I think I figured it out!

Good stuff, I think I'm getting this Blog thing figured out and it looks like fun. This is my first official post to the Blog site! So a big HOWDY from the Texans in Imari... We'll be writing our random thoughts and stories as they come to mind this week...

Where to begin? Well, first of all, hallelujah for the cherry blossoms! Are they beautiful or what? They seemed to bloom overnight because today they are really kickin'... I'm feeling a little natsukashii because I know this is my last cherry blossom season in Japan so I want to soak it all in and carry it home with me. Time flies. I feel like I've gotten into a groove here in Japan but in four months, a new chapter of life will begin-as it will for my fellow leavers... I have days like today when I think how good I have it here...sunshine, a predictable yet pretty much mindless job, an apartment that I love, tons of free time... in some ways it really is like a paid vacation... I appreciate it, but for most of us this is just a stop-off on our life path... and there is very cool about the approaching unknown and having new goals to pursue. It's been so good to have this simmering time to help me move toward that next step. I remember the excitement I felt before coming to Japan, not knowing what to expect, wanting to just be open and experience everything...

I have to admit that sometimes the mystery is a hell of a lot more intriguing than the reality.

Okay, rambling...that's what blogs let us do, right? Ramble with freedom. Why don't I jump to chicken tacos now?

That's right. Chicken tacos. Last night I ate chicken tacos until 3 AM! Yen, Ben, and I hosted a dinner party at my apartment to raise money for our Habitat for Humanity trip to Sri Lanka during Golden Week. The three of us cooked up a LOT of food... I thought for sure we had way too much food but it ended up being just enough. We didn't even know how many people to expect. Yep, and in harmony with recent earth-shaking events in Saga, a tsunami of PEOPLE hit...And they all came at once! Do I run for my life or do I smile and offer tea? I couldn't believe how many bodies we crammed into my place...I didn't get a head count, but there must have been at least 35 people-shoulder to shoulder. And we were slammed in the kitchen from start to finish...non-stop cooking... Lovely chickens with their heads cut off... Somehow we pulled it off gracefully (I'd like to think) and we didn't cook each other! There's still a lot of cleaning up to do, and way too many tables to return. But of course, I'd rather write this Blog than clean for the moment :) Yen cooked up all kinds of traditional Singarporean foods and Ben and I made three big lasagnas, mashed potatoes, quesadillas and tacos-to name a few. It was a late night, that's for sure. But in the end we raised over 6 man for Habitat for Humanity and had a blast.

Well,before it gets much darker I think I'll go for a run. More later, I promise. I think this is a good start. Be seein' ya soon.

PS: I want to experiment with posting some pictures and I thought some of you guys might be interested in Yakushima, a beautiful island south of mainland Kyushu with some of the oldest and biggest cedar trees in the world. This might be especially appealing to those of you who are templed-out and want to get intimate with nature and truly experience the peace and quiet of ancient forests...it's a great place to hike and backpack...