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Music For: Wandering

Johnny Marr: The Messenger

Hello, Goodbye

I finished up my summer language program in Japan about two weeks ago, then spent the final week in Kyoto and Osaka being a tourist. It was a great summer, but I am happy to be back home again. The time away has made me feel much more positive about the upcoming year.


Yukata (simple, summer-weight kimono) and a manga I’ve been reading.


My luggage. I had an insanely small amount of luggage compared to most of the people in my program, but honestly I am really tired of lugging extra stuff around when I travel. The polka dot bag I actually bought in Japan to hold things I had acquired during the trip. My ideal is to pare-down my travel essentials so that I can fit everything in the small wheeled suitcase with room to spare.


Side street near Teramachi  in Kyoto.



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Shrine near Hikone castle.


Hikone castle.

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Actually wearing my yukata. In the summer you still see a lot of young people- men and women, although more women- wearing yukata. In the grand scheme of kimono, yukata are very easy to wear because they only really require one layer and a simply tied obi (belt). Also pictured: the sketchy subway bathroom.


We got to stay at a fancy hotel in Osaka because the rooms were discounted for unspecified reasons.



Why is this tea called The Pungency? No one knows. I also don’t know how it differs from this brand’s regular milk tea, because it tasted pretty much the same.


I spent my second to last day at day one of Summer Sonic in Osaka. It was unbelievably hot but really worth it in the end.

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There was a shuttle bus service from the train station, but the line was so long that we decided to walk instead. This definitely got us there faster and in better moods, but we had to walk through a long stretch of industrial park with this weirdo building looming in the background. I am told that it is the Osaka incinerator, but why it was designed to look like the palace of some Dr. Seuss-designed futuristic evil overlord is beyond me. Why the gold dome? Why the river-of-blood-esque patterns running down the tower?

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In the battle against heatstroke I didn’t bother to photograph anything else until Muse was setting up after the sun had set. Photography is pretty discouraged at concerts in Japan, which I think is just great because you have to actually  pay attention to what’s happening, rather than spending the whole time trying to record it.

I’m not terribly familiar with Muse, but they were quite entertaining to watch. My favorite of the bands I saw was Johnny Marr, who we went to see on a whim based on the fact that A. we like The Smiths and B. he was in the only indoor stage and we were concerned about death by increased exposure to sunlight, but oh my god he was amazing. Best heatstroke-induced decision I have made in my life. It’s really impressive how much hearing a song live can really change the feeling too- I never thought of There is a Light That Never Goes Out as a song to rock out to, but that happened. Amazing. As the friend I was with said afterwards, it was really clear that he knew what he was doing.


Roses from my husband.

Until next time, Japan.

Music For: Holidays in the Sun

A summer playlist. Eclectic and upbeat, Japanese and English.



I’m currently in Japan doing a language program for researchers, academics, &c., but last weekend I stayed in Kyoto with a new-found friend at an amazing guesthouse. It was right near the center of Gion and within walking distance from Kiyomizu-dera and Yasaka Pagoda, and pretty much the same price as local youth hostels. Sleeping on a futon took some getting used to, but was fun.





The cafe. Kyoto has an amazing abundance of old things, something I never see in Tokyo. I saw two antique singer sewing machines in the span of a weekend- one in the cafe and one on the side of the street.





Yasaka Pagoda. It is one of the few pagodas that you can go inside, which was also pretty fantastic.

Until next time- じゃあね!

Music For: The 80’s

This is kind of amazing. I played it while cleaning my apartment and trying not to stress about my impending journey to Japan.



Inori- Prayer
Oil on canvas board

Once in a while I take a stab at using oil paints. Every time I realize that the pain of clean up and having to wait for it to dry isn’t worth the possible good results. I think I will stick with watercolors for now.