Sunday, February 22, 2015

Living and Reading in Japan (6)

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This weekly meme has been inspired by Michelle at The True Book Addict and Lisa at Lit and Life--Life: It Goes On...but I wanted to tweak it a bit for myself since I am living in Japan for the next year (2014-2015).

January was full of the influenza :( With an outbreak at Gabe's school, too. We both came down with it and then I developed bronchitis on top of that. His school closed down for 3 days to get the outbreak under control. It was a rough couple of weeks! Feeling better now. Woot!

Reading:
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • The Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan
  • The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Finished:
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anna Elliott
Looking Forward To:

Spring Break starts the week after next! DH will take some time off and who knows where we'll go but GO we will. I have a few fun St. Paddy's Day activities planned and some other art stuff. Hit McDonald's and Starbucks, you know, classy stuff to do while in Japan....

Making:

We made tacos the other night. Gabe wasn't a big fan of those back in the States but he agreed to try them again and loved them! Yay. He's getting all growed up and liking new things!

I made honey butter! So yummy. I also plan on making a pumpkin chicken chili next week.

Listening To:

I started Invisibilia, a new podcast from NPR. The pilot episode was a tear-jerker. I'm loving it.

Watching:

I am almost done with Gilmore Girls! I've been catching up on my comedies like The Mindy Project, New Girl, and Modern Family. I've added Agent Carter to my list and Empire. I took a chance on Death Comes to Permberley on Netflix the other week. 

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I also watched Virunga. Heart-breaking. Watch and then be inspired to do something.

Grateful For:

Vending machines with hot coffee in them here in Japan. Seriously. They have been a life-saver this week.

Things I Did This Week:

We went to the zoo last weekend. It was an adventure on the train and bus and a little bit of walking. I do not like zoos. I think they had their purpose. And I do think there are many humane zoos as well but overall I think they do not care for the animals, especially the large animals, very well.

The tiger and the black bears looked like they were going insane with pacing and anxious habits. They all had the tiniest of spaces. It was heart-breaking. I voiced my concerns with my son and told him about some of the pros and cons of zoos from my point of view.

They did have some native Japanese animals that I had never seen before like the red panda or the raccoon dog. And Gabe got to hold a guinea pig and pet some really soft rabbits.

And the zoo in Hiroshima is old and small and pretty rundown. I hope they can get some funding and get the place updated with bigger habitats for these beautiful and elegant and scary yet awesome animals. They need this. They broke my heart.

BUT, the week before that we went to Tokyo for some awesome fun of Disneyland, Legoland, and Studio Ghibili for Gabe's 6th birthday! I cannot believe how old he is getting. We had so much fun.

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Disneyland!
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Studio Ghibili Museum

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A really cool bridge we walked on
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Some classic depictions of 1940s Japan in a local mall

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Fun English translation signage!


On a good note, I went out to sushi with some friends. And I've been getting out and walking everyday hoping that will help me from getting sick so much and getting depressed. So yay to coffee and friends and sushi!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cat Thursday (42)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

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I thought to myself...cats sleep in weird places so let's see what the Google gods have in store for me today...



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So adorable! May your week be full of sleeping cats!



Monday, February 16, 2015

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

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It's been awhile since I've read some top-notch adult fiction. I loved Kidd's "Secret Life of Bees" and "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter." Her prose held me. I didn't even realize this was a story about actual two sisters who were abolitionist-feminists. It's an awesome writer who can pull together fact and fiction and do it justice.

I am so glad that Kidd intertwined the story of Handful, a slave in their home. Through her voice we got to see and hear and try to feel even a pinch of what life was like for slaves during this time. So often we hear of stories where white people help black people. Yes this is true. Whites have been the ones with the power. We know this. But I want to hear about their stories. The slaves. What they did to rebel, survive, live, etc and to save themselves. I love that Kidd thought about this and put stories like these into her narrative.

It was a bit disjointed. She jumped a lot from one point in history to another but I feel that was the best way to do a historical fiction biography like this. So even though it felt a bit uneven, I see why it was necessary.

Overall, it was a poignant, powerful, and inspiring book.

I loved these quotes:

"First time I saw it, my feet hopped in place and I lifted my hand over my head and danced. That's when I got true religion. I didn't know to call it religion back then, didn't know Amen from what-when, I just knew something came into me that made me feel the water belonged to me."

"Mauma didn't fall again, though, and I reckoned Gad had lent me an ear, but maybe that ear wasn't white, maybe the world had a colored God, too, or else it was mauma who kept her own self standing, who answered my prayer with the strength of her limbs and the grip of her heart."

"People say love gets fouled by a difference big as ours. I didn't know for sure whether Miss Sarah's feelings came from love or guilt. I didn't know whether mine came from love or a need to be safe. She loved me and pitied me. And I loved her and used her. It never was a simple thing. That day, our hearts were pure as they ever would get."

"There's no pain on earth that doesn't crave a benevolent witness."

"I saw then what I hadn't seen before, that I was very good at despising slavery in the abstract, in the removed and anonymous masses, but in the concrete, intimate flesh of the girl beside me, I'd lost the ability to be repulsed by it. I'd grown comfortable with the particulars of evil. There's a frightful muteness that dwells at the center of all unspeakable things, and I had found my way into it."

"History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another's pain in the heart our own."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cat Thursday (41)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

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No major theme today. Just throwing in some random cute ones this week!

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