Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A year of photos 2009 Jan-May

for once, maybe I won't talk too much

Edogawa River at sunset (Chiba, Japan)
Funabashi gamblers make their way home (Chiba, Japan)

smoke/ art break near Shinonome, Tokyo

a quiet shrine in rural Chiba, Japan

children avoid snowflakes with pink umbrellas, Funabashi, Chiba, Japan

Joe and a 31.05 meter tall Buddha stare each other down in rural Chiba, Japan
"When when god knocks you down another lifts you up," a student once told me. Rural Chiba, Japan
Strange days and places, Seoul, South Korea
ha ha ha, that petty man is no longer my boss! Seoul, South Korea


Nikko, Japan
Nikko Japan
A local shrine in Funabashi, Chiba, Japan
Part of my commute to work by bike, Toyoso, Tokyo, Japan


public art and smog in Shanghai, China

Bell Tower at dusk, Xi'an China

sometimes posing with your water buffalo is more profitable than plowing fields. Yanshuo, China
I could spend weeks looking this view. Dazai, China

a bamboo boat ride down the Li River. Ping An, China
Sunrise at the top of one of China's sacred mountains. HuaShan, China

more to come...

Monday, December 22, 2008

"god's will" or whatever

Yesterday, someone took my pants. I believe they were stolen from the washer in my friend's apartment building, or at least all the current evidence points to it. And yet, I'm not so angry. I'm not so upset. Though I'm not a subscriber to organized religion per se, what I feel in my life is as close as I can imagine to trusting it all up to "the will of god". Or joyfully resigning yourself to destiny or fate.

It took me days, months really, to decide what to keep to pack in my not so big backpack and what to throw out or what to send for safe keeping or to give away. The things I decided were going with me to South America were a small percentage of my wardrobe and then to have the things that I'd finally decided on stolen in Oregon... it's a kink I'm surprised by and not happy with. But then again, if it's "god's will" or whatever.

I'm not going to go holly roller on everyone but it's hard to find the vocabulary to describe this feeling. It's similar to when a stranger smiles at me from across the milonga and I smile back, agreeing to dance a series of tango songs together. We step on to the dance floor, usually not exchanging names or any small talk. My right hand takes his left. My left arm wraps around his shoulders and his right around my back or waste. We are cheek to cheek, chest to chest. He knows the smell of my hair and I can tell if he shaved recently. I close my eyes and together we conquer the dance floor.

We move as the music wills, avoiding dozens of other couples, strangers to each other but in a lovers embrace, racing among each other. In the dance, my eyes are closed to all other distractions. I do not think of the other beautiful dancers, who I might like to smile at later, who I might like to emulate in terms of style, of who is happy and who is not, if the lights have dimmed or who is moving toward the exit. My eyes are closed so my senses are tuned on the music, most that I have heard dozens of times and that enthralls me every time. My senses are tuned to my partner who is sending me everything I need to know though his body. I feel where his feet land and where to move. And a step and a sweep and a turn. the music spins us around. I am not distracted by the danger of running into the other couples. I keep my feet under me, making my movements small and beautiful. Careful and graceful. I move so as to respond quickly as to not endanger myself or others with my new two and a half inch heels.

I am balanced, holding my height and strength above my own feet. I am confident in my movements. I listen with all my senses to my partner before I move. I have trusted my sight to him and when I move I do so with out hesitation or doubt or distraction. I land on my own feet and am ready for the next step.

And so it is with nearly half the clothes I was planning to take stolen. It's a turn I wasn't expecting. But I'm on my feet and am ready to respond. I'm not distracted by their sentimentality or base unfairness of my pants being stolen (ok ok, maybe a tiny bit). I'm deciding what to replace and what I don't really need after all. Really, I many not need any of it after all. I think I'll just pack a little lighter.

and the adventures continue...

(theft not considered, it's been great being back)

Monday, December 15, 2008


The last ten days of Japan were perhaps typical of any major life transition. A "to do" list a million miles long, not enough sleep, intense time with friends, tears, excitement, and a general sense of reality not quite catching up with the timeline of life.

I think I have never gone though a major transition in any other state than massively sleep deprived. It is first for practical reasons. When I wasn't working, I was packing, or studying for the Japanese test, or seeing/drinking with friends. There was a little sleep thrown in there but not as much as would have been ideal.

But then again, with more sleep the crystal clarity of what I was doing--leaving a life that has treated me well for something almost completely unknown--was a bit dulled and easier to deal with. Not to say that I'm not happy with my choices; I am very happy with my choices. But that doesn't mean they don't frighten me too.

I had banked on sleeping from 3pm Thursday Tokyo time to 7am Thursday Portland Oregon time (or about 9 hours) as I almost always sleep the whole flight without any problems. Instead I ended up having a great conversation about the meaning of life with a complete stranger. Or maybe not. We were both kinda sure we'd maybe met in a previous life.

"I can see it in your eyes," he says to me, "your on your path. And your ready, I can see you're on the top of your game."

8 hours later, I woke up in the middle of an epic 24 hour "nap" looked in the mirror and realized one of my eyes was almost completely swollen shut, oozing grossness, and completely red. Luckily, I don't think that's what the stranger was talking about. I sure hope not.

I'm now on day four, almost looking normal and still have this going through my mind:

Kori's Id: scratchy, itch it. Itchy, scratch it. eye ball eye ball eye ball....
Rational Kori: no. no. think of something else. shut up Id, I hate you. no. arg....

I'm feeling it though. I'm feeling like I'm on the right path. I sit in my brother's kitchen, snow on the ground, sun shining in, waiting for some hippies I met last night to swing back around and give me a lift to Eugene where my friends are waiting. I'm a bit concerned that the hippie boys are much longer than they said they'd be but if it doesn't pan out, I'll head down by bus tomorrow and that will be ok too.

One of the things this is about is gaining flexibility.

the adventures continue...

(and pictures will continue too when I get the machines talking to each other again...)