January 25, 2016

200th post: without you, I’m nothing

I’d like to revisit the raison d’etre for this blog, which I described right at its birth in February 2007: “This blog is written mostly for my family and close friends in Canada and the US to keep them up to date and bridge the distance”…and so it remains.

The fact is that I also write this blog for myself as a sort of time capsule of the development and life events of the Rising Daughters, and some of the challenges they sometimes face. The words will preserve the reality of rearing rugrats -- the joys and occasional adversity – so they will not fade into memory over time. I love my family very much.  If this chronicle can somehow capture the pride I feel about the way my daughters are blossoming into fine young people to those of you reading it – even just a handful of amigos and relatives – then I am more than satisfied.

When will the Rising Daughters® blog end? I do not know. There will come a time to say sayonara, but I don’t see that on the event horizon just yet. I still enjoy writin’ ‘em, so I hope you still enjoy reading the posts. It’s that simple, and as long as good vibe keeps going, why stop?

But I will never forget that, as the old saying goes, “without you I am nothing."

January 17, 2016

2015: Picture perfect

I will inaugurate this new year by looking back at 2015. Trolling through the many photos taken last year – and in prior years --  I thought how fortunate I am to be able to show readers how flawless my family is, that is to say:
- The Rising Daughters, from their entry into the world onward, have been little angels who remain well behaved at all times (to this day).
- As sisters, they are courteous to each other and strive every day to become perfect young adults.
- Nobody in this family ever gets exhausted, cranky or sick.
- Our children do not become unreasonable, inconsolable or uncontrollable. They don’t ruin rare moments during precious holidays or trips outside the home.
- As family scribe and photographer, I never ask for too many photos. And if you look at the accumulated trove of photos, it seems I have lots of free time and no job.
- Our familial relations are always without acrimony or difficulties.
- Parenting is easy.

You get the “big picture” right? The Rising Family is spotless, without conventional everyday problems or irrational behavior. Of course we are! The images in this blog always tell the real story…

With tongue firmly removed from cheek, allow me to add a bit of color to the photos that follow to offer some true semblance of what transpired in the year 2015. It was, overall, a good year for the Rising Family.

January means Hello KittyLand, officially known as Sanrio Pureland. As has become a tradition, we celebrate Elena’s birthday with Hello Kitty. We are assaulted by color and sound, and keep coming back for more.

We fight the February blues with ersatz Hawaiian warmth at the Hawaiians Spa, in Iwaki Prefecture north of Tokyo.

March: We visited LEGOLAND Discovery Center in the Odaiba area of Tokyo. It was quite the organized tour o’ fun. Here, I’ve captured E. & M. before they got into a squabble over the last few “takoyaki” fried octopus balls after a day in the hallowed LEGOLAND.

Tokyo Disneyland in April to celebrate a birthday. T-shirts come out. I need write nothing else, no?

Japan’s social order astounds me even after living here 19 years. My amateur sociological musings aside, the oldest daughter reminded me what genuine enthusiasm is. Here she is part of the cheering squad at her school’s sports day.

July: Marina had more fun at her school’s summer festival this year than last. Perhaps because she is a sophomore?

August = trip to Hiroshima, Miyajima fireworks (outstanding) and Shimonoseki was hot, happy and mostly hilarious. An unforgettable family vacation!

A fan’s late September last view of the ballpark this season. Hiroshima Carp versus the Yokohama DeNA BayStars. One last whiff of the grass. In the MLB, the Blue Jays gave me some serious joy, albeit half a world away.

Heavy workload in October forced pre-sunrise train departures on my commute. I just like this picture.

Getting away from it all by going under. Under pressure to have fun at 50 feet with Mikhail Parronovich, dive buddy extraordinaire.

Staycation over the holidays. Cheating a bit here (it is technically January), but we went to Tokyo Tower on New Year’s day. It did not disappoint.

Hello, 2016. Full speed ahead!