Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Hayama

Emperor’s Summer Garden

My English student, Manami, invited me to go with her and her mother, Atsuko, to visit the Emperor’s Summer Garden. The Summer garden is located in Hayama and a short drive from where we live. The gardens were lovely. They exuded a more natural ambiance because they were not overly manicured. 

The koi pond had some of the largest koi I have ever seen! Their colors were so bright and their patterns so bold. 

Within the garden was also a beautiful waterfall. 

The other highlight were the blooming hydrangeas. 

We stopped to take a few pictures before we left. The first is of Manami and me. The second is Manami and Atsuko. 

It was a very special adventure. I truly appreciated their invitation to show me a beautiful part of Hayama. I am very fortunate to have met them both and to have the opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture as a result of their friendship. I saw this quote on a bench in the garden and really felt it speaking to me. “This is you life” – I would only add “embrace it”. 

On a more somber note, thank you to our friends and family who reached out to check on Dave after hearing of the collision. He is safe. Our thoughts remain with our friends and shipmates aboard the USS Fitzgerald. It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart, Dave and I extend our condolences to the family and friends of the sailors who lost their lives. May you find peace and comfort in the memories of your loved one during this difficult time. ❤️

Life’s a Beach

Finally, we had a break in the clouds today. Dina and I made plans to visit a beach. Our goal was to check out Tateishi Park, a Hayama beach, and hopefully collect sea glass. 

When we arrived at the beach, a U.S. jet flew overhead. It was a beautiful sound of freedom. Jet noise at the beach. For a minute, I thought I had been transported home! The beach itself was mostly pebbles vice sand. We were both able to find a good collection of sea glass. Maybe you notice we had a friend with us today. We sprung Dina’s youngest out of school because she had an orthodontist appointment. After her appointment, we all headed to the beach. It was a much needed quiet beach time for everyone!

We had fun walking the beach, climbing the rocks, looking in the tide pools, and sea glass hunting. Even though Eme was missing school, I used every opportunity to give her a science lesson! 

We also learned a valuable lesson abou the sea hawks. On our way, we stopped at a Family Mart to buy lunch to eat on the beach. We didn’t finish it all and left it on the blanket while we hunted for sea glass. Rookie mistake! When we returned, we discovered the sea hawks had invaded! They ate my crackers and Eme’s steam buns! Those rascals!! Oh, well. The day was too gorgeous not to laugh it off. 

The sea glass, broken pottery, and a couple of shells I collected. 

Sole Adventures – The LSD 17 Mile March

I didn’t march on Saturday – my Sunday. I’m so grateful for my family and friends who did march throughout the United States. Washington, New York, Asheville, and Chicago. Each woman I spoke with about their reason for marching was different and yet the same. They were marching for their sister and for our country. I have never been more proud to know so many strong women. Women who are willing to travel miles to support important causes – women’s rights, education equality, climate, human equality, and above all – hope. Hope that the forward progress America has experienced is what makes it great.

Unfortunately, no. I didn’t march. I found out about a march in Tokyo after it happened. Instead, I ran 17 miles step-by-step Sunday morning with my husband. A man who supports me and respects me. A man who encourages me to be strong and outspoken. A man who is more than “ok” to be married to a confident, successful and independent woman. A man who is the first to say, “Team Dwyer for the win” at every achievement or milestone in our life.

As we train for the Tokyo Marathon, I’m running every step with my supporting husband and for my sisters around the world. Together and united we are strong and our voice will be heard. I heard you half way around the world today. Again, I couldn’t be more proud of you all.

This is us, 7.5 miles into our run on a chilly cold morning, supporting each other to run long… yes, I’m trying to smile. Mt. Fuji is in between us.

Our morning wasn’t completely clear, but we could still see Mt. Fuji beyond the haze. The small island in the front is Enoshima Island. The white dot on the island is the Sea Candle.

I also snapped a couple pictures of my favorite view on our long runs.

Living in Japan for the past 6 months has given me a new perspective. I have a much better understanding of what feels like to be different. I don’t blend in – I stick out. With that being said, from the start, the Japanese have accepted my difference. Sure, they might stare a little longer or not sit next to me on the train, but, eventually, they smile and someone will sit down. On several occasions, they have offered to help me understand the train schedule or menu item. The Japanese are kind, polite and helpful. I continue to strive to be all of these things. Every day.

I will leave you with a quote that speaks to me about why America has always been great.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Emma Lazarus

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