Ready, Set, Move! ~ Part 4

I can’t quite believe that tomorrow is almost here and today is quickly coming to an end.  It has been our last full day in Okinawa and it went so fast.  All of a sudden it is 9:30 pm and my packing is pretty much done until I finish getting ready in the morning and have to pack the hair dryer and flat iron.  Hubby is packing as I type this and Rocky is suspicious and seems antsy. 

The last three weeks in the Hamagawa Lodge have flown buy.  We have been so busy with final lunches and dinners at our favorite restaurants, going away parties, birthday parties, an office picnic, my last pedicure and nail art appointment at Cocok’s Salon *sigh*, a surprise retirement party for one of Hubby’s co-workers and of course our last night at the Butler Officer’s Club for karaoke. 

Thanks to the crappy T.V. reception and poor show choices I have had the chance to get some reading done.  I finished Marisa de los Santos’ Belong To Me and absolutely LOVED it.  I will be posting my gushing review after we return to the States.  I will also be hosting Marisa and her guest post as well as running a giveaway contest for the book later this month. 

I’m back to reading on the Kindle 2.0 for the flight and really enjoying it after all the hubbub about the new Kindle DX last week.  I love my “smaller” Kindle and started reading Three Cups of Teaon it the other day.  Besides having my Kindle with me for the flight we have the Nintendo DS Lite and a few games, iPods, Sudoku books and laptops to watch DVD’s.  The twelve hour flight from Tokyo to DC should be bearable with all that entertainment plus the in-flight movies.  Too bad poor Rocky can’t even have a toy in his kennell with him in the baggage compartment.  Part of me hopes he’ll have another animal to talk with down there but then I hope that he is alone and will just sleep most of the time.  He knows something is up and has been overly affectionate today. 

So, this is my last post from Okinawa.  Tomorrow I will be a Washingtonian again (though I’m always one since I grew up there) and will start a new chapter.  Don’t worry, you’ll read all about it here.  See ya on the flip side!!

Back On Island

Hey Y’all!!  Happy long weekend and I hope you are doing well.  The hubby and I returned from our trip to Kyoto last night.  The city was relaxing and cold.  There were flurries almost everyday and though it was in the low thirties the whole time it was nice walking around weather.  We saw multiple shrines, temples and castles and enjoyed our lovely hotel, The New Miyako. 

When you go to mainland Japan there aren’t as many signs of America as there are in Okinawa.  Yes there is McDonald’s (where isn’t there really), Starbucks and the odd and end familiar name but for the most part, mainland Japan is very foreign.  I think the best way to explain to an American the difference in the two cities on mainland Japan that I have visited is Kyoto is to Tokyo as Washington, D.C. is to New York City.  Kyoto was the capital of Japan for one thousand years until the Imperial Palace and Japanese government were moved to Tokyo at the end of the nineteenth century.  Due to it’s thousand year long term as Japan’s capital, Kyoto is filled with ancient temples, monuments, shrines and the original Imperial Palace (where the Royal Family still goes for select ceremonies).  Tokyo is a high energy, never tiring, and intoxicating city where Kyoto is slower paced, cradled in the valley of protective mountains and full of a history that tells the story of a great people. 

I will be going through our pics soon and will share some with you here.  I am also going to get back to “The Pillars of the Earth” and try to make a big dent in it before the end of the month when I will post the new voting poll for our March/April book. 

Until Then…

To pass the time until my copy of “My War… Killing Time In Iraq” arrives in my little P.O. Box here on Okinawa I decided to read SHOPGIRL” by the amazingly wonderful and funny Steve Martin. A NOVELLA My sister and her hubby gave this to me for Christmas and though I had seen the quaint and sweet movie starring Steve Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman, I had always wanted to read the novella since it first came out in 2000.  Well so far I love love love the story.  There are so many little things that you can’t get from the movie version and to know what the author meant for the character to be thinking in any moment is like a little secret for the reader to know but the movie watcher to never find out.  The novella is a mere 130 pages and I think on top of all the other things going on here I will probably finish it before the next book arrives to devour my attention.  I haven’t forgotten about my 33 in 33 self challenge and “SHOPGIRL” would be the first book on that list.  (“Pillars of the Earth” is waiting patiently for me to pick up again and let it take me back to the 1300’s.) 

Below I am sharing a picture of all the books the hubby and I received for Christmas/my birthday/hand-me-down’s  from my family while in the States.  They all finally arrived safe and sound on Saturday and the stack is very very high.  I am very excited about the stories waiting to reveal themselves to me.  I am also in need of a new small bookcase soon.  I prefer to have my books standing with great posture, proud and vying for my attention from the shelf but right now all these new books as well as some books I bought in November are laying on top of each other in staggered stacks in front of other books on the shelves.  Just another thing to put on my to-do list for this month. 

So Sorry

I know that I had said that I would post the vote for our January book today, but unfortunately I do not have a list of titles ready.  This trip has dominated my time and I don’t have a clue of what titles I would choose for our vote.  I would like some suggestions and though I have asked for this before, I do hope you will share your thoughts again within this post.  If there is a book you received for Christmas or that has been on your TBR shelf and you feel that it would find shared interest here at Planet Books, please recommend them.  I will check back here at the end of the weekend (hopefully after the Redskins win on Sunday… we are going to the game) and see what you have to say.  Again, I am so sorry that I don’t have a voting poll up today.  Have a great weekend!!!

Merry Christmas Every One!!!

I hope you aren’t too stuffed this Christmas evening and I hope you got everything you wished for.  The hubby and I have had a great time being home in MD/VA, busy as it may be, and can’t believe that we are almost half way through our trip with only a week left in this area.  We are off to TX next Thursday. 

I will call this Christmas the year of books and gift cards.  I received two Nordstrom gift cards as well as a Sephora gift card.  My parents and my sister and her husband gave us a ton of books which we will have to mail back because of the weight they would add to our luggage.   I now can add the following titles to my TBR shelf: (I will add links to at a later time)

St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves ~ Stories by Karen Russell
Shopgirl ~ by Steve Martin
The Abstinence Teacher ~ by Tom Perrotta
The New Yorkers ~ by Cathleen Schine
The Other Boleyn Girl ~ Philippa Gregory
Helen of Troy ~ by Margaret George
Christmas with Paula Deen ~ by Paula Deen
The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith ~ by Patricia Highsmith
Nothing That Meets The Eye ~ by Patricia Highsmith

Shopping In A Small World

So far our trip is going very well.  The air is crisp, the borrowed in-law’s Lexus is driving very smoothly and the money is being spent.  Visiting with family is lovely and meeting our nephew for the first time (when we moved to Okinawa the brother-in-law was neither married nor a parent) has been very cool.  But you know what, we are in the Washington Metro area and if you are familiar with it you know that there are millions of people here and even more traveling to it for the holidays.  So how is it that I can be at the fourth largest mall in the country, Tyson’s Corner Center, in the L.L. Bean store and run into to girlfriends from Okinawa!!!!!  “It’s a small world after all!”  Yeah!  I ran into a girlfriend I’m on the MOSC board with and a Generals wife who is living in the Northern VA area now with her high ranking officer.  They had just had lunch together and the hubby and I were on our last stop in the mall when I saw them.  CRAZY! 

The excitement is never ending here after living on an island of 69 km in length and 17 km wide at the widest point.  (I’m ready to get back to this area to live any time.)  Unfortunately excitement and a busy schedule have left little room for reading, other than the slew of magazines that the mother-in-law have on the coffee table.  Gourmet, Real Simple, Southern Living, & Cooking Light.  I will say that I love Gourmet Magazine and Ruth Reichl’s Letter From The Editor is a great read. 

Tonight it’s happy hour in D.C. at Morton’s Steakhouse with my former bosses who I have kept up with over the last six years.  They are wonderful and I miss them dearly so it will be a treat to see them.  The jet lag was kicking my ass this week so we actually postponed the meeting from Wed. to Thurs. and I’m glad we did.  I would have been sleeping in my apple martini if it hadn’t been changed and that would have been plain embarrassing. 

So, my update is magazines are easy to pick up, The Pillars of the Earth is up in our room growing lonely, shopping in malls is awesome but traffic isn’t, and I miss the dog terribly.  Hope your week is going well and will be back here on the weekend with another update.

Three flights, Snow and Clean Clothes

Well, we made it.  That’s more than I can say about our luggage though.  We landed at O’Hare from Tokyo with less than an hour to get luggage, go through immigration, customs, re-check luggage, take a train to the last terminal, get through security and hop on our flight to D.C. so of course our luggage didn’t make it.  The snow was coming down when we landed in the Windy City and we thought we were definitely sleeping with a deep dish pizza.  As we were taxiing down the runway, one of the pilots came out into the cabin and checked the wings out the window.  I thought for sure we were turning around but no, we took off and were out of there. 

So today, our travel clothes are clean again, the air is crisp and my tummy can’t wait to get to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch with my folks.  It is pretty strange to be here again in the in-law’s house and to know that our home is literally on the other side of the planet.  I’m happy to be here and I know that Rocky is safe and have even spoken to him twice on the phone this weekend.  MB says he perks up when he hears my voice. 

I will be back here probably sooner than later and will have an update on our frozen luggage.  XOXO-K

UPDATE:  All our luggage arrived safely and unopened on the doorstep this afternoon.  Whew!  Went to Borders with my folks and was a bit overwhelmed but in hog heaven.

“There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays”

The bags are packed, the books and mags are in the carry-on along with “Uncrustables” and my life line, my iPod.  Rocky’s with dear, loving friends (rough night after dropping off that little doggie and then coming home to an empty house) and he even sent us an e-mail to tell us about his evening. 

The weather forecast for Chicago (our connection) is snow showers all weekend and D.C. is in for a wintry mix Saturday night.  So, we are mentally prepared to stay the night in the “Windy City” and have some deep dish pizza. 

I will be blogging about things I see, experience and of course read while we are on vacation.  Also, be sure to check back here on Friday, December 28th for the new slew of titles to vote from for January.  Have a great weekend and I’ll see ya on the flip side!

My Must Have Reading Matierial

We are counting down the days till we make the long pilgrimage home for the holidays next weekend.  I have been busy preparing things that I need to bring with me such as gifts for friends and family, craft projects I have to finish there becuase that’s where the order is being shipped to, the iPod playlists, and reading material for the flights/airports.  Though I have some Ambien for the long flight from Tokyo to Chicago (Okinawa to Tokyo and Chicago to D.C. are each only 2-3 hours) I have heard stories of the Ambien not working and if that happens to me on the long flight I need to be prepared.  I am still reading “The Pillars of the Earth” but am hoping that my December issues of Elle Magazine, Vanity Fair next weeks New Yorker arrive in time for me to take them.  Each time I go to the store I have to turn away from VF & Elle and remind myself that my copies are on their way. 

There was a book I flipped through a few years ago called “So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading” by Sara Nelson.  Nelson is now the Editor-In-Chief for Publishers Weekly.  Sara challenged herself to read a book a week for one year (2002).  She says that people asked the same question all the time.  “How do you choose your books?”  She wrote, “Less than a week into my project, I can now tell them the beginning of the truth.  I don’t always choose the books, I’ll say.  Sometimes the books choose me.”  I completely share this belief.  Due to what you are experiencing in your life at any given time can influence what you choose to read. 

So Many Books, So Little Time

I have an idea for a “project” of my own and will post about it soon but for now, I would like to ask you this question:  “Can you make it through the week without picking up a book and reading even a little bit?”  I sure can’t!  It would be impossible in the place I am in, in my life right now.  I love to read, learn and explore our literary world.  I have always loved to read and hope to always love and enjoy this wonderful gift we as humans are given.