Looking Back 2012

31 12 2012

Wrapping up the year with some highlights…


Starting the dragon year with appropriately named “Gyokuryu”.

From Kyoto

From Kyoto

A new Mac arrives just before going away.


In London for one night.


Cannes again.



In Nice for the first time ever!

The Baie des Anges, the Promenade des Anglais, and the Cours Saleya as seen from the Parc du Chateau.

The Baie des Anges, the Promenade des Anglais, and the Cours Saleya as seen from the Parc du Chateau.

A reunion with Arakawa-Sensei, our beloved Japanese language teacher from middle/high school.



A lunch visit to Tamahidé with cousin visiting from Ashiya.



In New Yo—rk♪ New Yo—rk♪ on business.

The view from the living room.

The view from the living room.

Out in the ‘burbs of New Jersey.



Cherry blossoms.


A visit to my alma mater for a reunion with Glee Club friends for the first time in a long time.


In the Netherlands for the first time.  Vacationing in Amsterdam, coinciding with the Queen’s Day.




A day trip to Keukenhof outside of Amsterdam.




A “truffle” party at my best friend’s.

Truffle slices.  Mmmmm.

Truffle slices. Mmmmm.

A first girls’ night out for the seven of us from the office at the Ivy Place in Daikanyama.



A visit to the Tokyo Disneyland.


Fuji Rock 2012



Vacationing in the Baltic countries.

Vilnius, Lithuania.


The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania.


Riga, Latvia.


The Baltic Sea in Pärnu, Estonia.


Tallinn, Estonia.



Tokyo Jazz, 2012

Inside @ Tokyo International Forum, Hall A

Inside @ Tokyo International Forum, Hall A

A small middle/high school class reunion to prepare for a bigger, end-of-year reunion.

This was a small reunion with three of my middle/high school classmates.  This complimentary wine came from a gigantic bottle that was bigger than a magnum.

This was a small reunion with three of my middle/high school classmates. This complimentary wine came from a gigantic bottle that was bigger than a magnum.


A day trip to Kawagoé with an old friend from work.


Visited Osaka and met up with an elementary school friend.

Osaka billboards and shop signs.

Osaka billboards and shop signs.

A trip to Sendai and Matsushima with my best friend to celebrate our respective October birthdays.




One more small class reunion before the big reunion in December.


Annual Beaujolais Nouveau night.



The 30th Anniversary Reunion!




And more Christmas.


Sad to see the dragon year 2012 go but happy 2013!

Things Bought for Self in the Baltics

28 09 2012

Going back to my Baltics trip in August, here are some (not all) of the things I bought for myself during the trip.

A girl can never own too many pairs of shoes. Bought in Tallinn, Estonia.

I have signed up with a personal trainer so I obviously needed new sneakers. Bought in Tallinn, Estonia.

Blue stuff from Riga, Latvia and Tallinn, Estonia.

Things purple and pink: a tea cozy, tea mats, lovely pig magnets that say it all. The tea mats are from Vilnius, Lithuania and the rest from Tallinn, Estonia.

Stationery from Riga, Latvia.

A silver necklace by an Estonian jewelry designer. Bought in Tallinn.

I always buy toothpaste whenever I’m travelling but not to be used on the road but to bring back home to use in the office. Russian toothpaste bought at the Central Market in Riga, Latvia and cleansing cream bought at Raeapteek, one of the oldest continuously running pharmacies in Europe, in Tallinn, Estonia.

Magnets from Riga, Latvia. For my fridge.

Extra! Gifts from my friend in Italy who joined my family on the trip.

The Hill of Crosses

19 08 2012

It’s a rather eerie place and it may have been because of the drizzly and overcast weather but I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying that as it’s a place of pilgrimage for Lithuanian Catholics.

It’s called the Hill of Crosses and it is located pretty much in the middle of nowhere close to the border of Lithuania and Latvia.

Our group made a stop before crossing the border to Latvia on our way to Riga.

The Republic of Uzupis

18 08 2012

Uzupis is the Montmartre of Vilnius, Lithuania where it used to be the poorest neighborhood of the city but is now populated by many artists.  The inhabitants have declared it a republic in 1997 according to Wikipedia (Lithuania’s independence from the Soviet Union having occurred in 1991).  Here is its interesting constitution.

From a walk in Uzupis earlier in the week.

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Walking the Old Town of Vilnius, Lithuania

17 08 2012

On this group tour I am in which I booked with a travel agent in Vilnius, Lithuania we visit the three Baltic countries and in each “Old Town” of each of the capital cities we go to, we do a walking tour of the district.  Each Old Town of Vilnius, Lithuania, Riga, Latvia, and Tallinn, Estonia, respectively, has been registered as a World Heritage site.

This is a walking tour of the historic district of Vilnius where notably there are churches, churches, and more churches everywhere.

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