February 23, 2005

For Ana and Mia

There are times when I see something that reminds me of a certain friend or friends and I start to feel sad because I'll realize just how far away I am from them.

I took these two pictures about 4 months ago but see them everyday on my way into work and I ALWAYS think of Meghan and Sean. And while I might feel pangs of sadness from missing them, mostly I am overcome with the giggles as to how horribly and deliciously inappropriate we are.

Did I say deliecious???? I'm soooooooo hungry. :)


There is no Mia Travel Agency :(

Posted by karen at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2005

Book Reviews

One of my goals in going home for Christmas was to stock up on a plethora of new books which I am proud to say I have been plowing through upon my return to Japan. Working overnights has left little room for a social life so my favorite thing to do is read. I'd like to think I am learning something on top of accomplishing my real hobby of being lazy.

Anayway, thank you to everyone who has added to my expanding library which will surely put me over the luggage weight limit upon my yet to be decided return home. As a thank you, I will bore you to tears with my opinion of some of the books I have indulged in.

Jed proved his ability to take advantage of my naturally unobservant state of being to buy me this book as a Christmas gift while with me, and only moments after I said how much I wanted to read it.

What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World
by M.L. Rossi
-This book devides the most politically turbulent countries into categories based on their capacity for destruction. It explains America's role in the politics of each of these contries and makes predictions about the future of our relations with them. The good news is that the book is not overly academic and is to the point. Very easy to read and follow with interest. The bad news is that history is too difficult to keep up with and although written after 9/11 it was written before important things such as the death of Yasser Arafat. However, it is a good starting point for understanding why oil has caused the problems of the world aided by Communism and nuclear weapons.

Next, I read Hokkaido Highway Blues: Hitchhiking Japan
by Will Fergusen
Jed's sister Carrie got me this book just cause it looked like something I would like. She was very right. It started out as a biteingly (word???) funny memoir and ended like a hitchhiking journey through japan, slow, tired and full of retrospect. He talked about a lot of things that have affected me personally, such as racism and paranoia. It is honest and gritty and pointed out a lot of things I could never put into words, such as the fact that it is okay for the Japanese to refer to us as Gaijin, an abbreviated form of the word 'foreigner/outsider' but it is irreprehensible for us to refer to them by a similarly (and honestly less offensive) abbreviated form 'Japs'. Instead of launching into a tyrade about this I will move onto the last book.

Waiting for Snow in Havana
by Carlos Eire
I think my sister-in-law gave this to me but in all honesty I can't remember. It is an amazing memoir, full of beautiful imagery of a privalged child turned orphaned refugee turned (eventuall) Yale professor. I have held a strong fascination bordering on obsessoin of Cuba ever since my close personal encounter with Fidel Castro (read: I saw him on stage during a lecture in Havana.) Anyway, this budding relationship I've formed with the world's longest running leader has given me an adolescent one-sided view of the situation. I realize no Revolution comes without a heavy cost but perhaps the author's view is (I hate to admit this) a bit selfish. He was born among the elite; went to school with President Batista's children, had housekeepers and spent his free time blowing up lizards with a never-ending supply of firecrackers. Of course, you would hate the world if a Revolution stripped you of your lavish life in luxury. Is it fair? No. However, I would like to read a Revolutionary memoir from the African Cubans who scrubed the wealthy's toilets for pennies who Fidel gave the opportunity to live. I realize that I cannot take sides because I feel this cosmic connection to Fidel (read: star struck) but I can't feel complete sympathy for an elitist who lost his luxury in order to fufill the dreams of a Revolutionary promise of equality. This, of course, is just a brief view of my feelings about all this. I could go on for ages but alas, I have talked too much.

I'll save my other thoughts for the next entry hoping you'll all return to pretend to care what I have to say. Finally, these books are all worth your time; well-written, thought-provoking and beautiful.

Okay, I'm finally finished.

Posted by karen at 02:21 PM | Comments (3)