July 23, 2015

The Birthday Weekend in Ibaraki

I started last month with a weekend with my sisters in Ibaraki.

When you have a sister living in Chiba, another in Ibaraki, and you in Tokyo...it's going to take at least a weekend to spend quality time together. Especially when it involves a special birthday!

My baby sister turned twenty in June. TWENTY!!!

Hard to believe that she's officially an adult now (twenty is the official age of adulthood in Japan). I'm still trying to get my mind around how in the world she grew up so fast. At the same time, I'm so incredibly proud of the strong and caring person that she has become. 

She's busy with exams and classes in her second year of nursing school, but we dragged her away for a sleepover weekend and, most importantly, a birthday cake with candles!

You may know our family is big on candles. We believe that a cake is just a regular cake unless it has candles. Then and only then is it a birthday cake. We also tend to lean towards as many candles as your age (should be interesting what happens as we get older...).

We had no plans but to be lazy , which is sometimes the best kind of weekend when you're together. Most of the photos are my view from the car, to and from the bus station and Y's apartment, but you get the idea.

Yay for sister weekends and birthdays! x

How was your weekend? Have you ever been to Ibaraki?

July 6, 2015

The Star Spangled Afternoon with Friends

It's not very often I get to celebrate Fourth of July in Japan (for obvious reasons).

Growing up in rural Michigan though, it was one of my favorite holidays. Independence Day meant an afternoon at the beach or a picnic by the river, unless you were in the local town parade, followed by fireworks at night.

The fireworks show was fantastic! (Well, I hadn't seen Japanese fireworks yet.) Most of the townfolk would be there. Kids running around with glow sticks, teenagers hanging out in groups (way too cool to sit with their parents), and adults chatting away with neighbors while passing out food and drinks. It was always truley a blast! ;)

I wasn't planning on doing anything special this year, until my friends decided to get together on the 4th. Then I could not help myself. I had to make a patriotic pie (technically a cheesecake) to celebrate! (I made a fruit stick side dish, too...but whatever, in my head it goes with the pie.)

Let me tell you, I was not the only one excited for Fourth of July. Our lovely hosts E and M just had a darling daughter two months ago and she was totally on top of things. Look at her awesome stars and stripes tshirt! She is just the cutest. I'm sure you can tell from the pictures, this girl has got spunk. We were completely charmed by her the entire day!

And how can you not be when she smiles even in her sleep? So sweet!

I love that we all got to celebrate Independence Day together. We got to catch up on what everyone has been up to, all the while eating delicious homemade pizza, macaroni & cheese, and pie (i.e. cheesecake). It doesn't get much more American than that, right?

Hope you all had an amazing weekend, too! x

The night ended with a big ole yawn! :D

July 1, 2015

The July Link Love

Happy first day of July! How is everyone?

I am so glad June is gone and over with. Besides the great time I had with my sisters and friends, it was a roller coaster month of just hanging in there. I blame everything on the air-conditioning at work.

I caught a cold in mid-June that just wouldn't go away. I'm sure there are quite a few people who get sick during this season. For me, gone are those days when you have a high fever one day and you're right back on your feet the next. It felt like the plagues of Egypt...one calamity after another (in case you couldn't tell, I tend to be overly dramatic when I'm sick). It pretty much kicked me in the butt for more than a few weeks.

But it could have been worse (the real ten plagues of Egypt could have been inflicted on me). So I'm definitely happy to be back on my feet to welcome July!

Especially since I will be taking a short trip to...(drum roll please)...TURKEY! Woo hoo! I've had a crush on Istanbul for years so I can't tell you how excited I am to be going there.

It will not only be my first time travelling to Europe (technically Turkey is located in both Europe and Asia...but they're part of the EU, right?) but my first time being in a predominantly Islamic country during ramazan. It should be very interesting, I can't wait!

As always, I would love it if you have any tips or recommendations! x

-------------------------------------------------------Link Love-------------------------------------------------------

- A friends sent me this link and I thought it was beautiful.

- Currently my favorite hashtag: #kaorilovesthealphabet

- Gotta love this lady.

- Just jump!

- How fabulous is this cake!

- Love wins.