ALBERTA, CANADA - PART II/III - BANFF

Day 2 in Alberta was the most incredible day of full immersion in nature.

Fun fact, when my dad travels, he plans everything out in detail far in advance. Like i’m talking… pre-purchasing tickets, checking hours of operation, calling information offices to clarify parking, coordinating timing of when and where we will eat…ALL OF IT! I am fortunate enough to reap the benefits of this by following along in full comfort and ease knowing the perfect plan has already been set. Ever since I was little, i’ve always loved traveling with my dad because of this…and Canada was no different.

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First stop on our agenda- JOHNSTON CANYON. We drove about 50 minutes northwest from Canmore to JOHNSTON CANYON, a free hiking area well known for some awesome waterfalls. We found the little parking lot near the front (main parking lot doesn’t open until 10am ish) and began our little hike in.

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The hike into the waterfalls is super chill…about a mile or so and such a nicely paved walkway! I was so impressed by this place!

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First of many waterfalls!

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The greenery in the canyon was incredible. So lush, such a deep green, so full of freshness, life and beauty.

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Going early was a good idea for us because the trail wasn’t crowded at all on our hike in (many more people were coming in as we hiked out) so we could really enjoy the peacefulness of it all.

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We made it a mile or so in (took us about 40 min) to the main waterfall!!! You can walk down to the base of it and get pretty close…but be careful because you will also get soaking wet!! To get this shot I had to sacrifice my camera lens a bit (it got pretty wet) and point it directly into the water! It was worth it though :)

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There is a trail you can take to a lookout of the top of the waterfall, and right as we got to the top I noticed a rainbow coming from the side of the rock and I quickly quicklyyyyy snapped this shot!!! This might be one of the coolest photographs I have ever taken. A few minutes after I snapped this, the clouds moved, altering the suns position and the rainbow faded away. It was truly a tiny, miraculous moment in time and a prime example of God’s glorious creation!

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The hike back down was just as beautiful as the hike up.

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Like I said, well paved pathway, railing, not to steep, not muddy…bravo Canadian Park people for making this place really accessible and easy to enjoy for all! I no joke saw a grandma in a wheelchair and a baby in a stroller on this hike haha!

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How crazy is nature sometimes??

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After our nice hike into JOHNSTON CANYON, we drove out back to the main highway and made our way over to the most icon place in all of Banff… LAKE LOUISE!!!

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Lake Louise is probably the #1 tourist attraction in Banff, so the small parking lot at the lake fills up FAST and if you don’t get there by like 6am, you will have to park down the hill and take a bus up. By the time we got there (11am ish) there was already a flashing sign out on the road saying “LAKE LOUISE PARKING FULL, PARK IN OVERFLOW” so we knew to pull off to the side of the road into a huge overflow lot.

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From the overflow lot (free parking btw) we had to stand in line and buy tickets for the bus up to the lake. Apparently, this used to be a free bus but now they charge like $4 per adult to go up. Kinda lame since there is not choice but to take the bus, but at least it wasn’t like $10 a person! I cannot imagine this place in summer though…probably chaos!!!

But, after finally loading on the bus we had a 10-ish minute drive up to LAKE LOUISE…and WOW…

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SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!

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The Fiarmont at Lake Louise is a famous hotel that is probably $700 a night (at least) YOWZAAAA. But the cool thing is, us regular folk like us can go into the hotel and buy food, look at the gift shop and imagine we are a hotel guest.

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I had to bring my ketchup chips to snack on. The Fairmont has a deli that is open 24hrs a day so we bought lunch there (sandwiches) and took it out to a bench to eat with a view.

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Can you believe how beautiful this water is!? Totally lives up to the hype!!

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It is incredible how many tourists come to this place! I kept telling my dad that I didn’t hear an American accent all week…which felt so weird! haha. I heard a lot of Swiss, German, French accents and most of ALL…Australian! I think 50% of the people that work in Banff are Aussies.

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My dad said to rent a canoe on Lake Louise it costs $100/HR..UHHHH NO THANK YOU. I opted for a FREE photo of them instead haha.

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There are a lot of things to do around Lake Louise and our next stop was…MORAINE LAKE.

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So, from LAKE LOUISE, we payed to take another bus up to MORAINE LAKE (20 minutes up the mountain0 and it was so worth it. One thing to be careful of is what time the last bus comes back down from MORAINE LAKE back to the overflow parking lot…somewhere around 4:30pm.

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One of the workers there told us MORAINE LAKE currently had a low water level, but in a week or so it would fill up and come all the way to the main tree lines. We didn’t mind so much though, because even at a low level the lake was absolutely stunning.

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There is a big rock pile near the lake and if you follow the path up (a lot of steep steps) you get to THIS VIEW!!! Which was so stunning!!!

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The hike back down the rock pile was really something else. I snapped this shot of my dad on the way down…and I think it’s one of my favorite from the whole trip. After spending some time walking around MORAINE LAKE, we took the bus back to the overflow parking lot and headed back to Canmore. By this time, we were tired and hungry (so much walking!!) and were ready for some grub.

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Back in Canmore we rested and then heading to down to eat dinner at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. The pizza here was really awesome and a good chill place for dinner!

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After we ate, we walked around town a bit. The only bummer with Canmore is that, since it’s such a small town, everything closes SO EARLY!!! Like…6pm. everything closed. This was kinda a bummer since we wanted to do some shopping but we accepted the fact that this was true small town living haha.

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Cute little corner market with a mountain view.

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Dad had seen this big sing “SPRING CREEK’ and wanted to check it out so we walked over there after dinner. It ended up being some time of living community with townhomes, apartments, etc and a really beautiful walk along the creek.

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How precious is this walkway?! and mind you…this was like 8pm at night!!! Crazy right??

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This photo really looks like it’s out of a fairytale doesn’t it?? When I snapped it I couldn’t believe how picturesque it all looked!! The log cabin, the three sisters in the background , the greenery, the lighting…ahhhhhh magical.

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And, that folks, wraps up day two in Alberta. What a stunning place right!?

More beauty to come…

ALBERTA, CANADA - PART I/III - CANMORE

If you were to ask me to name as many cities in Canada as I could…I would say TORONTO, VANCOUVER…AAAANNDDDDDD that’s about it. I think it’s safe to say that I contribute to the statistic that most American’s know little to nothing about our northern neighbor, Canada. We most likely associate Canada to…Maple Syrup, Ice Hockey, the Toronto Raptors, and our pop culture Canadian icons aka Justin Bieber, Drake, Steve Nash, Celine Dion and how could I forget - Ryan Gosling!

Ok getting off track…

Needless to say, when my Dad posed the question, “Hey, wanna go to Banff?" my brain had registered the word Banff as a familiar name but I could not place it on a map for $1000. I had heard Banff had some pretty epic scenery so I told Dad I was down and before we knew it, we were on a plane to…Alberta??

Yes, as one of 10 provinces (plus 3 territories) in Canada, Alberta sits next to British Colombia and most directly above…Montana, to give us Americans some reference. The main city in Alberta is Calgary, and just a short 1.5 hour drive from Calgary you arrive in the most beautiful most stunning little down of Canmore on your way to yet another incredibly picturesque city of Banff.

Welcome to the Canadian Rockies everyone…

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Dad and I flew Air Canada (makes me think of Vince Carter…anyone see “The Carter Effect”??? His nickname was “Air Canada”) and he ordered us a snack while on the short 3 hour flight to Calgary. One of the perks of traveling with my Dad is I always feel like a little kid again getting snacks everywhere I go HAHA!

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Made it to Calgary, Alberta! Rented a car and drove the 1.5 hour to our friend Jomo’s timeshare that she let us stay at. It was located in a city called Canmore just a few stops over from Banff.

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Our view from where we were staying…not bad, not bad at all.

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First meal of the trip was at a place in Canmore called BLAKE. The views were incredible and they even rolled down the screen to play the Toronto Raptors game!!

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They had some really unique things on their menu…take for example, fried beets!! What the. And this really good salad with some kind of maple syrup dressing and goat cheese. YUM.

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After dinner we went for a little cruise around Canmore and stopped by ELEVATION PLACE which I thought was a giant climbing gym…but it turned out to be a small climbing gym PLUS a giant swimming pool PLUS a workout gym PLUS a library PLUS a coffee shop?? haha. so more like a community center. It was cool, and if I were a local I would totally spend a lot of my time there.

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The rock wall at ELEVATION PLACE…and the dreamiest mountain cabin next to the river in Canmore.

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How amazing are all these cabin houses? I could see why people buy property here and return year after year to this beautiful little city.

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We walked around a local park in Canmore…mind you, I took this photo at around 7PM!!! Can you believe that??? During this time of year, the sun doesnt set until 10PM!!! SO CRAZY for a Californian like me…and I could see why people live outdoors all summer. So beautiful.

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Dad pointing out some mountain peaks in the distance.

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A nice evening stroll around BOW RIVER.

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The city of CANMORE is known for the “THREE SISTERS” which are three very distinct mountain peaks that stick out among the rest.

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After dinner and our stroll…we had to stop by the local super market so I could grab some Canadian snacks HAHA. I did my research and learned of a few things I could only by in Canada…

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Ketchup Chips!! A very weird and popular item in Canada…that are strangely good. And how cute are these Canada M&Ms?

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The starbucks there had some really cute mugs and cups! And two of the most popular candies in Canada…SMARTIES (taste like sweeter M&Ms) and COFFEE CRISP (tastes like a wafer cookie).

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A cute little church in Canmore.

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Canadian money is so much prettier than US money. Also, it was funny because everything is labeled “Dollars $” but the Canadian dollar is a bit different. So $1 USD is about $1.30 Canadian…meaning if the menu said a salad was $20 is was really $15 which made things feel more expensive so we kept having to tell ourselves, “oh yeah, it’s actually not too bad” haha

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Last stop of the night was OLD SCHOOL BUS ICE CREAM (the 50/50 was amazing) and a nice view of the Three Sisters from a park.

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Canmore is the cutest, quaintest town and the perfect place to stay in Alberta. Banff is the more well known town (35 min away from Canmore) but it’s a bit more crowded and busy…so if you’re looking for a good place to stay that is a little more chill and yet still close to all the beauty - CANMORE is your place :)

Day 1 was already epic…I couldn’t imagine all that was in store for day 2!!

happy little things.

I’d like to think of this blog of mine as a way to creatively express what's on my heart…and today I am feeling extra grateful for a few happy little things.

climbing // newest hobby and recent obsession  Work nearly every muscle in your body while going at a leisurely pace and chatting with your friends in the process? Sounds like the perfect way to workout to me.

climbing // newest hobby and recent obsession

Work nearly every muscle in your body while going at a leisurely pace and chatting with your friends in the process? Sounds like the perfect way to workout to me.

ocean // no place i’d rather be  I have decided that sitting by the sea is the place I feel most at peace, most myself, and most near to God. For those reasons, there’s no place i’d rather be.

ocean // no place i’d rather be

I have decided that sitting by the sea is the place I feel most at peace, most myself, and most near to God. For those reasons, there’s no place i’d rather be.

art // is there anything cooler than scandinavian dishware?  Next to Japanese architecture, scandinavian interior design is one of my greatest inspirations and all I have to say is…Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm…I am coming for you..one day soon…I am coming for you!

art // is there anything cooler than scandinavian dishware?

Next to Japanese architecture, scandinavian interior design is one of my greatest inspirations and all I have to say is…Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm…I am coming for you..one day soon…I am coming for you!

su-pa // Thank God for Japanese supermarkets  When I find myself missing Japan, I just go to Mitsuwa, or Nijiya or Tokyo Central to feel plugged back in to my Japanese roots. I order some curry, grab a green tea and watch some variety show with the old grandmas and grandpas next to me and all is well in the world.

su-pa // Thank God for Japanese supermarkets

When I find myself missing Japan, I just go to Mitsuwa, or Nijiya or Tokyo Central to feel plugged back in to my Japanese roots. I order some curry, grab a green tea and watch some variety show with the old grandmas and grandpas next to me and all is well in the world.

create // a pen and paper is all I need  I hand addressed some invites for my dear friend recently and it felt like therapy. A technology-less craft that I need to slow down for…good for the soul.

create // a pen and paper is all I need

I hand addressed some invites for my dear friend recently and it felt like therapy. A technology-less craft that I need to slow down for…good for the soul.

friends // these are the glory days  20somethings out for brunch, window shopping, dreaming…these are the carefree days we’ll always want to go back to. Grateful for these moments.

friends // these are the glory days

20somethings out for brunch, window shopping, dreaming…these are the carefree days we’ll always want to go back to. Grateful for these moments.

LIFE LATELY.

I realize i’ve been posting a lot less frequently here on my blog…and I can say it’s forsure a result of the season of life I am in right now. When I was living in Kashiwa, every part of my life was new, interesting and worth documenting to share with others. I mostly blogged to show my family what I was up to and talk in detail about events and things I was learning. But now that I am home, it’s not that my life is any less interesting, it’s just that the people I blogged for are the same people I see every day so I don’t feel as compelled to write on here. haha!

Anyway, it’s still a worthy venture to blog about things going on and share some photos…for my own expression (i’ve always considered blogging a form of therapy for me) and to document where I am at in life so I can one day look back on this and say..”Awww.”

So here are three big things in my life lately…

#1 THE BEACH

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One of the main things I missed when living in Japan was the beach. Which is just about the most ironic thing ever considering Japan is an ISLAND…and an ISLAND THE SIZE OF CALIFORNIA mind you. Yet - beaches are hard to come by there…mostly because the coast of Tokyo is predominantly for shipping boats and cargo, and the closest beach to me in Chiba was almost a 2 hour bus and train ride away. So, now that I am home and a 10 minute drive from miles and miles of the California coastline, I am trying to take advantage of it. Ever since I was young, I always connected to God at the beach. The way he made rocks turn into sand, the constant flow of the tide, the power of the sea and the certainty that only God could create a sunset as magical as the ones you see over the ocean. I am thankful to be home and back at the beach.

#2 NEW HOBBIES

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Recently I have accumulated two new hobbies. This was never something I had planned…they both kinda fell into my lap and KAPOW…here we are.

The first new hobby is Jewelry. Very random, I know. It all started when my aunt suggested I help out her friend’s Jewelry company. I obliged, and now I help out this lady who sells amazing diamonds and gemstones. I now know the difference between a Moonstone and a Morganite, Karat and Carat (there is a diff, not just a spelling error) and White Gold and Sterling Silver lol!!

The second new hobby is Climbing. Specifically…bouldering. As we all know the Oscar winning documentary FREE SOLO (which documents climber Alex Honnold as he free climbs El Cap) just came out and has been creating a buzz around rock climbing and bouldering. This spurred my cousins and I to sign up for a groupon at Hangar 18 just to try it out and ever since we went…WE’VE BEEN HOOKED. Not gunna lie, climbing is a weird unconventional sport where you basically strap on funny looking shoes, pat powder on your hands and climb up a colored pattern of rocks to the top. But it’s strangely addicting. For me, I am actually TERRIBLE at it. Like really really seriously bad. But yet, I keep going back. There a slow, rhythmic calm to climbing that lets you go at your own pace. Plus, the moment you reach the top of any climb always feel like an amazing victory. It’s a fun way to socialize, be humbled at how bad you are at something, and work out!! Perfect!

#3 QT WITH JORDAN

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Lately i’ve been spending a lot of quality time with the newest addition to the Komae family and my brother’s third son, Jordan. He’s the chillest cutest most cuddly little thing and holding him is my favorite thing in the world. It’s an honor to be around my siblings’ kids on a daily basis, to be a part of their lives and to watch them grow up. It’s moment like these that make me so incredibly thankful to be home…and I pause to reflect on God’s goodness and His perfect timing in all things.

Blessed to be home and enjoying life here in sunny southern California…but already scheming my next trip back to Japan :)

FILM FROM JAPAN

There is something absolutely magical about film photography.

and…why is that??

From a photography standpoint, the beauty is in the fact that you can’t alter what you are shooting. You see a shot, you position your camera, and that is that. You leave the scene and cross your fingers that your film develops into something as beautiful as your own eyes witnessed.

From a personal standpoint, film photos carry a deep sense of emotion. When I see a photo in film…I can almost feel how frozen that moment is. I enter this world where I pick a part every single detail given to me. The ray of sunlight in the corner telling me what time of day it must have been, the choice of clothes someone is wearing hinting what season it was, a smirk, a smile, a grin, almost exuding an audible sound when seen in a photo. So much emotion squeeze into a tiny frame. That is the beauty of film.

Over my time in Japan, I occasionally carried a disposable camera around with me. I noticed I shot moments that were the simplest things…because as it turns out, those are the scenes I really wanted to freeze in time.

Here are a few of them.

Vending machines // These are the vending machines at Ichikashi High school. They’re located down on the first floor, in between the 3rd year homeroom classes. They hold the greatest selection of drinks imaginable: strawberry milk, melon soda, yogurt smoothies, lemon tea, and my ultimate favorite - grapefruit jelly soda. haha! But the best part of this spot is that when I would walk past here, there would always been a bunch of sweaty kids congregating, making jokes and having a moment in their busy busy days to just be kids. I loved it.

Vending machines // These are the vending machines at Ichikashi High school. They’re located down on the first floor, in between the 3rd year homeroom classes. They hold the greatest selection of drinks imaginable: strawberry milk, melon soda, yogurt smoothies, lemon tea, and my ultimate favorite - grapefruit jelly soda. haha! But the best part of this spot is that when I would walk past here, there would always been a bunch of sweaty kids congregating, making jokes and having a moment in their busy busy days to just be kids. I loved it.

Ichikashi walls // This is the view from the inner courtyard of school. The school is one big rectangle. Four stories tall, no elevators and identical looking hallways. It took me at least a year to get a handle on where I was walking and how to get to certain places since every staircase looks exactly the same. I found myself always looking out the windows to the courtyard to gain perspective and remember where I was in relation to the center of school. As simple as this building in this photo may look…it hold an endless array of memories for me.

Ichikashi walls // This is the view from the inner courtyard of school. The school is one big rectangle. Four stories tall, no elevators and identical looking hallways. It took me at least a year to get a handle on where I was walking and how to get to certain places since every staircase looks exactly the same. I found myself always looking out the windows to the courtyard to gain perspective and remember where I was in relation to the center of school. As simple as this building in this photo may look…it hold an endless array of memories for me.

Ebisawa sensei // During winter one year, I took a trip to a nearby prefecture with a few friends and bought some famous homegrown tsukemono (pickled veggies). I decided to bring the tsukemono to school to share with my coworkers, and when I pulled out the bag from the fridge, Ebisawa sensei’s motherly instinct kicked in (as it always did) and she began chopping it up properly right there in the English office. It was one of those moments when I thought…wow…I am really in Japan aren’t I?!

Ebisawa sensei // During winter one year, I took a trip to a nearby prefecture with a few friends and bought some famous homegrown tsukemono (pickled veggies). I decided to bring the tsukemono to school to share with my coworkers, and when I pulled out the bag from the fridge, Ebisawa sensei’s motherly instinct kicked in (as it always did) and she began chopping it up properly right there in the English office. It was one of those moments when I thought…wow…I am really in Japan aren’t I?!

Brave girls // I snapped this photo the morning we met up with these four students who were participating in an English speech contest. Nanako. Miyu. Rio. Kanon. These four girls are incredible. They fearlessly gave speeches in English with confidence, grace, and assurance in themselves. I was so proud of them! I remember telling them to meet at a very specific time (so we wouldn’t be late) and when I exited the train station they were all eagerly standing there already waiting. I felt so honored to be their teacher.

Brave girls // I snapped this photo the morning we met up with these four students who were participating in an English speech contest. Nanako. Miyu. Rio. Kanon. These four girls are incredible. They fearlessly gave speeches in English with confidence, grace, and assurance in themselves. I was so proud of them! I remember telling them to meet at a very specific time (so we wouldn’t be late) and when I exited the train station they were all eagerly standing there already waiting. I felt so honored to be their teacher.

Ueno // One day in the summer, I wandered into Ueno. I can’t remember why I went there exactly…but I often found myself going there simply to walk around the park. Ueno park is HUGE and famous and beautiful. I remember walking out of the train station on a warm day and stumbling across this giant field of…what are these exactly? I am not even sure haha. But the way these plants juxtaposed agains the buildings behind it stopped me in my tracks and was just one of a thousand reasons why I love this city.

Ueno // One day in the summer, I wandered into Ueno. I can’t remember why I went there exactly…but I often found myself going there simply to walk around the park. Ueno park is HUGE and famous and beautiful. I remember walking out of the train station on a warm day and stumbling across this giant field of…what are these exactly? I am not even sure haha. But the way these plants juxtaposed agains the buildings behind it stopped me in my tracks and was just one of a thousand reasons why I love this city.

Tama chan // I worked at Ichikashi with Tama for two years…and he quickly became like a brother to me. This photo cracks me up for a few reasons. First, Tama always wore a suit to work. Every single day. He said when he was in high school, one of his teachers did that and he thought it was so cool so he wanted to do the same. Then, one time I saw him in his “regular clothes” which were cut off shorts, a hawaiian t-shirt and sandals. HAHA. The second thing that cracks me up about this photo is the phone sitting on his lap. Tama is a super tall, suave looking dude…and yet for the longest time, he carried around this tiny old phone that was chipped on the side. I told him for years to get a smarphone and he would say, “no…I like my little dumb phone” haha

Tama chan // I worked at Ichikashi with Tama for two years…and he quickly became like a brother to me. This photo cracks me up for a few reasons. First, Tama always wore a suit to work. Every single day. He said when he was in high school, one of his teachers did that and he thought it was so cool so he wanted to do the same. Then, one time I saw him in his “regular clothes” which were cut off shorts, a hawaiian t-shirt and sandals. HAHA. The second thing that cracks me up about this photo is the phone sitting on his lap. Tama is a super tall, suave looking dude…and yet for the longest time, he carried around this tiny old phone that was chipped on the side. I told him for years to get a smarphone and he would say, “no…I like my little dumb phone” haha

kaiten sushi // I’m pretty sure I took this photo when I went to eat sushi with Steph. It was in the midst of a really tough season for me…and I can’t thank Steph enough for being with me through all of it and going out to eat to help me talk through stuff. One night we went to Kashiwa station to grab sushi which was always funny because I don’t eat fish! But honesty, I loved so many things on the menu that I thoroughly enjoyed eating here every time. My favorite was the tamago and the corn mayo “sushi” rolls. Plus, like any good sushi spot, they have HOT HOT green tea that you make at the table for yourself. bomb.

kaiten sushi // I’m pretty sure I took this photo when I went to eat sushi with Steph. It was in the midst of a really tough season for me…and I can’t thank Steph enough for being with me through all of it and going out to eat to help me talk through stuff. One night we went to Kashiwa station to grab sushi which was always funny because I don’t eat fish! But honesty, I loved so many things on the menu that I thoroughly enjoyed eating here every time. My favorite was the tamago and the corn mayo “sushi” rolls. Plus, like any good sushi spot, they have HOT HOT green tea that you make at the table for yourself. bomb.

Cam // I snapped this shot of Cam when we were on the Shinkansen on our way to Kyoto last Spring. I remember being in awe that my family was actually in Japan with me. It was the sweetest time ever and I will always look back on this as one of the greatest weeks of my life. Cam was so cute with these giant headphones on, sitting so nicely on the train awaiting our next adventure.

Cam // I snapped this shot of Cam when we were on the Shinkansen on our way to Kyoto last Spring. I remember being in awe that my family was actually in Japan with me. It was the sweetest time ever and I will always look back on this as one of the greatest weeks of my life. Cam was so cute with these giant headphones on, sitting so nicely on the train awaiting our next adventure.

Omotesando Ofie (Eden) // I snapped this shot on Cat Street in Omotesando. I remember it vividly because I was so stoked to take my family to this area that I had grown to love so much over the years. Eden and Len were both wearing these panda dresses and dancing down the streets having the best time ever. I loved this day more than anything!!

Omotesando Ofie (Eden) // I snapped this shot on Cat Street in Omotesando. I remember it vividly because I was so stoked to take my family to this area that I had grown to love so much over the years. Eden and Len were both wearing these panda dresses and dancing down the streets having the best time ever. I loved this day more than anything!!

Shibuya Mads // From that same day in Tokyo…we wandered through Shibuya as a family. This was epic with two strollers, five kids and six adults. We cruised around all the shops we wanted to see and walked through the scramble a few times. I remember the weather being perfect. A little chilly…but bright and sunny and more than we could ask for. I love how Lenny was still light enough to be carried on my sister’s shoulders because by now….shes way too big for that!

Shibuya Mads // From that same day in Tokyo…we wandered through Shibuya as a family. This was epic with two strollers, five kids and six adults. We cruised around all the shops we wanted to see and walked through the scramble a few times. I remember the weather being perfect. A little chilly…but bright and sunny and more than we could ask for. I love how Lenny was still light enough to be carried on my sister’s shoulders because by now….shes way too big for that!

The whole gang // This was from the day we took our family photoshoot in Shinjuku. Before we went, we walked through the National Art Center to go to Gogoyo ramen, famous for their burnt miso ramen. I had waked through this building countless times over my time in Japan…so finally walking through there with family was a dream come true. I made sure to have them all stop so I could freeze this moment in time.

The whole gang // This was from the day we took our family photoshoot in Shinjuku. Before we went, we walked through the National Art Center to go to Gogoyo ramen, famous for their burnt miso ramen. I had waked through this building countless times over my time in Japan…so finally walking through there with family was a dream come true. I made sure to have them all stop so I could freeze this moment in time.

Sakura // I took this photo at a park outside our Airbnb in Osaka. My family happened to come to Japan right at the peak of the sakura bloom…something only God could ordain. The entire week we were in Osaka and Kyoto we were blessed with sakura blooming all over the place. I love these flower…how momentary and beauty they are…and how my family was able to witness them too.

Sakura // I took this photo at a park outside our Airbnb in Osaka. My family happened to come to Japan right at the peak of the sakura bloom…something only God could ordain. The entire week we were in Osaka and Kyoto we were blessed with sakura blooming all over the place. I love these flower…how momentary and beauty they are…and how my family was able to witness them too.

me // I debated including this photo in the post…since it’s not a photo I took but rather a photo of me…which always feel awkward for a photographer. But when I look at the girl in this photo I can’t help but notice how truly happy she is. I see this and I am reminded of how my three years at Ichikashi were the absolute best years of my life. This photo is from my very last day there. My eyes were puffy with tears from saying goodbye, but also my heart swelled with gratitude for this place and the people within these walls. I walked out to the courtyard one last time … and I smiled with complete thankfulness to God for this place. This photo reminds me of how God truly blessed me and provided me an experience in Japan far beyond anything I could ever have dreamed up or imagined on my own! Thank you Jesus.

me // I debated including this photo in the post…since it’s not a photo I took but rather a photo of me…which always feel awkward for a photographer. But when I look at the girl in this photo I can’t help but notice how truly happy she is. I see this and I am reminded of how my three years at Ichikashi were the absolute best years of my life. This photo is from my very last day there. My eyes were puffy with tears from saying goodbye, but also my heart swelled with gratitude for this place and the people within these walls. I walked out to the courtyard one last time … and I smiled with complete thankfulness to God for this place. This photo reminds me of how God truly blessed me and provided me an experience in Japan far beyond anything I could ever have dreamed up or imagined on my own! Thank you Jesus.

Goal for 2019 … shoot more film!!!