September Sunsets

I read today that this year has been Japan's second-worst in modern times in terms of direct typhoon hits, and the season isn't even half over yet. It certainly feels like there have been more windy, rainy and cloudy days than sunny ones, and admittedly, that's been kind of a drag.

But the days with even just a little blue sky and sunshine have been so memorable that they've almost made up for the rest. September and October are my favorite months for SUP in Japan, and even this year has been no exception to that.

One particularly great thing about autumn in Japan is that it brings with it some of the most stunning sunsets. I took all of the photos shown here during some of the few truly gorgeous days we've had this month. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes even a thousand pictures can't convey the depth of beauty in a single moment. So don't take my word for it—get out there and chase some sunsets yourself. Namaste!

Flowers to Brighten Up a Dreary Day

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm beyond ready for all the rain to be finished, the clouds to evaporate, and to finally see some sunshine. 

It has been 12 days since my husband and I came back from Taiwan, and in that time Tokyo has had only a few hours of actual sunshine. Before we left on our mini getaway, it was much of the same. For weeks now Japan has seen typhoon after typhoon bringing unrelentingly gloomy weather. Now I love the rain and I'm totally fine not having sun every single day, but this is getting ridiculous. 

Since yesterday was a holiday (I love that Japan observes the autumnal equinox as a national holiday), I had been looking forward to checking out this flower market at Toranomon Hills. So when I woke up yet again to pouring rain...well, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was desperate for a cure to my cabin fever. I checked the event's Facebook page and found out it would still be happening, just indoors. Good enough for me—at least it would get me out of my apartment.

I headed to Toranomon Hills after lunch, when the rain had let up and I saw my window. Normally I would have biked there, but because it was still raining a little I decided to walk. This turned out to be a great call, as I found all sorts of other cool little festivals happening along the way, with people out in the streets, eating and drinking under tents. It turns out I wasn't the only one feeling stir crazy!

The market itself was smaller than I expected and it definitely would have been better had it been held outdoors, but I was still glad I went. There's no better way to brighten up a dreary day than with some beautiful flowers.

There were a handful of stands set up inside the atrium at Toranomon Hills, selling everything from fresh cut flowers and tiny potted succulents to dried bouquets and even flower cookies. I meandered through the stalls, stopping to take photos and appreciate all the colors and textures. Then I came to a man and woman selling starter plants of various herbs, green vines, flowering plants and more. One entire table of their section was covered with chili pepper plants, and my eyes went immediately to the habaneros. 

I usually buy a habanero plant every year for my balcony garden, and then I freeze the fresh peppers and use them in my cooking throughout the coming months. This year I hadn't yet found the plants at any of my local garden shops, so I couldn't believe my luck. The man at the stall helped me to pick out the best one, I paid the ¥400, and was on my merry way.

That turned out to be my only purchase of the day. I was tempted by some gorgeous proteas and giant dahlias I saw at other stands, but in the end I decided my bright orange, spicy peppers were all I needed. I can't wait to plant the habanero in my balcony container garden—just as soon as the rain stops again!

Tiptoeing Into the Unknown

I have a confession to make.

Here goes: I have no idea what I'm doing.

That's right. Peculiar as it may seem for those who know that I make my living primarily from writing for various online publications, I have never actually had my own blog. Sure, I write blog posts, news articles and features for both news outlets and private clients, but these generally entail little more than reporting facts and analyzing information. I am not used to having my own platform to write whatever I want, including my own thoughts and opinions.

So to be honest, I am feeling a little lost. And nervous. And—surprisingly even to me—out of my depth.

Why did I decide to start this blog? Truthfully, I'm not really sure, but I'm curious to see where it will take me. If you're curious as well, maybe join me for the ride? I don't know what future posts will be about or even how often they will appear, but I'm ready to slowly tiptoe into the unknown. 

The unknown. As someone who isn't often comfortable being uninformed, I oddly like the sound of that. 

Who knows? Maybe I'll see you there.