I have an iPhone (now used only as iPod in Japan), so I take a lot of photos. For this post, I chose one photo that best represented each month in 2010. Here is my year in photos:
I went winter trail hiking in suburban Mokena with Brigid, my cousin Jayson and his wife Sarah. I never hiked as much as I would have liked in the south suburbs, so Jayson showed me this beautiful area close to his home. Afterwards, we ate pizza and watched Man on Wire.
I often take random walks in Chicago, and one winter night I decided to walk along the frozen Chicago River path. I took this picture of snowy stairs leading the way back up to Michigan Avenue.
Another picture of stairs! Brigid and I visited our friends Lauren and Tony in New York, and we randomly stopped in a café where a poetry reading was just finishing. I loved the poetic messages on these stairs. This was my second time in New York, and I must say that I like the city a lot more than I had originally thought I would.
Spring finally arrived in Chicago. I took this photo of a lovely day spring day while on one of my lunch breaks at Crain’s.
Another photo from a lunch break at Crain’s. This is an image of the raising of Michigan Avenue Bridge.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in June. To celebrate, Chicago honored the team with a parade. This is the view from a window at the Crain’s offices. The drunkards annoyed me, but the spirit of the parade was inspiring, even though I have never seen a Blackhawks game in person or on TV.
After a tearful goodbye with my family, I flew to Tokyo at the end of July. I stayed in Shinjuku, Tokyo for a few days before heading to rural Namerikawa. This is an image of the gothic towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. The architecture reminds me a bit of some Chicago buildings.
August in Japan was sweltering. I can still feel the sweat slowly dripping down my stomach. The extreme heat, however, did not stop me from biking around town and exploring my new home. This is an image of a rice field. I see lots of these in Namerikawa, yet they never seem to diminish in beauty.
I started to become more comfortable in my new home and my urge to see more of Japan grew stronger. This is a famous festival in Yatsuo, Toyama. I traveled there by myself one Friday evening. These were some Yatsuo dancers promoting the festival at the train station in Toyama.
I flew home to see my eldest brother Robert (always Bobby to me) get married! He and his wife Chere had a lovely wedding in Michigan with impeccable weather. Congrats Bobby and Chere!
I started to feel a little blah about Namerikawa, but my interest in Japan was renewed by a visit to Kyoto, one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. Jenson won an essay contest, so I accompanied him for a weekend trip to Japan’s former capital. Kyoto is home to some very historic temples and gardens, as well as to some fine-looking Japanese people! I think Jenson’s description of Kyoto describes the city very well: “sophisticated, but not pretentious.” This is an image of Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion.
It snowed heavily for the first time in Namerikawa on Christmas Eve. With my trusty snow boots, I plowed my way to the train station and headed to Toyama. As the snow kept falling with no end in sight, I met two friends for a nice, quiet dinner to discuss our New Year’s plans. On the train ride home, I met an older Japanese woman who asked me to read her essay in English. It was about the importance of the tea ceremony, a lovely Japanese tradition not only about tea, but also about devotion, self-restraint and harmony. We exchanged numbers and e-mails, and she invited me to stay in her home when I visit Osaka. It’s people like her who make me fall in love with Japan.