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Monday, October 14, 2013

Pittsburgh Isn't Boring: The Rubber Duck

Anytime a new resident of Pittsburgh is cornered by a group of not-so-new residents of Pittsburgh, the question inevitably arises: "So, how do you like Pittsburgh?"

It's a hard question. I've lived here for three years, and I still don't know how I feel about the city. My response to the question has always been prefaced by a lingering pause before I say something like, "it's a nice place to live," or "I'm getting used to it."

The truth is, when the first major city you live in is Tokyo, pretty much anything else is going to be sub-par. I imagine moving from NYC would have a similar effect- nothing else is as big, as convenient, as interesting. My husband, who grew up just outside of Kuala Lumpur, feels the same way. Pittsburgh isn't a real city.

But over the past few years I've found more and more good things about the city. If I'm going to be living here for at least a few more years, why complain? Why not focus on the advantages? 

We've got some great museums, excellent restaurants, and some pretty cool shops. There is a wealth of architecture to be found across the city, and it's actually pretty easy to get around just by using the public bus system. 

If you look, there are plenty of weird and entertaining details to be appreciated.

And right now, there is a giant rubber duck floating in the river.

"The Rubber Duck Project" is an art installation piece by the Dutch artist Florentjin Hofman, and it's presence in Pittsburgh marks the first U.S. city to house one of these sculptures.

Not half bad for a fake city.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Prints on Society6

Peony 1

Orchid 1


I recently joined Society6 and have started posting some of my art for sale as prints! Some of the originals are available for sale as well-- contact me if you are interested.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Orchid + Venus Flytrap

Orchid 1

Just getting back into painting after my summer away. I have a lot of ideas for new art (along with some old ones to finish), but not very much time! I'm also trying to get this blog looking presentable- I decided to move back to blogger, but I'm still wrestling with templates.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hello, Goodbye

I finished up my summer language program in Japan about two weeks ago, then spent the final week in Kyoto and Osaka being a tourist. It was a great summer, but I am happy to be back home again. The time away has made me feel much more positive about the upcoming year.


Yukata (simple, summer-weight kimono) and a manga I've been reading.


My luggage. I had an insanely small amount of luggage compared to most of the people in my program, but honestly I am really tired of lugging extra stuff around when I travel. The polka dot bag I actually bought in Japan to hold things I had acquired during the trip. My ideal is to pare-down my travel essentials so that I can fit everything in the small wheeled suitcase with room to spare.


Side street near Teramachi  in Kyoto.



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Shrine near Hikone castle.


Hikone castle.

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Actually wearing my yukata. In the summer you still see a lot of young people- men and women, although more women- wearing yukata. In the grand scheme of kimono, yukata are very easy to wear because they only really require one layer and a simply tied obi (belt). Also pictured: the sketchy subway bathroom.


We got to stay at a fancy hotel in Osaka because the rooms were discounted for unspecified reasons.



Why is this tea called The Pungency? No one knows. I also don't know how it differs from this brand's regular milk tea, because it tasted pretty much the same.


I spent my second to last day at day one of Summer Sonic in Osaka. It was unbelievably hot but really worth it in the end.

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There was a shuttle bus service from the train station, but the line was so long that we decided to walk instead. This definitely got us there faster and in better moods, but we had to walk through a long stretch of industrial park with this weirdo building looming in the background. I am told that it is the Osaka incinerator, but why it was designed to look like the palace of some Dr. Seuss-designed futuristic evil overlord is beyond me. Why the gold dome? Why the river-of-blood-esque patterns running down the tower?

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In the battle against heatstroke I didn't bother to photograph anything else until Muse was setting up after the sun had set. Photography is pretty discouraged at concerts in Japan, which I think is just great because you have to actually  pay attention to what's happening, rather than spending the whole time trying to record it.

I'm not terribly familiar with Muse, but they were quite entertaining to watch. My favorite of the bands I saw was Johnny Marr, who we went to see on a whim based on the fact that A. we like The Smiths and B. he was in the only indoor stage and we were concerned about death by increased exposure to sunlight, but oh my god he was amazing. Best heatstroke-induced decision I have made in my life. It's really impressive how much hearing a song live can really change the feeling too- I never thought of There is a Light That Never Goes Out as a song to rock out to, but that happened. Amazing. As the friend I was with said afterwards, it was really clear that he knew what he was doing.


Roses from my husband.

Until next time, Japan.