Pink Daiso

I am seriously pampered at my friends’ house.  These are the type of friends that when you visit, they roll out the red carpet.  They give up their bed, put chocolates on the pillow, have hotel size toiletries in the bathroom and there are always delightful little surprises.

Admittedly, they are a 100 times more thoughtful than I am.

They feed you.  They take care of you. They make sure you have the full experience. They are simply absolutely wonderful.

Incidentally, their dream is to open a Bed & Breakfast. When this happens, I will not be vacationing anywhere else.

So, you see, coming to visit them in Japan was a no-brainer.

When I got to their house this time, my friend gave me a bag of goodies.

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Two cute little multi-purpose canvas bags, which have really come in handy, a pair of the cutest slippers, a pair of sunglasses and . . .

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Three canvases my friend painted herself.  To say I will cherish them is an understatement.  I love my friend’s art.  I look at it and I melt because she is so talented.  To receive one of her works is an honor and I am humbled.

So, yeah, I was tickled to get the goodie bag. Big smile.

Then, she and her husband introduced me to Daiso.

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The Japanese 100 yen store.  The equivalent of a Dollar Tree. In pink.

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I could have torn this store up and bought everything in it.  I had a vision of throwing out all my American clothes and just coming back with a suitcase full of Daiso. But, I restrained myself.

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Everything pink!

A luggage strap for my suitcase.
A small mesh packing bag.
A large polka dot laundry bag for my dirty clothes while I am here.
A hair brush.
An eyeglass holder.
A “Hello Kitty” contact case.
And a tiny present for my mom.

I wonder if she can guess what it is by the picture.

A pink discount store.  Oh man. That is just too sweet.

The Tourist

I have been in Japan with my friends for three days now and every minute that has not been sleeping, has been seeing everything that I could.

HIROSHIMA

One sobering experience was going to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Look at this statute: Very sad.

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This is the Atomic Bomb Dome. It now stands exactly as it did after the bombing on August 6, 1945 (with a few minor preservation projects).

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FLOWERS & KOI

On the light side of things, one of my favorite activities so far has been visiting a Japanese garden.

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I loved the simple joy of feeding the koi. As I was preparing this blog and going through my pictures, I realized I took five pictures of the garden and at least 30 of the fish. My stepdad, the fishing enthusiast, would be so proud.

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There has been some free exercise in which I was woefully and completely out of shape for.

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I did make it to the top of these stairs but it was not pretty. You would have thought I was having an asthmatic attack. And, I was dripping sweat. It was just a tiny little reminder of how much work I have when I get home. But, that is later.  For now:

NOODLES

Japan is the land of the noodles. Udon. Ramen. Noodles everywhere.

Yesterday, we went to a private kitchen up in the local mountains to make noodles.

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We started out with just two simple bags of different kinds of flour. Added water with some turnip paste mixed in. From there, it was a whole lot of kneading and rolling. Then, to the fun part: Cutting the noodle dough with a giant knife.

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After that, our instructor boiled our creation and dressed up our bowls. As you can imagine, we had some pretty funny noodles.

Taaaa-Daaaaaaa. From Scatch.

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SUSHI

So far, my favorite food experience has been conveyor belt sushi.

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The belt was a rolling. My eyes were a following. My hands were a grabbing. And, I was grubbing. HEAVEN.

And, we definitely ate our share. It was so yummy.

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GREEN TEA

I’m loving the green tea.

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I was delighted to see this little handy creation.  A pot of matcha green tea powder at the table with each table having its own hot water spout.  GENIUS!

 

Interesting fact

Japan is called “The Land of the Rising Sun.”

But, did you know that sun rises at 4:30am? That is how I found myself wide awake a little before 5am this morning. I’m sitting in my friend’s kitchen drinking a cup of coffee and it is bright daylight out. I’m happy to report that I’m getting some sleep on schedule with my peeps here. But, not enough. I could use some more. I don’t feel rested. I feel just ok.

Caffeine has always been my friend but now it will be my bestest best friend.

Today: noodle factory. Nuff said.

Start of first real day in Japan

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I traveled all day yesterday. Shreveport to Houston. Houston to Los Angeles. Los Angeles to Tokyo. Tokyo to Hiroshima.

When I got here, my friend swooped me up. We immediately went to a hotel and I jumped into the shower to get rid of my travel grime. Next, we got some noodles. By then, it was 10pm Japan time and I was ready to crash.

I slept to 1am. Then, 2am. It’s now 5am and light out. That is the view from our hotel room right now.

My friend is still sleeping and I am typing away on this here blog.

Today, we are checking out a garden and a WWII memorial. Yes, this is THAT Hiroshima that got the present of an atomic bomb from us Americans in 1945.

Afterwards, we are making our way to my friend’s house.

Getting to know you

I’ve been distracted by the polite and wonderful messages from a newly introduced Texas cowboy.

It has brought into my life the excitement of chatting with someone brand new.

Suddenly, I am reminded of the song “Getting To Know You” from The King and I.

If you love corny musicals as much as I do, you’ll love this.

(FYI ~ The video is mislabeled. This is not Julie Andrews. This version is Marni Nixon who dubbed for Deborah Kerr in the 1956 film adaptation of The King & I)

Getting to know you
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you
Getting to know what to say

Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly I’m bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I’m learning about you
Day by day

50 pages

one & only

You know I had this big plan to read Emily Giffin’s One & Only before I leave for my trip.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

I’m at page 51 and she is still setting up her main character. I will babysit a book for it to get to a point or the end but I’m on a bit of a time crunch on this one.

I haven’t given up but there is no way I’m finishing this book before I leave and I’m not buying it on kindle. It’s $11.84!

Sorry, good looking Emily, you needed to show me something in the first 50 pages that was worth that kind of book money.

As is, I have made the decision to retire this book. If I come across it in the future, I’ll pick it up and give it another try. If we never see each other again, I’m sure I won’t miss it.

That’s my review based on 50 pages.

Now back to my regularly scheduled life . . .

Later

Today, I am afraid I will be boring you.

The weather calls for rain. Looking outside confirms the dreary forecast. I have no plans to leave the house. I don’t need to. And, I have plenty to keep me occupied here.

I could clean up the back room that is my office, craft room, library, living room and storage but I’ll save that for when I come back.

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Don’t judge me too harshly. Basically, instead of renting a storage room, we put all my apartment stuff in the big back room. I set up my apartment bedroom in what is now my bedroom but was the guest room of my parent’s house.

We have gradually put my boxes in the long closet of the big extra living room and turned that into my special working and quiet place. It has my living room from my apartment and my desk from my office merged into one room.

From time to time, I drag out boxes and get something I need. But, I don’t always organize or put the boxes back. I have also been throwing stuff in that room. It’s a disaster right now.

Are you getting that I am a messy girl yet? Yep, it’s true. I am constantly cleaning up my own clutter. I make it faster than I can keep up. I love a clean organized space but I can’t help that most of the time I’m in a self-imposed hurry and just don’t care enough to clean up after myself.

I’m a “I’ll get to that later” girl. Later. Later. Later. Always with the later. Sometimes, I do but for some things later has not come yet.

As for today, I could get to some “later” projects:

1) I am knitting a funky scarf for a friend.
2) I still have to scrapbook from my last trip.
3) Of course, I have some packing to do.
4) There are always chores around a house.

But, most importantly, I’m still on a mission to finish two library books before I leave.

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Stormy Persuasion by Johanna Lindsey was a huge disappointment. The cover looks promising and I have read some pretty steamy romance novels from this very author, however, this book was only mildly interesting and I felt it was a drag to read. Not good.

Now, I am on to The One & Only by Emily Giffin. I don’t recall reading her books before but I see she wrote Something Borrowed. I may or may not have read that. I honestly can’t remember and I only started Goodreads a few years back. But, I definitely watched the movie and it was good so I’ll revisit that book.

Before I do, I’m hitting Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes. I do get these two authors mixed up. Anyway, I read Bergdorf Blondes before and remember how good it was but nothing else. Time to re-read.

By the way, if you flip the hardcover over of The One & Only, you will discover this girl is GORGEOUS!JUST GORGEOUS!!

Emily Giffin

http://www.emilygiffin.com/

And, she is an attorney too. Her official biography is exciting and fascinating:

“Emily Giffin, a Chicago native, graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After law school, she moved to Manhattan and practiced litigation at a large firm for several years while she paid back her school loans, wrote a novel in her very limited spare time, and dreamed of becoming a writer.

Despite the rejection of her first manuscript, Giffin persisted, retiring from the legal profession and moving to London to pursue her dreams fulltime.”

Obviously, I’m interested with lawyers who find other careers and if that other career is writing than I am doubly interested.  Throw in travel and I have officially become a fan!

Straight into her latest book, I had to note a great, if not morbid, quote:

“Cremation was definitely the way to go. It was the way I wanted to go, rather than risk the possibility of going out on a bad-hair day.”

This prompted me to once again announce to my family at dinner that I wanted to be cremated. It was cheaper. And, I don’t like how funeral homes do corpse make up.

Maybe, I’ll get around to my will. That’s on the “later” list too. I always said I just want my loved ones to fight over me when I’m gone. Nasty, dirty, fighting on the ground over little ole me and my precious and depending on how things go, valuable assets. Yep, that sounds about right.

Shopping & Reading

I have a shopping problem. But, more specifically, I have a Victoria Secret problem. It’s the only credit card I have.

Like anybody else, all my life I was told to wear clean under garments in case I’m in an accident. I took that to heart. So, I always make sure I have on clean cute Victoria Secret. You would never catch this girl in ratty old embarrassing grandma panties. Even when I was carted off in my pajamas, I was dressed head to toe in Victoria Secret. Very diva.

And let me tell you: Yes, you don’t think it will happen but it can. That’s why they call them accidents, right?

I’ve been in a car accident and I’ve been hospitalized for my mental disturbances. It really does matter to the medics, orderlies and even the police how you are dressed. And, when they are cataloging your belongings, you better believe they take notice of the brands. “Ohhhhh,” I’ve heard nurses and technicians say, “These are niiiiiiiicccccceeeee. Make sure she gets those back.”

And, yes sometimes, your very nice stuff goes missing anyway.

It goes without saying that I would not miss a VS Semi Annual Sale. I’ve been known to tear it up. This year, I was very conservative.

I got:

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1) 1 hoodie
2) 2 t-shirts
3) 1 jogging pants
4) 1 bra

I told you the other day that someone stole my VS’s bras when I went to the hospital last time. Well, I’m proud to say that my collection is complete again and I can go 9 days without doing the laundry and still be cute. For 9 days, I won’t have to worry about being that hypothetical dirty accident girl.

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Completely unrelated to Victoria Secret.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do this weekend. I really need to clean my room and organize my packing.

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However, I need to read my two library books.

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1) A trashy romance novel by Johanna Lindsey called Stormy Persuasion
2) The new Emily Giffin novel titled The One & Only

I must finish both of these by Wednesday and get them returned to the library but I also need to be completely packed and ready to go by 5am Thursday.

For now, I’m going to get cleaned up and out of my pj’s into comfortable lounge wear, close my bedroom door, ignore my chores and settle in for a day of reading.

Stormy Persuasion.

So corny but I eat these trashy romance novels up like candy so I should be done in no time.

What’s your writing routine?

Good article for us writers & a reminder to myself to get up earlier and write more

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Do you have a routine for writing? A way of doing it which has become habit and which you know will get the best out of you? I was thinking about this having read a recent article on the subject.

Many famous writers seem to have these habits. I think the reason is that, to write a novel you need to get your backside on the chair and your fingers on the keyboard – regularly and for long periods of time, just to get the work done. I know only too well that novels don’t write themselves.

Murakami_Haruki_(2009)Here’s what the brilliant Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami had to say on the subject in an interview:

“When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do…

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