Updates To Come

The past four months have been chock full of doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, a malicious (thankfully, now ‘former’) coworker hacking into my blog and changing no less than 5 posts, and even more recently a two week sojourn to Aomori to settle my affairs and move out for good.

This means there will be many updates to come.

First, there will be the matter of continuing with my rehabilitation, which was put on hold for two weeks. Once I can get through that, I’ll have time for everything else.

Second will be rewriting the posts that were altered. And, because this blog exists to document my experiences abroad and now at home, an accompanying story for how this happened and a previously un-published post about what it is like to grow up between cultures in America is like will also follow.

Third, a whole new series on travel within California, points of interest, and other fun things to do on a budget in the Golden State will soon follow.




The Final Goodbye 

Got medical leave to temporarily return to Japan for two weeks to finish settling my affairs and say one last personal goodbye to everyone.

I arrived home last night. Tired and sore but happy to have seen so many wonderful and important people to me in Aomori.

On a map, it’s this strangely misshapen prefecture. It doesn’t look like much to people who place undo emphasis on the convenience of modern city life. But to those who have had the sublime privilege and pleasure of residing in its evergreen forests, Aomori is a magical place of warm inaka life and ancient wilderness. It is and always will be a second home to me. I’ve had so many wonderful and beautiful first time experiences there. So many fun and extraordinary people made the experience UNFORGETTABLE.

And that’s a feeling and an experience that no one will ever be able to take away from me.

Thank you, Aomori for all the good times. And see you soon!

The Story of How I Met One of My Best Friends

It’s not every day that you stumble upon proof of the exact moment in which you meet someone who will forever change your life.

And as I was cleaning out two years’ of accumulation from apartment and vehicle, I stumbled upon an old parking ticket that had somehow managed to wedge itself into the car’s plastic interior. 

Excitement beyond anything, is the only proper way to describe this chance find. And I’ve found some pretty great geocache finds with friends, but this topped everything. 

It topped everything because I spent two hours locked in a parking lot with the lovely young lady who would be one of my two best friends in Aomori. I’d never met her before that night and I had invited anyone and everyone I could find in the prefecture who had been described as a writer to me.

She needed a drive from the station. I had a car. My navigation refused to take me to the side ofHachinohe  Eki with that allowed private car pick ups, so I parked and thought that I had stashed the ticket in my coat pocket or something.

Ten minutes later I have E’s bags in the boot, my engine is revving, and…

The ticket isn’t in my coat pocket. Fine, it’s probably in my wallet. Okay, then, maybe not the wallet?

Thus sparked an intense search for the parking ticket that would magically let us out of the lot so that we could go back to the writing party at my place. 

I think we talked about a little bit of everything that night. New York Jews, bagels, curse of the meiwaku, what it’s like to live with multiple characters in your head, Oakland, California beaches, infernal Japanese kanji…

She is one of the brightest, shiniest people to come into my life, vibrant and adventurous, with a force of will that can only be surpassed by her dearest Rem. Maybe. It’s a really close call there.

Two hours later, the security guard we had called for was finally here. We paid our share and  GTFO’d faster than you could say “word count”.

And that’s where the mystery of the missing ticket would’ve ended if not for moving out and things.

That ticket is going straight into my scrapbook, all proper like with its own frills and stickers, because it’s a physical manifestation of fine of my favoritest memories of my time in Aomori. 

Which would include onigokko matches with my kids everyday after lunch and the road trip of doom around Japan.

I’m not sure what the future holds for us, but it’s safe to assume that it’s going to include many more international adventures and road trips to come.


The Craziest Thing

Angry Oni and Silly Oni

Waiting at Haneda International for the flight that’s going to take me home, when this lovely young woman just settles down across from me and…

“Oh. My. God. JENNY?!”

“Is it really you, VIVIAN?!”

We may have given security a bit of a heart attack with all the cuddling and screaming. But when you haven’t seen a friend in over two years and suddenly they’re on the same flight as you, in the same row, and right in front of you… It was the craziest, best thing to happen to me at an airport.

I’m so grateful to all of my friends. No matter where we are in the world, we always somehow manage to cross paths again and again.