August 30, 2011

August 29, 2011

Mish Mash

  • I went to see The Help this weekend. I liked the movie almost as much as the book.
  • I think I lost my phone at the theater. I haven't had it since. Maybe I should call to check on that. I'm kind of happy being without it, though.
  • While in Hiroshima, we learned of the story of Sadako and her cranes. They are now using the thousands of cranes they get each year to light the lanterns on August 6th. I have been learning how to make them, because I want to send a bunch to be put in the lanterns.
  • I'm back working out and eating better again. My body really notices. It's making the arthritis way worse (I can barely move my hands today), but that's kind of how it works. It gets worse before it gets better. But I'm trying to avoid the nastiest of the medicines during this 2 month reprieve I've been given, and this is the only way I know how.
  • Two batches of fruit leather are made, the bus sign is hung by the driveway, and uniforms that fit were separated from the ones that don't. Yes, school definitely starts tomorrow.
  • We had two different times of C-man choosing to/not to butt in with a situation to help a friend this weekend. The first time, I told him he shouldn't have. (Mostly, because he was butting in where he didn't belong after a fight had happened.) The second time, was a case of one kid bullying another kid and him not stepping in because we'd talked earlier in the day about him not always butting in. They were different situations (The first one was him getting in the middle of an argument, the second bullying), but to his 6 year old eyes it's either "I do stand up for my friends or I don't." It's very hard to describe when to do the right thing and make sense. I'm afraid I really screwed up in explaining, because he clearly got the wrong message from me, and is now just confused.
  • With help from the ladies at the yarn store, I'm back knitting my sweater. A trip to and from Japan and a little more, and I almost have a sleeve/front done. This is going to take a while...

August 28, 2011

Social lives

Cman had his first sleepover last night while we went to a wedding. He was positively buzzing about how great it was. Today, he had a friend's birthday party, during which, he got a call from a summer camp friend to come over and the neighbor kid looking to see if he could play. When did I get a teenage boy whose social life keeps him away from home more than in it?

August 27, 2011

Me on travel

The other night, I was watching Billy Connolly's Journey to the Edge of the World. If you haven't seen it, this guy travels the Northwestern Passage through Canada, meeting all kinds of cool people and seeing great things. And throughout it, he keeps enthusiastically saying things like, "This is life changing," and "I don't know how this made me different, but I'm sure it has."

And I loved it. Because THAT explains why I love traveling to different places so much. Each person I meet, each new thing I see, each photo I learn to take a bit better, every tidbit of information I learn, every mountain I climb, every ocean I taste, every animal I see, every new bit or bite of language I hear, every new custom I experience... I'm learning something new, doing something new, experiencing something new. And I firmly believe that makes me a much better person.

Another thing I love is that travel reminds me that people are people everywhere you go. Yes, the food is different, the dress is different, the customs and manners can be very different. But in the end, people are the same. Children giggle in the same ways and their parents love them in the same ways. Husbands and wives fight and love each other, too. People are stressed about their jobs and their families. They want to look good for others. They want to be loved. They want to live up to others' expectations. While all this is seemingly obvious, until it slaps you in the face in somewhere so completely foreign, sometimes while watching two sisters count the steps to the top of a temple together much like I do with my own son, you tend forget about it a little. At least I do.

I understand that everyone needs a relaxing vacation. Decompression is important for all of our health and sanity, and if it can be done with family or close friends with the chance to reconnect, all the better. And I fully get that not everyone is jacked to be up and on a subway by 5:00 a.m. on vacation to get the chance to see a tuna auction on the other side of one of the world's largest cities. (I'm a bit of a junkie with things like that.) But the tendency of many around me to only take these completely non-thinking types of vacations - the type where they check out with rum punch in their hands that's already paid for with the room, and call it travel - I fully believe they're missing it. Missing the real life and the real learning that is happening out there. Missing a learning opportunity to grow and think differently. Missing the chance to be someone different.

I know I took away innumerable things from our brief stay in Japan. It made me want to look at other people in a much softer light. It made me want to remember to forgive others more quickly. It made me want to learn more about other religions I hadn't thought much about before. It made me want to slow down the pace a bit and remember who is important in my life. It made me think of tofu as a possible real food. It made me want a little more order and beauty in my own daily life.

And I know that all that and more has changed me immeasurably. In ways I don't even know how quite yet. But that's really the beauty of it. And that is why I appreciate travel so much.

August 26, 2011


The hummingbird moth is back again this year
  • I can't even explain how happy I am to have this week done.
  • We have to go to a wedding tomorrow (someone on Beerman's team). I know I sent a gift, but have no idea what it was. Wedding gifts don't feel personal to me anymore - they're just a check box online. You put in your credit card, and voila, you may or may not get recognition that you even sent it. How did we get to that?
  • I should probably figure out what I'm going to wear to this thing.
  • C-man is going to a friend's house for his first-ever sleepover while we're at the wedding. He's so excited, he wants to start packing today.
  • I'm curious to see if he takes any stuffed animals, or if he leaves them behind. There's a real consciousness about being a first grader now.
  • Sunday, C-man has a friend's birthday party to attend. I don't think this one will involve any snakes around his neck like last week's party.
  • The child's social life is extraordinary.
  • I've started back with my personal trainer again. I need some accountability to keep moving. There's something so very sad about that.
  • I have started knitting a new sweater. It's a French pattern, so everything is measured in centimeters. I am only on the first sleeve and had to stop in at the yarn store to get help on what one stage actually meant. It took 3 yarn ladies reading the pattern before we could collectively figure it out. I felt a little better that I wasn't just being dumb - the pattern is pretty poorly written. I hope I can make it through, because it wasn't cheap yarn.
  • Beerman said that I'm finally knitting in the right season - starting in summer, so I'll be done in winter. Smart ass.
  • School starts on Tuesday. I can't even believe it's here already. I guess we need to put out our bus stop sign this weekend.
  • I sure hope Irene isn't as nasty as they're saying she's going to be. It looks like our weather is supposed to be fantastic this weekend.

August 25, 2011

Thursday Thirteen things I've learned recently

  1. Mark all important dates, like weddings you're attending for example, on the calendar. Lest you forget until the Wednesday prior and have to scramble for a babysitter.
  2. Reliable friends are invaluable.
  3. Buying a present for the weekend's birthday party is a lot less stressful when you actually do it before the day of the party.
  4. When considering dropping the cleaning crew down to every other week, laugh at yourself and continue doing what you were doing. Walking in the house on Wednesdays is too divine to give up when you don't have to.
  5. Paying $60 for a bike tune up does not mean the brakes will actually work post-tune up.
  6. My eye wrinkles really start to show after I forget to put moisturizer on for a week or so.
  7. Just because I'm less than a month off from my last vacation doesn't mean I'm not pining for my next one. (How do I get that travel photography job?) Maybe I should finish paying the bills from this one first...
  8. It is possible to fall in love a little bit more with your child each day.
  9. It's good to listen to others who complain about their husband's awful behavior a little. It makes you appreciate yours that much more.
  10. New mattresses are God-sends.
  11. I miss the Japanese toilets. Not the squatty potties, but the toilets with the ocean sounds and the bazillion buttons to push. It made it all a little more entertaining.
  12. It's never too early to start making your Christmas list.
  13. Deciding what to be for Halloween is a very important decision that should be considered for hours with many different catalogs and discussions.

August 23, 2011

Randomly speaking

  • I saw my rheumatologist today. I swear they employ vampires there, with the inordinate amount of blood they draw out of me each visit.
  • I'm sticking with the same drugs for 2 more months. Something that makes me happy; my doctor not so much. He wants me on something else. In 2 months, I said.
  • I've been making a conscious effort to stop saying "No" to C-man so much, and instead saying, "Yes". Not that I've become a total pushover on everything. But I was getting into the habit of saying no just out of habit, and that was just dumb. This way is a lot less stressful. It also means there may be another fun day in our future before school starts.
  • School actually starts next week. I can hardly believe it! With losing June to such crap weather, living at the baseball diamond for so many weekends, and being gone 2 weeks in Japan, this summer went by crazy fast.
  • So crazy fast, we skipped the Arthritis Run to Irish Fest this year. The first time in the last 5 years. It was just too much to put into our schedules. Plus, C-man had another birthday party to go to, and that seemed more important.
  • I'm really, really loving this end of the years Brewers run. What fun it is. Not to mention, it delays the Packers talk a bit.
  • We have tickets for the Cardinals series. Not like the Cardinals can catch the Brewers, but it should be a decent series, nonetheless.
  • C-man's friends are all signing up for flag football this year. He had no interest in joining them. So while on a bike ride, I asked him about it a bit more, because I was really surprised he didn't want to do it. He was afraid that because he didn't know the rules, he would look dumb. Now that he knows no one knows the rules, he's all in. I can't believe I just talked my kid into playing football!
  • It's going to storm a lot today. It doesn't make me feel good, but I still like to watch the rain anyway.

August 22, 2011


The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. ~ Dalai Lama

August 21, 2011

Back to life, back to reality

As if being wholeheartedly welcomed back to reality, Cman has an ear infection. They won't diagnose a kid under 10 with sinus infection, but with my momoctorate, I say it's a sinus infection, too. I've been paying bills (When you go to the ATM on vacation and pull out Yen, it actually costs real Dollars apparently. A lot of them, in fact.) and trying to clean up the house between much needed breaks - the arthritis isn't all that great this week. I'm now completely convinced I need to kick the gluten from my diet. And exercise a lot more, but that part goes without saying. I'm incredibly thankful for the ability to have weekly cleaners, because I'd not be able to do the toilets and showers like this. In other reality-related news, Cman got his first homework assignment- the official "What I did this summer." He thinks he should take his ninja sword. We disagree. Regardless, he can't wait for school to start. I'm so thankful for having found a place that really suits him.

In the meantime, I'm going to try to enjoy the beautiful day the best I can, and cheer the Brewers on to another win. Hope you enjoy yours, too!

August 20, 2011

Tooth Fairy visits again

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, it was such fun to see those little teeth pop through those pink gums. It was a sign that our baby was developing as he should. (And a stop to that awful biting he liked to do while eating just before a tooth broke through!)

Now, I have a 6 year old jumping with glee, tooth in hand and a bloody mouth. And it costs me $3. Getting older sure is fun.

August 19, 2011

My kind of town, Chicago...

Last night, we decided on an impulse to take the day off and take the train to Chicago. (I haven't worked a full week in ages, so why start now?) The original intent was to go to Shedd Aquarium. But C-man decided this morning that tanks of fish would freak him out today, so we should do the Field Museum instead. Which was fine with me, because I hadn't been there in years. So he put on his Packers jersey (He WAS going to Illinois, after all. Seriously - I had no part in this trash talking, it was all him.), and we hopped on the train. We arrived with no problem and he got to take his first taxi ride ever to the museum.

He was less than thrilled with having to pose by the dinosaur. But it cracked me up endlessly.
We had loads of fun in the hands-on area, creating our own artwork, playing the drums, and excavating our own dinosaurs.
But eventually that all wore off, and we were tired and wanted to go outside. So we left the museum and went out to walk around a bit before our train departed. With his new owl, of course.
We hung out around the lakefront for a bit, watching the airplanes practice for this weekend's air show, before eventually taking the boat over to Navy Pier.

Then we took a cab to the station, took the train back to Milwaukee, and were so tired that we missed our stop and had to call Beerman to come get us to take us back. (At least the station wasn't too far from his work.) HA! Oh well. It happens, I guess. Overall, a pretty fun day with a sleeping kid in the car on the ride home.

August 18, 2011

Last weeks of summer

I've made it past Hump Day of this week. That seems like something to really celebrate right now. I don't know if it's still jetlag, or the weird low-front weather, or the full moon, or just me being me, but I haven't been sleeping. At.all. I see the bad Genie Bra commercials at 2 a.m., hear the nasty neighborhood cats prowling about at 3 a.m., and hear the birds who survived the cats start chirping around 4:30 a.m. No remedy has worked, and since Beerman's been in Ohio this week (he's finally coming home today), I haven't wanted to knock myself out with anything stronger in case C-man wakes up in the middle of the night. Whatever it is, I'm hoping it passes soon because it's sort of killing me.

Other than that, things are really back to normal in our end-of-summer lives. The school supplies are bought, the new uniforms are ordered, and C-man is talking excitedly about his giant math book that he gets this year. (I might have to think more seriously about looking into who his mother actually is...) The bikes are being ridden, the late night front yard soccer games are being played, the garden tomatoes being eaten, and the Brewers are being closely followed. (If you want a laugh, check out the comments on the Cardinals' Facebook fanpage. Hil-arious!) So all in all, pretty good stuff. I just wish I were a little more awake to enjoy it more!

August 16, 2011

Memories fading into the shadows

Because I still can't wrap my mind around being back, or because my mind won't wrap around anything very coherently quite yet to write about anything else, here are some highlights of my 10 days in Japan:

Funniest moment
While walking down the hill from Ginkakuji, Beerman proclaimed, "I'm hotter than a $2 whore on nickel night." While funny in its own right, for some reason, while hot and unbearably sweaty, this tore us up so much we couldn't even breathe.

Most endearing moment
While at a restaurant in Nara for a traditional Kaiseiki 7-course dinner at a place that was gorgeous beyond belief, but spoke no English, the owner/chef brought out a seed catalog to show us what was in the dish. He wrote down "spinach" because he couldn't pronounce it. When we said,"spinach" he repeated "spanish!" We said, "Yes, spi-nach". He excitedly said, "spanish!" He turned around, went into the kitchen and shouted, "Spanish!" to cheers of the entire kitchen. I'm pretty sure we'll always refer to spinach as Spanish now.
Most beautiful location
The zen gardens of Ginkakuji in Kyoto.

Best meal
We had several great ones, including the aforementioned kaiseiki dinner and a shabu-shabu hotpot dinner eaten on a low table over tatami mats. But my winner goes to a lunch at Idataki near Kinkakuji in Kyoto. I had crab croquettes, rice and tea. And it was marvelous.

Grossest thing
There were so many gross looking seafood things, I can't name, let alone pick just one.

Most surprising moment
Being swept up in a sea of Hiroshima Carp baseball team red, all on their way from the train station to the stadium.

Unexpected idiosyncrasy
Japanese toilets all have a "waterfall" noise option. Meaning there is actual rushing water into the toilet, or the mere noise of rushing water, the moment you sit down. I can only assume it is to be so typically discreet.

Most emotional moment
Standing in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial after walking through the exhibit, and looking out into the park with thousands of people waiting hours in line to pray in front of the memorial. People who knew people who had perished.

Best thing I learned
Just about everything while at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. That was an amazing learning experience.

Thing I liked that I hadn't expected to
Riding on the bullet trains

Favorite temple or shrine
Kasuga Taisha in Nara - Maybe because it was my first one, but I really loved how quiet it was, and how the monks were walking everywhere amongst all the lanterns

August 15, 2011

Bridge to reality

Aaaaand, it's back to the grind. Up at 6 a.m. to shower, empty the dishwasher, do my hair, eat breakfast, pick up the house, and race out the door to go to work. The jetlag is a wee bit better today than yesterday. Then again, we're not recovering from a wedding and driving 4 hours home today either, so who can tell.

Today, everyone is naturally asking, "So how was it?" How can I answer that? How do I start to describe the gentle nature of the Japanese? How do I explain how efficiency reigns over all and it's why there are so many rules so strictly adhered to in a quiet, deffering manner? How do I describe the beautiful temples and shrines, the amazing buildings, the beautiful shoes, the meals prepared with care, the 7-course kaiseiki dinner where the chef came out with a seed catalog to explain what was in each dish? How do I talk about the so many funny little moments we experienced? How do I describe how everyone bows with respect, even if you aren't looking, because you just might be looking and how would you feel if you did and they weren't bowing as they should be? How do I talk about the rubber food in all the restaurant windows? How do I talk about the train attendants efficient, yet friendly manner? How do I describe the markets and the streets and the sheer number of people? How do I talk about the yellow armbanded people in the train station whose job is to literally push more people on to the trains? How do I describe the chaos in the Shinjuku train station - the world's busiest - and its 2 million daily passengers? How do I talk about the beautifully sculpted gardens? The meticulously clean everything?

The answer? I don't. Instead, I respond, "Fabulous." Because, well, it pretty much was. But it does make coming back to reality just that much harder.

August 14, 2011

There and back again

We spent the weekend on the road and then at a lovely family wedding. Only 3 cousins weren't able to make it, which is saying something in a larger family. And everything really was beautiful. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't eternally grateful for arriving back home again. Today feels like the worst of the jetlag for both of us so far. I could almost cry at the mere thought of returning to work tomorrow. The one bright spot is that Operation Grandparent Detox is going well. We're also enjoying the sunny, non-humid, non-100 degree temperatures we returned home to enjoy. It's hard to believe it's all over and it's back to the grind again. Here's to a jetlag-free week!

August 12, 2011

A few things I learned in Japan

  • You can ask a question and get the same result (Would you like to view this from the outside?)
  • Addressing a problem directly is wholly unnecessary.
  • There is no such thing as a gutter that is too clean.
  • It is not necessary to walk and eat all the time.
  • When it's 100 degrees and super humid, it's smart to carry a washcloth for the dripping sweat.
  • Paper towel in the bathroom is not an expectation.
  • Neither is soap.
  • Everything can be made into a gelatin. Everything.
  • Unless it can be pickled.
  • Tame deer will shamelessly steal your sushi.
  • Just because it looks like chocolate does not mean it is chocolate. It's most likely red beans.
  • It is a mistake to think a bus/train/streetcar/subway/elevator is full. There is always room for at least 50 more. Maybe even 100. (If you're in Shinjuku Station, you will see people with yellow armbands employed to push you on board.)
  • You can never have too many karaoke bars on one street.
  • When cheering for the Yakult Swallows, don't forget your umbrella with which to taunt the other side when you get a run.
  • Seeing someone make their arms into a giant "X" is a pretty universal sign that you're doing it wrong.
  • If you want a cup of tea, just walk into a store and look around. You will be offered one within 20 seconds.
  • It may be the land of the wee, but the shoes are anything but. The higher the better.
  • Each hotel room as multiple maids, each with his/her own job. (One is a bed stripper, one is a bed maker, one is a bathroom cleaner, one is a garbage taker, etc)
  • If you arrive back at the hotel before housekeeping is done, plan to watch them sprint ahead of you en masse to make everything spotless before you can reach the door.
  • If something is marked as "spicy", order it. It will actually have some flavor and not be even remotely hot.
  • Everything edible has a chewy texture.
  • Only foreign banks will let you take out money from the ATMs.
  • Finding a foreign card ATM is important, because a credit card is rarely accepted.
  • Every dish and every sauce has its own special type of container and utensil and should not be mixed.
  • You always wash your hands before eating.
  • Eat carefully, because you'll rarely get a napkin.
  • Slurping your noodles is perfectly acceptable.
  • You pay by going to the cashier and putting the money on a tray that is provided.
  • You always get your change put in your hand.
  • If you're not sure what the subway fare is, pay the minimum amount. Then pay the additional at the clearly marked fare adjustment machine before you leave.
  • You can never have enough bling or charms attached to your cell phone.
  • Bikes can ride anywhere - sidewalks, roads - and they have no specific rules to follow.
  • Tea is usually consumed after lunch or dinner, not with it. Even if it's iced. There's an occasional altering of this rule, but it's only occasional.
  • If a hotel has a "rest" rate, you probably don't want to stay there.
  • A red lantern outside a restaurant indicates it has an all-you-can-drink option.
  • You need to queue up for anything. If you are not in the queue, you will be ignored and passed by, not allowed in the line.
  • Everything is on time. Always.
  • Except for restaurants. Restaurants may or may not be open according to their posted hours, depending on what they feel like that given day.

August 9, 2011

Eeking out every little bit

It's our last few hours in Japan. Being how we are, we woke with the sunrise at 4:45 to get on the subway to head to the famous Tsukiji Fish Market.
All the books say to get there early, because that's when the fish come in. Like everything in Tokyo, this market is so big, it was quite overwhelming. Hand trucks and motorized fork lifts were whizzing around everywhere, running over your feet if you didn't move quickly enough. People were everywhere. Fish and ice boxes were everywhere. And yet, it all had a specific order about it.
To see the fish and other seafood come in and get cut apart with enormous sword-like knives and exact precision was really an experience. Seeing the enormous tuna was really the most impressive. And surprisingly, it didn't smell much.

I didn't even know what a lot of the non-fish stuff was, but it was pretty cool.

That was, until a police officer gave me the official "X" with his arms (I'm sensing a pattern here!) and told us the market was closed to visitors until 9 a.m. (Why do the guidebooks encourage this if it's not open?)

We'd seen quite a bit at that point, though, and Beerman had been eyeing up the handmade knives all week. So we left the fish market and headed up the street to Masamoto's knife shop. It's a 240 year old family-run knife shop frequented by Tokyo chefs for their kitchens. This is the current Masamoto in charge, sharpening our very own brand new Tokyo-style vegetable knife.
And now, we are finishing our packing and heading to the bus to make the long trek home. What a fantastic experience it has been. My feet are so incredibly sore, and my heart aches to see that little left dimple. I guess that means it's time to go.

See you on the other side!

Last Full Day

At the end of the day, I turned to Beerman and said, "Why are we always so tired on our vacations?" Without missing a beat, he replied, "Because you had us on the other side of Tokyo before 9 a.m. looking for sumo wrestlers."
Okay, maybe he has a point. But we did make it across the city to Ryogoku and saw the national sumo stadium. I rubbed this guy's belly for good luck. (Way cooler than the Florence boar, as far as I'm concerned.)
We also found a few sumo stables (seriously, they're called stables). I went into this one, (Kasaguano) because a guide book said that sometimes they let you watch. A big dude was polite, but told us we couldn't stay by making a big "X" out of his arms. Regardless, I can say I found sumo wrestlers and was actually in a stable.
From there, we moved to the Imperial Garden. I was told by someone very official I was going the wrong way there, too. Again, with the giant "X" of the arms. Beerman thinks it's awesome that I always get very official people scolding me, even in other languages.
From the gardens, we went through another market area, Ameyoko this time.
After market shopping and some lunch, we headed to Ginza. Ginza is the highest end shopping area of town.
And ohhh, the beautiful windows.  And the shoes...
Hot, tired, but completely happy, we stopped into the Sapporo Beer Garden to toast our good fortune. We covered 48 miles today according to the GPS, and had another day of amazing experiences. Kampai!

August 8, 2011

Tune in, Tokyo

We rode the express bullet train  2.5 hours at 180 mph to Tokyo today. I really do love those trains. We checked in, figured out the subway system, found a geocache, and made our way to the Tokyo Tower.

250 meters up, we got a panoramic view of the city. And this city is crazy and unfathomably big. As with everywhere in Japan, clausterphobia is non-existant. Just when you think, "No way can anyone else fit on this subway/elevator/bus", 50 more people pile on with no one getting off. It's really quite amazing.
Beerman's one request for this trip was that once we get to Tokyo, we spend the extra money to get in a high rise hotel. I got us a corner room. And wow, am I glad.
It definitely is a change of pace from temples and tame deer lounging about by zen gardens.

August 7, 2011

Travel follies

These are, hands down, the most expensive photos I've ever gotten. Why? You might ask. Well, because it took walking to the bus station, taking a bus from our hotel to the subway, taking the subway to the train, taking the train from Kyoto to Hiroshima.

The train for which we were waiting when I got scolded by this guy for being too far out taking photos of hte bullet train. And we just might have been sold tickets to Hakata, which is an hour past Hiroshima and maybe not even realized it until we were on the train, to the tune of an additional $400. The good news is it's the same direction and we somehow communicated what happened at the Hiroshima station, and got the return trip changed and got the return leg's money back. (Competence is everywhere here, even when you don't share the same language.)
But not over yet, we then took a subway from Hiroshima to Miyajima. And then a ferry from Miyajima to the island. And finally, we made it to the floating torii.
But the great news is, I got it. A million photos of the infamous floating gate from a variety of angles at high tide. (With each snap, Beerman remarked, "Is that the million dollar photo we're matting? Because you know we are blowing this thing up and hanging it. How about that one? Is that the photo we're showing off?")

But, as with all trips, when you're open to it, you also get so much more. Like the chance to light incense to some scary-looking god for Kate.
Having fun eating street food all day long.
Octopus on a stick anyone?
 Beerman enjoyed the fresh oysters everywhere.
We got 2 geocaches, and got the chance to take the Dodge Dart traveler we've been carrying for someone on a few extra (5000) miles.
But it was so laid back and enjoyable, I got the chance to take pictures of real life going on. Like this boy that made me laugh out loud.
And the squealing girl trying to get in the water while not getting wet.
And one of my favorite shots to date of this woman, sitting by the sea, cooling off.
It was after this that we visited Hiroshima and the peace memorial and ceremony (yesterday's blog). It was truly an amazing day that I will remember for so many reasons for the rest of my life.