Sunday, July 20, 2008

Varying Degrees of Importance

This (almost) three-year old

finds princesses

and parties

to be most important.

Friday, July 18, 2008


One Saturday morning, during my sophomore year at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, I entered a state of deep self-reflection while sitting in Best Diner with Cara and Molly. I went on and on about my home town of Mt. Lebanon because, for whatever reason, that seemed to matter at the time.
When I had finally exhausted Cara and Molly's listening skills, the woman behind us stood up and gently interrupted my soul searching speech. She said that she could not help over hearing, but that she too had grown up in Mt. Lebanon. She told me that she too hated growing up in that homogeneous suburban society, but she somehow managed to survive. She told me about her travels to Africa. And about her current career involving literacy programs. She did not need to tell me that I too would find my niche and figure it out.

Yesterday I was splitting a pizza and salad with my mother in the shade of a chain restaurant in Mt. Lebanon. An old woman walked out on the patio. This woman was wearing a red hat, a purple dress, and a red boa. She explained that she normally wears fancy shoes, but her leg brace kept that from being possible today. She looked around for awhile and said that she was waiting for her friends and she did not know where they were.
While my mother and I put down our glasses of pinot grigio and the waitress brought our receipt, the old woman was still sitting there looking around.
I asked if her friends were coming and she said that now she was waiting for her sister to pick her up to take her to a different restaurant. She explained that her sister had called but that she could not call her back because she did not know how to work her cell phone.
I stood up and found her most recent missed call in her phone book. I pressed send and put the phone up to my ear. Someone on the other line picked up, "Ann? Ann, are you there?" I handed the old woman her phone.
A couple minutes later the old woman was picked up by her sister who appeared to be about ten years younger.
The two old ladies eventually got in the car together, their gray heads peering above the dashboard and steering wheel, and they drove away.
No one needed to tell me that I would not be in a loss of people to hang out with 50 years down the line.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I spent the day gradually packing while laying on my tatami mat, letting the fan blow on my face. Now clothes and gifts are scattered all over my floor and I have no more room to lay.

Something about July makes me less able to find comfort in an evening with a book and sober stillness. An evening of bare feet and losing sleep seems to make more sense.

Perhaps it is the anticipation of fireworks and picnic food that has come every July 4th of my life that makes July a month of restlessness. This July 4th was no exception. Thousands of miles from the home of the brave, I made sure the fireworks lasted through the night and I woke up with dirt underneath my toenails.

There is a high that comes from the 4th of July, when kids go to bed late on weeknights and this high lasts through July, after the fireworks are gone. In July, beach water is warm and autumn sweaters are a distant future. Even in Japan, I found mid- July activity that holds the excitement of independence. These adventures took to me an island without a vending machine, making it feel more like the Thailand I have seen in the movies than a nation rich in Louie Vuitton bags.

There is no certainty in what July will bring. There is always newness in the stagnant summer air. Though these surprises can bring anxiety it is nice to know that life is basically a series of the same events over and over. And I am glad to say that I know my favorite parts come when I am on public transportation looking out the window or at the water below the boat, thinking about how lucky I am to be in transit

But mostly when I find a new television show that I love and I can watch on the internet for hours at a time while eating microwavable popcorn.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A lot of Desires are put ...

Tanabata is a Japanese holiday that happens on the 7th of July.

The story is that a prince and princess got together and this angered a god. This god separated the prince and princess. But, these two people can get together every July 7th, on Tanabata. The prince and princess convene in the Milky Way on this single evening.

On July 7th, people make wishes and tie them on bamboo trees. In the past, these trees were put into rivers and floated downstream. Nowadays, the tress stay on land.

I wished to speak perfect Japanese and live a happy life. A Japanese peer wished to travel all around the world, every country. She already has excellent English. And a woman who is older than my grandmother wished to continue her healthy life for a long time.

A lot of desires are put all over bamboo trees in July. Apparently, the Milky Way is the best place to act on them.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Currently, the best part of my life is Wednesday nights when I go to ballet. It is something I can do well, with confidence. I can watch and repeat movements. I do not have to listen and I do not have to speak. I only move.
Recently, I have been day dreaming about living in a city, any city, that offers beginner adult tap class. I own tap shoes.
It is Friday now, but really I am just looking forward to next Wednesday.

Dancer, Artist Enlivens Death Valley Junction

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It feels like summer ...

when I return home with a red nose after an afternoon in the sun.

I woke up this morning questioning my life span. I left work early and came home to drink juice while I thought about finding the energy to walk to the store to buy ice cream, in hopes to mend my sore throat.
Three hours of sleep later I woke up feeling almost cured. It was truly a miracle. Or there was no one around to give me any deserved attention.

Outside and all around Miyoshi-shi I celebrated the beginning of July. I invested in a used bike this weekend and spent the afternoon getting to know it. My land lady helped me figure out how to properly inflate the tires so I could spend two hours noticing intricacies about my town that I would not bother reaching on foot. But, I was rudely reminded of the consequences of living in Japan when I finally got to the gelato shop, realized I only had 210 yen in my wallet, no idea where the nearest ATM was, and I live in a country that does not do the debit card thing and gelato is expensive.