New York, New School, New Start, and other things!

Since I got back from Japan it has been non-stop getting my fundraiser ready, preparing to move and working! Sorry I haven’t had time to update!! Hopefully I will become more of a regular blogger soon. But that might not happen if i’m crazy busy in NY! The fundraiser, which was called New York, New School, New Start, happened on July 21st and was wonderful. I still can’t believe it really happened. It doesn’t help that I didn’t have a designated picture-taker, so there are only like 5 decent pictures!! Some of them are from my friend Jeff’s phone, one is from Stuart’s phone, and one is from my camera. It was a beautiful party. The food was beautifully displayed and delicious, but there are no pictures! The tables looked perfect with my friend Karen’s tablecloths and bouquets made by Laura. Here’s pictures where you can sort of see them!

Beth Duncan opened the night with a wonderful set!!!

My mom made a little speech 🙂

It felt really amazing singing for an audience of people who had all supported me in different ways throughout my life.. I am so lucky!

The next day, I took pictures of the beautiful flower arrangements.. there were little cards with my picture in them!

That’s all I have from the fundraiser so far!! I am still trying to contact people for pictures. After the fundraiser, I buckled down and started working my 3 house sitting/dog walking/plant watering jobs at once and teaching lots of voice lessons. That’s not to say I didn’t get to enjoy some Sacramento nature…

Or go to dinner with my Mom and brother at Aioli!

And last night, I went to hear my friends CAVE Women play a show at Harlows! It was pretty awesome!

I got decked out… I now have a CAVE Women shirt and a sweet hand made notebook!! Love these girls!

In other news… my room currently looks like this:

… I should probably go attend to that. Till next time! Maybe I’ll be in New York!


8 days in Tokyo

It has come down to my final Japan blog.. and I am now back in the US! Pete is still there, enjoying sushi school and learning a lot! He’ll be there for two months. His blog is!

To get to Tokyo from Osaka, we took the Shinkansen, which is quite famous for being the fastest railway in the world, and it’s only in Japan.


When we got there, we traveled to Asakusa, where our ryokan was! (A ryokan is a traditional japanese hotel.) It was right near Meijii Shrine, which has a biiiig lantern.



Pete took me to Akihabara, the electronic district, to look at retro video games, collectors’ items and lots more!



Then we went to Tokyo Dome!!!! This is the stadium where the Yomiuri Giants play.


We ate a lovely dinner that we got to cook ourselves – yakiniku! Which means japanese-style korean barbecue. They gave us aprons just in case.


Image   Image

We went to the Ueno Zoo and saw the giant panda, but he looked like he needed a bigger cage!!


Stopped in Tokyo National Museum..


Went to the beautiful Kohishikawa-korakuen Garden!


On another trip to Akihabara, this panda waved at me!!! A PANDA!


The last hotel we stayed in (after the ryokan) was right by Tokyo Tower. Here it is during the day/night:

Image  Image

We went to a Yomiuri Giants vs. Hanshin Tigers game!! The Giants won and scored 6 runs in the first inning!


We stood by the chanting section, where they had a full trumpet section, flags and fans who knew words, melodies and clapping rhythms to a whole bunch of chants!! It was so exciting.


We visited Shinjuku:


And Harajuku:


Right by Harajuku was a beautiful forest and shrine! This was our last shrine of the trip.



Saw the famously crazy intersection in Shibuya (it’s been in movies).


Went to the fancy Roppongi Hills and I stood under a spider!Image


We found a branch of the restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, which is owned by the famous Jiro from “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”! It isn’t his original restaurant but it employs the same techniques!! Pete was excited 🙂


We finally got to our friend Keita’s house to stay with him, his mother and his brother! They are the family that Pete is staying with for the rest of his time in Japan! They took us out to all-you-can-eat shabu shabu, which is pieces of raw meat that you dip into simmering broth.. So good!!


I got to hang out with my friend Kazue who I met through the New School’s online network to meet future classmates!! She’s going to be a vocal jazz major just like me starting in the fall, and she lives in Tokyo! We went to a funny amusement park and ate gyoza and ice cream!



That night, Pete, Keita and I went to Kichijoji, which is a beautiful area with a huge park/pond!!


We decided to go yakitori-hopping in Kichijoji.. so we went to two restaurants that served it! (Yakitori is grilled chicken skewers).


Had the best creme brûlée ever at the second restaurant:


Pete had his first day of sushi school and was given really nice knives.. with his name engraved on them!


My last day, while Pete was at school, was spent in Kichijoji shopping with Keita, his mom Ruri, and his brother Junya! It was SO fun. We all wore dark sunglasses and looked pretty cool.. wish i had more pictures. But this is Junya!


And here’s happy me after buying some beautiful bowls at this store. Last picture of the trip, oddly enough!



Thanks for reading!! Japan was amazing. I am now in moving mode.. and my New York, New School, New Start event is next Saturday, July 21st! If you’re on my Facebook friends, you’ll get an invite if you haven’t already. Keep reading if you want to see pictures of my big move to NYC! It’s so soon… August 16th.

Beef, deer and okonomiyaki!

Hi from Tokyo!! I’m going to go back in time to earlier in my trip, when Pete and I left Kyoto to visit Kobe, Nara, and Osaka! All wonderful experiences, but very different from the peaceful Kyoto!

We stayed only one night in Kobe, but it was quite a night. The beef was worth the money we forked up for it.

Here are our happy faces after we ate the most amazing beef ever.



Then, we went to the perfect after-amazing-meal relaxant – an onsen. It was called Arima-onsen, in a town devoted to onsens! Onsens are public natural hot spring bath houses. Here’s the only picture we could take since everyone was naked… The springs from which the baths sprung!


Nara was quite wonderful because of the deer. No, we did not eat deer… We pet them!


The second picture is me trying to feed the baby deer a cracker and failing because the big deer are so greedy! I never thought I would be nibbled on and chased by a group of deer!

We also visited the temple that contains the biggest Buddah statue on earth! (I am assuming there are bigger ones in space.) I can’t recall the name of the temple.

This is us in front of it, though you can’t see it!


Next was Osaka. Our first stop was the Osaka-Jo castle! We didn’t go in, but it’s beautiful enough from the outside. It’s surrounded by water.


Then we met up with Pete’s friend Julie, who lives in Osaka, and went to the Uneda Sky Building. It was beautiful from the top!
Here’s the way up:

It was also windy…


We didn’t take any pictures with Julie but you can see her here with the food! Well.. It’s mostly the food. Okonomiyaki… So good.


This kani (crab) restaurant in Osaka is pretty famous! I had kani nigiri.


The view from the restaurant was pretty cool… A famous river in Osaka!


That’s the end of the first half of our trip, in the Kansai area of Japan! Next blog will be all Tokyo. Going home in a couple days! I will miss this amazing country.
Thanks for reading!
Arigato gozaimashita!!!

Japan update!

I’m finally getting a chance to blog from Japan because we have good wifi in our hotel in Tokyo! It has been a wonderful adventure so far! Pete and I spent our first 10 days in the Kansai area and visited Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, and Osaka.
My first blog, however, will focus on the magical, peaceful and beautiful Kyoto. We spent five days there, and I hope I get to go back.

There’s me in the rain on our first night in Kyoto, looking for a place to eat in the beautiful Pontocho alleyway which is full of restaurants.

This is the trail of torii gates at Fushimi-Inari shrine! It’s a Shinto shrine to the god of sake.

The temple behind me, Kiyomizu-dera, gave us a view of all of Kyoto!

We also saw a lot of Ojizo-sama, which are statues of divinities that apparently protect children. The bibs are put on them by parents who want their children to be safe! (I just looked it up).
Explanation of ojizo-sama



We saw lots of fans… And cats (neko)… And books that we couldn’t read.

This bowl of ramen was amazing. Best I’ve had, and it’s going to be hard to beat it. Restaurant was called Santoka in central Kyoto.

Had to post this picture of a beautiful butterfly! Saw it on the way to a tiny shrine next to a waterfall.

We were given comfy slippers to walk around Eikan-do, a temple with many rooms of beautiful ancient art that we couldn’t photograph!

I daresay that I enjoyed this meal.. A bit. Omen noodles, broth and veggies at a restaurant called, well… Omen.



Pete and I spent a while watching storks fish for their dinner on the Kamogawa river.

We walked through this amazing bamboo forest!

One of the coolest experiences of my life… We fed macare monkeys and chilled with them in their natural habit at this monkey park on the top of a mountain!


Had an awesome dinner on the river.


Watched some swans groom themselves on the side of this lovely pond.

On the last night, we watched for fireflies at this beautiful river! Didn’t see any, but it was still so peaceful.

That’s all for Kyoto! Had to hold back on posting other pictures but it’s still long!
Until next time….


It’s officially June!!

Well, it’s officially June 1st which means I’m leaving for Japan in 19 days! We have one hotel reserved already in Kyoto, $68 a night, which is not too bad. We’re not sure where we’re going to stay after the 7 days we’re there, but we’ll figure it out! I’ve been chugging’ along like before, making my money by walking dogs, watering plants and teaching voice lessons. I’ve added a couple more students to my list!! I am enjoying teaching more and more every day, and I think I’m getting better at it. It’s a little sad that I’ll have to give up my students when I move to NY, but I’ll be finding them a new teacher (hopefully one who charges as little as me).

One of my students, who is so strong and full of life and optimism, is going to be auditioning for the Sacramento Children’s Chorus next week!!! SCC is of course my alma mater (still leading in the amount of years I spent with them – 13!). I hope she gets a scholarship, and I think she will do great!!!!

I am finally having my big yard sale this Saturday, starting at 8 a.m. and going till 12ish, or whenever I sell as much as I can. Hopefully I’ll make a little from it, I’m guessing it will be about 50 bucks? I have stuff that costs a bunch more than that but I’m not setting my sights too high so I don’t get disappointed. (Advice from the sage boyfriend.) The main goal is to clean the house out of stuff that we (my mom, my brother, me, and a family friend) don’t need. It’s amazing that no matter how many garage sales you have over the years, more stuff builds up. After it’s over, I’ll bring whatever else we don’t sell to GoodWill (unless it’s good quality) and clean out the garage!!!

I am slowly checking things off my To Do list, but it is often that I check one thing off and add another! Got a little overwhelmed about it yesterday. Things are moving forward with the Fundraiser, but there have been some bumps in the road. I still think it will be an amazing night!!! Must make sure I have someone videotape the performances and the party! The flyer is in production, almost done! I will post immediately when it’s ready.

Had a date day/night on Wednesday with Pete (i’m revealing my boyfriend’s name now) and it started with a Gunther’s Ice Cream trip where they gave me two ridiculously oversized scoops on a cone.Image

After that, (I know, kind of a backwards date) we went to Taylor’s Kitchen next to Taylor’s Market where I’ve been a regular grocery shopper for years, and had an amazing dinner. This was the appetizer we shared.


Duck Confit with a poached egg.. YUM. I drank a glass of Rose.. but it took me the whole night to finish it, of course! Twas delicious just the same.

Yesterday, I had a new experience with the vocal jazz ensemble I was in this year, the Sac State Jazz Singers. We recorded a music video!!! Or, actually two. The first one took most of the day though. It is for a song arranged/written by one of our group members, David, called “Something Vague and Obscure”. Here is a picture of us in front of the green screen.


My feet still hurt from standing there all day, but it was still fun!

I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog while I’m in Japan because I won’t be bringing my computer but I will definitely blog w/ pictures when I get back!!!

Long blog today because I haven’t updated in a while. If you read this, leave me a comment/subscribe to my blog!! Would love to have some friends on wordpress. 🙂



Woozy day

I feel all woozy!! I had an endoscopy procedure done today (for those who don’t know, that’s when they put a tube through your nose and down your throat to check for any problems with the esophagus and take a sample to test). I was put under anesthesia so I wouldn’t feel it or be awake, and I definitely didn’t feel it. When I woke up I wasn’t able to function much.. my boyfriend had to walk me out. This procedure is really common but I don’t remember the last time I was put under anesthesia (I was 6, I believe) so I wasn’t expecting to be THIS exhausted. I was actually planning to get things done! Like.. continuing to clean out the attic, washing my car, practicing.. but nope! I spent most of the day sleeping, then came over to a family friend’s to walk her dog/feed the cats and house sit for the weekend. Was a very leisurely walk with the dog.. but I think it woke me up a little bit. I’ve been able to do some planning for my July 21st concert/fundraiser.. so at least I got something done! I wish I had a camera so I could post pictures of what I’ve been doing! This is the camera I want:


Socialmatic Camera

But it’s not even out yet!! It would be so amazing to have that camera in Japan and New York.. it is a polaroid camera and a digital camera.. and you can automatically post pictures to Instagram, Twitter and other sites! I don’t want an iPhone, I just want that. If I had that camera, I would be ok with my crappy phone that freezes every five minutes. If you read this blog, go to that website and donate so it can be produced! I donated just 5 bucks.. but it’s something, right?

Also, my friends CAVE Women (an all-girl, fantastically folky/jazzy band) who are playing at the July 21st event, are in their last hours of their own fundraiser for their first album! Here is the link to that:

Donate to them!!! They need any help they can get!! Recording is dammn expensive. I’m still paying the studio back for my session and I didn’t even put out an album!!

The dog is chewing on this squeaky toy excessively… hopefully he gets tired of it soon!! But he’s so sweet 🙂

I will update some more soon when I’m not so woozy!!

39 days till Japan, 3 months till New York

Ohayo gozaimasu!

I’ve decided to start this blog in addition to my dinky little journalism blog, because I’m about to have the biggest summer of my life. I have had some pretty awesome summers.. touring with  choirs in Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic and Canada, and doing 4-5 week-long programs at music/art schools such as California Institute of the Arts and Berklee College of Music, but I’ve  never had a summer this crazy. I’m leaving for Japan – you guessed it – on June 19th, and coming back to Sacramento on July 10th, so about 3 weeks. I’m going with my boyfriend, who (this is amazing) is going to school at Tokyo Sushi Academy for about 2 months, but staying there for 3. We’ll be stopping in Nara, where the deer walk the streets with people; Kyoto, rich with shrines and beautiful temples; Kobe, famous for their well-cared-for cattle; Osaka, known for… well.. food; Nagoya, for its fabulous castle; and of course, Tokyo. I still can’t believe I’m going there.. it seems unreal.

Even more unreal is what’s happening after I get back. I’ll be back for a week before I host my fundraiser concert/party.. It will be July 21st, and I’ll have 4 or 5 different jazz groups (including mine) perform and donations will be welcome. Should be quite the party! I’ll post more info about it when it gets closer.

After that, it’s packing, selling everything I can from my room, cleaning, and preparing for New York. I’ll be leaving sometime before August 20th, and I’ll be starting school at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan, NY.

Boy, is that a shock. I am absolutely stoked. It is time, at 21 years old, to take the leap and move across the country. I need this. To move forward, to grow, to move on, and to get started working toward my career as a singer, teacher and artist. I’ll miss my family, and of course, my wonderful, amazing boyfriend. But in the end I think they’ll all be glad I did it.. because I’ll come out as a much more mature person. Living, and trying to survive on my own is going to be a shock that cannot truly be prepared for, but it’s what I need.

Anyways.. this is my first personal blog.. and it’s kinda weird. I think I’ll end it now.. but I’ll be updating about my odd jobs, packing, Japan, fundraisers, and NY!