24 May 2007


OK, yes, I've officially taken leave of my senses. I've been trying to claim back some creative time by attempting to be more efficient at the stuff I really HAVE to do so I can have more time for the stuff that keeps me sane. It's sort of working, but I'm taking it day by day. Today I'm feeling a bit less busy and so I'm going to exploit that feeling and organise a postcard exchange.

This is not my brilliant idea as it's going on all over blogland. I love the idea that it is where new technological correspondence and olde worldy correspondence meet. So, I'm organising this through the net so that we can get down to using some of that old fashioned stuff known as...(gasp!) paper! Yes, you read it correctly. You have to go out and find some real paper and make some postcards.

I think these things usually have a theme, but since I can't really come up with one that I like at the moment (and if I think too long, I might bail on the project altogether!) I've decided that the theme will just be a friendly "hello" and an introduction of yourself if you don't know the person you are writing to.

Here's da rules:

1. If you want to participate, send your street address to my e-mail address with the subject, "Postcards!" by the 7th of June 2007.

2. No premade postcards!! You must make the postcards yourself by buying blank ones or cutting up card and decorating one side in your own lovely little way, and writing the address of the recipient on the other (duh!).

3. You can design the cards in any way you like as long as it is a postcard and nothing more (ie. nothing in an envelope). Go crazy and let your creative juices flow. This is a chance to get away from the humdrum of the daily grind and let yourself go. Nobody will judge your art. Use markers, stamps, stickers, paint, crayons, you name it. Make it plain or outrageous, serious or goofy. Just enjoy the process.

Once I have received all the addresses, I will send out the list of participants to all so that we can send postcards by the 14th of June (I just like numbers divisible by seven). If we get more than 10 people, I will divide us into groups so nobody has to send more than 10 cards. After you've been to the postoffice to send off your little beauties you can just sit back and wait for the fun to arrive from all over the world.

If you think you know of someone who would like to join in the fun, you may forward this message and my e-mail address (But obviously, please don't give my e-mail address to anyone who might be a potential ax murderer. That's just in case you know any of those.).

I'm checking my inbox now...ready...GO!

04 May 2007

A well-needed rest!

A well-needed rest!
Originally uploaded by Shanti, shanti.
We've been hanging out at our friends' cabin up in the mountains near Nagano (Remember the winter Olympics?) on Lake Nojiri. It's been so great to just sit around reading, talking and cooking and eating some great food and wine. We are all foodies (What are the chances, I ask you?) and so it has been great dreaming up menus for the evening in our morning hangover hours, going shopping for ingredients, taking turns being the chefs du jour or on cleanup and then tucking in.

Yesterday we ate lunch in a lovely Italian place down by the lake and then went to looking for an onsen (hotbaths) for an afternoon scrub and soak.

This area is really interesting. It's a somewhat communal community that was started as holiday cabins in the early 20's by missionaries. These days it's a mix of foreign families and mixed foreign-Japanese families, missionaries, academics, etc. etc.. The people are very interesting. They all belong to an association and have to volunteer for something from time to time. It's quite cheap to buy a cabin up here, but you have to rent for a while first to make sure that you are aligned with the ethos of the community. Any changing of cabins or flora or fauna has to go through the committee first, which has generally been successful in preserving the natural beauty and "wildness" of the area. It's a real "get away from it all" place from hectic life in Japan.