November-December 2014 Adventures Part Two

Theme of this post:  Ups and Downs

November 11th we got home from our trip to Kyoto and November 12th we were heading to the airport for a flight back to the states for a wedding in the husband’s home town.

Visiting his home town is always interesting.  It’s a small town and we are usually running around visiting different family and friends every day, hoping to get visits with his children in as well.  Normally, rather hectic and always on-the-go.

This visit was not different, but add in a wedding and death to the mix.  I think this is the timeline though it was a bit crazy and with the time difference and jet lag it’s a bit jumbled in my head.

Nov 13:  We spent our first night with his dad.  Got word from my mom and dad that my aunt is in the hospital and failing.

Nov 14:  Next morning drove out to the husband’s mom’s and spent the night (she lives about 45 minutes into the country/woods) without being able to check in with my parents because there is no internet or cell phone service out there.

Nov 15:  Drove back to town, dropped some boxes to the post office then checked into a hotel.  Found out aunt is on morphine drip and no longer aware.  Picked up step-daughter and we drove to Lafayette to shop and grab a meal.  I wanted Mexican, it’s one thing we don’t get much of here in Japan.  There is Mexican food but it isn’t quite the same.   Drop of step-daughter, head back to hotel.  I didn’t feel tired and was sub-consciously waiting for a phone call I didn’t want to receive.  The call came around midnight.  Aunt passed away.  Husband did/said something stupid that pissed me off.  Passed out finally around 2:00 am.

Nov 16: Next morning have to get away for a bit, so walked across the highway to the little strip mall and did some zombied shopping.  Headed back and worked things out with husband, then grabbed lunch, got ready and off to wedding.

It was really cold!

It was really cold!







This was a country wedding which I have never experienced before, most of the men were wearing jeans.  It was a beautiful wedding and they did really great with decorating, her dress was very pretty and everything seemed to be going well (even the car alarm going off as the ceremony began was kinda charming).  It was difficult with my dad on my mind most of the time, he just lost his sister and I was now debating whether or not to extend my trip and fly to Arizona for a few days.  I would have to juggle some things and hope my boss wouldn’t mind me taking more time off then figure out another flight back.

deanadeana and chris

deana n chris







Nov 17: Decide to not extend and return to Japan with the husband.  Pack up and off on our long drive back to his dad’s house.  Then we got together with a friend that night, always fun to see her but tired now of not being prepared for people asking how my family is because of what had just happened.  We had a hotel close to the airport this night.

Nov 18: Very early shuttle to the airport and very long flight to Japan.  I will say, this flight was much better than the flight there.  This was Japan Airlines and they do it so much better than U.S. domestic airlines like American.  The food is better, the movies worked, we actually had the seats right behind the curtain to business class so we had extra leg room.  It was a very comfortable flight except that they tend to keep the cabin warmer than I like.

Nov 19: So glad I took this day off from work to recover, definitely needed it for this trip.


Next up…a concert that reduced me to tears.


A new word came flying at me today from The Nudge Wink Report.



Obfuscation is a form of Obfuscate:


[ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt]


verb (used with object), obfuscated, obfuscating.
1.  to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
2.  to make obscure or unclear:  to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
3.  to darken.


1.  the act or an instance of making something obscure, dark, or difficult to understand
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
1530s, from Latin obfuscatus, past participle of obfuscare “to darken,” from ob “over” (see ob-) + fuscare “to make dark,” from fuscus “dark”


I also found this contest regarding the word:

The International Obfuscated C Code Contest

Obfuscate: tr.v. -cated, -cating, -cates.

    1. To render obscure.
    2. To darken.
  1. To confuse: his emotions obfuscated his judgment.
    [LLat. obfuscare, to darken : ob(intensive) + Lat. fuscare,
    to darken < fuscus, dark.] -obfuscation n. obfuscatory adj



Interesting stuff, love this word!  It’s a big word with a lot of meaning.  Thanks to Blogdramedy for the awesome word!



Edited for a broken link

Vacation Japan Style – Part Ni

This is the second part of the Vacation Japan Style posts, please click here for the first part if you missed it.  After Tokyo we hopped on the train to Kamakura where we visited the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine where my friend washed her hands and mouth before entering.  It’s an interesting custom.  This site explains Shrine customs quite well

I don’t take photos of Shrines or Temples really so I have none of these, perhaps my friend will blog her photos – keep an eye out for a ping to her blog if she does, below is my friend cleansing her hands.  This Shrine is a large complex with a lake and the largest Koi I have ever seen.  It was truly impressive.








On the walk to the Shrine we were approached by children who were learning English and part of their education was to speak to us and ask us for our signature on a work book they carried.  It was a fun experience at first, but we soon realized this was going to happen a lot if we kept stopping for them.






The walk to the Shrine is something itself, a lot of shopping and restaurants.  One older lady stopped us when we got to her and said “English Menu” smiled and bowed a little.  It grabbed my friend enough for us to try her restaurant out.  So, we followed her instruction to go to the back of a hallway to the end and go inside.  We did so and ended up in a tiny room with only bar stools around a small counter, the other side of the counter was where they cooked.  This room was smaller than my living room.  There was only two women working in it.  We sat down and ordered our lunch plates.  I ended up with ginger pork that is was hands down the best I have ever had and my friend had a pork dish that she still says was the best thing she has ever had.  It was a lovely experience.

After the Shrine we made our way to The Great Buddha (Daibutsu).

GreatBuddha GreatBuddha8 GreatBuddha9







This was interesting, and I actually thought it would be bigger but still he is very impressive and the area had a great air of peace to me.  It was definitely worth traveling to.

After the Daibutsu we decided to end the day at Hasedera.

My friend has a love for Kannon, whom this Temple is devoted to so it was an important stop for her.  My friend’s camera battery was dying so I helped with photos, here are a few from this amazing Temple and the grounds that still have us awe struck.  We found a rainbow too!

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This ended day one of Kamakura.  Day two was equally amazing.  We came back to make our way to the Bamboo Forest which is to the right of the train station instead of the left like the others.  We decided to walk, it was a nice day and exercise you know.  On our walk we discovered so many things, please people walk more, don’t take the bus or taxi if you don’t have to.  So many things would be missed.  We came upon a small (compared to the larger ones we’d been to) Shrine with beautiful grounds and an amazing story that gripped me.  The was the Hokaiji Shrine   for 870 Samuraii warriors who upon knowing they were about to be taken over (during war time)  gathered and they committed mass suicide to avoid capture.   It’s quite a story if you have a few minutes please click the link above.

I don’t have photos of this place, just didn’t seem right.  It was quite an experience to read the story and walk around the small grounds.

We kept going and found another Shrine up on a hill that was small and quaint.  We also found ourselves standing in front of a Torii Gate to nowhere.  It was a Torii Gate that led into bush and a hill.  I’m guessing there was something back behind it somewhere but we weren’t wearing hiking boots so we passed on that one.  Finally making it to our destination (after having to ask for help from a nice gentleman waiting for a bus) we were pulled into a lovely bamboo park:

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In the back of the forest there is a small hut and if you purchase a ticket for it you can enter and enjoy green tea made freshly there.  They serve it with two small candies to help cut the bitterness.  The hut had benches with a small counter running across which we could sit to enjoy our tea while also enjoying the forest.  It was lovely.







They also have caves set in the hillside which were a great surprise and a zen garden the size of which I’ve never seen before, this made those desk size sand box with a tiny rake look completely silly.

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After our time at the Forest my feet were feeling it so we opted to take the bus back to the station.  This is my first time riding a local bus and it was much like the trains, packed and quiet.   And so ended our travels that day.

Next:  Kurihama and The Rose Garden



Have you ever just gone with your gut exploring new things ?  Perhaps taking the longer route and finding some amazing things on the way?  I am happy to say my friend and I did a lot of that during her nine days here and it was a true pleasure to have a kindred soul who appreciates such adventures.

The Art of Silence

Recently, a very good friend made the trip to Japan to visit us. These are her thoughts on the trip. It was a magical 9 days for me and delightful for the husband. She is welcome in our home anytime.


I was recently in Japan, visiting a good friend while nurturing and growing a better understanding and relationship with her when I realized that she had given me so much more than simply a place to lay my head while I was visiting.  Diana opened not only her home to me, she opened her heart, she bared her soul, and she lived with me.  Not just lived in the sense that we occupied the same space at the same time; more like she LIVED with me, experiencing things  parallel to me, noticing things that I had not noticed and pointing them out, sharing her very different and unique perspectives, and living simultaneously yet very differently.  This is the sort of sharing with another human being that I have not done in quite a long time, and I did it very deliberately while relishing each and every moment, remembering to be thankful for…

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