July 4: Seattle to Tokyo

We set out for our adventure early Thursday morning. We packed up all our stuff and walked a mile to catch the bus to downtown Seattle, where we transferred to a bus to Seatac airport. As we were getting on the second bus, Jordan left the camera bag with our nice digital SLR on the bench, and someone told us just in the nick of time. That would have been a not-so-good start to our vacation!

The flight was uneventful, although the in-flight entertainment system is a really nice feature! Some trivia, games, and 3 movies later, our first introduction to Tokyo was all the green rice paddies and forests intermingled with buildings as we flew over. The rivers were highly managed with concrete banks, but beautiful in their meanderings nonetheless.

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Originally uploaded by memevolve
After we arrived in the Narita airport, we exchanged some money and found the train we needed to get on to go to downtown Tokyo. The 90 minute ride started out with vistas of undeveloped countryside and farmland, and gradually got more and more dense and developed as we got closer to the heart of Tokyo.

Upon arrival at Tokyo station, we promptly became lost. The informaiton desks helped a bit, but the arrows directing us to trains was initally confusing (why do diagonal arrows indicate u-turns?)... so some helpful strangers pointed us to the appropriate subway trains. We then realized that while we had a JR rail pass, that didn't mean we could use the subways too, so we had to figure out the subway system and automatic pay machines.

This sign is one of many we saw in the subway systems that were somewhat humorous! But I guess they totally work, because everyone was basically polite! And super quiet, no cell phone use at all on the subways.

Once we got to Akasuka-mitsuke station, we walked out onto the street and right into one of the nicest hotels we have ever been in. Going up the escalator to the front desk, first we had to pass by several japanese businessmen lounging in the restaurant area, smoking, and looking rather shocked to see us there...

That was the first clue something was amiss. The 4 hostesses that greeted us and asked us very politely and formally if we wouldn't mind waiting in line for the front desk, and directed us to the proper place and stood with us... that was the 2nd clue.

And then we checked in and paid and saw that the first night was NOT 5000 yen each as Amy originally thought when she booked the room, but rather 30000 yen total. So rather than it being a $100/night room, it was more like $300/night. Oops.

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JapanSaipan 014
Originally uploaded by memevolve

We decided to stay for the planned 2 nights anyway, and after a refreshing cold shower and change of clothes we ventured out to wander around the side streets near the hotel. Turns out Akasuka is right in the heart of the action and we got to see many people walking the side streets on their way home from work, or out on the town in fancy clothes... and so after checking out the scene a bit we decided to stop in at what looked to be a dive bar serving cheap chinese (sort of) food. The food was indeed cheap, and super delicious! We sampled some noodles and soup and dumplings, and a couple other small things that we didn't recognize. A bit more walking around the side streets, watching all the people and looking at the closed shops and super crazy pachinko places, and we were ready to hit the sack.


3 Weeks in Japan & Saipan

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Originally uploaded by memevolve
We've been back from our 3-week vacation for about a week now, and the jet lag is finally starting to go. Our yard is horribly overgrown but we are choosing to ignore it for another week, while we adjust to non-vacation life again! And we just finished downloading all our photos, so now is the time to share them and some stories, before we forget too many details. :)



Well well, life can sure be hectic. I know I always say this, and I always hope it will calm down... and it never seems to.

BUT! It's still good to check in every so often. And my friends who just had a baby and are blogging all about it have inspired me. I think they're doing an awesome job of keeping in touch virtually this way! Who knows how long they'll be able to keep at it, but hey it's a nice idea! :) Eventually consolidating all my online profiles would be nice. Hmm.

So, filling in on a year of absence... finally finished grad school, thesis "Global Climate Change and Earth Beliefs: Implications for Outreach." Presenting to my thesis committee and a few others was one of the most incredible things I've done, and I was so proud that my work was so well received! My advisor wants me to try to publish the results in both a science journal and a more mainstream outlet... but I still need to meet with him to start this process, gah!

As a graduation gift, Jordan got me a tiny dog collar and leash, knowing it was on my mind! We soon found the perfect puppy, an American Hairless Terrier and we named him Darwin. :) I was lucky to get to hang out with him and teach him a few things while job hunting!

We (Jordan and Darwin and I) camped in the Olympic National Forest for several days for our first anniversary and it was great! So beautiful.

And during the summer I joined an Ultimate Frisbee team and since then have been trying to learn the skills needed to be the best midget ultimate player ever! :)

Environmental communication/outreach jobs, especially those focused on climate, are few and far between here. Since moving isn't an option at this time, I went back to work where I worked as a grad student, but this time as their web manager. It's been good working with such talented and smart colleagues, but there is so much work to do and so little time and money.

My first day on the job I discovered my boss had just left for emergency family leave. He was gone for nearly 3 months, so I quickly had to learn what my job was and also was essentially filling in for him partially and we actually were needing to hire yet another person, so I feel like I had 2-3 jobs for the first few months! Now that he's back, it's been much better and I feel like I actualy have time to breathe and think! It was a crazy whirlwind of stress for a while though.

So... now that I'm feeling more settling into somewhat of a "normal" life and routine, I've been thinking about the next projects I may undertake this year:

  • writing a couple articles about my research

  • starting a garden in the raised beds

  • taking a 3 week trip to europe or asia

  • remodeling our master bedroom closet and possibly the bathroom

  • writing and illustrating a children's book about climate change

  • starting a family!

On top of that, I'll be 30 soon. It's quite sobering and makes me feel like I've accomplished so little at this point!

Well I guess I'd better get on all that huh?