Monday, September 29, 2014

The Challenge

It's cool enough now in the mornings to just leave the AC off, open up the windows, and enjoy the breeze.  I can hear the ocean outside my window as I'm sitting here with a cup of coffee watching two white butterflies flutter around outside my window.  They linger outside in front of an ocean backdrop until about nine in the morning, as if they were hired by Japan to make my mornings seem magical.

Yeah--it's THAT ridiculous.

There is not a day that goes by when I don't feel lucky to have the opportunity of living here.  I sit on the porch and watch the sun set into the water and drool every single time.  It's not that I'm trying to rub it in, it's just that I'm still THAT appreciative of it.  (and I want all of my friends to come visit)

In the midst of all this "magic" I have managed to get into some sort of routine and start what most people call, "a normal life".

I drink my coffee, go to the gym, study Japanese, do my online courses, work on design projects and then hang out with Robb in the evenings.

We're exploring new activities all the time, for example, the wood shop in which we are not making furniture for our house.  Threw some seeds on the ground the other day and they started growing within 24hrs so we are going to start (an organized) vegetable garden as soon as we can.  We also started going to salsa lessons--in Japanese--which make it even more of a challenge since we first have to decipher what the instructor is saying before we can attempt to do it with our bodies!

Wood workshop

This photo was added to make you throw up.  TEAM HANSEN!

Robb using a Japanese hand saw

The newest project I'm working on is based on a pact that Robb and I made recently.  More than a pact, it's a challenge:  Go for one year without buying manufactured clothing.  I've decided to start making all of my clothes--and Robb's, too.  **

This challenge is meant to make me exercise my pattern making and sewing skills and provide us with one of a kind apparel.  I think it's also a good way to keep from buying random clothes when I truly don't need them, and to appreciate the value of the production process--how long and how much effort it really takes to dress someone from scratch.  We tend to forget in an age of inexpensive ready-to-wear-easily-available clothes how much time sewing requires and take mass production of t-shirts and jeans for granted (and probably paying much less than we should for them half the time, and then overpaying just for a label the other half ).  I want to pull away from that mentality of wanting more and start taking a look at what we actually need.  We've been applying this overall when it comes to purchasing food or things for the house.  It's refreshing keeping things simple and having an uncluttered living space that's easy to pack up and move.  No extra crap we don't need--it's the new motto.

It sounds like a difficult challenge, but then again, I moved out here almost three months ago with two suitcases and have managed to live just fine with what I have, with the exception of needing a button up shirt for a job interview last week, which I forgot to bring with me and therefore was forced to buy one at the last minute from the Exchange on base.  HUGE mistake.  That place has the worst selection of clothes I have ever seen in a store.  It's all either very high-end expensive brands OR what I call "old people clothes".

Luckily I don't live in Tokyo where I usually want to buy EVERYTHING (that I really don't need) at the fashion district--so, I think living in Okinawa and avoiding shopping malls which I naturally do anyhow, will keep me in line with the challenge.  Plus, I have a Pinterest board ready and full of ideas of clothes I have been wanting to make!

As for Robb....I am new to menswear BUT I definitely learned all about it in school, and I plan on making him some pretty bad ass stuff.


**NOTE: This does not include undergarments or socks-- I have no idea how to make these, and if I really need underwear on a whim I don't think I could quickly make a  pair!  I've also decided that if we need a very specialized item, such as a wet suit, we can also make exceptions.

My attempt to make government furniture a little livelier...

From our weekend bike ride, quick stop at Zanpa!

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