Boston graduation!

Sisters!

I arrived in Boston and after quickly seeing Ed and Meg, I went to sleep.  Ok, ok, first I ate the cannoli they brought for me as a consolation prize for missing dinner.

The next day, I woke up early and headed out for Brady’s commissioning ceremony.  It was such an honor to commission her and I was/am so happy and proud of her!  After the ceremony, we went out to a diner for brunch which was perfect since there was a table for 6 available without a wait.  Yay!  I had lobster egg benedict which was pretty good.
The graduate!

After breakfast, I took an Uber with Mom to the ceremony.  Normally I’m all about walking but I was in heels and my feet, especially the right, has hurt a lot since running for the train after the Beyonce concert in new boots.  We got to the ceremony and it was so great to be there for Brady’s graduation with the hooding and the diploma presentation.  The ceremony was very long since there were two schools graduating (medical and Sackler) but it’s ok, it was worth it to be there!

Continue reading “Boston graduation!”

Chicago COSM

Millennium Park, Chicago

On Thursday, I left Mountain View for the COSM 2016 meeting in Chicago.  I had a research poster selected for display so I got to go to the meeting.  I had never been to COSM before.  It’s smaller than the Academy meeting in the Fall and a little more social.  Overall, I think I like the Academy better because of the lecture courses offered but COSM was a well-run meeting in a great city.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and my brother picked me up, which was super nice of him since the rush hour traffic was so bad.  He said it was worse than normal but either way, he is a very nice person to pick me up from the airport at that time!
Downtown Chicago- the bottom right photo is from the Hancock Ladies’ Room!

We headed downtown and looked into taking an architecture boat tour but there were no twilight tours that night.  We headed over to the John Hancock building and went up to the Lounge for dinner and drinks.  The sunset was incredible and I went into the women’s bathroom with its famed view.  In the women’s room, there are floor to near-ceiling windows overlooking the downtown.  It’s a great view.  In contrast, the men’s room (by report) has no windows.

My brother by the non-sailing boat 🙁 and his amazing apartment!

We waited for a window seat and just when I was starting to feel a little sad about our chances for a short wait, we were brought to our seats.  Yay!  I had a prime rib au jus sandwich and it hit the spot.  I was so hungry!  Meg joined us after her class and we went to Eataly, a super-cool Italian market with multiple small restaurants in an open-floor arrangement.  It was awesome and I’m so glad Meg persuaded us to go!  After that, we went to Hop Flower near their house, which is a very cool bar specializing in Belgian brews.  Meg and Ed definitely know the best spots!

Eataly- I wish there was one near me!

The next day, they were off to the airport and I headed downtown to the meeting.  I got an early check-in (yay!), dropped off my stuff and went for the afternoon lectures and panel discussions.  I saw a lot of former residency mates, future colleagues and former staff.  It was really great to catch up with everyone and get some good career advice.

The Purple Pig- amazing!

Friday morning featured the meeting and then I went to the Chicago Institute of Art after an incredible lunch at the Purple Pig.  This trip was filled with amazing food but I think this was the best.  I went with Colleen and Dan (new acquantaince) and the three of us shared several small plates and feasted.

Some favorites from the collection

The Art Institute was great and I saw old favorites (Seurat) and new-to-me finds such as the Winslow Homer non-ocean paintings and Chagall’s America windows.  I had seen the minatures on my last visit and even though they’re amazing, there was no time in this quick museum run through.

Chagall’s Windows

Then I headed off to the airport.  I was off to Boston to see my favorite sister graduate from medical school!

Visitors!

I feel super lucky because my awesome brother and his equally awesome girlfriend came out to Japan this past week.  It was fairly last-minute (read: only a few weeks of planning) but they had the best itinerary and it was so wonderful to see them.

I met them in Yokohama the night they arrived and drove them back to Muhari-cho.  We hung out for a bit and then everyone turned in for the night.  The next day, I went to work and came home for lunch, thinking they’d still be there since we got in late the night before.  They were gone!  Sagoy!  I was very impressed by their initiative.  They went to Kyoto, Nara and Osaka.  It sounds like a great trip and they went to a few places in Kyoto that are now on my list- the bamboo forest and the 10,000 torii gates.

1. Anime snow-animal in Yoyogi 2. Harajuku 3. View of Mt Fuji from the Shin

They were gone from Wednesday to Saturday and came home Saturday night in the worst snowstorm the Kanto plain has seen in 47 years.  They were super lucky in catching the train all the way home, even though the caveat to their luckiness was the train went about 2 mph from Yokohama to Horinouchi.  They got home at 0230…blech!  The next day, they slept in a bit then we all headed into Tokyo.  We went to Yoyogi Park and Harajuku before heading on the Shinkasen to Nagano to go skiing for two days!!!

We were heading to Nozawa-onsen and getting there was pretty easy.  We took the Shinkansen Asama from Tokyo to Nagano.  Then we took a local JR Iiyama line train for about an hour to TogariNozawaOnsen.  Apparently, there is a Nozawa station that is 4 hours away from the ski resort.  That would be a bad sagoy!  At the train station, the first two groups got cabs while the rest of us suckers were in the cold with no cabs.  We arrived after the Y300 bus, so we were stuck waiting for a cab (~Y3000).  We knew that we were arriving after the last bus, but we didn’t expect so few cabs!  The station attendant helpfully pointed out the cab numbers and I mustered up my best Japanese (terrible) and called them to ask for cabs.  I got the hang of it on the fourth call and two cabs showed up.  Yeah!  Now really, I have no idea if this was coincidence or not but I think my fourth phone call was pretty clear.  The first two were not as I wasn’t very clear which station I was at and the third was to a disconnected number.

We stayed at Petit Hotel Nozawa-onsen Inn and it was perfect!  It was inexpensive, the rooms were warm and they served a delicious breakfast for only Y500.  They also had ski rentals for Y1500.  Awesome!

The rooms were Japanese-style with futons and comforters.  It was decently comfortable although the walls were thin and we were near the sinks and bathrooms.  I learned that people in the onsen had excellent oral hygiene and definitely brushed their teeth for 2+ minutes.

1. Onsen room 2. View from my window 3. Me, happy to be skiing!
Nozawa-onsen ski resort was AWESOME!  The snow was incredible- all-natural, dry powder and just amazing to ski on.  I was a little rusty and only went on a black twice (once by accident…yeep!), but the intermediate slopes were so pleasant apart from moderate iciness on the Skyline run on the second day. The views were pretty spectacular though!
From left CW: 1. I am so happy to be out skiing 2. Japanese ski outfits 3. View 4. Ed and Meg 5. Day’s end

My favorite runs were at the top of the mountain to the left of the topmost quad lift.   The snow was consistently fantastic and there was some off-piste skiing that had great powder and not too many trees.

After the second day of skiing, we headed back home.  We stopped in Tokyo station and went to ramen alley.  Meg picked out the restaurant and it was delicious!  It’s called Tokyo Edoama and specializes in miso broth ramen.  I ordered the #1 Tokyo special and it was tasty.  Meg got a crazy-spicy soup.  Her spice tolerance impressed Ed and I.  I would definitely recommend the restaurant although I think I will try another one next time I go just to make the rounds.
Ed takes several pictures at a time.  I did not know that.  Let me caption them (L-R): 1. Yay, I love ramen! (cute) 2. Time to Eat 3. Are you still taking pictures? 4. Wait, seriously? 5. No more pictures! For real!
The next day, I had clinic, boo.  Ed and Meg went into Tokyo and we met up in Yokohama for dinner. We wanted to go to the sushi-go-round in World Porters but it was closed.  We headed back to Yokohama station and we went to the same izakaya I went to the weekend to the Thrash Zone.  It was still delicious and we had great yakitori in addition to a few other small dishes.  Ed and Meg really liked it.
From top CW: Izakaya, Ed and Meg, Panorama of Yokohama from vantage point I think SMS would like!

Then, whah!  Our fun visit was over.  They had a last half-day in Tokyo while I went back to work.  I had the best day yet in Yokosuka, professionally-speaking.  I did a left parotidectomy that went really well without any post-opertive facial nerve paresis.  It was a GREAT day and one that makes me really happy that I’m a surgeon.  So that partially healed my sads caused by Ed and Meg leaving.

Next visitors: Mom and Dad in April!  Leave is approved and I cannot wait to travel around with them!!!

Oh the weather outside is frightful…

This wasn’t even the worst of it!

Nice. Humming Christmas songs in February.

But really, the weather is terrible!  It’s been gusting and snowing all day.  Apparently, we’ve gotten 4-8 inches depending on one’s location in the greater Yokosuka area.  I have not been outside because I am old, cranky and do not own a sled.  If I owned a sled, I may have headed out but the winds are going at 40 mph so probably not.

Also, this morning?  The temperature inside the house was 7 degrees Celsius.  I’ll translate: 44 degrees Farenheit.  That’s ridiculous.  I kept trying to see my breath fog up but I had no luck.  But I cranked my little kerosene heater up!

Ed and Meg are much braver than I and are out in Tokyo.  They went to Kyoto, Nara and Osaka over the last few days.  Very cool!  We were going to meet in Tokyo but I didn’t want to get stuck up there so I stayed home and studied.  Nerd alert!  I think they’ll make it back tonight but the trains are delayed and probably pretty crowded.

Today I studied, did a yoga video, ate lots of snacks and studied some more.  I also found the video below in someone’s “Link List Friday.”  It’s really sweet and really sad.  I started crying and that takes a lot from a video.  Or maybe I am old, cranky AND a crybaby.  What a winning combination!

//player.vimeo.com/video/12562270?color=ffffff
Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Visitors!

Yay, my brother and his girlfriend are here!  I’m so excited to have visitors even though I was shocked when I came home for lunch and they were already gone!  Whah!  My house must stink!

JK, I knew they were leaving for Kyoto today but I’m very impressed they made it out the door before noon the day after a huge amount of travel.  We’re going to hang out this weekend in Tokyo and we’re going skiing next week.  Awesome!  I can’t wait.

I picked them up in Yokohama last night and we went to a sushi go-round, which was one of the things they definitely wanted to do in Japan.  It’s a Y100 sushi place but it’s pretty good and we had a lot of delicious food and caught up.  Both of them are so funny and tell great stories so we have lots more to talk about when I see them again, especially since they’ll have their Kyoto tales by that point.  They’re also going to Osaka and Kanazawa.

He told me about the Ninjadera temple in Kanazawa that I really want to go to!  It has a lot of awesome defenses built into it and it sounds so cool.  I think SMS would really like it based on what Ed said.

Work is going well.  I operated two days in a row so I am really happy.  Clinic is a little boring today and I came home for a long lunch before two ear cleaning appointments.  Awesome.  Definitely the highlight of the week.

I have a Japanese lesson tomorrow and I’m going to study a lot of ENT so that I can basically take Monday and Tuesday off.  I’ll bring my iPad so I can study from GoodReader but I don’t think it’ll be the most productive.  I want to hang out with my guests!