Tag Archives: Japan Festivals

Turn a New Page of the Passport

Do you ever find yourself just staring at your passport? It’s not like it’s an award winning novel or anything, but do you ever find yourself flipping through the pages and staring at

On the ferry to go Shipwreck Diving in Australia
On the ferry to go Shipwreck Diving in Australia

each stamp so carefully it is almost as if you’re trying to memorize every line? I could be the only one, but there is something about my passport that I become mesmerized by. I am not looking at each stamp and thinking to myself “Hmm…what do I remember about that

Looking over Brisbane
Looking over Brisbane

place?” or purposely trying to pull a specific memory out of my stock in my head for that place. I just catch myself getting lost in it and really, really loving the amount of stamps I have collected.

I am preparing to go to Ecuador to visit my cousin Danielle in September. When I got the confirmation for my tickets, I happened to glance through the rules and restrictions/handy tips from the booking agency. Then, it caught my eye right away.

“Make sure your passport does not expire up to 6 months after coming back to the U.S. from overseas.”

Who would’ve thought that you would need to a passport renewal prior to it being expired??? What’s the point of having an expiration date then, right? I was totally crushed. This was to be my passport’s final journey. I still have 2 pages with no ink on the them! I have had this passport since 2004….horrendous picture and all. I am not sure if I really appreciate how picture depicts me out to be, but I love the passport all the same.

When flipping through it, I have every stamp from my travels when I was studying in England with my great friend, Elise….my visa’s to enter Ghana and Ethiopia when I joined

Elise and I traveling in Prague
Elise and I traveling in Prague

my mom on a “Round the World” business trip where I discovered what I would really love to do….Mexico where I met my first love, Byron…..my Australia stamps from my self adventure of my own “Round the World’ trip on my own….and the Immigration Permission in Toyko with my greatest friend, my boo, and life partner Wayne. Each stamp marks such a crucial moment in my life as it has ridden out. These significant events that make me the exact person I am in presently today. It breaks my heart that I have to say good-bye to this passport….it’s like an old friend.

Skiing in Hakuba, Japan with my favorite guy
Skiing in Hakuba, Japan with my favorite guy

I know the next ten years on my new passport will be filled with many more moments and adventures with Wayne and a new family, and hopefully with business as well! (fingers  crossed) But sometimes it is hard to let go….and sometimes it is ok to admit that it is hard entering into the next chapter.

Goodbye Passport. It's been an amazing 10 years
Goodbye Passport. It’s been an amazing 10 years

The new passport is a clean slate and I can load it up as best I can with each new place, but for now (still have a few more world wonders to get to)….I still love to graze through my almost perfect, not expired, stamped up, passport.

Japan in DC!

FINALLY here’s my blog that I had written about DC…..

Every year Washington has a festival in honor of the blooming of the cherry blossoms. In case you didn’t know (because I sure didn’t!) the significance behind these trees is all about our relationship with Japan. In 1912, Japan’s Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave 3,000

Cherry Blossoms grazing over Tidal Basin
Cherry Blossoms grazing over Tidal Basin

cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC. The festival honors this relationship between the two countries and this has held true throughout the years. It is an ultimate hand of peace and unity between the two cultures (something that the US is in desperate need of today actually).

Every year at spring, DC breaks out in a city wide celebration of the Japanese to highlight the arrival of the season and blossoms with a festival and parade. After being in Japan, I feel like I may have missed out on some of the raw historical culture that Japan has to offer. Well, I generally was stuck in the hotel room most of the time, but I had also read that the southern regions of the country are a little more present with the authentic Japanese customs and culture. Tokyo is so modern and fast paced in

Spectators at the Festival Parade
Spectators at the Festival Parade

comparison to what I think of Japan. But then this festival came about in DC, WITH the opportunity for me to attend! They had kite flying competitions, lantern making, geisha dancing, and taiko drummers. Saburo Teshigawara and Karas, which are new contemporary styles of Japanese dance are coming into the world today, were introduced to me and I fell in love. Some dances would tell stories while others, would show journeys of an individual. It was an incredible experience to watch. Especially to me, who wanted so badly to find that cultural niche that I had been missing out on.

I was so sad that Wayne wasn’t there with us (both me and my mom). After being in Japan, he would have had a similar appreciation to the foods and garments and decoration which we had just seen in the country itself. There were a hundred different booths with Japanese foods and crafts, and actual souvenirs that we bought on our trip here for the DC public! Everything was ridiculously authentic! Then at the ends of the street festival there were

Dancer in the Parade
Dancer in the Parade

stages for music and dances. I think I may have sat there watching these beautiful dancers (both young and old) flying across the stage for over an hour without even moving. I was so transfixed on their every move. There were so graceful and moved with this incredible delicate purpose. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The music was hypnotizing as it was so new and irregular for me. This just goes to show you that perhaps to truly appreciate a culture, you must embrace it in another

Drummer onstage at Festival
Drummer onstage at Festival

one.

Unfortunately, it was a gorgeous day and brought everyone out from every corner of Maryland. It was hard to move around and see everything that we wanted to. In fact, the festival was at the maximum capacity and there was a huge line to get in when we left.

The whole experience of the cherry blossom festival sort of trumped the rest of the DC trip for me. It was just amazing to feel like I had got a second chance at what I feel I missed.  To see this culture so embraced and celebrated made me excited to be a part of it. My

Dragon Artists at Festival
Dragon Artists at Festival

mom and I also explored all the monuments and memorials, Georgetown, and the neighborhoods that make up Washington. Whenever foreigners ask me about cities in the States that are really great “go to” places, DC really never came to mind. Of course New York, San Fran, Florida, and Chicago are so big, but I must admit I never gave DC the attention it so deserves! It is breath-takingly beautiful, full of history, and there is no way that you could ever see everything! It officially on top of my list!

White House among Blossoms
White House among Blossoms