Taking a breather…

Taking a little break from this blog and writing about yoga and life over here…


Not to worry, I will be back regaling tales of my adventures, but first I must get focused…

Big love. X

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Made it through the winter (part 2)

I’m a bit of an airhead these days and just remembered that I had written a post called “Made it through the winter Part 1.”  And of course, silly old me forgot about part 2.  Just because we all love a little closure, here’s a mini part 2!

How to leave winter behind:

The first step of leaving winter behind is storing away both the hot water bottle and the electric blanket in the cupboard.  I am proud to say, both are outta sight, outta mind!

The second step is realizing that I had better get my butt into as many onsens (hot springs) as possible before it is too hot to even think about hot baths.

The third step is to remember just how cold winter has been in my big all-tatami house which is gonna be like a sauna before I know it.  I am going to need to use my visualization skills to stay alive in the summer heat.

The fourth step is to never forget these winter memories, cause winter ain’t that bad.

And finally, get ready for fun!!!  In summer, always remember to have way too much fun, get outta Tokyo whenever you can and pack an ice box!

Bring on Summer Baby…

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Chasing sun & surfers…I mean surf!

We are amongst one of the most glorious times in Tokyo…Cherry Blossom season.  The pink and white flowers are everywhere and the feeling of hope and rebirth of spring is intoxicating.  I am sooooooo glad to see cold winter days fall behind me.

This was my fist full winter in a lot of years, as I usually gypsy off to some sunshine land partway through the cold months.  But this year I found myself in Tokyo and the mountains since the last weekend of October. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I swam in the ocean…I’ve been dreaming about that big salty bath recently and been thinking about my last island adventure.

Trying to hang onto summer, we headed down to Niijima in October, a surf island south of Tokyo, chasing the surfers and the sun.  A shockingly babelicious Japanese guy named Kazutomo met us at the boat we came in on.  With his long surfer hair & beard, wearing a Cheech & Chong t-shirt, holding a skateboard with our hotels name on it, we knew we were in for a stellar weekend!  (I hate myself for not taking his photo right then and there) What we didn’t know was that we were the only people who ventured there to watch the big surf competition. Due to a typhoon in August, the competition had to be pushed back to October and seeing as October isn’t summer, this notoriously promiscuous party island was deserted.  The obscure little town was eerily quiet and we were left on our own find trouble and explore a ghost town…

Hang me out to dry.

obscure treasures hidden in this sleepy town

No children in sight. The teetertodder was all ours!

Surprised to see actual human beings with pulses, the sweet souvenir store owner let us try on archaic swim suits in the back room.

Which way to the beach?

An awfully deserted beach, for one of Japan's biggest surf competitions.

This big bad rock was something from a fairy tale...I couldn't dream up something so magical!

It is very very hard to take people seriously when they tell me that this is the place to be in summer.  A jet boat, one of those futuristic boats that actually hovers over the water and moves at the speed of light, Jetsons style, can get you from Tokyo to Niijima in 2.5 hours.  Paradise at Tokyoites fingertips.

So in true journalistic spirit, I will definitely make the trip back there this summer in search of the action that this surf island boasts about.  And if we don’t find the raging parties, at least we know where to find our buddy Kazutomo and we know the best place on the beach to build a bonfire and take a midnight skinny dip in that stunning ocean.

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Made it through the winter (part 1)

It’s April 2, and spring is finally here.  Despite the raging typhoon outside, I am ready to clean out the dark cobwebbed corners, spend every moment i can in the fresh spring sunshine, indulge in Tokyo’s gorgeous cherry blossom season and get my abs ready for crop top season!

But its pissing rain right now, accompanied by the strongest winds and biggest storm Japan has seen since ’59.  So no enjoying the sunshine just yet.  Instead I am locked inside, ready and willing to do some reminiscing.

I hate being cold, and living in a traditional Japanese house, basically made of paper with no heating, it gets colder than cold up in here.  So inside my paper house which might blow away at any moment, I am remembering that winter wasn’t all bad…

A solo birthday adventure to take a few breaths and focus on my 29th year ahead of me

Kusatsu, the heavenliest place on earth

Early morning mochi making with the raddest sumo wrestlers around! At the Chiyonofuji stable.

New Years Eve with my mamacitas!

Sea food? Nope! Because we ate it all!!!

Chanko nabe! Eating like the sumos in Sapporo!

Into the white. Onto Niseko. Ready to ride.

nothing like a good indian curry after some deep powdah and an onsen in the snow!

It was a cold winter and at times it was trying.  But I had a chance to remember just how much I love the mountains and though I have learned to love the big bad city, I’ll never forget my roots!  I will always need and love mountain fresh air!!!

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Be Truthful, Gentle & Fearless

Well, I don’t know what to say.  I have been very sporadic with this blog and generally pretty scatty in life…I don’t mean shitty and I definitely don’t mean “weee bap boop ba dooo bah” scatty, but a general “all over the map” meaning of the word.  I’ve been a busy girl, learning how to settle into one life and stop giving into my itchy gypsy feet whenever I feel a tingling travel sensation.

But I must say, I am getting into the groove of learning and making mistakes and cleaning up my own mess and scurrying around to make things work in the nick of time.  What is life if we are not on our toes???

January 23rd, 2012 marked the New Year of the Dragon, a creature of myth and legend, and a symbol of good fortune and intense power.   Yesterday was also a day that put a little fear into those of us living in Tokyo.  New numbers have been released suggesting that there is a 75% chance that the big earthquake, the one people have been talking about since 1923, will shake us in the next 4 years.  After the devastation this country has seen since the gargantuan earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, this is a very sobering thought.  No one is invincible.  No one is more valuable than another.

So with a big heart, lots of love and somewhat heavy thoughts, I face the Dragon and enter this new year.  Living in fear is not something I believe in, so I am making it my mission this year to live in love and to give; to make people smile, to radiate the positivity I believe in and to celebrate the amazing life that I have been blessed with.

Facing my struggle to get cozy with committment, I am bravely committing this year to Truth, Love, Patience, Faith and Celebration.

Something tells me it’s gonna be a very POWERFUL year!

Big Love,

Amber Joy

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What was once so crazy…is still crazy!

Having just read one of my favorite friend’s blogs, like an older sister I admire her passion for hitting the waves and determination to become a sassy surfer, I get that tingly feeling in my veins.  What tingly feeling, you ask?  The one where I drift into dream-land and imagine my life, driving a convertible, hitting the waves everyday, drinking smoothies, and wheeling a Keanu Reeves hunk circa Point Break.  Oh, it could be so good for me!

But then there is little angel on my shoulder saying, “You just wait a minute Amber Joy!”  And I am reminded of my 2011 mantra…Be Here Now.  So although the daydreaming is sweet, and I do want to become a surfer babe one day, I’m gonna be here now.  And here ain’t so bad at all!

Just like living in any place that is millions of miles from where you were raised and the culture holds customs that you may never ever understand, Tokyo can be a challenge sometimes.  But who doesn’t love a challenge?!?!

The typhoon headed our way tomorrow at 3pm, just one of many challenges!

It actually amazes me sometimes how I can get so used to some things that used to seem so insane!  Here are some things that never cease to rock me & shock me….

Like when you are entering a store fitting room and the shop staff hands you a white cotton-like sack that you have to put over your head while you are changing into and out of your items of choice, but before that you take your shoes off to even enter the changing room.  Or how if I picked up my cell phone to have a lil chat on the train, I would get lazer beam death stares, but no one flinches at the dude reading sexy manga (comic books) with girls in school uniforms next to me.  When you make hotel or travel reservations, you don’t have to pay a deposit because no one would be so offensive as to not show up or change their plans.  How you can get so drunk and pass out cold with your Louis Vuitton wallet hanging out of your pants and no one will take it!

I didn't take this and cannot take credit for it, but it is hilarious!

I’ll never understand what shops like this are for or begin to imagine the life of this little kitty’s best friend (the owner), who sometimes gets yelled at by a foreign guy on a mini motor bike…

Why these mushrooms always look so incredible to me…

The fact that this outfit didn’t make people stare any more than they would usually…

The madness you can get away with in a kareoke booth with the Trippple Nippples!

How Santa Clause is being held hostage in Kabukicho and nobody seems to want to help the poor man!!!

I continue to wonder why I do not own this cropped beauty!?!?!  And who on earth does?…

Japan is like a little dream land, and despite our fears of radiation and concern for the economy, rebuilding of a nation, this is a powerful place to be.  It is so nice knowing that people are looking out for each other and that some of the oddities I don’t understand are still going strong!

I’m jetting off to New York and California this week, and I know I am gonna miss this place like candy!!!  The sweet old folks sweeping up all the leaves that fall on the street to keep things super clean (I’ll especially miss this while riding the rat run NYC subway), the grandpas on my street who like to greet me with fresh flowers on my way home, feeling like I can talk about anything in Japanese….with fellow 4 year olds, and the lovely lovely family and friends I have here.

Though I sometimes get lost in thinking about what else is out there, this is where I am now, and man-oh-man this love affair is hotter than an affair with a pro soccer player! (wink)

So I leave you with My Best….



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