Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another Summer Night, Another Local Festival!

All through the summer, all over Japan, you can find night after night of local festivals. I posted about one right outside my apartment a few weeks ago. And just last week, Megu took Ralph, Saki, Nobu and I out to enjoy one in her neighborhood of Noda.

It was bigger, brighter, and much more crowded than the last one, but we had such a great time!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sweating Lime Cool-Aide

With temperatures over 100 degrees F, and 50 % humidity, working in an enclosed amphitheatre can feel like your
being baked like a clam on an eastern shore. . .

Gotta love the giant sweat droplets falling off my face through out the show.

(It doesn't help that I wearing a giant black potato sack that's 4 layers thick and weighs the same as my 8 year old niece! Take a heavy black wig and paint your face in 3 inches of green spackle and then belt your face off. Now, you can imagine why in my head I hear a little voice shouting,
"Just walk off stage. . . your gonna die!"
Good thing I'm stubborn.)

You can't tell from this photo, but when I pat the sweat off my face in the 15 or so seconds
between The Wizard and I and the scene before Popular,
you would think the Cool-Aide Man had some and sprayed me with a super soaker of his Lemon-Lime Blast!

Either that, or I've been drinking way too much Mountain Dew!

As quoting from The Wizard of Oz, "I'm Melting, I'm Melting!" Quite literally.

(PS- I haven't had Mountain Dew in ages! It sounds so refreshing right now! Oishii!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pure Beauty Ministries

A few months ago, my best friend, Jessica, started a Ministry to empower young women. It's an incredible organization and she has only just gotten started. I have always known she would accomplish amazing things in her life, and I am really proud to see her testimony and faith in God guiding her course. . .

Here is their mission statement:

Pure Beauty Ministries.... Where the exciting world of Fashion and Beauty collide with the Powerful Adventure of Living for God. Empowering and Encouraging the young women of this generation to desire more for their lives, to hold themselves to a higher standard of living, to realize their worth, and value and beauty, to boldly live the life they were created to live, as they build their lives on the power and beauty of PURITY. We are Made to be Beautiful, We are CALLED to be PURE.....

Below is a video they have just posted that celebrates a value both she and I share. . .

It's called. . . WAIT.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Festival at our Neighborhood Temple

For the last 3 days, at one of our neighborhood temples, there has been a little street fair/ festival of sorts taking place. Stands lined the perimeter of the park, and families gathered to play games and eat good eats, adorned in their kimonos and swinging into the temple to ring the bell and chant a prayer. Ralph and I decided to walk through, and had a blast trying out some strange but delicious foods on a stick (some familiar, some not so familiar)!
I couldn't get enough of all the beautiful children having so much fun with their parents!

(Upper Left) The Japanese are completely obsessed with Stitch, as in Lilo & Stitch. He is everywhere at this festival.
(Upper Right) Glow sticks for Sale
(Above) Ralph taking in the festival just as it turns to dusk. The Gate to the Temple can be seen in the distance.

~ Everywhere we went people were eating these strange pancakes rolled up on a stick.
They were still quite doughy, with something pickled inside, some crunchy something, and topped with ketchup, mayo, and seaweed flakes.
Not our favorite, but not gross either.

Fishing for colorful balls. And boys look on as an eel wrangler finagles an electric eel out of a tub. . .

Yummy yummy candy covered fruit! I love how the ice steam rises up to surround the glossy grapes.

Yakisoba! This I know. . . This I love!!!

Chocolate covered bananas are of course, OISHI!
Eggs are placed on top of Octopus Crackers. . . not for me!
And Ralph's favorite was a hot dog covered in scrambled egg and topped with mayo and ketchup.

This reminds me of growing up when the Mexican shaved ice guy would come through our neighborhood each day! Ralph has to have his Blue Hawaii!

Two brothers in matchy kimonos! How precious!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fun with Photoshop

So, I'm taking online classes for photography and photoshop to help me quickly
learn skills to go along with my new obsession.
Right now I'm taking a class called, "From Photos to Graphic Art."
And my first experiment is colorizing old black and white photos.
Aren't these fun??

Top Left is my mommy. . . Source A of my eye and hair color
Top Right is my daddy. . . Source B of my eye and hair color
Bottom is my sister Erin, better known as my "twin";
hence, we share our eye and hair color!
(though you would never know since I'm always dying my hair.)

More experimentation to come!

next time you are at your parent's house, you need to scan in old photos
so that you have digital copies to play with!

(I have over 10,000 photos in iPhoto, but less than 20 that date before 2001. Hmmm, that's well over 10,000 photos in just 7 years. What about the other 20 years of my life?)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kyoto, 4th of July and Antonia's Opening

Okay, so it's been a crazy week, but beautiful in so many ways.

Let's Start with Antonia's Opening as Elphie!

So, after many months of waiting, our director, Komei, finally had a chance to come down from Tokyo to rehearse with Toni so that we could finally have our understudy! And I must say, she was brilliant!!! Charity, Cassie and I all sat in the audience together like little momma-hens, holding hands the whole time, and just beaming with pride for our girl! The fans were freaking out to see all three of us there at the same time. So now she is in once a week, and is just going to be amazing as she continues to grow.

Toni checking her make up before her last dress rehearsal.

Next, let's discuss the 4th of July.

Let's just say, it was mellow. But seriously fun. All us expatriates gathered for a casual barbecue throughout the day. I had 2 shows that morning, so I came by after I finished. We had a blast, especially later in the evening when I went a little nuts dancing, and setting off fireworks. I'm proud to be an American Expatriate! I miss you USA, but i'll see you soon!

My reflection in Antone's glasses.

Malachai in his patriotic tank just basking in the sunset.

Now for Kyoto.

Yesterday I made my bi-monthly trek to Kyoto for my larynx massage with the sexy Dr. Aita and his oh-so-hot assistant. They are in Tokyo for the rest of the month, and I'm seriously considering going up there, for "additional treatments."
But while I was in Kyoto, I did some of my usually sight seeing. This time, I went to Chion-in, a huge temple in the Gion district.

relaxing at chion-in

A big Buddha shrine inside one of the smaller pavillions.

A small buddha shrine in the big temple.

You take one half and I'll take the other of this Heavenly Wishbone! 1, 2, 3, Pull!

What did you wish for? I wished I could be in the same place as you right now! Too bad, you got the bigger half! Hope you made a good wish!