Saturday, February 2, 2008

Improv Everywhere

I follow this group because I think what they do is interesting and often very funny and fun. The latest project is a masterpiece; over 200 improv everywhere people froze in place at the same moment for 5 minutes at Grand Central Station's main terminal. 


Click here to view the movie, story & stills.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Garbage - or Ice Cream?

I've been DYING to post this. There are a few things here that I want to post but can't seem to catch when I have my P&S handy (since it has a video camera). Today was the day.

Behold - the sounds of garbage collection day in Japan:

The regular trash truck is larger and looks like a white mini-version of an American garbage truck with a hibiscus flower painted on it. The engine is also almost silent, just the sounds of this same ice cream truck song. Imagine our disappointment when there were no bomb pops.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last Night

Each school day, Mia brings home a library book of her choice. Part of her homework is to read said book, or sometimes if it's complicated, we help out. She tends to guess at words by looking at pictures instead of sounding them out. So a page with a big mouse on it that says he's going to the "movies" reads "going to the mmmmmmouse??"

It's frustrating because we KNOW she can do this reading thing, but she keeps guessing instead of just sounding out the word. So last night, Craig was having her read the book and I heard the same thing happening and made a decision. "Mia - we're going to find some kindergarten-level books with no pictures so that you will try to sound out the words and not guess what they are."

"Noooooooooo! I don't like books like that! I like the pictures! That's BORING!"

"What do you mean? I'm not saying we're never reading books with pictures, I'm saying we'll get a couple of simple books that will be easy for you to read - with a few challenging words to sound out. Just no pictures."

(Sarcastic tone ensues.)

"...what's the book gonna be called, 'The Blank Page'???"

Thanks, Mom. The curse you laid on me to have a child just like me, you'll be happy to know that worked.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Flickr Fiend

I've become a bit of a hound recently. I started uploading there, and now folks can check out my stuff, and I can check out their stuff - and if you are a member (FREE) and an acknowledged friend or family member of mine in flickr, you can order prints of my stuff too.

So I've foregone all other viewing & print sites (uploading all these pictures was getting to be a pain - so no more Kodak, Shutterfly, .mac) and will be uploading the creme-de-la-creme to my flickr page. Find it HERE or search aviva.bowman on Even if you just wanna poke around what we've been doing. Family-related stuff (birthday gatherings, holiday pictures, etc.) I will still put on Kodak Gallery for folks to get prints.

IF you order prints on flickr and find them not to be great quality, or have a bunch of trouble, I will reconsider this. So keep me posted.

I'll still post some good ones here, sometimes from the point & shoot camera or sometimes pictures I don't post on flickr because they're not exactly show-worthy. Like these for example.... here is a "tree" made out of plants. I think it was for New Year's because the origami birds symbolize health and success for the future.

I know - blurry drive-by photo taking. But I love the Grateful Dead shirts here - totally Japanified. Should really read "Jerry Garcia is Everwhere" b/c it's copyrighted 10 years after his death....

Mia waiting for our food to come in a restaurant that has a double-decker BUS. We're sitting on the first floor of the double-decker here. Pretty neat.

Another drive-by photo - but this was on the road to Nago yesterday with the point & shoot (PS). I know, I cut off part of Nemo #2 there, but hi - how cute, lovey-dovey flower-covered Nemo & Nemo-ette!

We stopped by the pineapple park because it was on the way back anyway. Outside of the market, there's a guy who makes & sells these balancing dragonflies, they're made out of wood & painted really pretty. Here is the sweet man loading up each of Mia's fingers with dragonflies. (See the BIG one on her index finger?)

After he removed a couple from the kid, Craig got in on the fun.
This is the one we bought - he insisted she test it out.
More soon!

Sakura - Japan's National Flower

The Japanese gave a gift of cherry trees to Washington DC. They bloom every spring, much to the dismay of those with allergies. Cherry blossoms are a big deal in Japan, and Okinawa being sub-tropical - gets the first bunch of blooms. Yes, it's January - but they're in bloom here now.

We headed to Mount Yaedake (aka Mount Yae) for the festival yesterday. It was either raining or drizzling the whole time. Which bummed me out because the camera cannot be out in the rain without a jacket - which we do not have for it. Alas, using an umbrella, and early on "stepping between the raindrops" we got a few shots of the festival and the blossoms.

After we parked, this is the scene we approached; this was at the "base" of the mountain. There were booths with crafts, games, food, food, games... did I mention food?!

The wet blossoms.

Huge selection of fried and grilled ANYTHING (squid on a stick to pork ribs to yakisoba and takoyaki - basically octopus fritters), including soba (mmmm....soup) which I personally lunched on.

This tree had busy bees among its flowers, this is my favorite of the day - and trust me, there weren't many pictures.

I also love this lantern shot taken at the stand where we got lunch. The lanterns were lit and so warm & inviting on a chilly wet day.

As you drive up the mountain, the trees line the narrow windy street as it switchbacks up. The cars are often single-file to avoid hitting branches - and pedestrians with umbrellas!

More through the windshield. If it wasn't raining, I can't imagine how crowded it might've been!

Mount Yaedake is apparently the island’s second highest point at 453.4 meters (1487 feet), and has more than 4,000 Taiwan cherry trees. FYI, the Yaedake area is also the orchids capital of Okinawa. These cherry trees are different from the light pink blooms you see on mainland and in DC (as you can tell from the pictures). They're a darker pink, and they last longer - about a month. Along the streets on the way to and from the area, there are sakura for sale by the branch to put in vases at your home. There are also lots of mikan (tangerines) for sale since they're in season - DELICIOUS!

On the way back toward home (after frustration really ensued from having to take pictures from inside the car....) we promised to visit again on a clearer day, and also to visit Naha in February when the blooms moved south. We also stopped by the Nago City festival, but as it was raining pretty hard and the crowds were kind of crazy, we moved on. We'd had our festival fill for the day. Here's a shot of Nago City from a bridge above it where we definitely weren't allowed to stop. Suwanee rightfully stated a new mantra of mine - "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission."