Saturday, May 26, 2012

Adventures in Kyoto

Hey everyone!
So today I pack up my bags and head on to Tokyo from Kyoto station. I have really enjoyed my time here in Kyoto living in the Konaka Residence as a guest. I stayed out of the main part of the city up in Northern part of Kyoto by Kitayama. It made it more realistic as when ever I was down near the main station or city central there were foreigners everywhere haha. Tons of people visit from China and France. I tried talked to a lot of people that were Caucasian by saying "How's it going today?" and they look at each other and start talking in French. I gave up and moved on. There are tons of sites worth while to see in Kyoto and I was able to see the biggest sites and the hidden sites since I did a ton of wandering around the streets. There are a few things that I didn't visit and wish I did like Nara and also hike up Mount Hiei and visit the temple complex up there. I didn't go to any of the museums as that's not really my kind of thing. Kind of wanted to see the International Manga one though. I have stuff to do when I come back, oh and I went to Arashiyama and visited some places but I wish I spent more time there, it was beautiful. I wanted to see the Daikakuji Temple, Gioji Temple and such. Kyoto is a great place to visit, I was here for 10 full days and didn't get it all done. It is so full of history and rich in temples and shrines. I talked to a lot of people that stopped going to them because they said they were the same and boring now. I didn't think so, they were all unique in there own way and I enjoyed every temple and shrine grounds. Made a few friends here and all of the people of Kyoto that I met were really nice. I will uploaded all my pictures when I am back home safe and have a reliable computer to do it haha.
Lets see what my Tokyo adventures hold for me!

Friday, May 18, 2012

52nd Annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival in D.C.

Hey Everyone!
So a few weeks ago before the hectic-ness of exams and school work I went to the Sakura Matsuri Festival in D.C. with my mother and friend. We had a decent time, there were so many people and it's now a $5 per person event which started the previous year. Lots of pretty good food and there was some traditional things to do and tourist stuff to pick up. All-in-all it wasn't completely what I was expecting since it's really different in Japan. I guess you can call it an Americanized one haha

Cute young ladies showing off the bamboo forest.
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All Nippon Airways had a booth where you can pick up some info on new type of airplane that is pretty remarkable what they built it with. You also got to spin the wheel to get something free, I got a paper plane kit that makes a pokemon airplane haha

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Traveling to Japan!

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Hey Everyone! today is the day and I am hoping on an airplane and going to Japan. I am pretty excited and nervous. It was a big trip to plan but will be extremely rewarding. I can not promise many posts while I am traveling, maybe an update or two with some photos or what not. Most of my posts that will be about my trip will probably be when I get back safely home in June. I made some posts the other day that will be posted while I am traveling but nothing like live...really...well maybe!
So the photo about was a bunch of post cards my aunt sent to me as she knew that I was going to Japan after graduation. They arrived like two months ago but I figured I get around till now to post about it. Some are Chinese related but it was nice of her to send them to me. She sends my family and I a lot of postcards from her travels in New England and these were different and were specifically for me! When I got them I was like, "Hey I'll see that!"
I can't wait! Long time spent on the airplane and airports but it will be rewarding. One of the flights from New Jersey to Tokyo is like a 14.5 hour flight by itself. That's like a full day awake almost! I will definitely be catching some ZZZ's.
Wish me happy Travels!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Graduation day!



Hey Everyone!
So today is the big day of my college graduation! With a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies! It has been a good four years of college at two different schools. People didn't think I could do it starting out at a community college and transferring. I put in two years there with 67 credits of work and got my associates degree of science. I transferred to the ever so large VCU in Richmond where I managed to fit all of my credits in for another two years (with an extra Summer semester last summer) to graduate in four years!
Lots of people thought that if you applied to a four years school and get denied (which I was) and went to a community college you were pretty much not going to finish and just go into the work force with an ok job. that is honestly how people though in my class from high school and it turned out to be that for a lot of the people that went to community college. I finished and transferred to finish in four years where some people that have been at 1 fours year college still has to take more classes. It's incredible.
I have always a full time student (12 credits per hour) and usually closer to 17 credits per semester. I had worked part time at a retail store since I was a Junior in High school up till this past December and had worked at my internship from 2010 till now which was more then they had intended but they kept me because of my hard work. Being able to put that much work in to two jobs for a while and going to VCU getting my degree with lots of commuting in my car it has paid off today.
I am the first in my family to get a four year college degree so it is some what a big deal and everyone is proud of me. They are also very impressed with my planning of this trip to Japan which they are very excited for me as well.
Completing a degree from my community college (a 2 year degree) felt pretty good but know that I have finished this degree it gives a big boost in self accomplishment. It pays because it helps get a job in our countries situation but I have plans for what is out there for me. I will reach and try for positions that are exciting and invigorating in my life. Something that I can enjoy and always remember that I loved that job.
Unless I decide to go back for a Master's degree, this will be last time I will go to school for credits. I wouldn't mind going to a class to learn something new. My grandmother does it, why can't I.
Family and friends will be over later today to share my happiness and we can drink and eat and enjoy company.
I just can't believe that I did it.
One thing that helps is knowing what you want. I understand students start school as a undecided major an figure out things as they take basic class credits before they realize what they want. I guess it helped that I wanted to do something for the environment or a science like field and I stuck to it.
I will also say if this is the case or just in general for anyone, going to a community college and getting an associates degree with lots of background classes for 2 years saves you a TON of money rather then taking the same classes at a four year school for like 5 times the amount. The community college system that I was in has an agreement with a lot of institutes in Virginia that if you get a 2 years degree at the community college you get automatic acceptance into there school which is really nice and makes the transfer part work smoothly. Trust me it is a great idea to save lots of dough. With no financial aid at the community college plus books and such, it was like $2,100 a semester and at VCU with financial aid was like $4,400+.
You can save people.
Well I have to get ready and look my best for my diploma ceremony and professors.
I will talk to everyone later!!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Flowering Dogwood Tree (Cornus florida)

Hey Everyone!
More plants today and this time it is the Flowering Dogwood Tree and their flowers (Cornus florida).
The tree and the flowers from the tree are the State of Virginia's tree and flower (where I live). All states have there State tree or flower, ours happen to be the same plant!
It is native of Eastern North America!
It is a small deciduous tree that doesn't get very tall, about 33 feet in height. What you would call the pedals (white part below) is actually bracts with flowers in the center (the green part). There can be up to 20 flowers in each one too. These flowers are bisexual. Also, when cultivated and propagated (not natural) these "pedals" can be pink.

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These trees are found in the wild they tend to like a forest edge or dry patches. These trees will bloom in early April in the southern states which it did when I took these photos. In fact more like late March this year. It can be late April and early May for the northern states. 

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The fruit are drupes and can be reddish and ripen late Summer early Fall where a ton of birds depend on them for food. This helps the tree as it is a great way to disperse its seed. These seeds are edible but warn you, the taste isn't that great.(NOT all dogwoods are great for eating. This specific species is not poisonous but the fruit is not taste at all. Thought I warn you if you are trying to identify if it is the right species.)

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Bleeding Heart Flower (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

Hey Everyone!
Wanted to show some pictures of our Bleeding Heart! Sounds weird but I am talking about a plant from the Genus Lamprocapnos.
Technically this isn't in the family that are called bleeding hearts but it was at one point. It was called Bleeding Hearts because of the way the outer pedals look like hearts. The inner white pedals kinda of bleed out from inside "bleeding heart".

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It is a perennial plant that are from rhizomes. Native of Eastern Asia like Russia down to Japan and such. Was not introduced to Europe until 1840 from Japan by a guy named Robert Fortune. 

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They have compound leaves with leaflets in threes. They have fleshy like green and pink stems.
The bloom from late Spring to early Summer, and often during the summer the plant will go dormant.



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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Attack of the Inchworm horde!

Inch Worms are the caterpillar form of Geometer moth's, family is Geometridae.
The reason that they are called "Inch Worms" is the way they get around by inching along. They lack legs in the middle of their body with only legs in the front and back. Not only that, they are roughly 1 inch long! They are green, gray, brown and will hide from predators but if it was the way it was a few weeks ago in Hanover county it didn't matter because there were so many. 

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I heard that they were worst off in other parts of the county. Our mail box was covered for a long time with web and their bodies, mother wasn't happy. 

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In the news, a lot of people reported problems with them being all over the place. the specialist stated that these inch worms once every decade will be in a super large number when they appear at the time. 

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Maymont Cosplay Picnic Spring 12

This past weekend I attended another Cosplay Picnic at Maymont where we were able to hang out and such in the rainy weather. With that said being rainy, I didn't really take much pictures at all. The last cosplay Picnic photographs can be found here!
yummy food was brought and lots of cool people! It would be great to have one a few times a year rather then once a year!


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The creepy bear watching us...

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