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 pizzacook.wordpress.com!

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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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Stopped in Tokyo National Museum..

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Went to the beautiful Kohishikawa-korakuen Garden!

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

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

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

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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.

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We visited Shinjuku:

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And Harajuku:

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

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

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

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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 🙂

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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!!

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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!

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

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

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Had the best creme brûlée ever at the second restaurant:

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

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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!

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

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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.

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

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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!

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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:

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It was also windy…

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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We walked through this amazing bamboo forest!

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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!

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Had an awesome dinner on the river.

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

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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….

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