Friday, 9 August 2013

Kindred spirits

When I was doing my MA in Japan I was lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive friends and a professor who still continues to support and guide and help me in more ways than I can count. The only problem was that there was only one other student in museum studies, all the other students in the program were in clinical psychology (it is a VERY broad program!), sociology, or education. Then, not long after I entered the program, my sempai (student above me) graduated. She and I met other students at a conference and got an informal monthly study group started, but I never had a sense of community, other students I could share book recommendations with, or go to museums with, or just talk "shop" with over a few drinks. 

Until this year. I'm not in an MA program anymore, but I now have two kohai (students below me) under my professor and over the past half-year I've been introduced to or re-met about half a dozen other museum studies students or young professionals. A good number have studied abroad and two are even from abroad themselves!

One of those two, a woman from Taiwan who has just started her PhD here, became a good friend instantly. She had heard about me from my advisor and had apparently decided that we would be friends even before we met and it didn't take me long to realize she was a kindred spirit - from academic interests to general outlook to personal lives. Sadly she currently lives in Kansai, so we have only been able to meet up when she comes to Tokyo for conferences, but every time we have met up the time has sped by in a flurry of trading sources in Japanese and English (and one in Chinese, that freaked me out because I didn't realize it was Chinese and started hyperventilating over the kanji...!), debating the pros and cons of the Japanese educational system (followed by a heavy dose of complaining about Japanese academia), and good 'ole girl talk.

So turned to knitting to show my friendship in the best way I know how, even though the weather means that she won't be able to use it for months and months! 

Thursday, 8 August 2013


- marathon skype wedding planning chats with my fabulous matron of honour!
- reading a grad school reference letter written for me by one of my bosses
- freezing a fresh batch of home-made basil from the basil-gone-WILD aka green-curtain aka basil window box in our living room
- homemade raspberry frozen yogurt (from just Greek yogurt, frozen raspberries, sweetener)
- "Road to Sochi" specials on Japanese tv focusing on the WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM!!!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Morning Coffee

Every work morning, I get up and head to the shower, U drags himself downstairs and turns on the coffee machine, before collapsing on the couch for a few more minutes of sleep. By the time I'm out of the shower U is sitting upright on the couch, watching a morning news show, and has made the coffee - sometimes he has a cup, sometimes he doesn't.  I take mine in my thermos to work.

This morning, however, he left early for four days at a conference in Kyushu. I woke up to sunlight streaming in around the curtains and the other half of the bed empty. He had already gone and left me to sleep in. (he had been up past 3 am the night before, finishing his paper, and I had stayed up with him, working on my own stuff) I was disappointed - I'm not going to see the man for four days and if he's leaving early he normally comes back in and wakes me up to say goodbye. But this morning he didn't, so I didn't get the chance to see him off at the door (and crawl back upstairs to bed afterwards, it is a Sunday morning afterall!)

This morning I came downstairs and, sitting on the kitchen table for me, was my thermos, full of iced-coffee, and a note from U (yes, that is actually my nickname for him, and he signs notes / emails / texts to me that way). 

Is it any wonder why I love him?!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Elephant Baby

The year I spent in India was full of wonderful memories, due in large part to the people I met. I was lucky enough to work with and meet some amazing and inspiring women. I am still meeting new Scouting friends through my connections to the Center in India, and they continue to impress me with their drive, dedication, and spirit. Another thing a number of these women have in common is the fact they have had sons in the past few years.

I have a hunch that spending a few months to a few years living in the almost entirely female-only surroundings of a Girl Scout center scares the baby-girl making ability right out of a woman as of all the babies I know to have been born to Sangam volunteers, and all the babies I have heard of from others who know Sangam, out of all those babies there has been only one girl. All the rest are boys.

One of those baby boys made his entrance into the world only a short while ago and so I scoured Ravelry for elephant baby knitting (prompting a relative to email me and ask me what was up...!) I eventually settled on two little projects - a bib and a small stuffed toy - and since I was able to make both with yarn already in my stash, they were very quick knits!

I'm still not quite sure about the trunk, but besides that he is rather cute.

"Yikes! You don't have to yell into my ear, I can hear you, I can hear you!!"

I have an unhealthy love for this tail, for some reason... cute!!

Thursday, 1 August 2013


- cooking with the results of our herb garden (the basil TOOK OFF in the planter box in the living room window, and we've had a steady supply of homemade pesto sauce, mixed with lemon balm until the latter went to flower)
- harvesting a few (tiny!) stalks of rhubarb
- Alishan/Tengu foods whole wheat pancake/muffin mix made with yogurt, rhubarb (see above!), and strawberries... mmmmm!
- outdoor hotsprings on a windy evening
- an amazing friend agreeing to be my matron of honour and immediately surpassing my hopes with her amazing-ness
- ring shopping!