Tag Archives: Online Course

More than Japan

blur{A row of lifeguards-in-training at Ohama Beach, Shimoda.}

A thing that is a blessing at one point in your life can end up holding you back.

In March of 2012, I was Freshly Pressed for the first time. This is a very big deal among WordPress users as it means that an editor digs your work and wants to share it with the WordPress community. Suddenly, my little blog, which I have tended with love since 2006 was flooded with thousands of visitors who wrote lovely comments and left my blog-world forever altered.

The post was called How to be a Japanographer and so I thought, “Aha! This is what people like… so I’ll write more of that.” And it worked. Which is to say that I was Freshly Pressed again (twice, more) for The Problem with Foreigners (May 2012) and When a Place becomes Home (February 2014).

If you know me or if you have read my blog for a while, you’ll know that it’s no hardship for me to write about Japan. I feel so fortunate to live here. I receive all the gorgeous benefits of living in an efficient, well-organized and harmonious country without the rigorous expectations and obligations that I would experience were I  Japanese. We foreigners call this relative freedom the “Gaijin license” which means that we have permission to screw up from time to time.

I love Japan.

None of us, however, should be defined by one interest. We don’t love only one thing. Humans are, by and large, multi-passionate creatures.

Here’s my Twitter profile:
twitter me

A short list of what most rocks my world:
1. Loving your life @ home. Being an explorer in your own back yard whether you live in Ottawa or Yokohama.
2. Creativity: writing, photography, visual-storytelling and interior design.
3. Thriving emotionally, physically and spiritually. Being + becoming truly well and healthy. Yup… I am a Counselor. 🙂
4. Travel. Choose your adventure… from little trips to Shimoda to close-to-perfect weeks in Paris.

To honour and further explore these passions, I have created a new set of categories for my site: At home, Create, Thrive and Wander. These four words are like a road map for my site, life and future business. My own personal constellation of yummy goodness.

I’ll be writing more about all of these passions and plan, in particular, to spend more time writing about writing. As Austin Kleon would say, I’m going to “show my work”. I am also going to play with formats… skinny prose for some posts and prose for others.

My plan is to publish new posts three times a week including a new photography project that I’ll be sharing here. This makes me VERY happy!

The lovely DP even made a new header (on his birthday, no less) to help celebrate the changes on my website.

I’m also jumping into the deep end of the pool with the creation of an online course, The Geography of Now. The six week course begins on Monday 15 September and includes lessons on basic photography and the writing of skinny prose (my nickname for my blogging style). Two important themes that run throughout the course are noticing and gratitude. There are lots of fun activities and exercises; these are opportunities for you to practice your photography and writing in a very safe and supportive environment.

If this course sounds interesting to you and you would like more information about signing up, please subscribe to my newsletter here. {You simply fill in your name and email address in the little box. You will then be directed to check your email account for a message that asks you to confirm this subscription.} The newsletter will arrive in your inbox every two weeks.

So this is my gentle way of saying that the blog-house is going to change a bit over the next few weeks. If it’s not your thing, I will totally understand. Really! I’m not just saying that. A blog house, like an actual house, should be filled with people who really want to be there.


The Geography of Now {An Online Course}

bus stop

A calmly golden morning
at my bus stop.
A Tuesday.
A man reads his book
as if sitting in his own
living room.

This is the Japan I love best,
the Japan that few outside the country
talk or write about.

There are certain places in Japan
that get love
out of proportion.
Shibuya Crossing
where thousands traverse
each minute.
Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion
the house Zeus would have chosen
had he been Japanese.

Those are the rock stars.

I’ve always been a fan of the poets.

I love the secret corners
of Japan
where proud home
and business owners
grow red geraniums.
I love to watch conveyor belts
at sushi bars,
ballet for raw fish,
as small pastel coloured plates
shuttle by
on repeat
and try and try to earn my love.
hello, hello, hello.
I love that even the line
in the grocery store
is a study in restraint
and courtesy.

The Japan of the gloriously mundane,
this is my Geography of Now.

As a woman living outside her country,
my acts of observing and recording
help me
this particular time and place.

Although I am an outsider in Japan,
I still belong here
in my own way,
in a manner that is entirely my own.

This is my Japan.

I’m in a state of wondering.

I’ve been wondering
if others feel affected
and enchanted
by their Geography of Now?

And I’ve been wondering
if others
{YOU, actually}
might wish to explore
this form I use,
this pairing of photos
with words
{skinny prose, I call it}
to create a record
of your neighbourhood + home
for yourself,
family + friends
and those you don’t yet know.
A chronicle of who you are
and who you are becoming.

I’ve been wondering
if you would like to join me
in an online course
on the Geography of Now,
a small adventure
with low risk photography
accompanied by

It’s true… I have not yet
worked out all the details,
the widgets and squidgets and such,
but what I know for sure
is that the course will be fun
and affordable
and make us feel more connected
both to where and who we are.

So I’m releasing this idea
into the universe.
A red balloon.

Please leave me a comment,
a little love note,
if you might like to join me.

Thank you very much.
{Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.}