"Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!"
-Theophile Gautier

The sun stretched out its sleepy arms,
and chased away the gray clouds,
beckoning people to come outside and play
in Japan.

Beautiful days should be spent well,
so I shared mine
with the animals in Kobe's zoo.

And boy,
they sure showed me how it's done.
Next sunny day,
I'll stretch out by the riverbank
and forget about homework for a while.
Wouldn't that be pleasant?

Emu, approaching.

Jaguar, basking.

Kangaroos, crunchy-munchin'.

My friend and I originally went to the zoo
to see this big guy.
But we found so many other beauties
on our journey there:

Lynx. Ooyama neko.

Koala. Koara.

Lion. Raion.

Peacock. Kujaku.

Snow leopard. Yuki hyoo.

Alligator. Wani.

Hope you enjoy the sun,
wherever you are on this earth.

Sending big kuma love your way.

{Music via Lebo M}
Conversation One {on the street in Japanese}
Me: *rushing to cross the street*
Italian Man: Excuse me!
Me: *turning, still half-running* Huh?
Italian Man: It's me! Don't you remember me?
Me: *pulling out earbud* Uh...
Italian Man: No, remember? We met! Where was it you're from?
Me: Um, America?
Italian Man: *kissing my hand* America!
Me: Yes . . .
Italian Man: Do you live nearby? May I have your phone number?
Me: *glancing back at the traffic light* I'm kinda late, sorry!
Italian Man: Ah, another time, then!
Me: *racing away*

Conversation Two {at school in English}
Me: On my way to work today, an Italian man stopped me.
Yuko: Oh?
Me: He mistook me for someone else.
Yuko: Really?
Me: Yeah, and he kissed my hand and asked for my number.
Yuko: Ah, nampa.
Me: What?
Yuko: Nampa. He was date fishing.
Me: Nampa?
Yuko: Yes. He pretended to not know you. Japanese men do it too.
Me: That's what he was doing??!
Yuko: What, you didn't know?
Me: I'm from a small town!
Yuko: Ah-ha-ha. That's why.

And so, today being PTA,
I was expected at school to present myself to the parents.
So, of course I overslept and missed my bus.
{I almost could've expected that to happen.}
But I didn't expect to learn such an interesting word today.
Nor a new way to get a date.
If the traffic light doesn't save me next time,
I'll just pretend to have a husband.
Geez, Bryn, hurry up and marry me, okay?
We could avoid situations like this if you would. Gosh.

{Crowd via Matt Lew}
{Informed Doggy via
{Tongue Doggy via PaperTissue}
"You give me the kind of feeling people write novels about."

dance mixes are cool.
Check it out, yo:

You can download it too,
maybe, if it suits you.
Being a wannabe DJ is fun.
What other songs should I play with, d'you think?

{Song Downloadable Here}
{Original song by Danny Elfman}
{Image via PaperTissue}
And the thing is still in my apartment.
The lady on the bus said the sting of an
{long-legged wasp}
is poisonous,
and if I get stung twice
I must go to the hospital immediately.
Stung TWICE?!

{image found online}
"Adventures first... explanations take such a dreadful time."
-The Gryphon

I saw Tim Burton's
"Alice in Wonderland"
and went to
Surrounded with
the sounds of America
{in Alice}
the smells of it, too
{in Costco}
I felt I was back home.
And I wished to futterwacken
in my apartment,
sit green grapes & Almond Roca,
simple reminders
of how life was
before I turned the page
to this new chapter
in my being-written storybook.

{Image via Mary Robinson}
...I like him alot.
And this Christmas,
I get to see him again,
for the first time
in 819 days.

"My memory was never loaded with anything but blank cartridges."
-Mark Twain

New school years begin in April
in Japan,
I just got a batch of fresh students
who came from local elementary schools.

These students are shy as mice,
unsure of how to respond to my English.
But, when I tell them what to say,
they turn into jabbering chatter-monkeys
and we have a grand ol' time together.

You know,
when you work with people
for any period of time,
they kind of have a way
of spreading their roots
in the cockles of your wittle heart.
I give you
the English team
{I work with these ladies every week}:

Iikai: 7th graders
Nimi: 7th graders
Yoshimura: 7-8th graders
Minami: 8th graders
Tanaka: 9th graders
Sugita: 9th graders

And then,
Shioyama: The retired samurai music teacher.
He has a bit of belly,
but whenever a student gets too cocky,
he whips out an earth-shattering warrior cry
and we all kind of pee ourselves.
He isn't on the English team,
but we have a special bond, he and I;
I borrow his music room almost every day, you see.
And his passion for pianos is so wonderful.

the 8th grade math teacher.
Er... I can't remember his real name, but I call him "Secret Agent Man".
All the students are afraid of him
because his head is bald
because he teaches an icky subject
and because he has a death glare
that, together, with the retired samurai's war scream,
could blast us through the center of the Earth and out the bottom.
I exaggerate.
Kind of.

{Balloon via Steffilynn}
{Stopwatch via
{Samurai via Ed}
{Agent via George}
This cartoon series:

If you don't know what Avatar: The Last Airbender is,
shame on you.
Educate yourself and join our brotherhood of awesomeness.
It'll make all your bad feelings go bye-bye.

{Gif via MKLee}

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."
-St. Augustine

My family hosted a student
last October,
and I had an opportunity
to meet up with him and his family
in their natural element:
Osaka City.

To see the cherry blossoms,
we trekked
both on foot
and on a boat.

After the sakura cruise,
we wined and dined
{well, I just dined}
at a schmancy French restaurant
overlooking the river.

Our second course was golden soup.
No joke:
those are flakes of gold on top.
I know, right?

Though most foods around the world are exquisite,
I've adopted a rather good method
whenever something looks a little questionable:
Just eat, don't ask.
It's pretty much kept me alive so far.
*munch munch*

My extra stomach
{or, "dessert pocket", as Bryn's nephew would put it}
came to my rescue in the end.
The French may serve
but the plates just kept coming last night.

No matter how much I deny it,
I'm a small-town gal,
so I was quite overwhelmed
by all the silver spoons on the table.
And, during the whole meal,
doubtlessly resembled this poor beastie:

{Music via Yoko Kanno & Daniel Hope}
{"Beast" via Disney}

...with life.

I've posted bitty previews of spring before,
and even though my little Canon
--no matter how I adore it--
cannot capture their absolute beauty...

...I hope this satisfies your eyes
until the time when
you can see the flowers for yourself,
should that time ever come for you.

While walking down this path,
strewn with cherry blossom petals,
my mind took to a bit of poetry
delivered by Mr. Knightly of Emma:

"Maybe it is our imperfections which make us so perfect for one another."
...Which, I do think,
could make any woman swoon
if delivered on such a path as this,
scattered with the milky pink
of sakura.

My Chocolat Apartment
is now
my Very Quiet Apartment,
a change I knew
would bring back the long-battled

Can you all just come here and live with me, please?
Is a month next week tomorrow NOW too short of notice?

{Image via Felicia}
{Music via Yoko Kanno}

For Easter,
I did nothing.
when I say, "nothing"
what I mean is
other than celebrate Christ.

From what I observed that day,
Easter is just another holy day
to the tiny population of Christians,
here in Japan.

In Church,
our lessons weren't particular to the holiday;
we decorated no eggs,
nor did we eat chocolate rabbits.

I might have entirely forgotten it was Easter
if Celestia hadn't mentioned it to me.
Something I'm not too proud of.

a note to the Christian
who endeavors to live in a polytheistic community
like Japan:
keep a calendar next to your bed
so you won't forget to celebrate
the One in whom you believe.

{something we can strive for together, you and me}
celebrate Him
every day.

{Rabbit via Nen August}
{Eggs via Orrin}
{Nature via Yoostynaa}

Ashley: "It'll be like we're flying!"
Brooke: "Yeah, like Cinderella!"
Ashley: "Uhm."

With no plans, whatsoever,
we boarded a train bound for Amagasaki,
ate in a little coffee shoppe ...

... and jumped on a train for the U.S. ...
the Universal Studios, that is.

"Like leaves of a spinach, we stick together!"
I love your blonde hairs, hun.

For the Spiderman ride,
we had to wear special glasses
to protect our mortal eyes from pure awesome.

I'm too poor to buy the real thing.
So you get this version instead.

Sending our love to you!

"Are we too sexy for za Una-versal Studioz!? Jah!" -Brooke

Chuggin' the caramel corn.

Life is too short to ignore
when the whimsical calls.

{Music via Yoko Kanno}