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Interlude II: Minnesota Boogaloo

June 30, 2019

After our week in Hawaii we planned a week in our home state of MN. There were a few places we want to visit like the local comic book store, a certain restaurant that may have been mentioned a few times on this blog, and Kira has #herlake. But I’m going to write up our itinerary for the week. See if you can get a sense of the real reason we came back to MN for a week. [Note: I am typing this on my phone in the car as we drive out of the state so there could be even more typos than usual.]

All week

Sarah – staying at the house of thier best friend since first grade


Donnellys – A Pizza dinner with friends and Kira’s mom.


Kira – walk around the lake with a friend

Mike – Happy hour with a good friend

Kira – dinner and drinks with friends at WA Frost

Mike – dinner and a movie with my best friend in MN


Kira – lunch with a friend

Kira – walk around the lake with a friend

Donnellys – Dinner on the patio with Kira’s mom.

Michael – Magic the gathering with friends at The Source


Kira – walk around the lake with a friend

Donnellys – Dinner at Hell’s Kitchen


Kira – walk around the lake with a friend

Kira – dinner and drinks with friends at Betty Danger’s

Mike – dinner and beers at Bang Brewery


Kira – walk around the lake with a friend

Donnellys – grilling brats and salmon at our friends’ house


Mike – breakfast with friends at ( you guessed it) Hell’s Kitchen

Kira – walk around the lake with a friend

Donnellys – pack, trip to Barnes & Noble, trip to The Source Comics and Games

Donnellys – last, but definitely not least, dinner at Kira’s Aunt’s house with the MN Kopli

Interlude I: Hawaii

June 30, 2019

Between Japan and New York City we are spending two weeks traveling. The first week was in Hawaii. The pace of Hawaii was too nice to interrupt with blogging so I will recap now that we are back on the mainland. This was a long post so there are no pictures, but if you click on the headers I did add one picture for each day.

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We’re in the End Game Now

June 12, 2019

There was supposed to be a lot more blogging during this exit from Japan, but I have not been feeling very bloggy.

When we embarked on this adventure about four years ago the most common reaction was , “You are so brave.” On our way out the question everyone asks me as I hug them for the last time or share one last beer is, “Are you sad to be leaving Japan?” I usually don’t answer directly and I say something like, “There are so many things I am going to miss about Tokyo and Japan.” But in truth I am not sad. There was some sadness a few months back when we realized the adventure was coming to an end, but right now I am just ready to get back. You see, that’s the thing with adventures they aren’t meant to be permanent.

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The Third Emperor

May 5, 2019

The Japanese calendar is determined by the reign of each emperor. The first time I moved to Japan it was the year Showa 62 by the Japanese calendar. I lived here for a year and then came back summers and holidays while I was in college. By the time we left Japan it was the year Heisei 2 – The Emperor Showa (called Hirohito in life) died over winter break my freshman year of college in 1989 beginning the new Heisei era under Emperor Akihito. I think I may have already left to go back to school, but Kira was in town. She remembers going out with my sister on the day Hirohito died and Akihito was enthroned and she says that the city of Tokyo was quiet that night.

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May 2, 2019

I celebrated my birthday in Tokyo for the last time today. As with most things in my life it was all about the food. I had lunch with Kira at our local Soba shop, 蕎麦酒房・千年 , which as best as I can translate means Thousand Year Soba Shop. In addition to the great Japanese comfort food they serve (tempura soba, katsu curry, etc) they are always playing random American music from the 70’s and 80’s. We are just starting to be regulars at this shop and I believe the owner recognized us today. I hope to go a few last times before we head back.

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The New Minuteman

May 1, 2019

With all of the things going on as we count down or last days in Tokyo there was some news that probably didn’t get the fanfare it deserved. Michael has accepted his admission to the University of Massachusetts Amherst and will start there in the fall!

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Final Acts

April 28, 2019


The last performance of the ASIJ’s 2019 Spring Musical, Urinetown, was on Friday.  Theater been a big part his experience here and watching him in a show has been our main excuse to visit the ASIJ since Sarah left for college. There is still one more choir concert to get out us back out there before graduation, but this marks the end of Michael’s high school theater career. Read more…