2018 : 18

2018 was a memorable year for me in many ways. The biggest thing being, the end of my time living in Japan. Due to this big life change, it was a year I will never forget. It holds a lot of memories for me…so here are 18 of my favorite photos from 2018 and the stories behind them.
(check out my fav photos from
2017 and 2016)

1. GOOD MORNING GRAND CANYON.  I spent New Year’s day with my good friends Abbie and Jake at the Grand Canyon. We woke up early to drive into the park and spend as much time staring out in the grandeur of it all. Towards the end of our day, we drove a little higher up to catch some views. We pulled off to the side of the road and walked over to see this view. I snapped this photo right as Abbie and Jake peered over the edge to see God’s amazing creation.

1. GOOD MORNING GRAND CANYON.
I spent New Year’s day with my good friends Abbie and Jake at the Grand Canyon. We woke up early to drive into the park and spend as much time staring out in the grandeur of it all. Towards the end of our day, we drove a little higher up to catch some views. We pulled off to the side of the road and walked over to see this view. I snapped this photo right as Abbie and Jake peered over the edge to see God’s amazing creation.

2. FAM IN JAPAN The biggest highlight of 2018 was having my family in Japan. This shot is particularly important since it was taken right in my neighborhood, across the street from the 7-11 I went to every day. I had lived in this area for two years before my family got to come see it with their own eyes. Having them in my hometown in Japan meant the world to me. This morning in particular, is a moment I will never forget.

2. FAM IN JAPAN
The biggest highlight of 2018 was having my family in Japan. This shot is particularly important since it was taken right in my neighborhood, across the street from the 7-11 I went to every day. I had lived in this area for two years before my family got to come see it with their own eyes. Having them in my hometown in Japan meant the world to me. This morning in particular, is a moment I will never forget.

3. ARASHIYAMA TAYAH Tayas was just 8 months old when she traveled all the way to Japan with the fam. She was in her chubby baby faze and we all loved it. When we went to Arashiyama, she happily sat in the stroller or ergo, bouncing along with the rest of us to enjoy the views.

3. ARASHIYAMA TAYAH
Tayas was just 8 months old when she traveled all the way to Japan with the fam. She was in her chubby baby faze and we all loved it. When we went to Arashiyama, she happily sat in the stroller or ergo, bouncing along with the rest of us to enjoy the views.

4. DOUBLE GOLD This was my first time to see The Golden Temple (aka Kinkakuji) and we happened to be there at the most perfect time of day, when everything was reflecting off the water below. I couldn’t have timed it out better if I wanted to. It was just one of those moments of pure magic.

4. DOUBLE GOLD
This was my first time to see The Golden Temple (aka Kinkakuji) and we happened to be there at the most perfect time of day, when everything was reflecting off the water below. I couldn’t have timed it out better if I wanted to. It was just one of those moments of pure magic.

5. NARA EDEN While in Kyoto with my fam, we took the trek out to Nara to show the kids the deer. I loved this moment when Eden was just standing there…staring at the deer in awe. She wasn’t showing any fear, or shock, or concern…just that pure innocent curiosity. During our trip, she mastered the “peace” sign and would do it anytime I took a photo. precious!

5. NARA EDEN
While in Kyoto with my fam, we took the trek out to Nara to show the kids the deer. I loved this moment when Eden was just standing there…staring at the deer in awe. She wasn’t showing any fear, or shock, or concern…just that pure innocent curiosity. During our trip, she mastered the “peace” sign and would do it anytime I took a photo. precious!

6. SAKURA BRIDE While in Kyoto, my family and I walked around Nara park for a while and stumbled upon a wedding photo shoot happening. I decided to just swoop in real quick and snap a shot of the bride and ended up taking one of my favorite photos all year. I love her gorgeous kimono and the perfectly blooming sakura behind her.

6. SAKURA BRIDE
While in Kyoto, my family and I walked around Nara park for a while and stumbled upon a wedding photo shoot happening. I decided to just swoop in real quick and snap a shot of the bride and ended up taking one of my favorite photos all year. I love her gorgeous kimono and the perfectly blooming sakura behind her.

17. HAPPIEST EVER To me, this photos represents the purest form of childhood joy. We were walking around Osaka as a family and right when Hunter saw an arcade center he screamed with joy and ran straight in! We knew we had to take a moment to let him enjoy the glories of a Japanese arcade…and I ran after him just in time to snap this shot of him. pure joy and the happiest I have ever seen him.

17. HAPPIEST EVER
To me, this photos represents the purest form of childhood joy. We were walking around Osaka as a family and right when Hunter saw an arcade center he screamed with joy and ran straight in! We knew we had to take a moment to let him enjoy the glories of a Japanese arcade…and I ran after him just in time to snap this shot of him. pure joy and the happiest I have ever seen him.

8. FUJI’S REFLECTION FROM FUJI One of my biggest accomplishments of life came in 2018 - summiting Mt. Fuji. I was lucky enough to hike up with my dear friend Naomi and we reached the summit at 3am on July 27th. While we were sitting there, freezing cold waiting for the sun to rise, I looked out into the darkness and saw what looked like a giant shadow. I couldn’t tell if my mind was foggy from exhaustion and my eyes blurry from the cold…but I tapped Naomi and said, “wait, is that the shadow of Fuji?” Sure enough, from the top of Mt. Fuji we were able to see the shadow of Mt. Fuji. This is a moment I will never forget and a photo I am very proud of.

8. FUJI’S REFLECTION FROM FUJI
One of my biggest accomplishments of life came in 2018 - summiting Mt. Fuji. I was lucky enough to hike up with my dear friend Naomi and we reached the summit at 3am on July 27th. While we were sitting there, freezing cold waiting for the sun to rise, I looked out into the darkness and saw what looked like a giant shadow. I couldn’t tell if my mind was foggy from exhaustion and my eyes blurry from the cold…but I tapped Naomi and said, “wait, is that the shadow of Fuji?” Sure enough, from the top of Mt. Fuji we were able to see the shadow of Mt. Fuji. This is a moment I will never forget and a photo I am very proud of.

9. THE DESCENT After watching the sunrise atop Fuji, we headed 4 hours back down to civilization. Funny enough, this was the most stunning part of the whole hike (and ironically the most painful). I had to stop every 2 minutes or so to just take it all in and stare in glory at all the clouds. Naomi and I were fortunate enough to hike Fuji on a pristinely beautiful day, and on our descent it really felt like we were walking on clouds.

9. THE DESCENT
After watching the sunrise atop Fuji, we headed 4 hours back down to civilization. Funny enough, this was the most stunning part of the whole hike (and ironically the most painful). I had to stop every 2 minutes or so to just take it all in and stare in glory at all the clouds. Naomi and I were fortunate enough to hike Fuji on a pristinely beautiful day, and on our descent it really felt like we were walking on clouds.

10. TOP OF THE ROCK In December of 2018 I was able to visit New York City for the first time in my life! This trip was long overdue and I was lucky enough to be there with some of my best friends. One morning, Emiko, Taryn and I went to the top of the Rockefeller center to see the view of the city. I snapped this shot as they were peering out into the skyline, and I love their winter coats and hats which will always reminds me of how cold it was there!

10. TOP OF THE ROCK
In December of 2018 I was able to visit New York City for the first time in my life! This trip was long overdue and I was lucky enough to be there with some of my best friends. One morning, Emiko, Taryn and I went to the top of the Rockefeller center to see the view of the city. I snapped this shot as they were peering out into the skyline, and I love their winter coats and hats which will always reminds me of how cold it was there!

11. MORNING FUJI This shot is really special to me. I remember the morning vividly. My friends, the Lims, and I were driving to go see the snow near Fuji. As we got closer and closer to the mountain, the views just kept getting better and better. We decided to pull off to a lake and see if it was a good view, and when we got there my jaw dropped. It was by far the clearest view of Fuji I had ever seen. I quickly got out of the car and walked down to the water when I saw and old man. He turned to me and started rambling off in Japanese telling me I needed to hurry it. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but once I got past the reeds of the water I immediately knew. The reflection. He was telling me to hurry, because the reflection on the water was absolutely spectacular. I snapped a few photos, this being one of them. About 5 minutes later, I looked back at the water and noticed the water was murky, the reflection gone, and a thick layer of clouds covering Fuji. I then realized just how lucky I was.

11. MORNING FUJI
This shot is really special to me. I remember the morning vividly. My friends, the Lims, and I were driving to go see the snow near Fuji. As we got closer and closer to the mountain, the views just kept getting better and better. We decided to pull off to a lake and see if it was a good view, and when we got there my jaw dropped. It was by far the clearest view of Fuji I had ever seen. I quickly got out of the car and walked down to the water when I saw and old man. He turned to me and started rambling off in Japanese telling me I needed to hurry it. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but once I got past the reeds of the water I immediately knew. The reflection. He was telling me to hurry, because the reflection on the water was absolutely spectacular. I snapped a few photos, this being one of them. About 5 minutes later, I looked back at the water and noticed the water was murky, the reflection gone, and a thick layer of clouds covering Fuji. I then realized just how lucky I was.

12. SENSEI I took this photo in early 2018, on graduation day. This photo is special to me for so many reasons. For one, that is Mashiko sensei there in the front. He was the homeroom teacher of 3A this year and a father figure to me. He drove a yellow car to school that appropriately matched the yellow tennis balls that he threw as tennis coach every day. He led his class with grace and poise, and he shed a few tears as he sent his students off to the real world. This photo is also special to me because of the students here. 3A of this year was the class that I saw go the entirely of their high school life. From first year, to third. I cried as I hugged them all one last time. This is a group of kids and a teacher I will never forget.

12. SENSEI
I took this photo in early 2018, on graduation day. This photo is special to me for so many reasons. For one, that is Mashiko sensei there in the front. He was the homeroom teacher of 3A this year and a father figure to me. He drove a yellow car to school that appropriately matched the yellow tennis balls that he threw as tennis coach every day. He led his class with grace and poise, and he shed a few tears as he sent his students off to the real world. This photo is also special to me because of the students here. 3A of this year was the class that I saw go the entirely of their high school life. From first year, to third. I cried as I hugged them all one last time. This is a group of kids and a teacher I will never forget.

13. SELF PORTRAIT One random day I decided to go into Tokyo solo and take a bunch of photos. I don’t even remember what time of year it was, but judging from my outfit, maybe March? All I remember is I went to my favorite place in all of Tokoy, Omotesando, and wandered the streets. I ended up in a mall and saw this giant mirror between two stores. I don’t often take self portraits, but this space was just asking for it. So I snapped this shot. Which is now my favorite self portrait to date.

13. SELF PORTRAIT
One random day I decided to go into Tokyo solo and take a bunch of photos. I don’t even remember what time of year it was, but judging from my outfit, maybe March? All I remember is I went to my favorite place in all of Tokoy, Omotesando, and wandered the streets. I ended up in a mall and saw this giant mirror between two stores. I don’t often take self portraits, but this space was just asking for it. So I snapped this shot. Which is now my favorite self portrait to date.

14. SEOUL NIGHT In the summer I was able to take a trip to Seoul with my good friend Miri. She had a childhood friend who lived in the city and took us around. One night, she took us down to the river to eat dinner and embrace the summer atmosphere. It was my favorite night all trip. We stayed out til the sun set and we were getting tired - but it seemed as if life in Seoul was just getting started. I snapped this photo as people were hanging out at around 11pm, that humidity made it feel as if the day would never end.

14. SEOUL NIGHT
In the summer I was able to take a trip to Seoul with my good friend Miri. She had a childhood friend who lived in the city and took us around. One night, she took us down to the river to eat dinner and embrace the summer atmosphere. It was my favorite night all trip. We stayed out til the sun set and we were getting tired - but it seemed as if life in Seoul was just getting started. I snapped this photo as people were hanging out at around 11pm, that humidity made it feel as if the day would never end.

15. SUMMER NIGHTS This was also from that same night in Seoul, on the river. There were so many couples around, which I soon learned was a very south korean thing. I thought it was so cute how this couple was right by the river, snacking on fried chicken and noodles, enjoying eachother’s company, and taking in the views. This made me feel that summer time magic.

15. SUMMER NIGHTS
This was also from that same night in Seoul, on the river. There were so many couples around, which I soon learned was a very south korean thing. I thought it was so cute how this couple was right by the river, snacking on fried chicken and noodles, enjoying eachother’s company, and taking in the views. This made me feel that summer time magic.

16. THIRD BOY! Right when I came home from Japan, my siblings decided to reveal the sex of their third baby! Since my brother loves to golf, they decided to pass the doctors note to my cousin who handed them the appropriate colored ball to hit. We all gathered outside on the lawn and my bro smacked the ball with one big swing and…BLUE!!! A third boy!!!

16. THIRD BOY!
Right when I came home from Japan, my siblings decided to reveal the sex of their third baby! Since my brother loves to golf, they decided to pass the doctors note to my cousin who handed them the appropriate colored ball to hit. We all gathered outside on the lawn and my bro smacked the ball with one big swing and…BLUE!!! A third boy!!!

17. BROOKYLN BRIDGE One of my favorite things about traveling to big cities is seeing iconic landmarks in person. I have seen many photos of the Brooklyn bridge before, so being able to see it with my own eyes was a treat! It’s a beautiful structure, with old wooden boards on your feet and massive arches up above. Emiko and I walked across it to Brooklyn in the crisp winter air..ahhhh New York City.

17. BROOKYLN BRIDGE
One of my favorite things about traveling to big cities is seeing iconic landmarks in person. I have seen many photos of the Brooklyn bridge before, so being able to see it with my own eyes was a treat! It’s a beautiful structure, with old wooden boards on your feet and massive arches up above. Emiko and I walked across it to Brooklyn in the crisp winter air..ahhhh New York City.

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18. IPHONE
My last post is dedicated to my iphone, since a lot of my favorite shots this year were taken on my phone. Mostly, I try to choose photos only from my camera, but this year I realized how I often left my camera at home and just took my phone out for adventures. These are three of my favorite ihpone photo I took this year…Alison in the snow at school - empty fushimi inari - and D. T. Suzuki museum in Kanazawa.