Sunday, July 30, 2006

It's official!

It was announced that rainy season is officially over for this year! Finally! Of course it's still going to be pretty darn hot and sticky for a couple of months, especially for this winter and snow-loving Canadian, but as if the forces of nature are in sync, we are enjoying a cool evening breeze for the first time in weeks! Ahhh!


lotus flower
(click image for larger view)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Koishikawa Korakuen

It's a small rice field in the foreground.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Drinkable Oxygen

that tastes rather like a weak sports drink.
Not recommended.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Book #27 - The Flower Master

by Sujata Massey

3rd book in the Rei Shimura series

My Rating: 3/5

I was craving something fun and light so this fit my mood perfectly. The mystery did seem to wrap up rather quickly but I always enjoy Rei's adventures in and around Tokyo. But then I always get a bit of a thrill reading books set in cities or countries that I'm familiar with. I'll definitely be continuing with the series.

Monday, July 24, 2006


(click for larger image)

Book #26 - Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe

5th book finished for my Summer Reading Challenge

My Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

An interesting look at a completely different way of life, from the perspective of the Africans rather than from the white missionaries who came to impose their religion and culture on them. I'd been meaning to read this since I read Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible last year so I'm glad to have finally read it. The writing was rather simplistic and choppy at times, but it was worth the read.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


(click for larger image)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


part of the rock garden at Nanzen-ji


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

Rocker and Hooker

Name of a small clothing store in Meguro.

Book #25 - Vernon God Little

by DBC Pierre

WINNER Man Booker Prize 2003,
WINNER Whitbread First Novel Award 2003

4th book finished for my Summer Reading Challenge

Rating: 3/5

I admit I liked this more than I thought I would. (OK, it won the Booker Prize but before even starting to read, his nom-de-plume really puts me off- Dirty But Clean?? What???) Of course going in with low expectations always helps to make a book more likeable. Only a few pages in and already I was chuckling and without ever really liking Vernon, I still wanted to know how it would all turn out. Sometimes jarring, but overall a funny, snarky satire that I'm glad I read so I finally know what all the fuss was about!

Sunday, July 16, 2006



(You may have seen this one before- I'm reposting it separately for today's See it Sunday theme "Wood")

Friday, July 14, 2006


Book #24 - Flu

Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It by Gina Kolata

3rd book finished for my Summer Reading Challenge

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

I tend to put off reading non-fiction for fear of it being too dry, but Kolata is a science reporter for The New York Times, and that undoubtedly is what made this so readable. She did a good job of introducing the key players and explaining the science behind the search for the virus in layman's terms, while also keeping it interesting. I come away from it with more awareness of what the flu virus is and its path from the lethal pandemic in 1918 to more recent times. However, I would've appreciated more clarification in the updated epilogue of just how far the research has come, as well as expanding more on current issues. Not recommended for those wanting a very detailed technical history, but as a general overview, it suited my purposes and was worth the read.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Here's the cat.. a big ol' stone lantern. Where else?!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Where's the cat?

Can you guess where this cat is sleeping?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Tale of Tanabata

Long ago, on the west bank of the Milky Way, there lived a beautiful girl Orihime (Vega). She was a skilled weaver and worked very hard every day. Tentei, the Emperor of the sky was very happy with her diligence and married her to a very hard working cowboy Kengyu (Altair) from across the Milky Way. Kengyu and Orihime fell in love and started to live happily on the east bank. However, they spent all day long having fun together and forgot about their work. Tentei got very angry and took Orihime back to the west bank. Orihime was so sad that she cried for days and nights. Tentei felt sorry for her and allowed her to see Kengyu once a year. On the 7th of July, Orihime goes across the Milky Way to see her beloved husband Kengyu.

Story and more info here and here.

So why did I appropriate this festival name as my online moniker...
well, H and I got married 6 years ago today!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Hotel de Ville, Brussels

'A Kind of Art'

Monday, July 03, 2006

Book #23 - Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

2nd book finished for my Summer Reading Challenge

Rating: 3/5 (ok)

I'm not sure why exactly but my interest waned about 2/3 of the way into the book. Up to that point, I looked forward to picking it up and I enjoyed the perspective of the young narrator, along with his clever younger sister, but there is that elusive *something* that kept me from really believing in the characters or the path their quest takes them on. A nice enough read but, at least for me, not very memorable.