"You can't buy happiness. But you can buy ice cream, which is {pretty much} the same thing."
-Stephan Geyer

Today my students listened to the lecture
because wiggling around and being noisy
creates unnecessary heat.
Yeah, it's that hot.

Today I saw a sunburned cactus.
Improbable, much?
Yeah, it's that hot.

Today I went to Baskin Robbins
ordered a double-scoop cone
{the lady added a third scoop for kicks, bless her heart}
and not 10 steps out the door
my gorgeous creation
 had melted
down my arm
down my white pants
into my shoes
and onto the pavement,
marking my trail all the way back home.
Yeah, Japan is a wee bit roasty.

{Image via here}

Laura, over at Kikastrophe, gave me this
sweet little award.
And now I must share
two things:
where I will be in 10 years
who I'm sharing this award with!

Ten years from now,
I picture myself teaching Japanese
to my three children,
maybe four.
And of course, with that,
I picture myself bound forever
to the man I love.
And, also,
I picture roadtrips to different states
and planetrips to different countries,
culturing my children,
teaching them to love people
and life.

Now, without further ado...
I choose you {Pikachu}!
Megan from La Quatrieme Gourmande for encouraging health and growth, and having a zest for life, be it in the kitchen or in the garden. Her writing is beautiful, as is her photography. My children will be well-fed because of you, Megan.
Emmy from Journal of Emmy C for slapping Normal in the face with a wet kipper, and sprinkling rainbows and elongated appendages 'ere she goes. Her rhythm is contagious, as is the down-to-earth-yet-up-in-the-clouds voice in her art. My day always brightens when you post, Emmy.
Janeal from Insane Ramblings of a Redhead for embarking on the all-too-foreign-to-me ship called marriage. Her adventures with her husband make me laugh, as do her here-and-there posts about what makes her laugh. You are beautiful, Janeal. And I want your hair.
Celestia from Tegwan's Spot for culturing herself both in Japan and in the States. Her stitchings are crafty, as is her dream of designing clothing. Keep that needle goin', Celestia.
Aubrey from Scratches on Strawberry Wall for acing out of high school and taking on the big league: university. Her fiery heart has led her in pursuit of music, film, the culinary arts and Broadway. A thousand congratulations for becoming a uni student, Ichigo.
Anna from Much Love for embracing her femininity {which is an accomplishment for many ladies} and attaching hearts to her Mondays. It is so attractive to be that loving, Anna.
Erin from Fashionista in Training for listening to her heart and pushing past the social influences that aren't healthy for her. Her journey to become a fashionista and accomplished adult is beautiful. Keep reaching high, Erin.
Molly from Welcome to My Life for heading down the path that rocks: engagement. Being brave enough to commit yourself to absolutely and only one person is divine. I wish you and Rex the best kind of joy, Molly.
Katie over at The Higbee Family for being so enraptured with life's adventures, there's no time left to blog anymore! And also, of course, for inspiring me to create Whimsical Musical in the first place. You're an amazing woman, Katie.

I adore these little blog awards,
as they let people know you care.
So, feel the love, my friends.
{And don't forget to share!}
Aw, it rhymed.

Lately, I have realized
my reading and writing skills are increasing
in Japanese,
but my speaking skills...
are... well.... not.
Basically, they bite.

So, in my personal prayers,
I asked the Lord to help me become
more fluent in Japanese conversations,
not knowing, really,
how He could help me.

But help did come
in the form of
talkative natives.
On the bus,
in the store,
on the street,
people would talk to me in Japanese,
encouraging me to practice their language.

One of my favorite conversations
was with a taiyaki chef
when I wanted to know if he had any custard panda-shaped taiyaki.
"They're all custard, y'see?"
he laughed.
And handed me my custard panda.

Truly, I believe,
the Lord has a way of helping me,
no matter how blind I am to His possibilities.

{Images via herehere}

"What're the two things they tell you are healthiest to eat? Chicken and fish. You know what you should do? Combine them... eat a penguin." -Dave Attell

Fantastic food encounters as of late.
I had no idea how important
drinking parties in Japan are,
how the people bond
as they drink themselves under the table
holding hands
and singing karaoke.
{Not that I've actually witnessed that.}

My first time eating a fish fin.
It tasted like a chip.
{Not a British french fry.}

I was too chicken (ha ha) to eat the cheek, though.

Or the eyeball.
Just... no, please.

Lovely goma-dango balls.

By the way,
though I am consuming all these
rich, cultural foods,
I am remembering my health as well.

Just today, I started learning the hula
via YouTube.
And I bought some running shoes
and use them.
I'm so glad Bryn isn't shallow.
... I don't think I could give up Japanese bakeries for good.

{Music via Joe Hisaishi}

"Change your language and you change your thoughts."
-Karl Albrecht

I watch quiz shows sometimes.
I listen to the news,
the weather reports.
I read street shoppe signs
and flyers on the trains.
I listen to popular music
and visit ancient cities alone.
I shop at the market
and live by myself in a foreign country.

I began this journey
when I was 14.
And I still do not speak this language clearly.

And so,
I have asked Pikachu for his help.

There are so many ways to learn a language,
so many ways to make it fun.
Let's try something new:
beloved Nintendo games entirely in Japanese.
For a little sugar in my studies,
I need you, Pikachu.

{Images found here}
{Gif found here}

"I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dripped it carelessly. Ah! I didn't know, I held opportunity." -Hazel Lee

According to the weather forecast,
this is the last sunny day
for the next 3 weeks.
And so,
I ate my lunch outside
at the Pond.

Little did I know,
when I sat on a rock to eat my sushi,
I'd find a miniature friend
in the grass by my feet.

Sweet little guy
was bathing in the sun
until I stomped along and woke him up.

Down the path,
a little ways more,
I found some proof
of our Lord's
love for colors.

I haven't a clue what they are,
but I sure do think they're pretty.
Any flower experts out there?

Part of the fun of teaching as a university intern
is realizing that you and the kids
are in the same boat.

They don't like midterms,
and neither do you I.

So, I turned this week's lesson
{with the 9th graders}
into a Mad Libs Love Letter party.
Heck yes.

The favorites:
{click to enlarge}

Too darn cute.
After they finished interviewing each other,
I gave them the Japanese translation
and watched their smiles
turn into grins
turn into riotous laughter.

{Una and the Lion via Briton Rivière}

Part of learning to talk like a native
is learning how to think like one
{or so my language professors & quadrilingual Pére tell me}.
So, I picked up the funnies today and read.
Here's a favorite:


"I'll never let you go!"
...10 years down the road...
"Never talk to me again!"

{It's funny because both
離さない and 話さない
are pronounced the same way:

I giggled with one of the teachers about it
for six minutes straight.

But, thinking realistically,
I really do hope
that 91 days from now,
when my best friend parts ways with his beautiful England
to fly home to America,
I can leave behind my
high school sweetheart shallowness
and wade in a little deeper
with him.

{Images via P.S. I love you & this is reallllll}

A student was late to one of my classes,
causing a disturbance when he slid open the door,
making the Japanese-English teacher

she said.

"Osoku natte gomen--"
the student began.

"In English,"
she snarled.

the student groaned.

"I'm sorry I was late..."
she prodded,
grabbing his shoulders
to make him stay put.

"I'm sorry I was late..."
the student grumbled.

"I was in the toilet."
the teacher finished.

"I'm sorry I was late. I was in the toilet,"
the student mumbled before flashing me a grin.

And I managed to nod at him
before turning
and hiding a huge grin myself.

I'm still immature enough to
find that word choice funny.

Perhaps the teacher learned
her English from a Brit.
If so, that's fantastic;
Means more of these moments will come.

{Image via WeHeartIt}

It's Sunday,
a day for naps in the sunshine,
prayers at Church,
and filling your home with peaceful music.

*deep inhale* *slow exhale*
I feel better.

{Song downloadable here}
{"Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" © Robert Robinson}
{Images via Once Wed}

Friends and I
headed into Sannomiya
for a little weekend breather.

But instead of air,
we breathed sweets.
Inhaled, really.

Chika, with her plate of glory.

Kat's holy platter.

And my trophy:
a marriage of cookies and ice cream.

Lauren's adorable.

... Just like this little darling.
The pet shoppe owners let me play
with any puppy I wanted,
but this little gal snuggled up to my hand,
so I chose her.
{I wish for keeps.}

After a week of double-work overload,
it's healthy to relax with friends,
even ones whose keychains
outweigh their actual cell phones.
Love you, chicks.

Some Japanese believe
if you see a spider in the morning {asa kumo},
it will spin good luck for you.
Likewise, if you see a spider at night {yoru kumo},
it will spin luck against you.
...But what if you slaughter the spider you see in the morning?


I suppose I hairsprayed my good luck to death today, then.
That would explain the second spider in my room.

{Morning Spider via Marcin}

The novel, Petrichor
{previously titled, "Little Butterfly"}
is being written
on napkins
and grocery receipts.
I don't have time for it now,
but one day,
I will write it.

{Petrichor, Cho, and all related concepts & characters © Ashley S. Harmon}

"Many people miss opportunity
because it's dressed in overalls
and looks like hard work."
-Thomas Edison

We've reached the 100-day countdown.
100 days until my friend flies back to America,
100 days until he can talk to me freely,
court me, maybe,
if Skype dates aren't too laughable to him.
{But if they were, I probably wouldn't love him with so much of my heart.}

100 days, my friends.
Just 100 more.

I know I just posted about relishing each day,
and I promise to do that:
with every chocolate,
every day,
I'll look forward to knowing
he's home again
in one hundred tomorrows.