My Fear of Flying

flight to japan

Yes, I will admit it, I am one of those people who loves to travel but hates to fly. Why? No control, tin can flying, gravity. Any further explanation? 

The routine, stalk the flight stewardess up and down the aisles once the seat belt sign goes off for a gin and tonic or wine. I usually ask for two after being told that it's against policy. A confident smile and brief dialogue about how you are trying not to freak out during the flight is imperative to getting the second drink. 

The 13-hour flight to Japan was no exception, and my husband spared me no mercy by having us fly to Canada and then on to Japan, having to endure landing and takeoff twice. Sheesh! 

I call myself a Christian and am someone who practices meditation, I should be able to handle myself during an extended plane ride. Wrong! The big man knows my fears and I am sure he is ready with popcorn for the show and praise worship I put on before a flight. 

As the flight takes off, I start my breathing exercises, close my eyes, and concentrate on the positives things in my life. With my eyes closed all I can see is the plane crashing. Not vividly, just in the back of my thoughts after the fifth or sixth breath. It's the idea that when you try not to think of something you think of it anyways. 

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. 

After some light turbulence, the plane lands fine and I am embarrassed because of the show I put on. 

The takeaway, do what scares the pants off you. Do it over and over again. 




Environment, Creativity & Wabi-Sabi Wisdom by Andrea Jacques

wabi-sabi wisdom

Question: How can I design an environment that naturally moves me towards my goals? 

I'm reading Wabi-Sabi Wisdom by Andrea Jacques today. I downloaded the ebook last night and have been moving through chapters I feel have some great nuggets to chew on over the weekend. 

In a chapter titled To Eat or Not Eat? That is The Question, the author talks about the time she moved to Japan for five years and it changed not only her perspective but her pants size. Why? Environment. While in Japan, cheese and bread were expensive and her circle of friends were into healthy lifestyles, in turn her environment was ripe for a healthier lifestyle. The author felt that the environment could be incorporated anywhere if she invested time into designing a space that naturally moved her in the direction of her goals. 

Question, does my environment lend itself to me creating meaningful work? If yes, how? 

For me, my easel and writing pad are readily available in my living room. I rarely need to leave the house to create art and I feel most creative simply sitting down and working without distraction. I could do better job building a community around me of creative individuals but overall my environment is designed to move me towards my goals. 

What about you? 

The Japanese Paper Cut Artist

lime green windbreaker japan

He called himself the Paper Cut Artist. At least that's what was written on the sheet of laminated bluish construction paper he handed me. He spoke no English at first, just nodded and pointed to his name and his artwork around the small knick-knack shop. I liked the small man in the lime green windbreaker the moment I saw him. 

Judging by his work, it appeared he had been at the craft for more than thirty years. His cut out's appeared studied and intentional. The work of a man with a steady hand and a quiet mind. The artist is not throwing paint meticulously at a canvas. I imagine he wakes in the morning, boils water, adds a bag of Japanese Green Tea and heads to his desk to begin art making for the day. The desk is wooden with one shaky leg. Once he completes his work, he heads to the small shop located a few feet from Arashiyama, the Japanese Bamboo Forest, and waits for tourist.

The "Paper Cut Artist" does not sell his creations. My husband and I asked, "I do it for hobby," he murmured in broken English. 

A younger  PAPER cut artist    IN THe top left. 

A younger PAPER cut artist IN THe top left. 

paper cut out artist

Signs of Japan: Trump, Women's Rights, and How to Properly Use the Bathroom

One of the first things I noticed when my husband and I arrived in Tokyo, Japan were the street signs. They were everywhere, explaining everything. I was interested in how a city like Tokyo communicated its messages, honored traditions, and beliefs with foreigners like myself. 

Below are a few signs I found unique and worth sharing for obvious reasons. 

No Smoking While Walking

Smoke blow back is annoying and one thing was made clear in a city like Tokyo where 9.1 million people call home - respect. This sign prevents others from having to consume your toxic lifestyle. 

Ground sign in Tokyo

Ground sign in Tokyo


No elaborate caption necessary.  



Women Only

How do you prevent unwanted groping on public trains? Create a women's only car. Whether you find this to be a solution or a setback to women's rights, what is clear is something was done to address this growing danger in Japan. Read more about train groping in Japan here

Osaka Station 

Osaka Station 

How to use the restroom

Sometimes we all need a reminder. 



Don't Rush

New Yorkers take note. Running me down to catch the S train is mean: "Don't Rush Onto The Train." Also, the video circulating a couple years ago regarding people being shoved into a train is not completely accurate. We traveled to Japan during Golden Week,  a national holiday in which millions of people are off of work. Public transportation was busy, but not that busy. 

japan train station