Is a Blog Hop Like a Sock Hop?

What the heck is a blog hop? How did I end up here, in this bloggy stream of verrrry accomplished novelists & bloggers? It could be a bit of an awkward tween dance, save the fact that I am in my own home on a laptop. So…this is a blog hop…

Suzanne Kamata, writer & novelist extraordinaire, passed the mic to me on this, my 1st ever blog hop! Do, please, check out her writing & her blogI am already knee-deep in her new YA novel, Screaming Divas, & it only arrived yesterday. Here are my words. Ehemm.

1) What am I writing or working on?
Blogging/journaling— In between teaching, nursing, & shuttling my kids through Tokyo’s narrow side-streets on errands, I am working on daily/weekly writing that is fairly memoir-like in spirit. I recount moments of the day and let them ping around in my mind as they bang into and touch upon former experiences and memories. This is a fun part of writing–nothing is off-limits, or has to be! (Of course, I try to practice wisdom on what I publish and what is, at this stage, just for me).
Interviewing–I’m just starting to interview authors! What rewards in hearing more about a favorite author, their thoughts and personal writing life! I’m eager to take part in more! Stay tuned for my interview with Suzanne Kamata, appearing in an upcoming Literary Mama. “Whooo-ah.” (spoken in your best Al Pacino voice).
Food writing/editing–
One dream is to be like Ruth Reichl & write spectacular food reviews for The Times or for the late, great Gourmet. But then, I realize nobody would really hire me to do such grand work when for starters, there is the whole litany of what I don’t eat. You can’t be a food reviewer who has to quiz the kitchen about whether it is 100% beef or if some pork may have gotten in. You can’t cover summer at the Cod when clams are a no-no. I could, however, cover most Happy Hours or All Nippon Airways’ kosher meal. (Hint: you get your meal before ANYONE, but then they won’t give you Haagen Dazs).
I’ve been fortunate to write & edit food & travel reviews to the extent I do!! Plus, I work at passing on this love to my students. The young people I teach are fairly incredible. I’m currently teaching lots of sensory detail. My students are incorporating sounds, memory, and every kind of lingering, gooey detail you could possibly think of.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I guess I come at it like many teachers who fell in love with poetry at a young age. Other than that, I am a Jewish American expat married into a fabulous Japanese, faith-filled family, raising our supremely awesome kids in Tokyo. I teach. I mom. I miss my family in the US. I write. I love my husband. I garden. I snap pics of my kiddo with spaghetti on his head. I eat cases of ice cream. I write a little more. I pray with my kids. We have dance parties. I often over-think, but I’m always honest. Dunno how it differs, but it’s me.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write to record life–all the growth and stretching and letting go. I write because I have to, like many say. I am happier if I get some of the gravely thoughts out of the way & make sense of sadness, or communicate a specific joy. It is all like a prayer & an unravelling & a weaving together. It happens & you are stronger.
I tend to forget details, to forget my kids’ first words, just how small their heads looked when they first were born. I write because one day I might not remember much at all! I write because I want records, I desire that my great-grandchildren know their inheritance, the value of memoir and faith. I wish I had records of who my great-grandparents were/are! I am creating what I don’t have, in a way. I remember feeling such strength when laboring at my husband’s reminder that every woman in my family, every woman leading up to me, had done this (no meds, too). They had the strength and it turns out, so did I.
Writing, is for me, a chance to record LIFE, in the nitty-gritty, sometimes frustrating, often dazzling moments that otherwise, might slip by.
4) How does my writing process work?
If I can grab time–even & especially night-time, when all is quiet & I am the last one standing, that works. Sometimes it’s standing elbows squashed on the train. I scrawl in my journal, think on funny moments while walking the kids to school, whatever. I scrawl then type later.
Sometimes I write & post directly from my phone. It’s one-stop blogging.
If I am fortunate to have some real carved-out time, I’ll edit & think on particular words. Usually, I am hasty and some weeks later, I’ll notice major goofs or my husband will say, “Um, you may want to edit this”.
Look next week for these three writers:
Wendy Flemons–sincere essays and honest, funny moments on her blog, Momfullness. Follow this wife, mother, & storyteller. I’m so glad I met her through an online writing course, Motherhood & Words. She draws extensively from her experience as a mother and pours this into her preferred forms, essay and memoir. She has traveled expansively, most recently spending time with her family doing humanitarian work and visiting, in Ethiopia, where two of her five children were born. Wendy has published essays locally with the Alexandra Writers Centre, as well as in the anthology, “Freshwater Pearls”, and globally in “Adoptive Families” magazine. Currently she is working on expanding her essays into a manuscript. Very exciting, you’ll see!
Miwa from Cranes and Clovers–She is a very talented 1/3 of the sister trio, Cranes and Clovers, 
bilingual writing from Japan and New York. How awesome is that?
Miwa was born in Japan and raised in Connecticut by dedicated parents who managed to raise their four kids to be bilingual and bicultural. (Something Miwa and her C & C sisters are trying to do with as they, themselves are now mothers). Miwa is a freelance translator who loves to travel and take pictures. I think this blog is effortlessly chic and extraordinary in their ability to inspire bilingualism. You’ll see. They rock it in NY & Tokyo.
Yes, I am supposed to have one more.
I think I don’t have enough writing friends, or perhaps I don’t reach out enough.
Come back to see if I am able to pull some bloggers out of the air & onto my blog. Then we’ll have a real hopping hop.
Until then,

Inspiring Blog 1 while I Try an Epic Cleanup & Figure Out Thanksgivingukkah

Just a quick little referral to this neat blog, Cranes and Clovers, created by three sisters.

Totally bilingual. Just choose English or Japanese. Really speaks to living across two continents, two worlds, raising kids and ideas, with some fashion & food sprinkled in.

I’m gonna be a busy bee this week and beyond, as Hanukkah and Thanksgiving get ready to literally collide and give us one big mashup holiday of Pilgrims, Macabees, latkes and garlic smashed potatoes. (The world has aptly titled this not for another 70,000 years phenomena as Thanksgivingukkah).

(When you live abroad, hosting Thanksgiving can feel both like a joy and a great civic duty, like installing voting booths or teaching literacy. Hosting or even talking about Hanukkah also carries its own joys & sense of responsibility, particularly when you may be the first Jew your guest has ever met. Seriously). Dunno why this is in parenthesis; it deserves its own paragraph.

I’m here and in between my assessing essays, gathering info for our guide book, transcribing an author interview, teaching,

nursing, changing diapers, walking dogs, cleaning out the crazy laundry heap that is our room,

figuring out dinner,

figuring out the holidays & baking pies,

I may post itty bitty notes about people doing neat things on blogs.

Have a really fabulously great one.

I’ll leave you with some pics of my boy trying out pancakes for the first time.

I’m off for my day called Extravaganza Cleaning, otherwise known as:

Epic-don’t-get-sidetracked-but-crank-some-Beastie-Boys-while-you-clean-even-if-only-for-an-hour-or-6 (even though you’ll have to wear Mr. Fat Baby in the carrier & further injure your shoulders to get anything done)-Day