Steps

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Taken with a Hasselblad 501c/m using Ilford film. Photographed at the site of an old farmhouse in Okinawa, Japan.

Today is my last official day of spring break. I know the week ahead will be busy, but I’m trying to not think about that yet.

Yesterday was the first day of spring here, and I found myself at the spring Mala at my yoga studio – 108 salutations: 27 sun salutes, 27 moon salutes, 27 hatha salutes, and one last round of 27 sun salutes. It is an amazing experience, that I’m not sure I can describe in words. Yoga has taught me so much already, and every time I am on my mat I feel like I learn a little something new, not just about the practice itself, but about myself, what is important to me, and what I need to let go of. The Mala was no exception, and together we let go of a lot of garbage and baggage we were carrying around, and greeted the spring.

2016 has been a much different year than I thought it would be…not good or bad, just very different (and already including one more tattoo than I thought it would). I set a goal of reading 52 books this year, one book a week, and so far I am on track to surpass that goal. John and I have amassed such a collection of books over our years together, and I am making a conscious effort to read through the ones I haven’t tried yet, and enjoying all of them. Currently I am sucked into the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. I’m not sure why I haven’t finished this series sooner.

I spent a lot of time this spring break working on artwork for two shows this summer. My artwork is changing, the meanings are changing, and I find myself adding in layers of meaning that coordinate with current events and climate issues. This is not really new territory for me, but something I haven’t explored for about 10 years. We’ll see where this takes me. I have had inspirations coming from very different places lately, and I find myself craving the time to work, and no longer feeling bad about taking every minute I can get. This is just one more necessity for me.

Back to work.

1/5/15 – Sea Wall

From my journal:

Tomorrow morning we start a long journey home. Today, our last full day on this little island, we spent the hours walking by the ocean wall, we ate green tea KitKats, grocery shopped, read while sitting out on the patio, ate lunch at a chicken and waffle restaurant, had more of Julie’s awesome Yakisoba for dinner, and enjoyed our last day of hanging out here. Everything is packed already. It is only a matter of time before we are back.

To the friends that took such good care of us, thank you a million times over!

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Film photos from our last day:

1/4/15 – Kokusai

From my journal:

Today we walked around Kokusai – downtown Okinawa. There were street vendors, Okinawan doughnuts, fresh brown sugar being chipped off a large block, fresh pineapple on a stick, traditional places to eat, sweet beans and mochi, the fish market, crowds, malls, sales, lots of sunshine, the kids being happy, the craziness of Japanese streets and markets, Hello Kitty stuff everywhere…it was so much fun! We walked until our legs and feet ached. We did a lot of shopping, and I took a lot of photos again.

Today was great. This whole trip has been amazing, from the roller slides, to the food, and all the fun stuff we did in between. The best part is experiencing all of this with friends who love exploring and trying new things as well as we do. I can’t wait to come back and visit them again!

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Film photos:

1/3/15 – Koza Music Town

From my journal:

Today John and I went out to do a little exploring on our own of Okinawa City and Koza Music Town. There were a few places open, though many were still closed for the New Year holiday.

We did find an arcade where we played Mario Kart (so much fun!) and a small punk record and clothing shop. We had a good time and were quite worn out after from all the walking! I took a lot of photos of the buildings and empty streets. There is such a mix of new and run-down here. I remember noticing that when we were in Japan before on the main island, but I feel like it is more prominent here. It was a beautiful day to be out walking! And more sushi for dinner!

iPhone photos:

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Okinawa street…

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There was a one-block stretch of buildings that had the craziest wall murals painted all along them!

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Film photos from the day:

1/1/15 – Toguchi beach

From my journal:

Today was the first day that the weather was crummy enough that I didn’t mind spending much of the day inside.

We did spend theĀ  morning out exploring one of the local beaches – Toguchi. It had caves to climb around, and at low tide you could walk out pretty far on the rocks. Even though it was cold and windy, it was still great to be out there.

After lunch, John and I went shopping with Julie. We found a set of pots that I fell in love with, and after some research and realizing they aren’t sold in the US, we bought them. We also did a bit of clothes shopping at UniQlo. I am not ashamed to admit that I am kind-of in love with that store!

We made fried rice for dinner. Eric and Julie have been cooking for us multiple night, and we thought it was definitely time for us to make something!

Back to more adventuring tomorrow!

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Film photos from that day:

12/30/14 – Nakakazuku

From my journal:

Another day of exploring! After the day at the crowded aquarium, it was nice to go somewhere a little more quiet. We went to the Nakakazuku castle ruins today and spent almost 3 hours exploring and taking photos. The grounds were beautiful, and filled with flowers and green grass.

On the way we stopped at a small local shrine that was in the middle of getting ready for the New Years celebrations. The shrine was pretty high up the mountain, and the view from the parking lot was quite incredible!

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When we got to the castle, and looked out from the highest parts you could walk to, we could see the temple out on the hillside. We could see a lot from the top of the ruins!

We could also see a large abandoned hotel. The story goes that it has been abandoned for many years because the site is very haunted. The builder went crazy while constructing the hotel, building uneven walls and hallways. The hotel did eventually open, but closed as many patrons were dying because of the spirits that haunted the place. You can go on a “haunted island” tour and go through the inside of this hotel…but we opted just to look at it from a distance.

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Many places in Japan have special stamps that you can get for being a visitor. They are meant to go in a passport type book that kids can have fun filling up. I put my stamps from the castle in my journal.

I was having fun making panoramic photos with my iPhone while we were there standing on the top of the castle walls.

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Different parts of the castle area are roped off as they are still being excavated and preserved.

I took a lot of film photos…the most I have so far on this trip. Here they are:

12/26/14 – 12/27/14 Traveling to Okinawa!

This year, John and I decided to head out on an adventure. Our adventure began on Christmas Day. The next bunch of blog posts will be quite photo heavy…but I’m excited to share this little adventure of ours! If you don’t want to see photos of the beach, pottery villages, caves, and castle ruins, well, wait about a week and I’m sure I’ll have something else to blog about! For those of you sticking around, enjoy!

Somehow, Jeremy Messersmith knew that we would be heading out on this adventure, and wrote a travel song just for us!

 

We had a fun breakfast at the airport with some other traveling friends, saw Santa Clause directing airplanes…
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….took one 12 hour flight up above the clouds…

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….landed, took a taxi bus full of people out to the runway, walked up to our plane and up the stairs…I thought they only did this in the movies!

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Ok – enough with the crappy airport cell phone photos!

After another 2 1/2 hours we landed in Okinawa. It was pretty late on December 26th by the time we got there. It was awesome to see a familiar face at the airport, and have a home to stay at after all the traveling.

The next day we finally got to say hi to the rest of the family (Eric, Millie, Evie, and Clara) before we headed out on our first adventure.

I journaled quite a bit on this trip. Some of those pages I will include for you in my posts, so you can read more about the day, or just skip to more photos if you like!

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Being out by the sea wall was amazing. I love visiting the ocean…something I don’t get to do nearly often enough.

I brought my Hasselblad 501c/m with me on this trip, and a lot of film. Below is a little slide show of photos I took our first full day there. If you would rather just sort through them yourself, the gallery is here.

leaving nests

July 16, 2012

This year for the first time since we moved in (9 years ago!) I put a hanging basket of flowers on our deck. It wasn’t long before a family of house finches decided that little basket would be the perfect place for their nest, and they moved in. Mr FN and I watched as baby birds appeared, and started learning to flap tiny wings, sometimes hovering just above the flower-pot, before landing for another nap and meal. I watched as much as I could to see the moment when the baby birds finally took their leap of faith and flew away. Yesterday morning after settling in for a work day, I looked and saw that the baby birds had finally figured out how to fly, and were off in the world somewhere now. The mother finch came back a few times, sitting on the edge of the pot, and looking at her empty nest for a while before flying away, as if she was saying good-bye to the home she built, and going on to the next one.

After she hadn’t returned for a few hours, I took the basket down to look inside. I am amazed at how perfect and neat their nest is…though perhaps I am just too used to seeing sparrow’s nests. It is still this amazing, perfect little form, that held up to four baby birds stomping around in it, and me watering it a few times before I figured out my flower-pot was inhabited.

Last night we went out with friends for a little “going away” party. Two friends are going on a two-week trip to Africa and they leave this week. We chatted about how scary it can be at times traveling far away, how hard to plan, the difficulties of language barriers and cultural barriers and how you wonder if simple things (such as your hotel reservations) have actually gone through and if you’ll have a place to sleep when you get to the other side of the world. But, through all that, you finally leave home, take your leap of faith, and somehow all of those things work out. Yes, there are plenty of times that bad things happen on vacations that never should have to happen, but those times aren’t the majority. We just hear about them way more often than we hear about the good times. Taking that leap of faith and planning and leaving home for any time is hard to do when you don’t always know what you will find at your destination, but it is almost always worth it.

I can’t wait to hear about their big trip and the adventures they will have. And I can’t wait to plan our next big adventure, to buy the tickets, stand on the edge of the nest, and leap.

 

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