My daughter Dance recently relocated to L.A. She got a great job at the Japanese American National Museum which is in Little Tokyo. She found an apartment nearby and is planning on living her new life there without a car. Life has been super stressful with my mom hospitalized for an illness and then having to get used to Dance moving (and my brother had also moved to Arizona recently). My sister from Northern California came for a visit and to help out with mom. She encouraged me to take a break; Dance had also suggested I come to L.A. as well. So I took them on the offer. So glad I did.
There's something about Little Tokyo in Los Angeles that I resonate with. Maybe because it's such a merge of Japanese and American, with mostly a Japanese spirit. I could go there every day. .
Well, I know this is corn from a street vendor. I think we ordered it by saying we wanted it like the person before us. It was taken off the cob then there's cheese, some kind of sauce, some kind of chile, and lime. Yes, I loved it.
Stayed a few days longer to enjoy Oaxaca. Decorations were still up. Hung out with new friend Teri. This is the entranceway to a little artisan mercado.
We got back to the City in the afternoon of the Dia de Muertos. Jessica had arranged a rooftop dinner for us and face painters. How could you NOT get this done? It was so much fun, I wish I could have worn it for longer!
When I was in Oaxaca earlier in the year, I met a woman, who became a friend. Besides being an acupuncturist, Jessica organizes women's retreats. When this one was announced to coincide with Dia de Muertos (as it's called in Oaxaca), I knew I had to come. The retreat itself was held in the mountains, out of cell and wifi reach, so we were really out in the wilderness. Someday, I will write about how deep this experience was for me, but for now, I will just share some photos.
On my last day in Tokyo, I wanted to do a little shopping. According to Google, there was a Daiso and an Aeon SuperMarket nearby. It looked like a short walk, but since it was so hot, it seemed long. However, I did not expect such a nice park on my way. That's my hotel from another angle.
This is my hotel - The APA Hotel and Resort in Makuhari. I chose it for the price and also bus service direct to the hotel from the airport. So tall and I was on the second floor. My big mission for today was to go to the More Digital Art Museum AKA teamLab Borderless. I purchased tickets online but didn't notice that it was for the evening. So I got there when it opened, only to find out I had made a mistake. Went on other adventures. Headed across town to the Mori Art Museum.
I spent a month in Guam this summer (I will write about it later). On my way back, I had the idea to go back via Japan. And if I was going to be in Japan, I may as well stay for a few days. It has been many years since I was in Tokyo. We went there on a senior class trip when the dollar was much stronger than the yen. Very memorable time. There were also a time that Northwest fly out of Guam via Narita, and they'd put you up in a hotel for the day as you awaited your flight to Honolulu in the evening. This was many years ago - 1973 when I was a senior in high school and in the 80s, when my daughter was very young, maybe 3. So it had been a long time.
Life is like a tapestry; the things you do and the people you meet are woven into the design. It seems so random that I would end up in Oaxaca for a second time. First time was in 2012. I had met Illinois storyteller Jim May when he came to Honolulu for a Storytelling conference organized by Jeff Gere. I got on his mailing list, went to a weekend retreat when NEA (teachers union) was in Chicago. There, I learned about the retreat he does in Oaxaca, and went there the following spring. I loved it and made some good friends. I met Jewel Murphy back then who was staying at the Casa and told me about her Art Tours.. I wrote about that in my previous blog entry. So Jim’s workshop was during Holy Week, a 2-week interim between the art and storytelling workshop. And I had been wanting to learn Spanish, so things fell into place. Art-Spanish-Spanish-Storytelling. That was my month.
Jim’s style of storytelling is a mix of fun and games (he works a lot with kids) and serious personal stuff. But you choose how deep you want to go and how much of your personal story you are ready to tell. My group was ready! They opened their hearts and souls and I am humbled and fed by the stories they told.
I haven't quite processed what I experienced during this retreat. I made some good friends, really nice people with interesting life stories. My project for the week was to share a story from my Okinawan roots. Since then, I have developed it more as a play. It is now a draft. There was something about this week that was deep. I was touched, somehow, by the storytelling, by the people, by the collective energy of the group. It was a good week.
I have traveled quite a bit, and am using this page to record some memories. Travel is a wonderful education, expanding your view of the world, of other cultures, of the beauty of diversity.