Falling for Japan

Outside, most of the leaves are dark green, heavy and wet with mist. Here on October 15, however, some of them are starting to catch fire. It hasn’t happened all at once, though. Some are bright—burnished and burned like a gold kettle left on the hob too long. Others are speckled emerald and red with brown filigree—butterflies fluttering as the last raindrops from the passing shower tap their wings. It’ll be weeks before the rest of the trees start to glow, but it’s October and fall has found me again.DSC_0008.jpg

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How I Learned to Love Shakespeare

I’ve always loved words, but it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I encountered the unsettling assumption that all word people love William Shakespeare. Sure, I felt that it was a good thing to read Shakespeare and I really did enjoy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but you wouldn’t find me standing on my bed in a thunderstorm reciting The Tempest or joining Team Love or Team Infatuation in heated lunchroom debates over Romeo and Juliet. I knew all the important quotations: “To be or not to be,” “Alas, poor Yorrick,” “Beware the ides of March,” “All the world’s a stage”…You know. The essentials.

Here I was, about to become an English major in college, and I could only quote Marc Antony’s speech from Julius Caesar and the entirety of Prairie Home Companion’s hilarious “Six-Minute Hamlet.” Sooner or later, they’d find out I was an imposter.

In the spring semester, however, I met the Bard. Continue reading

“Small Lessons:” An Essay about 7-11 in Japan

If you’ve ever wondered how 7-11 can be dear to your heart, you can read about it in my essay, “Small Lessons,” recently published in Tales to Go by Traveler’s Tales!

The magazine does require a subscription to view the volume, but the essays found there are well worth a read!


Here’s a small sample of my essay:

I have a confession to make. I think I’m in love with a 7-11. Now, before I go too much farther, let me try to assuage your appropriate horror by saying that this newfound love found me, not here in the United States, but in the little lakeside town of Yamanakako, Japan.

Our meeting was sudden, and we met each other through Valerie, one of my new classmates at the school we were attending together. It turns out that Valerie, having lived in Japan for ten years, was an old friend of 7-11. I watched her gleeful expression, the face of someone holding a present behind her back, and wondered why she couldn’t wait to introduce us. Perhaps she didn’t realize that I had been burned before by a 7-11, that there was a long history of road trips to Texas, to California, and to everywhere else stretching between us.

If you like, read the rest here: Small Lessons at Tales to Go

Filling the Well

I always grow excited for the turn of autumn. I eagerly await the leaves, the first golds and oranges to be burnished into brilliance by the first wisps of chilly breezes that say snows, scarves, and socks are on their way. I find that this year, I am looking forward to autumn more than usual.

This past summer was a hard one, filled with many extremes of happiness and pain and just as many lessons. Perhaps it is for this reason that I find myself looking towards that time of year when everything else is changing, too.

A few days ago, I returned from a long vacation up north to the unknown wilds of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Idaho may not seem too wild to you, but for someone who has never been there before, it held mystery enough. My family and I stayed several places during our travels, and we saw many lakes in all three states we visited. Now, I’ve seen the ocean from many parts of the world, and I’ve seen lakes in just about as many places, but no matter how many times I’ve seen them, I am continually in awe of large bodies of water. Blue is my favorite color, and water, often dressing in the color of the sky, astounds me in the way it can be so many other colors at the same time. Continue reading


“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Recently, I Journeyed. In this upper case, I mean to say that I played the game called Journey, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in a virtual world. Continue reading

One Thousand

A Japanese legend holds that if someone folds one thousand cranes, that person will receive one wish.
DSC_0023I’d heard this story before traveling to Japan. A thousand miles from here, at a paper shop in a small town at the base of Mount Fuji called Fujiyoshida, my sister and I found a box containing one thousand little papers to fold into one thousand cranes. We looked at each other and immediately knew that was something we wanted to do. Continue reading