Cuore Hachinohe

This sweet little cafe has no official website, though it should! It’s not close to city center, in fact just getting there feels like a drive through the backwoods of the countryside if you’re going via Gonohe, and the parking lot can hold only three cars at a time.

But if you can make it and you don’t have to hunt down parking away from the cafe, it’s more than worth your time. The atmosphere is adorably organic: everywhere there are handmade crafts decorating the window sills, the tables are made of wood, and even the pasta is made fresh. Because it’s family run operation the opening hours should be checked in advance (most Tuesdays seemed to be closed according to their calendar). Another quirk, if the menu is read correctly, coffee (without a food set) is only served after 2pm.

On the upside: all coffee comes with GORGEOUS art! ❤

Uriba-18-2 Kawaragi, Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture


DIY: Inspirational Comp Book


The DIY section is woefully under represented… My apologies! Also, I just realized the downsides to typing on my phone… spelling and grammatical gaffe fixing commences!

This is a simple collage project that can be completed in a couple of hours and which has potential to become a yearly tradition. Comp books come in a variety of colors and patterns these days, but if you’re jonesing for a more personal touch to keep your writing muses inspired for the long haul (the Great American Novel does not write itself, folks) then scrapping together inspirational pictures from magazines, old holiday cards, and just about any paper material that you can imagine using creatively is a great way to start.

Not only is this project an easy and fun way to personalize the most sacred of writing mediums (let’s face it, fellow writers, our notebooks are like second bodies, repositories for words that come straight from the soul) but it also makes them irreplaceable companions as you go about creating epic worlds and developing unforgettable if only to later kill off quirky characters.

Materials needed:

1 notebook or composition book, spiral bound not recommended but doable

Magazines, comic books, flyers, old ticket stubs, brochures… Anything that calls to your attention as inspirational. Most likely you will already own many of these items and it is preferable as it forces you to get really creative with what you’ve got rather than going out and prefabricating a notebook (but feel free to check out your art store’s scrapbooking area).

Clear masking tape

Ribbon (optional)

Kimmy’s Tips

1. Go through all of your material before deciding what will make it into the comp book and select everything that draws your attention whether or not it will go well with other previously selected items. Trust me, it will all make sense later.

2. Sit comfortably on the floor/large table or desk and keep your comp book or notebook clear from any other materials.

3. You don’t have to use everything you picked out but you will decorate both sides of the notebook.

4. Once you’ve arranged your materials, cut out a long piece of clear tape and carefully tape down starting on the area you are most afraid will come undone is jostled too much. Maybe you cut out a hundred tiny little stars in one corner and you’ve got them placed just so… Yep, that’s the corner you want to protect most. Left over tape edges will be creased on the opposite side of the notebook panel to secure the entire collage at the end.

5. If you will make a comp book with a book marker like so:

First, secure the lower and upper portions of it to the outer spine with small pieces clear tape before finishing off with a longer strip that runs down the entire length of the spine. The tape ensures a water-proof notebook so don’t be stingy. Enryoushinaideyo!

And that’s it. Also great for diaries or school notebooks! Spirals are not recommended as they make taping more difficult but Kim’s done many a spiral in the past with equal, if more time consuming, success.

It’s my first time making a comp book so it’s not nearly as creative or amazing as Kimmy’s but not too bad either way 😀

What makes the comp book a great yearly tradition is that you can make a new one for each story you’re planning/writing.

Teenage Confessions


“I wish someone would kiss me…”



“…even if you’re not cute it’s okay. But it’d be great if you were cute!”

Literal translation of the first photograph: “Someone, kiss me, please…”

Park graffiti in Rokunohe’s Tateno Park. Some of the most inspiring and philosophical graffiti that I’ve ever read. Makes me wish graffiti in the States were as introspective…

Then, of course, there’s just the downright silly… (Not in the mood to show the sadder, suicidal notes)












Hachinohe Jomon Museum

 The Jomon Period was Japan’s Neolithic period from 10,500 BCE to 300 BCE and is famous for the lacquered, flame rimmed pottery. The destinctive rope pattering decorations gave this period it’s name.

The Hachinohe exhibit features the national treasure, Gassyo Dogu, a clay figurine that was made with hands clasped in a seated position. I was unable to take a picture of it but I did find a clear version on the Internet (credit goes to museum website). More than prayer, the little guy looks like the Japanese version of the thinker. I can imagine that whoever it had been based on, they probably liked to sit on some grassy hill to think. 

The best part of the exhibit, in my opinion, isn’t just the sheer variety objects on display. It’s also the interactive portion, seeing the Jomon world come to life in screen and getting to touch replicas of the objects – admittedly it’s more for children than for adults but I believe adults are just bigger versions of kids. We all yearn to discover the world through the curiosity of a child, the ability to follow through with action however has been stamped out by high school. 

The process by which the pots, beads, and dogu are made are all in Japanese with little furigana. Come prepared with apps that allow you to trace kanji in order to look up their meaning or with a fair amount of knowledge of archaeological terms in Japanese. 

The next best part of this amazing exhibit? The price. It’s only ¥250. Cheapest date night/educational excursion ever.



A Portrait of a JET in Its Natural Habitat

According to my precocious 1st graders, I look like…




The days are going much too fast. It’s as if, there’s nothing but waking and eating breakfast then planning for lessons, teaching the lesson and suddenly it’s lunchtime followed by cleaning and more lessons and kendo. Sometimes there’s kendo in the morning, too, and those are the busiest days.

Thankfully it’s going to be a slow weekend this time. I’ll probably finally get Skype time with my parents. The first in nearly two weeks. In fact I’m going to schedule that now… Not now… In a couple hours when it’s not 4am in California. Anyway. I digress…

This. Is. LACMA.

So you think you’ve seen it all, huh? Pffff. Please 😉

Best of all: The second Tuesday of the month is free general admission for the day (usually 11am-5pm). Regular admission price totals $15 (special exhibits start at $25 and up) with parking for the day coming in at an even $12. After 7pm, there is no charge. Children under 17 years are allowed free entry with accompanying adult every day (not just the first Tuesday of the month), which makes it a cheap and educational day trip for Angelenos and tourists alike!

LACMA is also closely situated to the Natural History Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits so come prepared with lots of energy and great enthusiasm for learning!

Generally I am not a fan of modern art – sorry! – but I will say that the mass of squiggly lines made out of clay spoke to me in ways that the disintegrated rhombus and hexagons did not. It was oddly a convoluted mess of all the unspoken words I had ever wanted to say and yet soothing at the same time. Did not look up the artist’s name as the lovely Diana and I were pressed for time (crown delivery that same day at 6pm so expediency was of the essence!) but I will say this: It fed my soul and my soul was happy for the time it had the privilege and pleasure to look upon the colorfully engaging linear art gracing LACMA’s austere white walls. Props to this artist and I’ll just have to come back sometime after JET to get her or his name down properly.