Thin Places: Shimoda, Japan

7There are thin places
on earth
where heaven
seems close enough to touch.

There are probably more than we know.

In March,
for my birthday,
we spent a weekend
in a small hotel
outside Shimoda.
Snuggled at the bottom
of the Izu Peninsula,
the port of Shimoda was,
in the 1850s,
the first to welcome
American trade.

The invisible door
between Japan
and the rest of the world
slid open.

Shimoda became the place
the gods went to frolic
and fish.

Ohama Beach is where they propose marriage
to their partner-gods.
The light in this place
makes one want to say YES!

On endless summer days,
the dark-skinned teenagers of the gods
run through burning sand to the sea
with surfboards of magenta
and apple green.
Brave wave-riders,
they try to enter heaven
through the thin space
between the blues.

Every Shimoda moment is a poem.

Here are a few for you.

Love,
Monna

xoxo

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From where I stand {Honmoku dori, Yokohama)

Honmoku dori.
The main street
in a residential neighbourhood
many colleagues and students call home.

There may be a connection
between the name of this street
and the phrase “hunky dory”.
Who knows, really.
The world is a miraculous place to live.

This late-May photo walk
included a side trip to get my bangs cut
by a lovely woman who spoke no English
(and who seemed,
at least to me,
to be guarded by two male body guards
in beauty salon uniforms),
a rest on a wooden bench,
and the search for a small bouquet
of near-perfect flowers.

Japan looks like many things.
It also looks like this.
{A basket of pink roses
and tiny teddy bears.}

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tea time for the soul

tea

i don’t know about you
but i, for one,
am tired
of thinking about
how to live
more efficiently.

truly,
i am exhausted
by the question
of how to get
more done
in less time.

i have been efficient
at school
and in my work
for decades.
four of them.
i have been a super-hero
of efficiency
+ hard work.
i should have a cape.

my nervous system
gets jammed on red.
not orange
or even amber.
and red alert
cannot be
a good or healthy place
to live a life.

in my mind,
i need to visit
the beach more often
+
start surfing.

my mind needs to vacation
in shimoda,
australia,
spain.

in the space
where the impulse
for greater efficiency resides
i will grow a bonsai tree.
raise a puppy.
plant tulips.

it’s tea time
for the soul.
{or maybe coffee.}

you are invited.

Macaron Dreams in Tokyo

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My mother
{who is visiting us in Japan}
and the lovely DP
humoured me yesterday.
They let me buy them brunch
at the Laduree Tea Room
in Ginza,
a posh shopping district
in central Tokyo.

DP had scrambled eggs and wild mushrooms in pastry,
Mom ordered an omelette
and I had a chicken sandwich with gorgeous fries.

Honestly,
no matter how tasty the entree,
I’m just putting in time
before dessert.

Rose tea
and salted caramel macarons.

That’s the best poem
I know.

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Ladurée Ginza Mitsukoshi
Ginza Mitsukoshi 2F
4-6-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8212
{Second floor of the Mitsukoshi department store}

she found herself falling

There are mornings
when even a sensible woman
slips down the rabbit hole
of silly fashion vexation
{often before she has had her tea.}

The observation,
“these shoes
are too clunky
for this outfit”
morphs quickly
from simple idea
to hurricane-force struggle.
Minutes are lost trying other shoes.
None
{of course}
perfect.
A day begun
in a state
of stewing.

Or one could say
intead
“These shoes are
indeed
a little clunky
but they’re comfortable,
they’re already
on my feet
and what other people
think of me
+ my shoes
is none of my business.”

One could spend
the stewing minutes
otherwise.
Walk more slowly.
Admire the parade of umbrellas.
Enjoy this precious
rainy day.

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The Sunday List {24}

sunny afternoon

{Starbucks Cafe at T-Site in Daikenyama, Tokyo}

Recently, I’ve been working on my website. Sprucing it up… but also simplifying things at the same time. I had accumulated more than 60 categories and I have now cut them down to four: create, home, wander and thrive.

Today, I’ve presented my Sunday List offerings in these four categories.

CREATE
1. NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts:
Adele
Lyle Lovett
Rufus Wainwright
Swell Season (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)
John Legend
2. “Ones and Zeros” by Jack Johnson (Live) on Q with Jian Ghomeshi (CBC Radio)
3. Pascale Picard ~ Runaway (Video)
4. Ben Folds Five ~ Brick (Video)
5. Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating. TED Talk, March 2014, Vancouver.
6. The Big Leap (Lacoste commercial) + Lacoste ‘The Big Leap’ – Behind the scenes

THRIVE
9 Common Pursuits That Rob Us of Happiness from Becoming Minimalist

HOME
Here are some new additions to our living room. The Moroccan rug is from Rugs USA (ironic) and the new pillows are from a French company called Jules Pansu. Poor DP! When these items arrived he said, “Oh. I thought you were done.”

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WANDER
On Thursday my mother arrives for ten lovely days in Japan. She and I are taking the train to the seaside town of Shimoda, at the tip of the Izu Peninsula. I fell madly in love with Shimoda when we made our first trip in March and I am hoping that my mother will enjoy it as much as I did!

trainbeach

What have you been reading and watching and designing of late?

The Sunday List. {23}

Blossoms3
{The end of the cherry blossom season at Naka-Meguro in Tokyo.}

There are these strange, surreal times when life throws you so many new ideas that you feel like you’re trapped in a batting cage, held hostage by a possessed pitching machine spewing baseballs at ever-increasing speeds. My automatic thinking machine is stuck on launch + fast.

There are worse things. {Creatively speaking.}

Here are some things I am learning + reading + doing ~ that I recommend with my whole heart:

  1. B-School with Marie Forleo.
    Over the last couple of years, I’ve thought a lot (and talked a little bit) about starting my own business and now I am actually learning how. I’m making some changes to my website and developing an online course called the Geography of Now that I will launch in the fall.

  2. Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: A 6 Week eCourse.
    There is lots of art-making involved but Brene breaks it down so it feels yummy and not one bit scary.

  3. Treasure Hunt: Collecting Colours with Andrea Scher.
    This is a fun creative practice for people wanting to take more photographs and push themselves with some great creative prompts.

  4. Sarah Selecky’s Little Bird Writing Contest here. Contest opens 1 May 2014.

  5. The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You ~ by Elaine Aron, Ph.D.
    Here is a quick quiz if you think this might be you.

What gorgeous-ness are you reading, doing, thinking or creating right now? I’d love to hear about it.