Taking Detours http://www.takingdetours.com Taking the road less traveled Sat, 26 Aug 2017 07:54:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 https://i2.wp.com/www.takingdetours.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cropped-cid_icon-1.png?fit=32%2C32 Taking Detours http://www.takingdetours.com 32 32 29734011 Retro Detour http://www.takingdetours.com/2017/08/26/retro-detour/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2017/08/26/retro-detour/#respond Sat, 26 Aug 2017 07:54:50 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=127 So you know how sometimes a song gets half stuck in your head? Like, you can’t quite pull up the melody or the lyrics, and can only dream of ever coming up with the name of the song?

Well, yeah. I pored through youtube — more than I usually do anyways — in search of the video that turned me on to the song in the first place, but unfortunately, it seems to have been taken down. Aw, shucks.

Not a total loss, though. Look what I found!

So, back in 2015 when I had just arrived in Japan, the Japan-America Society of Osaka and Kansai University held a Japanese culture workshop. It was free to enter and you got to visit all kinds of booths to learn about Japanese culture. I got to play the Japanese drums, do calligraphy, participate in a tea ceremony, and per the video above, practice samurai sword fighting.

It’s a pretty awesome event — and I think they do it yearly? I can’t seem to find details about any upcoming one, but maybe if you keep an eye on their website, something will come up.

Anyway, I hope to go again sometime.

Oh, and in recent news, I finally have a new computer! I built it myself!

It glows blue!

What this means is I should finally be able to make videos and other stuff that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile. Hooray!

So, more soon – hopefully!

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Getting Back on Track http://www.takingdetours.com/2017/07/28/getting-back-on-track/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2017/07/28/getting-back-on-track/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 16:08:43 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=105 I am the worst.

No, no excuses this time. Let me just sum up 2017 so far.


AJ visits!

I took the week off and we went around the Kansai area, though I did end up sending him off to Kyoto all by his lonesome since I had a weekend seminar that coincided with his visit. It was pretty cold, but I finally got to see Himeji Castle and wandered around Kobe for a bit.


I presented at a colloquium in Tokyo. Yay academic stuff! Also, caught my friend James during his brief stopover in Japan. We went out to Roppongi and I proceeded to get into a drunken argument with the bartender about how Osaka has better food. I clearly speak better Japanese when intoxicated.

Oh, and AJ came to visit for my birthday!



Pretty uneventful. I started running? Zombies run is the best app.


Parents came to visit!

I unfortunately could not take time off of work since I was just starting at a couple of new schools, but we were still able to go to Hiroshima/Miyajima for a weekend, and then up to Tokyo/Hakone for the following weekend.


Malaysia with Issi!

I needed to get out. Just… out. Super lazy trip, nothing but food and beach and sleep. And drinks, of course.


Far plane

Oh boy. This event. I guess I should add a NSFW tag to this post. How do I describe it? There is a BDSM themed bar here in Osaka and they put together a BDSM themed party event at least once a year? It was fun!

Also, Issi came to visit me! We didn’t take enough pictures though. And I failed to steal her passport, so unfortunately she was able to escape back to Korea.


Molly arrived! She lives in rural Kyoto though. Still, she’s in Japan now. Hooray!

Also, I finally wore my yukata! Hooray, summer matsuri!

Ok with that done, I should be caught up. I know it’s just a photo dump and quick summary, but I’ll never get to the backlog of entries I already have. I may as well give myself a fighting chance at keeping this blog updated.

Hopefully, I’ll update again soon!

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So much for New Year’s Resolutions… http://www.takingdetours.com/2017/06/10/so-much-for-new-years-resolutions/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2017/06/10/so-much-for-new-years-resolutions/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 04:07:55 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=97 Has it seriously been half a year since my last post?

I’m not even sure what happened, but needless to say, what didn’t happen was me keeping this blog current. My best guess is that life got in the way, as it often does.

In case, I haven’t been idle by any means! Oh man, there’s actually quite a bit to write an update about:

  • AJ visits and I take him around the Kansai area
  • Parents visit and I take them on trips to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Tokyo, and Hakone
  • I have started bartending at my favorite video game bar, Space Station
  • Plus other random excursions, like my first camping trip to Star Festival

That said, it is going to take me a little while to write about this past spring, but I’m genuinely hoping to be better. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview:

Until next time!

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2017 New Years Resolutions http://www.takingdetours.com/2017/01/01/2017-new-years-resolutions/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2017/01/01/2017-new-years-resolutions/#respond Sun, 01 Jan 2017 09:36:25 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=92 I have not been good with resolutions lately.

I still have a lot of projects, but I’ve found that I need to slow down. Take things step by step. Maybe work on accomplishing one routine before attempting a million others.

In light of this, I’d like to spend 2017 being more healthy, active, and creative. There are a lot of potentially cool things coming up and I want to be ready for the ride.

So, this year, here are my goals:

  • Post a weekly reflection: This can either be a blog post like this one or a video.
  • Read 6+ books for fun: Grad school tends to make my eyes woozy from reading already, so I figured about a book for every 2 months is a better, achievable goal.
  • Write 100 words for fun each month: I would like to actually finish a story. A friend of mine finished his book recently, and I’d like to say the same eventually!
  • Exercise for 15+ minutes every day: I know, it should be at least 30. But I’m going for achievable here, and I know me.
  • Take a picture every day: I’ll post these up in batches every week.

And I think that’s it!

Given, I’m still trying to go salsa dancing regularly and other such activities, but school tends to trump those kinds of routines so I’m not going to add the pressure of making it a resolution because I know that in all likelihood, I won’t be able to attend salsa class every week, depending on course load.

In the spirit of the last one, here is a pic of Cid and his new deer friend that my brother got for me from Nara.

Maybe he’s cosplaying as Prince Ashitaka?

Happy New Year!

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Vlog Detour #1 – Introductions / I’m so awkward http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/12/06/vlog-detour-1-introductions-im-so-awkward/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/12/06/vlog-detour-1-introductions-im-so-awkward/#respond Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:05:39 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=89 As I promised, a new thing I’m trying out! Maybe you’ll hear from me more often this way — though let’s keep overall expectations low. I’m not especially fond of the camera.

I think next time I’ll let Cid take the lead.

That said, feel free to subscribe to my channel. There isn’t much up yet, but I have so many plans. Just you wait!

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On homework http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/12/04/on-homework/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/12/04/on-homework/#respond Sun, 04 Dec 2016 06:34:16 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=85 Ok, I am feeling SUPER unmotivated right now. I have spent the last couple of hours typing maybe a total of 20 words for my homework assignment, and staring off into the distance for the rest of it.

Makes it a little awkward for the people sitting across from me at this communal desk. I’m at Starbucks.

This normally is a super productive environment for me. It’s just that I feel so uninspired. Funnily enough, the homework is on motivation. Well, my usual techniques don’t seem to be particularly effective today.

I give up. 

I going to switch gears and work on something not M.S. Ed. related and more interesting-for-this-blog related. It’s something I have been planning to do for awhile — years, in fact — though I could never quite get my ish together. No more procrastinating!


Pointless post. Pointless day. We all need one every now and again.

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On Recent Events http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/11/11/on-recent-events/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/11/11/on-recent-events/#respond Fri, 11 Nov 2016 15:14:00 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=82 So it took me awhile to process recent events, but I wanted to take some time to put together my full response to the results of the 2016 election, though I haven’t previously used this blog as so personal an outlet. Those of you who are FB friends probably have an idea of how I feel about it all, but there’s a range of responses out there and I felt that I needed to express my own two cents – if for no other reason than to get it off my chest.

Let me start off by saying that I do not necessarily contest the results. Trump won.

The thing is, I honestly didn’t expect it. I mean, wasn’t it obvious that he would be terrible for the job? The blatant racism, sexism, bigotry, stupidity — not just of his platform, but of the people that he represents and empowers, I’m just so repulsed. Frankly, you had to be a moron if you thought he would do anything but reverse progress. And I mean, I knew there were a lot of stupid people out there, but come on.

So I was shocked. It took me a few days to recover.

In retrospect, I’m not entirely surprised. I knew how terrible people could be. I just didn’t think they were such a significant part of the population.

And that’s the thing.

Ok, we can probably survive this. Maybe not without a number of (major) casualties, but we can survive. I think. And I’m trying to look at the silver lining that this outcome has been somewhat of a galvanizing force, motivating people to pay more attention and maybe be more involved.

But my faith and identity have been damaged.

Those of you who know me know that I hate it when someone doubts my nationality. I was born and raised in America, and being an American was a major part of my identity. So when “Where are you from?” became “No. Where are you REALLY from?” I would get more than a little irritated. Why? I’m an American. 

And I believed in America. I really did. For everything that I am and what my family has, a large part of that is due to the opportunities that my parents had by immigrating to the States. I mean, that was what America was, right? Land of opportunity? Freedom?

I don’t really want to go into how (ignorant? self-centered? stupid?) naive all of that is. I know that America is not all sunshine and streets paved with gold — far from it. I did not believe that America was number one, not in its current state. But I believed that it still could be. I mean, it was good to my family. For all the terrible, I believed that America was inherently good.

I… don’t know that I do anymore.

On Tuesday, I found myself repulsed by America. I couldn’t fathom how my people would (or could) vote for a man who spouted such misogynistic, racist, xenophobic and climate change-denying rhetoric. Who empowered, even encouraged, vile acts in his name. That’s who was chosen to represent America? I’m embarrassed and ashamed to be an American. Utterly disgusted, even now.

I genuinely deeply hated people for the first time, no holds barred. No benefit of the doubt. I hated people. I can’t stand that I hate people. I hate that I hate — it’s so toxic. And it’s not me versus them. We’re not separate parties, not really. We’re all Americans. I hate them, I hate me.

What I’m going to do from here I haven’t quite worked out. But that’s not the point of this post.

Yes, I’m fearful and worried about four years with this president and his supporters. The debilitating thing, however, was how it affected my faith. I believed most people were inherently good and deserved a chance. I don’t think I believe that anymore. I’m no better than they are.

Maybe it’s a good thing? In the end, maybe I was just silly (stupid?) for thinking that way. I’ve always been taken in so easily by dreams and fairytales. I don’t know. 

The world seemed brighter then.

I mourn being grounded.

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Ner-D: Introductions http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/11/09/ner-d-introductions/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/11/09/ner-d-introductions/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2016 16:13:00 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=77 As some of you may already know, I am currently a grad student working on her Master’s of Science in Education. This is the primary consumer of my time and energy. Though in the end, it will be worth it — I hope!

All in all, I do find the subject matter interesting. My concentration is in TESOL, which means I get to study a lot of theories on the pedagogy of language education. It’s a topic I find particularly fascinating — and I’d hope so, since teaching English is my current occupation!

I don’t have the best studying habits, I have to say, and I am feeling the pressure of having attended classes regularly since January since I took classes during both summer sessions instead of taking a summer break. Additionally, I have decided to opt out of a lot of social activities to focus on school this time around and try to stay on top of the assignments. All work and no play…

I would say I have been somewhat successful.

Well, in an attempt to get me to write more regularly, I’ve decided to start a new thing. I have loads I can ramble on about language learning, and I may as well blab on about it here. It’s not like I’m doing much travel these days, so I suppose the next best thing would be to share the ideas and interesting research I’ve been coming across. It really is pretty cool — if you’re into that kind of thing anyway. By that kind of thing, I mean language learning processes and teaching pedagogy, etcetera etcetera.

Maybe it’s not so interesting. But hey, you can always skip these ner-D posts. Ha, ner-D! Nerdy!  

I crack myself up.

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Lazy Day and Croatia Photo Dump http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/09/10/lazy-day-and-croatia-photo-dump/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/09/10/lazy-day-and-croatia-photo-dump/#respond Sat, 10 Sep 2016 12:01:38 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=64 Generally-speaking, I like to keep busy and I usually have a number of projects that keep me occupied. Besides having a lot of interests, it’s also a fairly effective strategy to deal with depression.

That being said, I’m having a lazy weekend!  I don’t do this very often as it tends to set me on a cycle of being too unmotivated to do anything and feeling unmotivated because I haven’t accomplished anything.  However, it’s nice to indulge every once in awhile and I’m still recovering from post-vacation blues, besides.

There’s a useful article over at tourradar.com that lists 5 tips for beating depression after vacation.  It includes taking it easy for a week (check!), focusing on something important (I’ve been re-evaluating my grad school plans), researching my next trip (does planning for my brother’s upcoming visit in October count?), keeping busy (… I swear, when I fully recover from jetlag!) and putting together a photo album.

Well, hooray for lazy days — check out some photos from my trip to Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia!

Croatia was a pretty random destination, especially considering that my base right now is Osaka, Japan.  Well, a friend of mine was going and his dates matched my vacation dates — and though I was only told about it a week ahead of time, I was impulsive enough to decide on the trip a mere two days before flying out.

Totally worth it, don’t you think?


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Summersonic Osaka 2016 http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/09/10/summersonic-osaka-2016/ http://www.takingdetours.com/2016/09/10/summersonic-osaka-2016/#respond Sat, 10 Sep 2016 07:05:21 +0000 http://www.takingdetours.com/?p=66 Summersonic was an awesome weekend, though it was mostly due to having friends from Korea visit. Radiohead was headlining, so it brought a bit of a crowd — though they actually might have been my least favorite performance.  Two Door Cinema Club was fun, as was James Bay — but I have to say the surprise highlights were seeing Fergie and Babymetal.  Highly energetic and highly entertaining!

I can’t take all the photo credit for the following photos — my friends AJ and Katia were pretty on top of documenting the weekend as well.  Take a look!

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