February 26, 2010

Elena Van Gogh

Every parent seems to think their kid’s artwork is amazingly cute, one of the first signals of your rugrat’s budding self-expression. I’m aware that showing off your kid’s doodles like they belong in the Louvre is one of the cardinal sins of parenting. It either provokes polite indifference from friends and co-workers, or outright ridicule. I mean, let’s be honest, does anyone but you really care? (OK, grandparents count.)

Yet, here I am, custodian of this family’s digital fridge.
What follows is Elena’s recent renderings of her parents--are we whack jobs in her eyes or what?
Here is Elena’s view of pregnant Mommy…



And her view of Daddy’s grim mug after a particularly bad day at work.

Want to see a contrarian and really hilarious view about this? Take the time to jump to the “I am better than your kids" post: it is worth it.

February 22, 2010

A Nice Bouquet of Thoughts

Recently, as I crested a hill that overlooks Hiroshima on my normal morning commute, I encountered a vista so arresting I had to pull over and take it all in. The temperature was low, just caressing one degree Celsius, but the crisp and invigorating air emphasized the cloudless blue sky in a way I’d never internalized before. The hills that ring the city were still shrouded in shadows but the morning sun cast a brilliant light over the city center; think of a horseshoe shape with a warmly lit core. The gleaming sunshine seemed to shock the city into motion. And the frigid bite of February made the scene all the more vivid.

Usually I’m not overly sentimental about these kinds of daily scenes. But we were granted this weather for several days in a row, which prompted me to write this post in karmic appreciation. Here’s another shot of a setting sun taken near the Kanon Marina outlet mall...a moving canvas that we took in for a few minutes.
These two photographic bookends are testament to the kind of weather we had for the first half of the year’s most awful month.

It’s no secret that I detest winter: I have grown to hate the cold despite my citizenship and upbringing-–the resilient, plucky Canadian’s acceptance of what cannot be changed. This year’s winter in Hiroshima has been a pleasant surprise. It was so unseasonably warm on February 7 we were able to comfortably have a BBQ by the sea near the Prince Hotel. Elena could play in the sand, bathed in the afternoon sun. Now how could anyone complain about that kind of weather in wintertime, for Pete’s sake? On Valentine’s Day, we enjoyed a family outing at a flea market, roaming around randomly, listening to a trio of women playing 1970s rock ballads as background noise. I haggled with the some of the stall keepers over a few hundred yen for camping items we’ll use in a few months’ time. There was no sense of urgency at all, because no frosty chill could force us to hurry.

There is no Elena news, cultural insight or philosophical meanderings in this post—it’s just been a nice few weeks in what usually is a dark, cold spell in the calendar. And no snow! We’ve been lucky, which is why I felt I should pen this celestial love note to Mother Nature. Keep it up, old girl.