February 2014 Archives


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Miki and I got together this afternoon to do some acrobalance. Although I lead an acro segment in the Circus Fitness workshops, I'm not an expert. Miki's got lots of experience and I was happy to get some new ideas from her today, especially for training. I need more flexible hips and a stronger core to be a good base.


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I spent a pleasant hour this afternoon painting ceramics with Jason and Pinky at Harajuku Togasha. This shop on the corner at Jingumae crossing has a "mini experience" program that ends this month, so we jumped on the chance to play. I am tempted to return before Friday for some more painting.

Today I made a mug featuring the Christmas Zou. It's a bit childish, but I think it is cute anyway and since I keep breaking teacups, it is a much needed addition to the cupboard. I will pick it up next week after it is fired.

Kafunsho already?

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The hayfever forecast says we are only barely feeling the effects of cedar pollen, but my body is ramping up with itchy eyes, a sore throat and sneezes. Even my skin itches already!

Gone are the years when my allergies were still tuned to the pollen of Pennsylvania. I am fully allergic to spring in Japan.

A large percentage of Japanese suffer kafunsho, so at this time of year the drug stores are stocked with remedies and preventatives. From special goggles to nasal blocking gels to antihistamines, there is a fix for everyone. I am a fan of jala neti, putting up with it, and acupuncture. But if the beginning of the season is making me react like this already, I might be reaching for the Benadryl.

Strawberry Fields Forever

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Ichigo-gari with Heather and Zio yesterday in Tochigi yielded 1.6 kg of berries. The berries are grown in long hothouses through the winter. Another month or so and strawberries will be off the local produce menu until autumn, so I am glad to have picked some this season. We'll have frozen strawberries for summer smoothies. Tod was delighted when I came home with a full tray. The little ones are sweet and juicy and some of the berries were so large that they filled our hands and we bit into them like apples.

Breaking up with Facebook

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Last July, I wrote about my Jekyll and Hyde relationship with Facebook. I announced my intention to cut back my personal use and only update hoop events. And I did for a while but then I slipped back into using it like an addict. 

So this time I mean it. I am breaking up with Facebook. From tomorrow I am disabling my account. I announced it there a few weeks ago and have been counting down the days so friends don't wonder where I went. I've received a lot of love, some have called me brave, others say they will miss me. It's heartwarming but I am still leaving tomorrow.

For hundreds of people this means I will wink out of existence. They enjoyed my adventures delivered to their timeline, but aren't likely to seek me out otherwise. And they will disappear for me, too. That is OK. If our paths cross again that will bring smiles and long catching-up conversations.

I will miss the camaraderie of some of the Facebook groups, the far flung hoop teachers who share ideas and advice, the truly witty banter of my smart and savvy friends, and the wisdom and insight of others. But those are the people I will keep in my life one way or another.

What will I do with the extra hours I reclaim? Well, I hibernated most of last year and I am finally waking up. I have a long list of goals for this year. I want to collaborate on projects with friends. I want to learn and teach movement. I can feel art and ideas wriggling beneath my consciousness. I may end up beginning a new creative phase. 

Stay tuned here for adventures and their results because I aim to write more regularly again.

Mail me - kristen@mediatinker.com


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On a chilly Tuesday holiday you must get out of the house and go somewhere fun. So yesterday we made our way to the Subway Museum in Kasai. Riding the subways every day, you get to love them and we've wanted to visit the 地下博 for many years. Finally, we did and it was great.

I saw the very first subway car, beautifully restored. Walked through a antique turnstile. Marvelled at the size of the trains from the bottom of the tunnel. Aah'd at the pretty graphics of yesteryear. Scratched my head that the horrible numbered signage change was almost a decade ago. Learned everything I could ever want to know about our city's subways. And dodged many children (hopefully also their germs).

As a bonus we learned something fascinating in the tunnelling exhibit - Japan had native elephants! A fossil of one was unearthed near Harajuku during digging. So this weekend we are going on an excursion to a "Nauman Zou" museum to find out more about them. We love Japan's specialty museums.

Snow Day

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I am delighted by today's snowfall. It's been drifting down since morning and about 20 cm have accumulated. This is the most snow I have ever seen in Tokyo.

The city is quiet. We took a walk in the afternoon, and families were in the parks throwing snowballs, building yuki-daruma, and making kamakura snow houses. I made a snow rabbit. 

In our neighborhood and along Kasuga Dori, very few vehicles were on the roads, almost all with chains. The postmen and newspaper delivery gents were out doing their best on their motorbikes. Shops were closing early.  Trains are delayed. Pizza delivery is suspended today. It's spectacular and memorable.

The temperature has been below freezing all day, but it's going to reach 10C tomorrow, so most of the snow will disappear. I'm glad we went out to play.

Jo and Andy!

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I love visitors and especially when they are Jo and Andy. I was their houseguest in Brighton when I toured with the WHD Dance in 2012, so I jumped for joy when they said they were coming to Tokyo. They are simultaneously outgoing, chill, and adventurous which makes them delightful to hang out with and the sort of friends you know you'll always have fun with, even if time and space separate you for long stretches.

WS Day lunch with Jo

Jo taught a terrific hoop workshop for Spin Matsuri on escalators and butterfly hinges and a bunch of us lunched together that day. Andy seems skeptical that 11 people would fit in our living room, but there we are, cosy around the table. I was standing on the sofa to take that photo.


On their last night, we went to see Kaguwa, a cabaret show in Roppongi. Jo was called to stage to catch a tissue falling from the heavens. Harder than it sounds since she had to use chopsticks. We got to have a photo with the cast after the show. 

Winter Hoop Dance

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I joined a group on Facebook called The Hooping Game. Players are assigned songs, then have 48 hours to make a hoopdance video and post it back to the group. I got my song yesterday morning and braved the almost freezing temperatures at Yoyogi park to make my video.

You may notice the orange-hatted preschoolers passing by but you can't hear their little voices shouting "Sugoi!" as I danced near the fountains. Also not in the frame are the two dozen workers raking leaves around the trees. I added some interest to their morning, based on the stares and smiles.

I like this video. I haven't made a hoop video in a long time and The Hooping Game is going to give me some incentive to step up my game and dance more with evidence to prove it.

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