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The Rest of 2015

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Coming back from Japan through the end of the year was a real whirlwind. I’m grateful for all the amazing experiences I’ve had. Life certainly isn’t boring!

October
22 – A few days after our return from Japan was the exhibition opening party for Sotatsu at the Gallery. I loved coming home to an amazing Japanese show!

23 – UMD men’s soccer game and tailgate

27 – Another fundraising event at the museum, staying late at work to me is a bonus!

29 – My SRS members night at the Galleries! A lot of fun, and a great success

30 -Friends in town for a wedding – out to U street! It’s changed a lot since the boys lived in Bloomingdale

31 – Wedding in Virginia Wine Country. Super fun to hang out with out of town friends, plus delicious wine and dancing!

November

6 – Anthony’s birthday! Dinner at Kaz Sushi Bistro

7 – Afternoon friend birthday party, evening at Side Yards in Yards Park!

8 – SRS tour of the Textile Museum

10 – Andre Leon Tally at the Galleries! Talk and book signing, so fabulous

12 – Smithsonian Magazine Ingenuity Awards dinner with Jamie. Bill Nye, Fred Armisen and other amazing guests.

14 – D Street House Party, always the best

15 – NPG Gala! I volunteered and filled in at dinner, which was delicious. The ceremony honored Carolina Herrera, Hank Aaron, Maya Lin, Corporal Kyle Carpenter and ended with a performance by Aretha Franklin! RESPECT!

22 – Julia’s birthday outing to Hunger Games and Chinese food!

25 – Steph arrives in town for Thanksgiving weekend! Out to Copy Cat on H.

26 – Thanksgiving in Crofton

27 – Relaxing day, and giant margarita night with Steph!

28 – Christmas on the Farm show

December

1-4 – Most nights spent baking at Courts!

5 – SRS Anderson House tour, Court and Jamie’s Christmas party

7 – White House Congressional Holiday Party.

12 – Annapolis Christmas Boat parade…canceled because the yacht club caught on fire! Still had a great dinner with the Kellahers, Walkers, and Ruperts!

13 – Girls brunch at Farmers, Fishers, Bakers

19 – Adam’s Christmas Booze Exchange!

20 – Flight to California!!

21 – Afternoon with Brittany and Chloe (and In N out), evening with Mary, Josh, Tilly and Lua (and Islands!)

22 – Day trip to San Diego! The Midway, Coronado and the Fish Market.

23 – Dinner in Long Beach with Brit, Chloe and Taylor, and Lindsey! Alex and Claudio’s holiday party

24 – Christmas Eve. Downey. Perfection

25 – Christmas! Morning at home, dinner in Downey. More perfection.

26 – Dinner with Kacey and Jordan and baby!

27-29 – Hang at home, lots of great food, relaxing!

29 – Flight canceled as we are about to board, rush to change our flight, can’t get out until the red eye the next day! Yikes!

30 – Bonus day in California means more In N Out

31 – Fly into Baltimore, Court picks us up and we drove to Gettysburg! Slept for a few hours in the best hotel bed ever, took a bus tour of the battlefields, lunch at Ernie’s diner, prep for the evening. Dinner at the Blue Parrot for a giant prime rib dinner, drinks at the hotel in the square, the dive bar, and midnight fireworks in the square!

It’s hard to say what was the best part of the end of the year. I think of the best moments have been dinners at friend’s houses, playing (and losing) lots of Catan, and all the nights spent at home with Anthony! But looking over all these great moments, I am so thankful for everything I’ve experienced and the amazing friends and family I’ve shared them with.

2015 was amazing.

 

Trip to Japan – Day 10

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We left our Airbnb super early. We purchased our JR tickets to the airport, and put luggage in lockers at Tokyo station. We spent our morning at the tsukiji fish market. We waited in line for an hour for sushi at Daiwa Sushi. Once you are inside, you sit along the sushi counter and they have one tasting menu, and as they prepare each piece they place it in front of you and explain it. It was amazing – and so fresh! We then walked around the fish market and saw all the vendors. From there we walked around Ginza to the fancy shops, and walked all the way back to Tokyo station. We got on our train to airport, and arrived with enough time to shop and eat. Only there was just one souvenir shop, and two places to eat! Not quite what I was expecting. We bought a few things, ate McDonalds one last time (that or a weird Japanese restaurant). We said goodbye and Anthony and I got on a 13 hour flight to NJ. Then from there flew to Baltimore on a tiny plane. We were picked up by Kellahers, dropped by their house to get the car, ate delicious Wegman sandwiches before driving home to fall fast asleep! What an epic trip.

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Trip to Japan – Day 9

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We started out the day at the national Tokyo museum. The whole area is full of museums, the zoo, a baseball diamond. We chose to go to the museum with Japanese art. The area kind of reminded me of the National Mall, but in a park like setting.We headed over to Harajuku and had lunch at Las Dos Caras – Mexican food! It was super awesome. They had table side guacamole and other patrons were loving it and taking pictures. All the taco add ons (cheese, sour cream, guac, salsa), came in its own dish. So it was almost like a make your own taco. We then walked around Yoyogi park. On the weekends it is packed full of activity with Rockabilly dancers, all sorts of performers, and tons of people watching. We then walked around the high fashion streets of Harajuku including Cat street. From there we walked around another area where we went to a wine bar, and then to the arcade to do our own photo booth!  We had our last dinner together and an old school ramen restaurant. We ordered up front, then when we sat had our own window that opened and closed to bring us food. It was delightful. We walked home together one last time!

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Trip to Japan – Day 8

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With being out late, we woke up around 11. I went to the market next door for a Coke and some snacks. We took our time getting up and out and went to the Harajuku area and Takeshita street. It was really crazy busy, but fun to check everyone out in their crazy clothes. We ate McDonald’s and shopped around including buying gifts in Orientation Bazaar. From there we took a metro to Yokohama to meet Ryuichi and his wife. They showed us around the town. We saw the city from an observation tower, that had a super fast elevator (like Guinness world records fast), that took us to the top in a few seconds. We walked around the harbor, and to Oktoberfest! Quite a sight. Afterwards we walked through Chinatown to a restaurant where we sat at a big round table, and shared a tasting menu. The food was incredible! We exchanged gifts and were each given a Japan National Team scarf! It was so great to see Ryuichi and his home town.

Trip to Japan – Day 7

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Today was our tour guide day! We had eight hours with Miki, who was recommended by a friend, and it was the best decision we could have made in Tokyo. It is hard to navigate, and would take so much time figuring out how to get from one big sight to the next. We started in Asakusa at the temple Sensoji and the oldest mall in Tokyo that leads up to it called Nakamise. I bought my mom a traditional woodblock print. We then went to Edo-Tokyo museum. The museum was incredible and was built at the height of Japanese money. It had life size buildings inside and a bridge and showed how the cities changed from Edo to Tokyo times.

From there we went to ramen lane in Tokyo station. We waited in line at the most famous one, which only took about 30 minutes. It was dip style where you had a bowl of noodles and a bowl of broth separately. I loved it. From there we walked by the Imperial Palace, saw the Wall Street and Government areas of the city. Next we went to the Meiji Jingu shrine where we saw a wedding taking place! Miki took us all the way back to our doorstep. She was amazing from start to finish, and we got to ask all our questions about customs and what the trail of bumps on the sidewalk meant, and heard all about the emperor and his family. Quite a treat!

We went out to dinner at a yakiniku restaurant called Omni Tei. Then onto our highlight of the night, the Robot Restaurant for a crazy show! It was really beyond what I ever imagined it was going to be. You just have to look it up, there is no explaining. Afterwards we went out to Golden Gai which is an area of about 200 bars that seats between 4-12 people in each bar. They all have their own theme, style, menu, and cast of characters. My favorite was the owner was really into music, and dreams of going to New York, LA and Nashville! He had a stack of CDs and the place sat 6 people. It was a super fun night and we ended up home at 4am.

Trip to Japan – Day 6

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We woke up, packed, and left our Airbnb. We went to Kyoto station to get our JR tickets to Kyoto and a locker for suitcases. We went to Nishiki Market to walk around, buy gifts and try food on sticks including Kobe beef and a tiny octopus! We headed back to station for McDonald’s. By far…the best Big Mac I have ever had. We took a train to  Tokyo and sat on Mount Fugi side. When we arrived it took an hour to get to our new Airbnb after figuring out the trains. This Airbnb was fine, not as nice as Kyoto! We went to New York bar in Hyatt which is famous from its scene in Lost in Translation (Thomas’ great photo is below!). It had amazing views and we each got a cocktail. From there we took a train to Shibuya to do the crossing and to eat dinner at a sushi chute restaurant. We each sat on a stool with our own screen. In front of us were three conveyor belts. We ordered our food on the screen and within a couple minutes it came out on the belt, stopped in front of you where you took it off, and pressed a button to send the tray back. Way too much fun, and actually really tasty sushi! We walked around the corner to a small bar called Black Sheep. There was a dog at the bar, who was known to be testy. But she sat there, like a customer! She seemed sweet to me… Then it was back to bed!

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Trip to Japan – Day 5

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We had a late start since the boys were out late. I showered early and was ready, but waited for the gang to get going and left an hour after we had planned. We walked to Kyoto national museum which was holding a special Rinpa exhibit. It was awesome, and perfectly timed as my own museum has a Rinpa show coming up! I had more planned for the morning but we had to head to lunch for our reservation. It was a 25 min walk to Kappo Sakamoto, a traditional kaiseki restaurant. It was so amazing. The restaurant was located down an alley, through the back of a business building. It was a tiny room sitting on the stream with maybe 14 seats. We sat at the bar facing the kitchen. At one point a crane flew by the window and sat on a beautiful tree overlooking the stream. It was picturesque. In total we had 12 courses – fish, noodles, duck – everything. We also had sake, which was very good. It was great sitting at the kitchen because we got to talk to the chef. He took over the restaurant from his father, and he used to work in SF! His mother helps in the restaurant as well. Very wonderful place. They followed us out when we left and bowed until we reached the end of the street. What an incredible experience!

We then headed back towards the museum for the Kawai Kanjiro Memorial Museum, which was a potter’s house. It had its own kiln in the backyard, and was built in the traditional Kyoto style of houses. From there we went to Sanjusangendo, the temple known for the the 1001 Kannon statues. Afterwards while everyone wanted to walk home I stayed out and walked around the city some more. I used my book to visit a few traditional shops, and bought handmade paper. On my walk home I stopped by 7-11 for an afternoon sandwich snack. For dinner we went out to Gion for dinner. Our last night in Kyoto!

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