

The A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima.

Radiation Effects Research Facility (formerly Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission)

Radiation Effects Research Center (formerly Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission)

four hibakuska women we met

Four hibakusha (被爆者 or bomb-affected persons) we met with - the woman with them is a hibakusha as well, and one of the youngest survivors (6 mos. old). She travelled with us.

ye are my witnesses

My pitiful attempt at a paper crane.

floating torii

The "floating" torii at the Itsukushima Shrine near Hiroshima - it's one of the Three Views of Japan, which were determined in 1643, and that kind of blows my mind.

floating away!

Floating lanterns at the Hiroshima lantern ceremony. In honor of those who died, especially those who died crying mizu or "water" - messages of peace are written on the sides and they're sent down the rivers.

nagasaki memorial

Nagasaki memorial. I think it's really peaceful (and it feels like you're underwater)

remains of dinner

One of the most lovely nights, we spent in a restaurant as the only people speaking English, eating delicious yakitori.

paper cranes

These are strands of paper cranes - gifts of 1000 are given at these memorial ceremonies in memory of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who contracted leukemia after Hiroshima, and started to fold 1000 paper cranes (which traditionally gives you a wish). Stories differ, but the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum says she finished, and has some of her cranes there. She died in 1955, aged 12.

revolving sushi (4th time)


I think they are doing dragonball

It's hard to express the highs and lows, and how close we got to our peace families. Here, we're on top of a mountain in Nagasaki overlooking the harbor, on almost our last night.

me interviewed by NHK (Japanese news)

I was interviewed by NHK, a TV station in Japan, about my experience at the Nagasaki ceremony.

empty akihabura :(

We returned to Tokyo, and the electronic city was closed.

I have so many more photos, but this will have to do for now.


365 - japan


First meal on the airplane.


Revolving sushi.


View from our seminar room.


Ginjojo (castle).


Hiroshima hypocenter - 500 ft above this point.



I have decided on my spiritual mission for this trip. My Grampa used to pick those for trips he went on, and I've gotten out of the habit, but it is not something I should have gotten out of the habit of doing. This trip, it is:

Christ-like compassion

I like it, and it came to me the second I was thinking "I need a spiritual mission," so that seems to me good enough proof from Above. Quite astute, because Merriam-Webster defines it as: "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it" and that's really true.

365 - metro center

365 - metro center

Metro Center station, on the commute home. It is now becoming clear exactly how much work I have to get done before I leave for Japan. Oh my.


15 books

Oh my goodness, a post that is not a photograph! This was making its rounds 'round Facebook, and I rather liked the responses, so I'm posting them here as well. It was interesting having to think of 15 books -- to narrow them down! -- and think about the ones that really stuck with you.

These are in absolutely no particular order. Don't make me choose - I tried once, and it was painful.

Instructions were:
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
An absolutely amazing coming-of-age story, that just pulls at your heart and never lets go. I love the beginning: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy." Oh--first love. The film, incidentally, is phenomenal.

2. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
Does this need explanation? The end of my childhood perhaps may be an exaggeration, but it was so bittersweet and tied up all the loose ends. So sad it had to end this way, but I'm glad it did.

3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
This book has FOOTNOTES. Footnotes for books that are within the world! Books on the history of magic in England! Amazing. In the style of an early 19th century novel, it creates a world of English magic that you wish was real.

4. Time & Again by Jack Finney
I am realizing that there is a definite "time travel" theme to my books. Si Morely travels back to 1880s New York City to solve a mystery. One of my father's favorite books (if not the favorite) and summarily passed on to me. Also, historically accurate - neat!

5. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Fed into my love of Egyptology as a child, my fascination with the hidden and tucked away, and remained with me ever since.

6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Oh, those descriptions of the memories! The world! Taught me that you could stand up to the world for the greater good.

7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
One of the first novels I remember just devouring. I read it in 6th grade, when we lived in Cambridge, England, because I remember my little room, and the armoire that held my clothes and my treasures like coins stacked up in neat rows. I had a cover of Jane Eyre that I adamantly refused to believe was what Jane looked like, because the cover looked like Kate Winslet. The book frightened me terribly as well -- I was convinced that Mrs. Rochester lived in my grandfather's attic and still cannot sleep in the house unless the door to the study (which leads to the attic) is closed. Oh, that cackling laugh at the keyhole--it's still dreadfully scary.

I also just spent a half-hour attempting to find this cover, but the Internet has failed me. It is a pretty girl in a bonnet on the right hand side of the cover and it is bright.

8. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
This book is one of the first times I have literally gasped in horror at one of the plot twists. Oh, Marian! What a heroine!

9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Hush, Tyler. I loved it, though I freely admit to skipping most of Galt's speech, because I'd already read 800 pages of it, basically. The image of the Rearden metal on Dagny's wrist - wow.

10. These Happy Golden Years (from the "Little House" series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Oh, Almanzo. Oh, those calling cards with the spray of flowers! Carriage rides! I read this right at the point when it could set the bar of how I wanted to be courted. Also, Almanzo is a looker.

11. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Great mystery. Probably started my love for puzzle-like mysteries as a kid.

12. the Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
A delicious neo-gothic novel with deep roots in Victorian mysteries -- libraries! fires! twins! mysteries! -- it's just fabulous. I picked it up in the morning and didn't put it down until I finished it.

13. Lost Moon by Jim Lovell
It began with Apollo 13, but because this book was the logical sequel to watching that film (as it's the basis) it fueled my love of the space program, my admiration for Jim Lovell, and subsquent love and appreciation for Apollo 8. This caused one particular green binder cover in 6th grade to be covered in diagrams of Saturn V rockets, CSMs and LEMs, lists of astronauts by group, and a map of the landing sites (which was honestly a moon with some Xs at random points.) At one point it will be framed.

14. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
One of the greatest sets of stories of patience and faith, and I read it at a time when I needed more of both. Lamott writes in such an honest way, you find yourself relating to her -- because what she goes through is what we all go through, searching for meaning in our lives.

15. Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
Autobiographical stories of her love of books. As a reader, it only makes you happier to read books about loving books, and these essays just make you happy. Who can't relate to: "Not everyone likes used books. The smears, smudges, underlinings, and ossified toast scintillae left by their previous owners may strike daintier readers as a little icky... I developed a taste for bindings assembled with thread rather than glue, type set in hot metal rather than by computer, and frontispieces protected by little sheets of tissue paper."

runner up: Interpreting Our Heritage by Freeman Tilden. Because it's inspiring.


365 - mad men me

Mad Men Me.

Myself, as a glorious new secretary? copywriter? for Sterling Cooper Advertising, thanks to madmenyourself.com. I love it so very, very much. Yes, I am smoking but that's because everyone is on the show, and let's just say my 1960s self caves to peer pressure more than I do. Or something. It looks so good!

Regardless, I had far too much fun with this today.


365 - putting on the slipper

365 - slipper

Today was my last big day of errands before Japan. I bought shoes for trekking around and they're like walking on air. I love them. At this point, though, I'm still in denial (and I'm sure will remain so until I am quite literally on the plane en route). I found out today that our flight is flight #1, which amuses me greatly -- and harkens back to the trans-Atlantic Pan Am London - New York flights, which were #1 and #2 respectively. I love that.

I bought body wash that reminds me of Hawaii, a new carryon bag, and tiny carryon bottles. Thrilling, really. Now it's on to 2.5 days of work, class, and finding an apartment in the meantime. I shall be a busy, busy bee.

365 - take 3, take 2

365 - more apollo

My Apollo glass arrived today! It is making friends with its cousin, my Apollo whisky bottle ($25, best purchase ever). It makes me wonder how many drinking vessels in the shape of space vehicles there are -- not to mention the fact that their shape does not lend themselves to drinking, necessarily. Note that the Command Module on the bottle is removable, and it nonexistent on the glass. Intriguing.

365 - stairs

The stairs in my good friend Leah's new apartment in Petworth. She had a BBQ on Friday -- her apartment is amazing. Paneling!

365 - slurpee

Speaking of apartments, we (the four roommates) went on a whirlwind (ok, 2) tour of apartments today. It was lovely, we had slurpees (as evidenced by Josh's blue lips).


365 - apollo glass

365 - apollo glass

I won! I am very excited with the spoils of my most recent eBay win. As you can tell, it is quite fabulous (and a logical partner to my Apollo Command Module bottle). Oddly, this is only the Service Module - no command module - but I suppose you couldn't drink it that way.


365 - paper bag

365 - paper bag

I went to that Italian deli again. There's something just so physical about brown paper bags that I love. The feel, the holding of groceries. Not sure if it's a retro thing, or if there's something so tangible about it. It just makes me happy. So does the delicious sandwich inside. Yum.


365 - bright sky, kitchen, projected

365 - bright sky

365 - kitchen

365 - projected

Final shot taken while watching "Atomic Café" in class.


365 - mourning ring

365 - mourning ring

I picked up a ring while in Williamsburg -- it's a hand-made (in the Silversmith shop) of an 18th century mourning ring (given out at funerals). I got one for Claire a few years ago, and I've always loved it. So, huzzah.

365 - breeches role

365 - breeches role

Amy in her role as "Mr. Scribble," a breeches role in this case, which is a role of a male character played by a female. Amy was, by all accounts (including my own), fabulous, shining in a great shows to boot. Lots of calls for "encore" - which in the 18th C. meant that you would quite literally replay the last few seconds of the show -- of course those calls were coming from good friends in the audience.

All in all a lovely time, and of course, we're all jealous of how well her suit fits (better than any suit fitting any guy in the area!)


365 - harry take II

365 - costume redux

Since this photo was taken at 3am, I think it counts. I'm sad I don't have a photo of watching Dr. Strangelove with Nick today, which was a blast (no pun intended!) and exactly what I needed -- or of class, which I'm enjoying more and more but realizing that we only have 3 classes left.

Frustrating to have a class last only a month when you wish it would last a semester. On the plus side, 2 weeks until Japan, which means my list of things to do before I leave grows ever-longer. Phew.


365 - harry potter

365 - harry potter

A late post, because we were out late watching the most recent incarnation of the Harry Potter films, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince. It was fantastic, but I must to bed, leaving only the lament that we were one of few folks dressed (and fabulously so) for the midnight showing, which made us sad. Thankfully, the sadness did not last, because we were dressed so amazingly, even though I had to disguise myself as a Gryffindor. :)

365 - alas, babylon!

7.13.09 - alas, babylon

This book has kept me up pretty darn late. It's frightening, but that's not why. It's compelling. Gives an interesting perspective on the dawn of the nuclear age (written in 1959). It's due on Wednesday. I'm halfway done.


365 - late night

7.12.09 - late night

I read for class, played Warcraft for 10 minutes. It was a pretty mellow night, really.


365 - morning

7.11.09 - morning

Good morning! After a night that ended at 5am (surprisingly) due to late-night diners and talking, it was nice to just collapse into bed and not worry when I woke up. Still woke up at a reasonable hour, which was nice. Headed out this evening to celebrate Alexandria (the city)'s birthday, which promises fireworks and I'm not sure what else.

On another note, I love having my bed next to a window. I will relish this as long as I don't leave anywhere near any place plagued by earthquakes. The weather's been so lovely recently (today is the first sliiiightly humid day), breezy, in the 70s and 80s, wonderful, so I can still fall asleep with the window open (and a fan on).

365 - it's been a rough few days

7.9.09 - waiting

Here, I waited for my car to get fixed (just oil change &c) and attempted to learn Hiragana / Japanese syllabary.

7.10.09 - italian deli

One of the more difficult days of my life culminated with a sandwich from the Italian Store, a lovely deli, a night on the town with some girlfriends, and screaming the lyrics to pop songs. Also, a stranger randomly spun me around in circles, and Leah listened.


365 - night

7.8.09 - night

Tonight, we watched interviews of survivors of the atomic bomb blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


365 - drive home

7.7.09 - drive home

Today was a long drive home, since I left at the regular time (and not my usual 8pm - 10pm ish), but it was a lovely day regardless, and I always forget how simply green things are this time of year. So, along Canal Road (while stopped), I snapped a photo of the trees over the canal. I rather like this overabundance of greenery.


365 - double feature

7.5.09 - grass stains

Grass stains on my jeans from the BBQ.


Quite a few books for classes arrived in the mail today - can you tell what I'll be studying for the next month and a half? I'm rather excited for Japan, though I'm just trying to keep everything in order in preparation. Hard to imagine that it's coming up in a few weeks!


365 - snake whiskey

7.4.09 - snake whiskey

Apparently, he asked for it for Christmas.

It's snake-infused whiskey from Thailand. Apparently, a cobra with a vine snake in its mouth. Unreal. Sadly, the only photo I took last night from a fabulous Fourth of July BBQ in the city. Not photos of the delicious bacon-wrapped-shrimp, no photos of Nick's adorable dog Eva, no photos of the 10 different fireworks shows we could see from the hills of Fort Reno (one of the old forts to defend the city), but a photo of snake whiskey.

You'll have that, I suppose.


365 - navy yard

Oh, gosh, I've been dreadfully remiss in this blog, and I realized that I rather like having a chronicling of what's happened in my life, so I'm beginning anew. I'm making myself post a photo a day, which even without its context, will tell me more about the day -- though, knowing my verbose nature, I won't be able to resist waxing poetic.

At any rate, here's number one. I know, I'm starting in July (not January, which I suppose is "traditional" for these types of things, but I went to Artomatic and I was inspired. So there you go.

This is the Navy Yard station, since we went to a Nationals game today -- my first of the season, which is pretty depressing, considering I vowed that I would go frequently. I suppose you'll have that.

We had, however, a lovely time, and it's that perfect summer weather -- before the humidity comes in full force -- where it's pleasantly warm, and stays warm into the night. 77° tonight, with a slight breeze, and it was perfection. Add Ben's Chili Bowl half-smoke to that, and it's pure heaven.

From there, it was off to Artomatic, which is kind of like Festival of the Arts in that it's 9 floors of art installations and art for sale, and even a tattoo parlour! (the officially website adds: "nine floors of visual and installation art, theater performances, dance and comedy, three music stages, street performances such as fire dancing and drum troupes, and a film screening theater " ... yep) It was fabulous. We probably spent 3 hours there, and I only made it to the 6th floor, and this was after all the shows had finished!

At any rate, a bully start to the 4th of July weekend, even if I don't do anything for the rest of the time. Lovely.

Now... to bed!


short trip, long trip home

Well, I headed to San Francisco for the weekend.  This was to be a relatively uneventful trip -- of course, it was a bit more of an adventure.  

Fortunately, the weekend itself was lovely.  Friday was quiet, and I took a trip into San Francisco to meet up with my cousin Amanda & her friend Brittney.  They're both studying abroad this next semester, and it makes me so happy.  I so loved my time abroad, and it's such a chance to branch out, travel, and really come into ones own.  It changed me so much, and now, I just can't wait to go back.  Of course, that has to wait.


But this time, I headed back to Eric and Lisa's and had a quiet night.  We knew that another 8 people were showing up that night (ok, 3 a.m.) so we relished the calm.  

The session was the next day, and it was... amazing.  Probably one of the best we've ever had.  Engaging, funny, dark, plot-focused... It managed to completely take my breath away, and I was so glad I went.  More on exactly why later, though, because we must focus on the road home. 

My flight was cancelled due to thundersnow in DC, and the first flight out that I could get on was at 7pm.  Fortunately, I was rescued by Lisa, who fed me and we chatted non stop for 5 hours.  From there, I present my trip in photographic form.  

map & knife

shoe-computer shine


the view

people are waking up!

open sesame


I think that pretty much sums it up.   I have never been happier to see mini-bagels in my life.  

More on the session itself later.