Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holiday Wishes

To each and all, I wish you the blessings of the season. May we all remember the spirit of Love that lives in our hearts. May we look upon all of creation as our brothers and sisters, without judgment, and accept them as they are. May we treat the Earth respectfully and use its resources wisely. May we lift up our voices in defense of those who cannot speak for themselves--the children, the animals, the infirm, the aged, the repressed, the poor. May we all live in a peaceful world.

Those are my holiday wishes for each and all.
(image from:

Monday, December 11, 2006

In the holiday mood

Thanks to my very sweet daughter, my room is all Christmas-y looking because she sent me a darling little tree! She even sent ornaments and lights. And then, just for good measure, she sent a beautiful little "Father Christmas," a stocking filled with chocolate bars, cinnamon sticks, and a really cute Christmas card that she made. She was worried that I wouldn't get in the holiday mood if I didn't have my own little tree, so. . .now I'm listening to Christmas music and writing greeting cards while my little Christmas tree twinkles.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. . .

Beautiful fall day on campus

Here are a couple of photos I took last week on the Tokyo Institute of Technology campus where I teach. It was a beautiful fall day and some of the trees looked so golden.

This is where I teach--the Ishikawadai Building. It's very modern and comfortable.

Here's a view inside the lobby where students can relax, study, eat, or even take a nap!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Half of what it used to be!

I've fallen so far behind in my postings that I barely know where to start. Remember the 82-year-old house I used to live in? You can scroll down this page to see the YouTube movie I posted of the way the house looked in September. I went to see its progress today and couldn't believe my eyes! Half of the house is now gone. From the look of things, they should have pulled the entire house down and just started over. Almost nothing of the original house will remain. It's a little strange that such a remodel would be done here in Japan because usually people just tear the whole place down and rebuild.

My landladies seem to be taking it well, or as well as they can. Here's a picture of the older sister, who's quite easy going and very sweet.

The other two tenants had to move out because it was impossible to live there with all the noise and mess. For some reason, the landladies seemed to think--or were led to believe--that the tenants would only need to leave for "a few days" but there's no way they could live with such a mess. The walls all the way around the house are being ripped apart, closets removed, and windows added. It would be impossible to live there with all that is going on, and from the way it looked today, it will be at least a couple more months before it's finished.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hey, remember me?

So, it's been a while. Just haven't felt the urge to write about anything lately, although there are probably a number of topics rattling around inside my head. For the past month I've just been so darn busy--moving, getting my apartment fixed up and everything unpacked, teaching three days a week at two universities--and now Christmas is just around the corner! That means getting my shopping done and packages and cards mailed.

How can it almost be the end of the year already? Seems like it should only be June or July--not December! Maybe it's hard imagining Christmas because it's been so warm. We're having unseasonably warm weather and I keep hoping it will get cold soon so I can start wearing my winter clothes. Although wearing winter clothes here can also be a problem because the heat's turned so high in most buildings, shops, restaurants, etc. I've actually left stores because they were too hot! So, hard to get my shopping done. . .

While I try not to think about it, this Christmas will be my first one in Tokyo, even though I've been living here since Spring of 2004. I always go visit my daughter and her husband for Christmas, but this year I can't go to the U.S. because I already took my vacation in July/August. Now I have to let the other teachers have priority for their vacation requests. This year, quite a few teachers want to take their vacations at the end of the year, so I'll be staying in Tokyo. Since I'm not going to Las Vegas to spend it with J&T, they'll go to Seattle to visit with the other sets of parents. It just won't seem like Christmas to me, so I'm feeling kind of sad.

But, my friend Judy has invited me to get together with her and a few friends for Christmas dinner. We're going to "Lawry's Tokyo" which will be nice, but not the same as going to "Lawry's Las Vegas" with J&T! For the past three or four years, we've gone to Lawry's for Christmas Eve prime rib. We made the decision to do that so we could have a nice, restful Christmas Eve instead of all our usual, frantic, "last-minute cooking, cleaning, wrapping presents" routine. It was such a nice alternative to go out and have somebody else do the cooking and cleaning. Plus, we always took home the leftovers which made for nice French dip sandwiches on Christmas Day.

I already know that the whole time I'm sitting there in Lawry's Tokyo, my heart will really be with JJ&T, and missing them.