Train Station

My new project. I was going to try food photography…but decided to change it up a bit.

Cakes in Random Places

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I will be beginning a series titled, “Cakes in Random Places”.
After a long hiatus, I started to make cakes again. I had forgotten what a comfort and how relaxing it was to bake. With a couple of past cakes I tried to do food photography, but it didn’t really hit the nail on the head. It is cute, but there are so many photos of food out there. My sister suggested that I take pictures of the cake outside, which led to this photo.

This photo is at a train station in Japan. My sister is holding the Crazy Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting I had made an hour earlier.

Some men in suits also walked by and were very curious in what we are doing. They wanted to be in the photo as well so we took a group picture while their buddies posed on the other…

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Don’t spend time beating on a wall.

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Do not spend time beating on a wall hoping to transform it into a door.

This was on a bag that a woman was holding on the way home from work today. With all of the funny Japanese t-shirts and merchandise, this one made sense. There were many times in my life where I would try to change things that couldn’t possibly change. The fact that change was not possible made me more frustrated and that shallow whisper of, “Maybe… Just maybe”, haunted my mind. You can’t change a person, you can only hope for yourself to change. It doesn’t matter what happens around us, but if your mind is sober and you do what you can in your limited time, beautiful things can happen. It’s nice to know that it’s not our past mistakes that our holding us back, but our current mindset.

I am so grateful for second chances- and that second chance is called now. 

By the gate of your smile, fortune will come your way.

There is an expression in Japanese that I would like to translate as: By the gate of your smile, fortune will come your way.

笑う門には福来たる。

 

I had it written on my cup at work for the past two years when recently it got wiped off by a student this past week. I didn’t mind of course, but the timing of it was amusing yet depressing. I try to remain positive, but it can be difficult when negative thoughts entertain you when you are alone. However, during an art fair at my school today I found a cellphone strap with the same expression. With happy nostalgic thoughts flooding my memory, I decided to buy it.

No matter what you are going though don’t forget to put on a smile.

I am finding out more and more that learning how to control your thoughts is a good skill to have. If I pity myself, bad thoughts return.
If I have a bad day, I want certain people to help me feel better about myself. It is when you have no other choice but to pick yourself up your esteem grows and you realize what truly deserves your attention. We entertain unnecessary thoughts and let them live rent free in our heads. We lose the precious time that we have by not exerting a bit more effort to focus on what matters.

Revelations from an Indian friend.

On Mother’s Day, I went to the beach with half of my family. It was fun, but I was feeling slightly down and I blamed it on my empty stomach. That could have been the reason, but something was off. Something inside of me just was not satisfied. I should have been more impressed after seeing the gorgeous view overlooking the cafe’ we were in, but I was just passive.

When the evening started to roll around, my mother suggested an Indian restaurant that was good in the area. With all of the generic Indian restaurants here, this one stood out because they don’t have nan, but another type of flat bread. The food had a real homemade feel to it. However, my mom warned me about one thing: the servers like to stand at your table and talk to you while you are eating. It didn’t sound too appealing considering the mood that I was in, but I was hungry. I figured I could just eat and listen. 

After ordering our meal, sure enough during the middle, one man came up and started chatting. I was polite and smiled, but I let my mom do most of the talking in the beginning. What I did not expect was receiving good advice from my new Indian friend. 

When he asked me about myself and the things that I liked, I told him that I do this and that but there are so many other things that I want to do.

“That is such a Japanese way of thinking”, he told me. I had never thought of it that way and I was slightly taken aback. I realized then, that I have that mentality in all things that I do. If I show you my diaries from ten years ago until now, they all say the same thing: I have so many things to do. So many things that I want to do. Always another thing to do.

He then continued and said, “If there is something you want to do, it is possible NOW. You don’t have to wait to do things.”

It was a revelation for me. He did not mean that you will have instant results of course, but the process and the act of doing something is what is most important. You miss out on so many things by simply wishing when you have the opportunities already.

I was nodding and asking questions the whole time. I was glad that I came to the curry shop with my mother that day. Because it was Mother’s Day he gave us some special homemade ice-cream with berry sauce on top. He was still by our table when he told me that he always loves seeing my mom because she is always smiling and is always friendly. It is true. I have a great mother, and his previous talk came back to mind in that moment. I realized that that is what my mother is always doing something and working hard. She loves trying new things, and always very active.

From now on, I will not say “There are many things that I want to do”. I will change it to, “There are so many things that I want to be.” And one of those things is to be an amazing person like my mother. 

 

Putting God into stiff shoulders.

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This was the first time in ages I drew something from my area. Never underestimate how funny life can be. Things can happen no matter how close you are to your home.

Event 1#: Hiker comes down the hill with a stick and shouts to me in English, “What do you drew!” Without saying a word I show him the drawing. In broken English he asks where I am from and I respond in Japanese telling him I am from Japan. He walks off mumbling to himself, “Naruhodo….naruhodo”. “I see….I see”.

Event 2#: Half-way into my sketch a group of women from some kind of religion of light approached me with fliers. I had small talk with them when all of a sudden one woman grabs my neck and starts massaging it. She told me that she was putting God into my stiff shoulders. Was slightly strange but I didn’t move. I wanted to tell her to put God a little bit more to the right.

Honey Mustard and Wet Shoes

Nagoya Day Two:

I am quite amazed at the cards that life deals. I came to Nagoya with no plans whatsoever but things worked out great. I discovered that a friend of mine whom I’ve wanted to see in concert performed on the day I was here.

I decided to take a bus to the station. I timed it so I would arrive at the hall exactly at 1:00. After ten minutes, the bus was not coming. What I did not realise at the time was that today being a holiday, there were no buses. I waited and stood there in the rain. I was about to head back to my friends house when a car drove past and stopped a little bit away from me. It started to back up and I grinned. A elderly man stuck his head out from his car and asked what I was waiting for. I told him that I had been waiting for a bus, but I seemed to have missed it. He then reminded me of the holiday and I felt a slight pang. I would miss the concert. However, the lovely old man ended up giving me a ride to the station. I was very thankful to him and I could not help grin from ear to ear as we talked. He used to travel around the world for business. He seemed very international and I told him that I was surprised to see so many foreigners in Tokyo on my last visit. Agreeing, he also shared that he is worried about foreigners being in Japan because you never know what kind of things they could do. I laugh and agree thinking about some of my own crazy friends.

The concert was supposed to be outside, but because of the rain it changed venues. I was happy to sit down and listen to all of the marching bands and my friend’s lovely singing voice. I usually fall asleep during concerts, and this one was no different. I took a small nap and woke up during the intermission.

Afterwards, I wanted to get a bite to eat. I told myself that I should be adventurous and find some hidden cafe’ only in Nagoya. I passed a TGIF and I felt drawn to the menu but moved on. I walked down the road and realised that I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I turned my heels around and found myself in the most commercial restaurant in the area. I sat down at the bar and right away I take out my sketchbook and pen and draw the people eating. I then noticed a handsome fellow across from me making eyes at me. We smiled back and forth at each other. It seemed as if he wanted to come over.

He never made it though. Instead, a very talkative gentleman in his late 40s sat besides me. We started chatting and I discovered that he was from New Jersey. We discussed Japan, religion, kids, and just how funny life is. I am always entertained by how long men can talk about how much foam should be on top of a beer. As he left, we shook hands and told me that he would like to meet again soon. Life brings people into your life, and takes people out. I finished my chicken fingers and last bit of honey mustard after he exited the building.

With all of the rain today, I was surprised that I did not need an umbrella. The clouds were kind enough to put the rain on hold for the time I was outside. With three cups of cocoa today, I sit at this computer and sigh a satisfied sigh. The more I live, the funnier life becomes.