Tag Archives: work

japan, lately.

It’s been so cold the last couple of weeks that I thought snow might come early this year. But the closest thing we had was slushy snow-rain for a couple hours last night. Whenever winter and cold weather is here, my memories always return to the long winter in Japan back in 2007-2008. There was snow, harsh dry air and a lot of walking outside. This weather also brings me back to the cold days and nights in my old apartment. Insulation was nonexistent. Walls and windows were either grim- or thin looking. Miso soups, hot teas, a couple blankets and a space heater were my loyal companions (besides my two lovely roommates, of course).

I worked at several branches, and most of them are at a least 5-10 minutes walk from the subway/train station. It was the same routine 6 days a week, walking alone between point A to point B, often with ample time for my mind to wander and enjoy the surroundings of holiday lights and decorations from the ground to the glass windows of skyscrapers above train stations and shopping buildings.

Though this was not during winter time, one of the branches I commuted to that stood out the most was the farthest from the train station. It was an easy 15 minute trek to get to that branch, where it is located next to a nice supermarket in Kani city. During the summer, there was no shade for me to hide under so I would have to walk through the fields under the burning sun. After a couple weeks did I finally learn to appreciate this long walk despite the unyielding heat. I loved cutting through the small neighborhoods with old-style houses and bonsai gardens, imagining myself being planted in that environment, living like a true Japanese local. After the houses came acres and acres of farm fields, neatly lined and squared with an occasional farmer or two tending in the muddy grounds. It was so peaceful–a nice break from the city life that Nagoya has to offer.

It was over 5 years since I left Japan and returned to Seattle. The trip back last December was much needed and definitely impulsive. But it was all worth it given how much I had missed the country. Seeing old friends, eating local foods and walking around the same (and even new) places brought a rush of memories back to me. I promised myself that I will return and live there again. Someday.

{Images circa Japan 2012}

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home sweet home

{Top-left: Cork, Newgrange, Lausanne’s Ouchy, old Zurich. For more photos, please visit my Flickr}

I’m back to back to Seattle! Home is comfort and familiar, and I welcomed it with open arms. (For a short period of time, anyway.)

Working in Ireland has been a good experience! The office is prettier (with a lot of green!) and everyone was super friendly and welcoming. Cork is a very small city, borderline town-like, and charming in its own Irish way. We didn’t have a lot of time to travel around Ireland during the 3 weeks stay, but my coworkers and I managed to go on a mini weekend road trip to Dublin (disappointing), with stops in Wicklow and Newgrange.

After three weeks, I was done with work and on my way to Switzerland! My friend and his girlfriend were kind enough to show me a little bit of Geneva and charming Lausanne (where they currently live) for a couple days. Then I met up with another friend from Seattle who’s working in Vietnam that happens to be traveling in the country the same time I was! We explored lovely Zurich and its old + new parts of the city. I only had time tor the cities on my first trip to Switzerland, but I fell in love with the country anyway! Now I really want to go back and discover the Swiss alps in the near future.

Met friendly strangers while traveling alone. Ate good food in Switzerland (also had some Vietnamese food, finally, after 3 weeks of going without!). Creepy old men staring. Amazing summer weather. Very tired of trains, buses, and airplanes. All in all, I’m very very happy that I was able to travel to Europe on business + vacation for the first time. =)

On a side note, I came back and realized how fat Link is becoming. He currently has a big lump of fat/skin drooping down his stomach when he walks. Wth! So he is going on a little diet right now.

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