Adventure Time

Uniglobe Travel Conference

It’s Sunday, March 31 and I am exhausted. I’ve just been to my first ever work conference and it was activity and information overload. My husband John went to conferences and conventions way back when. Lots of my friends travel around for conferences. But in my former life in the trenches in politics and press I never had a conference to go to. So it’s been an exciting last few days. I’m so lucky because this year’s conference was held at the Long Beach Hilton, only 45 minutes from my house. Woo-hoo! My travel partnership is with Uniglobe Travel Center (UTC) and first off this is not only a conference but an official family reunion. It’s the best scenario. They’re…

My First Foot on a Cruise

Not a real cruise.  But a docked cruise ship.  I’d actually never ever been on a big, tux and ballgowns, bells and whistles, floating city cruise ship before last Thursday, February 7.  I’ve only been on small ships on the Nile River in Egypt and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.  I’ve seen the Love Boat about a thousand times so I was just sure I knew exactly what to expect.  But I figured it’s high time I get out there in person and see what the cruise ship craze is all about.  I really prefer cruising on a sailboat or floating on a SUP,  but they are a lot more work.  It’s never too late to become a convert to…

52 Places To Go from NYT

The New York Times just came out with their list of 52 places to visit for 2019. Since I’m starting a new travel business, all these travel lists that everyone loves are now catching my eye. There’s a top 5 and top 10 list for everything. I usually just ignore them because it’s all just some stranger’s ideas. But the New York Times claims to put in a lot of time and research into making their lists. So I figure what they’ve come up with is worth posting here. Of the top 10 destinations here, I haven’t been to very many. Just #3, Santa Barbara and #4 Panama. I’d better get my bags packed and get on it. My featured…

Dreaming of Northern Lights

It’s the dead of winter, the middle of the night and it’s literally freezing outside.  But someone wakes you up and says, quick, get up and get outside.  Is the house on fire?  No, you just won the northern lights jackpot and the prize is the chance to see a colorful fire in the sky.  Some people travel far and spend much for a chance to see this sight.  But for all the effort, sometimes it appears and sometimes it doesn’t.   One of my top bucket list items is seeing the Aurora Borealis, a.k.a. the Northern Lights.  I know the best time for this phenomenon to happen is in the dead of winter, in cold climate countries, in the…

Yale Bound

Now that we’re back in the US, it seems “my adventure abroad” is a reverse perspective.  We’re living abroad in the US and missing our life in Japan.  So for now, my adventure abroad turns out to be living and traveling in the US again.  My first adventure abroad in California is getting everything out of storage, buying 2 cars, fixing up our house, finding or buying furniture and just a general cleaning of everything inside and out repeatedly and re-connecting with friends. Next adventure is taking Kaiyo to the east coast.  Kaiyo’s team from Osaka International School (OIS) made it to the final round of the international academic competition called World Scholar’s Cup.  They call it the Tournament of Champions…

Re-Entry & Fun Photos

We’re back at home in California.  We were away in Osaka, Japan for two years, nearly to the day.  Is re-entry hard?  Yeah.  It is.  The kids miss their friends in Japan.  John is feeling some pressure to find a new job.  I am trying to unpack everything that was in storage and figure out where it all goes.  Even the cats are skittish.  We sold a bunch of our furniture so at the moment there’s only one La-Z-Boy recliner that we are all fighting over, and usually the cat is already curled up there. John is mad at rude drivers in California.  Driving here means you’ll be run over or run off the road if you don’t keep up…

Okinawa Weekend

It’s the last few weeks left now.  We have one last free weekend that I’ve set aside.  Where can we go at the 11th hour on a “budget” budget? Peach Air is one of Japan’s discount airlines.  It’s like Southwest Airlines in the US.  I found flights for under $100 each way for each of us to fly to Okinawa.  Not too bad?  I booked our tickets for a Friday to Monday trip.  As I scoured the internet for a place to stay, I stumbled upon a newly built place that had not even had its grand opening yet.  It was advertising special, pre-opening rates and it came with the disclaimer that the landscaping and lobby were still under construction.  But…

The Last Weeks

We are scheduled to say farewell to Japan on August 1st.  During our very last weeks, I went to Tokyo for a weekend, we spent our last national holiday taking a day trip to a pottery town, we had good-bye dinners with friends, and we went to Okinawa for a long weekend.  In between all of that we listed our things on Craigslist, the Sayonara Sale website, and “Mottainai” Facebook page, and got our friends to help us take unwanted items to the recycle center and resale shops.  I went to Tokyo for my girls’ overnight trip from Saturday to Sunday, July 14-15.  My friend Satoko was going to take the midnight bus home (leave Tokyo at midnight, arrive Osaka at…

The Last Month

Our last month in Japan we really packed it in.  As soon as Osaka International School ended on Friday, June 29, Avalon went to our local public Japanese school for a couple of weeks.  I was so proud of her for trying it out.  Sometimes a public school will let international students join their classes if they are still in session.  I’ve heard of several families in the US that send their kids to Japan for a month of public Japanese school before the local kids start their summer break.  These are mostly Americans with a Japanese parent, but once we met some kids from Newport Coast that had no blood ties to Japan but still they wanted to enroll…

Mou-ichido Hokkaido

Omikuji!  Omikuji are fortune-telling strips of paper that can be found at temples and shrines throughout Japan.  Most of the time they’re only in Japanese so we just walk past them.  But when I was at Hokkaido Shrine last spring, my cousin said they have them in English and we should both get one.  In this photo I’ve paid my 100 yen “donation” and I’m picking out a fortune from the box.  The fortunes range from great blessing/luck to great curse.  Here’s what the website www.japan-talk.com says about omikuji: “The omikuji will go on to break down your fortune in health, love, marriage, business, childbirth, disputes, studies, travel, finding lost articles and achieving your desires.  These will generally follow the…