The beauty of visiting Seattle for domestic or international travelers is its close proximity to another foreign country, Canada. Getting up to see our friendly maple syrup loving neighbors up north can easily be assessable by car, bus, or a speed-ferry – as I like to affectionately describe it. Clipper Vacations offer a number of sightseeing tour options to Victoria, B.C., Canada, including overnight and day-trip accommodations by ferry, which moves as fast and can be as choppy as a speed boat be aware. My parents and I took the day-trip from Seattle to Victoria in the summer of 2016. The 3-hour boat ride departs Seattle early in the morning and leaves Victoria in the late evening. Included in their 200 USD day-trip option to Victoria, B.C. is a visit to The Butchart Gardens, one of Victoria’s most popular attractions. The Butchart Gardens were founded in 1904 when 55 acres of abandoned lime quarry was transformed into a stunning sunken garden with seasonal floral displays, all done in the Victorian tradition. This convenient Butchart Gardens tour picks you up upon arrival at the Victoria Clipper terminal and you are shown the city highlights on your way to The Butchart Gardens. The tour provides a couple hours to independently explore the Gardens, followed by a ride back to Victoria’s Inner Harbour allowing ample time to explore the many beautiful inner harbour sights.
For more information: Victoria Day Trip With The Butchart Gardens
Note: For a link to all my pictures from this trip see my Victoria Island, B.C. Canada 2016 One Drive album
Seattle is home to 7th largest Japanese-American community in the United States with over 30,000 residents. Japanese immigration into the Seattle community dates back to the mid-1880s and to this day their presence is woven into the fabric of pacific north-western culture. Every year, the Japanese-American community in Seattle celebrate Bon Odori, a traditional summer festival in which the Japanese honor their ancestors who have passed on, remember and appreciate all they have done, and celebrate their ongoing presence in the lives they enjoy today. Also known as Obon, the festival is an official Seafair event held at the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple. The festival is highlighted by traditional music and street dancing in a giant oval. Many festival attendees can be seen dressed in Japanese kimonos, yukatas, or happi coats. The event also features Japanese food booths and refreshments, taiko and martial arts performances, craft exhibits and demonstrations. The festival is usually held over two days and evenings in mid-July, and is a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to share in the traditions and culture of Japanese-Americans living in Seattle.
For more information visit: Seattle Buddhist Temple website
This winter holiday I had a chance to spend Christmas with my family and ring in the New Year with old friends!
Note: A link to all my Seattle, Washington – December 2013 pictures: http://sdrv.ms/19GAfNz
A modern Tibetan wedding. Pictures speak a thousand words!
Note: A link to all my Portland, Oregon – December 2013 pictures: http://sdrv.ms/1duwGJ7
Long before my trip home, I bought 4 tickets online to the Mariners vs. the Yankees for July 24th.. never would I have imagined, the day before this game Ichiro Suzuki would be traded to the New York Yankees! It’s one thing to trade the face of your team for nearly a decade, but it’s another to do it while the team you are trading him to is the visiting team for 3-days in town. Unlike anything I have seen in sports, Ichiro was in the Yankee lineup vs. the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on the same day the trade was announced! Talk about not wasting any time! Lucky for me and my friends, our tickets had a lot more extra significance as we saw Ichiro as a Yankee, the day after he was traded.. I have to assume the timing of this trade was orchestrated by the Mariners to give Ichiro a hometown send off, but it all seemed odd to me… As for Ichiro’s future, let me venture to guess… Ichiro at the point of this trade is 38 years old needing slightly over 400 more hits to reach 3000 for his Major League career. As for Ichiro’s career hits, including those he earned in Japan, he is far beyond 3000 hits already. But unfortunately his professional hits from Japan have little significance for sports writers in the United States that vote in players into the Baseball Hall of Fame. If they did, Ichiro would be chasing Pete Rose for the most career hits of all time, and not just 3000 hits to put it in perspective. If Ichiro reaches 3000 hits for his career, he will have also surpassed Pete Rose (4256 career hits) by 22 hits, giving him the unofficial title as Hits King.. which by all accounts is still amazing! For those of you unaware, 3000 hits is a major milestone in Major League Baseball, with only 28 players in the history of the sport having reached this standard of batting excellence. Of these 28 players, only 3 have not made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame (R. Palmeiro, P. Rose, and C. Biggio ~ D. Jeter – active). I’m assuming Ichiro is well aware of this, and will stretch his career in order to achieve his 3000th hit. I think Ichiro will need to have 2 more great seasons to reach 3000 hits, but most likely it will take him 3 more seasons to achieve the milestone. Moreover, I doubt the Yankees will re-sign Ichiro after his contract expires after this season, therefore he will be a free agent looking for a 2-year deal, at which point I hope the Mariners will pick him up at the age of 41 for his 3rd and final year in Major League Baseball for this incredible milestone! Wishful thinking, but the most fitting ending for someone who in all likelihood will be enshrined in Cooperstown as a Seattle Mariner, with or without achieving this final career milestone!
Note: A link to all my pictures at the game Ichiro Traded 2012 Album
In 2012, I established Tokushima’s first ever kindergarten sister school with the city of Seattle, whereby 5-6 year old students are engaged in a friendship program focused on developing an early cultural understanding between children from Japan and the United States.
Note: A link to my Sister School Establishment Album
This trip home, I made two visits up the Space Needle, once with my niece and again with Teruki, my colleague and guest from Japan. In addition, this year my trip coincided with the ‘Bite of Seattle’ food festival and the 50th anniversary of the Space Needle. The Bite of Seattle is a fun three-day festival in July, where Seattle’s most popular restaurants offer a variety of their best dishes all in one place! The festival is located at the Seattle Center, located on the grounds directly beneath the Space Needle. The festival includes a number of events: including celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, several concerts, a beer garden, and a wine tasting to name a few. All in all, it was a lot of fun!
“The Space Needle is a tower in Seattle, Washington and a major landmark of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and a symbol of Seattle. Located at the Seattle Center, it was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, during which time nearly 20,000 people a day used the elevators, with over 2.3 million visitors in all for the World Fair. The Space Needle is 605 feet (184 m) high at its highest point and 138 feet (42 m) wide at its widest point and weighs 9,550 tons. When it was completed it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. It is built to withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour (89 m/s) and earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude,which would protect the structure against an earthquake as powerful as the 1700 Cascadia earthquake. The tower also has 25 lightning rods on its roof to prevent lightning damage.
The Space Needle features an observation deck at 520 feet (160 m), and a gift shop with the rotating SkyCity restaurant at 500 feet (150 m). From the top of the Needle, one can see not only the Downtown Seattle skyline, but also the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay and surrounding islands. Photographs of the Seattle skyline often show the Space Needle in a prominent position, even appearing to tower above the rest of the city’s skyscrapers, as well as Mount Rainier in the background. This occurs because the tower, which is equivalent in height to a 60-story building, stands more than a kilometer northwest of most downtown skyscrapers.
Visitors can reach the top of the Space Needle via elevators that travel at 10 miles per hour (4.5 m/s). The trip takes 41 seconds, and some tourists wait in hour-long lines in order to ascend to the top of the tower. On windy days, the elevators are slowed down to a speed of 5 miles per hour (2.2 m/s). The Space Needle was designated a historic landmark on April 19, 1999, by the City’s Landmarks Preservation Board.” (Wikipedia)
Pictures Speak a Thousand Words!
Note: A link to all my photos: Seattle 2012
After leaving Warrenton, Oregon, my family moved to Seattle, Washington where I graduated from Shorewood High School in the Shoreline School District. Shorewood High School has a student body population of approximately 1700 students, a big difference in size from the 300 students at Warrenton High School. In 2009, Shorewood High School students put the school on the map by making a YouTube video that was nationally recognized for its creativity. Accepting a challenge from its rival district high school, both schools created a lip-sync video done in a single, unedited take, known on the InterWebs as a “lip-dub.” The challenge which may have once appeared uninteresting to the outside on looker, became a viral media buzz when Shorewood High School students made their video completely in reverse, including having to sing their lyrics backwards! Check out the video and a look around my old high school stomping grounds!
YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7TI-AJi2O8
This past weekend, I headed down the Oregon coast to the small town of Warrenton, Oregon where I spent a large portion of my childhood growing up. Warrenton has a population of approximately 5000 people and is situated between Astoria and Seaside, Oregon, which are separated by less than 20 miles. I spent a lot of time between these three cities growing up and is the reason I am writing this blog. I hope I can share with you a little history and beauty of these old American towns.
Before moving to Warrenton, my family lived in Astoria until about my first grade year in elementary school. Situated near the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon is a town slightly larger than Warrenton, with a population of approximately 10,000, its history dates back 200 years. The town was named after the famous American investor (and first American millionaire) John Jacob Astor. His American Fur Company founded Fort Astoria in 1810. Astoria, Warrenton, and Seaside’s economies have long been centered on fishing, fish processing, and lumber. Astoria still feels like an old American town today, and is the reason why a countless number of Hollywood movies have been shot there over the years, including Kindergarten Cop, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Free Willy, Short Circuit and of course Goonies. While in Astoria, I stopped by the old Astoria County Jail, which is now an Oregon Film Museum. The location was used in the opening scene in the 1985 movie, Goonies.
From Astoria, Warrenton can be reached by crossing the Highway 101 bridge. Warrenton is where I completed elementary school, junior high school and 1 year of high school before my family moved to Seattle, Washington. I have a lot of fond memories growing up in this small town, and it was nice to visit all the familiar places after all these years. Warrenton is most famous for Fort Stevens State Park, which was the primary military defense installation for the Oregon coast. The fort served for 84 years, beginning with the Civil War and closing at the end of World War II. In addition, not too far way is the Peter Iredale shipwreck from October 25, 1906 (which happens to be my birthday and no I’m not over 100). The wreckage is still visible, making it a popular tourist attraction as one of the most accessible shipwrecks from the Graveyard of the Pacific.
And last but not least, Seaside, Oregon is another small town not too far away and is famous for the Lewis and Clark Turnaround. The Turnaround at Seaside, Oregon is designed as the official end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. A bronze statue of Lewis and Clark stands facing the Pacific Ocean at the west end of Broadway at the Turnaround on the center of the Prom. The monument commemorates the 18 month, 4,000 mile journey from Saint Louis to the Oregon Coast the two American pioneers trailblazed. Check out my pictures below!
Note: For a look at all the pictures I took, see my Oregon Coast 2010 Album
Another long overdue post to my blog, but here goes an update to MY LIFE AND TIMES! I’m currently in Seattle and have just recently finished up my post-baccalaureate certification in teaching English through Seattle University’s Graduate College of Education. As many of you may have noticed by now my blog design and address have changed! Apparently, Microsoft recently decided to drop Windows Live Spaces, the site I have been blogging from since 2005. This is change I’m not sure I can quite believe in yet, but this is my first attempt at a blog from my new web address at https://tashirabgey.wordpress.com The good news is I haven’t lost any of my old content, as my previous posts have been transferred over to this site, but with some formatting issues… The learning curve will no doubt be a little aggravating, especially when I am planning to write a lot more in the coming months… Stand-by, have a seat, or just check back later while I get accustomed to Word Press blogging!
This most recent trip home had me jet-setting between 3 countries: Japan, Taiwan and Canada in order to reach the United States. However, despite the painstaking travel time to reach my final destination, the layover in Taiwan and an opportunity to touch base with some friends in Vancouver, B.C., Canada made the extra travel time worth it! This year’s trip home was great! The weather in Seattle was beautiful everyday and I had an opportunity to spend some good quality time with all my friends and family! I also spent 5-nights in Madison, Wisconsin for a Tibetan event called Tenshug, the Long Life Celebration for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This event included 4-days of spiritual teachings by the Dalai Lama followed by the long life prayer offering to him calledTenshug. This Tenshug in the United States was the first time such an event has been held in the Western Hemisphere and drew thousands of people from all across North America. As for the city of Madison, Wisconsin – this was one of the nicest small cities I’ve ever visited in the United States! Madison is the capital of Wisconsin state and is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 1996 Money magazine named Madison as the best place to live in America. When making a trip to Madison, a day and night stroll on State Street is absolutely necessary. State Street links the University of Wisconsin campus with the State Capitol square, and is lined with restaurants, espresso cafes, bars, and shops. Check out all my pictures from my 2008 trip home in my albums:
Trip Home 2008 and Madison 2008 (Tenshug)!
Well, I’m now back in Japan after a refreshing 2-weeks back home… I could probably write forever about all the things I did, however, I’ll focus on the celebration of the 4th of July for now, America’s Independence Day – the ever-popular holiday that coincided with my trip home this year. This cultural exchange blog is for my Japanese students and friends who have never experienced this American holiday.
America celebrates the 4th of July as Independence Day because it was on July 4th, 1776 that members of the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence – a document officially declaring separation from Great Britain, thus resulting in the birth of the United States of America. Celebrating Independence Day is impossible without fireworks, an American tradition. While back home, I went to the fireworks show at Gasworks Park, the most popular place in Seattle to take part in the festivities. Check out my video below of the fireworks show at Gasworks Park in Seattle!