Dog Days of Summer: China Part 2

This is a retelling of a story a Chinese woman shared with me when I asked if eating dog meat was popular in China: Dog meat? Yes, some people – a lot of people – like dog meat. There are special dogs that are raised, they’re farmed like pigs or cows, and they are specifically […]

Feels Like Home

Bumper to bumper traffic. Horns blasting all around. The slow crawl of the left turn lane. Out the window, one young man shuffles along with Bluetooth headphones, bopping his head to the beat and playing air drums with tattooed arms. Next to him, an older man in a suit quickens his pace to pass; obviously, […]

Tentatively Optimistic is Code for Scared

“Do you think they’ll do it?” We shook water off our umbrellas and stepped into the elevator. “Who?” I pushed the buttons for our respective floors. “Either of them.” Rainwater dripped down her cheek and sweat dripped down mine, a combination only possible in Japan I think. “Either of who?” I pretended not to know […]


My impressions of the world come in snapshots. People, places, even smells are all snippets of time captured in stills. It’s a never-ending roll of Kodachrome spiraling through my brain. The more snapshots I collect of a subject, the more I feel I have a complete panoramic view. I have thousands of snapshots of my […]

Taking Care: The Squeegee Man

The rainy season has started here, and rain brings extra traffic. I was stuck at a light for a few rotations today and observed a peculiar sight: a gas station attendant squeegee-ing the concrete in the pouring rain. It was a two-pump station covered by a canopy. The rain was formidable: falling horizontally and made […]


Olive Garden came to my hometown when I was about eight years old. I begged my parents for weeks to take me there. My family dressed up for a nice dinner out and happily waited twenty-five minutes for a table along with a dozen other Wisconsonite families overjoyed at a Friday night out at Olive […]

The Portable Shrine

Pineapple juice dripped down the skewer and in the dirt of the shrine’s courtyard. I wondered if that was disrespectful. Inconspicuous in the shade of an old gnarly tree, I people-watched. Clustered groups of people chatted while children worked their teeth over chocolate covered frozen bananas on sticks. Flakes of chocolate cracked off the bananas […]

One, Two, Three…

While perusing the streets before a neighborhood festival I spotted a pineapple vendor’s tiny booth between two hot food booths. It was 75 and sunny and I was sweating. A slice of skewered pineapple sounded heavenly. I happily forked over 200 yen, expecting speedy pineapple-on-a-stick delivery. “Do you know the game paper, scissors, rock?” the animated […]

So, now all restaurants are Taco Bell

My husband’s command gave us a huge welcome basket the day after we arrived in Japan. It was a laundry basket actually, which was the perfect vessel for a family with nothing but suitcases and a ton of laundry. We retreated to our hotel and pawed through, delighted to see familiar American snacks and an […]