Joy, Sorrow, and Harmony

The holiday season is like a firecracker. Stirring slightly, quiet and calm, a part of the buzz of every day normalcy. Then in an instant, loud and booming. Everywhere we turn there is something that reminds us to be thankful, to give, to love, to be good, to praise, to sing, to be joyful. But hanging on those reminders there’s a shy, ignored hum, that many of us prefer to leave unnoticed. Continue reading

The Countdown Begins

Kyle and I count ourselves as two of the lucky ones. People with little to no interest in Japan or the language, and zero expectations for the culture or its people. Two people who just moved here, with five years of real-life adult work experience under our belts, knowing many things would be different about our life and interaction with everyone here. I think it’s kept us pure and open-minded. While, I would be lying if I said there weren’t things about living in Japan that didn’t downright annoy the crap out of me, I think being two realists about living here has helped keep us positive and optimistic. We have really loved our life for the past four years in Hirosaki, Aomori. But, alas, this time has a real end date ahead. Continue reading

Becoming the youngest sister

I’m the middle child of 5. There’s a certain responsibility that comes with being an older sister. One that is never really defined, but one that you feel as soon as you get to hold the baby that is supposed to be your younger sibling. You start to change into this other person. There’s something even more special when you know you’re holding a baby sister.

Ape and I playing in the backyard in the summer as usual.

Ape and I playing in the backyard in the summer as usual. Already got dem soccer legs:)


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Japanisms Part 5: The Toilet Princess

If you’d like to remain under the illusion that women (especially Japanese women) don’t pee, poop, or fart, stop reading.

Japanese women are very beautiful and modest creatures. In fact, even in the most private of places, they are still worried about being embarrassed. They would like to keep their softness and delicacy at the forefront of everyone’s minds no matter where they are, even if this means squatting over the toilet… Continue reading

There was a time I almost died

One time, I almost died. It was the only time in my life that I can remember consciously thinking to myself that my life was going to end, and I was only 4 at the time. I was not a risk-taking kind of child, but I was the kind that had so much confidence that I could do anything anyone else could do if I tried. I was shy, but always willing to try things.

I was about this age.

I was about this age.

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We’ll call him ‘K’


“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity OR it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
– Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Opressed)

3 years ago a student wrote me a letter after teaching his class. We’ll call him ‘K’.  In the letter he said, Continue reading