The pictures never do justice to the amazing Cascade Mountain Range. There have been several clear, sunny days in Seattle during my visit, which is a bit of an anomaly.
Both of the pictures above were taken from the Sand Point Country Club near my brother's house in north Seattle.
I had a nice panini sandwich, The Firehouse (turkey, cheddar cheese, jalapeno, roasted red pepper, chipolte, cajun seasoning, mayo with a side of ranch dressing) at Van Gogh Coffeehouse, a local coffee place in the Wedgewood area of Seattle.
On New Year's Day I went with my brother's family to the new attraction downtown at the wharf, Seattle Great Wheel.
Grady, Addie, Quinn, and Kellen enjoyed the ferris wheel.
The Space Needle is visiable between two buildings.
A ferry on its way to Vashon Island.
Grady on the carousel at the wharf.
Quinn rides on.
Kellen in Uncle Pat's Christmas gift-Superman pajamas.
Last weekend I moved to a new apartment 7 minutes from Ebisu station in Shibuya-ku. This is the view from my balcony--very urban. But there is room for a couple of chairs and table on the balcony. The picture below is the front side of the building, my apartment in on the 8th floor.
Inside the apartment, it's a one room plus kitchen 43 square meters (13 square metters bigger than the last place).
You can see that he kitchen has a space saving washing machine under the burner. Shower and toilet in separate rooms on the left.
In the main room a new dresser and new desk/chair set. On the left is a big closet and flat screen TV to the right.
Here's the right side of the room with lamp, reading chair, and double bed.
I guess I should continue the updates as family members have been asking about the conditions on the ground here recently. I suppose there's been a lot of fuss about traces of radiation found in the water and foods like spinach and milk. The amount is not enough to cause significant damage. They have been cautioning the consumption with small children and pregnant women because children's cell divide faster. Here's a link to the WHO explanation of the situation.
Things continue to be touch and go at the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, but largely under control. The evacuation zone suggested by the Japanese government was not as large as suggested by the U.S. government and they have recently extended it, but it remains very far from Tokyo. I feel no danger.
There's a new term being bandied about the fleeing foreigners (known as gaijin in Japanese) in Japan "flygin." When the earthquake happened and the ensuing problems with nuclear reactor sin Fukushima many foreigners fled to south or out of the country to their home countries or places like Singapore. A lot of Japanese people have mentioned that they were disappointed by this. I heard the buzz on discussion sites like 2-Channel and Twitter question the validity of giving foreigners voting rights if this is how they react in a crisis. The German and French embassies suggested that their nationals evacuate Tokyo. So they were among the first to go. Wealthy expats in industries like banking were among the first wave to leave as well. Most of the people I know stayed, but some left and some went south to places like Osaka and Kyoto. Many "flygin" seem to be returning this week.
I work at several universities and many have cancelled or scaled down graduation ceremonies and postponed opening ceremonies, guidance and orientation. Meiji University has cancelled all ceremonies and will start two weeks late, Chuo university will proceed as planned, and Musashi University has delayed the opening of classes for 10 days. I'm still waiting to hear from another. But with all the free time I might try to sneak away for a few days in April using mileage accumulated over the year.