It was considered a skyscraper; a skyscraper college for Catholic women. And what did a Catholic women’s college need? Nuns, of course, to administer the college and teach the students. The nuns, like they so often have been, were ingenious heroines of Mundelien College. But before you hear about the nuns, you need to know […]

On Thursday morning I was at an operations meeting at work, walking through a couple of weeks of programs with my colleagues—all the performances, films, community meetings, lectures, rentals, youth projects, exhibition load-ins and everything else that makes the museum vital and necessary. By Friday night, all of that was cancelled. The museums are shut […]

So what do you do when you’re about to visit South Korea and the CDC puts out a AVOID NON ESSENTIAL TRAVEL red alert?  Well obviously you put on your good citizen pants and cancel your trip. Back in 2009, HOB and I came down with the swine flu at the peak of the pandemic.  […]

  One of our hotels in Japan served breakfast bento, which was perfect for me as I adore both breakfast and eating a variety of foods.  Since I have no business claiming to be an authority on Japan, I thought it would be fun to share a variety of bite-sized tips which might be useful […]

As a young woman I thought a typical marriage was this: the wife thanklessly plows through endless chores while her husband, planted in front of a television, yells at a sports game as piles of empty beer cans rise up around him.  I never wanted to be married. HOB and I met at a bookstore […]

I was feeling self-congratulatory on the train to Osaka.  All of our other plans had fallen through because of the typhoon but we had a train pass and hotels in Osaka were cheap so we made a last-minute decision to head there from Nara.  I’d never visited a place without a binder full of research […]

My standard travel practice involves avoiding anything that smacks of shiny; palaces, treasuries, and—most dreaded of all—collections of silver tableware.  Nevertheless, I wanted to see the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto.  HOB and I had both read Yukio Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion and were curious about this temple which had been rebuilt […]

Oh 2019, you were a silly end to a hilarious decade. As usual, I saw a lot of funny signs this year. Best love hotel name, ever.  Also, extra points for the subtlety of the logo. On second thought, this taco joint wins the award for subtlety of both name and logo. I made too […]

After we had to cancel our pilgrimage hike across the Kii Peninsula because of Typhoon Hagibis, HOB and I visited the tourist information center in Nara to try to find another hike.  I read that there was a primeval forest nearby and wanted to see if we could hike there.  The friendly man at the […]

  Janacek was a homely cat—with his mottled brown, gray, white and striped fur—not to mention clumsy, and rather lazy.  They say pets resemble their people, so who knows; perhaps that’s why we picked him from the shelter, this cat who had been dropped off, adopted, and returned to the shelter a second time, before […]