This Is Cordelia 

Our tour group went to a workshop today which is dedicated to preserving the living art of Gokayama Washi paper making. We learned how the paper is made and then we created our very own post cards. I posted various stages of us hand making the paper, then decorating them. 

Gokayama is an area within the city of Nanto in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. 

One of the instructors was a young gal from Rhode Island. I did a short interview with her to find out how she liked living in Japan, especially in a small town.

A Future Face Mask

A new type of mask to keep you clean and healthy.

Our Japanese tour guide said many people in her country wear face masks because they have allergies, or they don’t want to spread their head cold germs. That’s pretty considerate. I thought they wore face masks because they didn’t want to catch colds from everyone else. 
In any case, a new start-up in Brooklyn, NY, is inventing a face mask that doesn’t have to be constantly replaced. It also does a good job in filtering pollution.  The 0202 face mask has a white headpiece with a clear plastic shield so you can see the user’s face.  

The O2O2 circulates air around the lower half of your face using the two fans mounted on either side. This eliminates that sweaty feeling. The mask is said to feel like wearing a pair of glasses, nothing heavier. The circulation of the air inside the mask is designed to keep outside contaminants away from your nose and mouth.  

The O2O2 will cost $100.  If you want to read more about this new invention, click here.

Meanwhile, more photos from Takayama. 

Entering the Sunday Morning Market


We randomly selected this restaurant for lunch. It turned out to be a popular choice.

Eliot Gets Into The Swing Of Things 

It never takes Eliot too long to adjust to any new culture. He likes to assimulate immediately. 

We arrived in Takayama today.  We took two trains from Tokyo. It was a very easy trip and very comfortable. Of course, we had a tour guide leading the way. 

The minute we got here we went on a walking tour of the Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall. This is regarded as one of three most beautiful festivals in Japan.  Here are some of the floats.

I decided to practice my selfies.

More gossip tomorrow! 

Tokyo Travels

We passed this odd looking sculpture in Tokyo a few times in the last few days. I finally got an explanation as to what it is.
“Plopped atop Tokyo’s Asahi Beer building is the famous kin no unchi, Japanese for “Golden Turd.” (Locals also call it the unchi biru, aka “poop building.”) The 300-ton stainless steel sculpture designed by French architect Philippe Stark was meant to look like foam rising from a beer mug. Ah, well”

Photo by Eliot Hess


We went to Nikko today, a small city in the mountains, north of Tokyo. That’s where the famous Shinto shrine was established in 1617.   All Shinto shrines are meant for happy times.  The shrines were magnificent structures and the grounds were beautifully landscaped.


Time For Lunch 


Candid Shots 

We Almost Made It To The Top Of Mt. Fuji

Eliot shot this photo during a few second clearing. The fog was intense.

8,000 feet up

HandL phone case makes it to Mt. Fuji.

A visit to the Mt. Fuji Shinto

I dropped in to say hello

Just outside our breakfast window. Dreamy.

One of the largest roller coasters in Japan

NHK TV Caught Up With Lois and Eliot 

Surprise, surprise. Eliot and I are being  featured in a TV special on “How To Eat Sushi” which will appear on NHK TV Japan in a few weeks. We were having lunch at a tiny sushi restaurant (name is on video) just steps away from Japan’s most sacred Buddhist Temple, when Eliot whispers to me, “They are taping us.” 

I was so involved in eating the most delicious sushi that I had no idea what he was saying.  Then I looked up and saw cameras ​​all round us. The TV station,  NHK (official English name: Japan Broadcasting Corporation) Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, was taping a special on “How To Eat Sushi” and we are going to be one of the featured guests. 

They interviewed us on our views on eating sushi and continued to tape us during our meal. They were a little shocked when I whipped out my DigiDame microphone and started to tape my own show. 

Remember, I am new at this. My recording is quite rudimentary but that’s the nature of the video portion of my personal blog. All in all, it was a very exciting adventure on our first day in Tokyo. 

The hostess

The restaurant


Tushy Cleaner

Hello from Tokyo!  We made it. It took us 24 hours to get here, but we made it without any drama. Everything went smoothly. 

I had my first tushy cleaning experience tonight. I have been hearing about these butt cleaning toilets for years, but I never actually experienced one.  Now, I don’t think I can’t live without it.
Whitney and Fredrick, who lived in Japan for three months, told me that everyone uses toilets with tushy cleaners here. Public bathrooms have them too. They warned me. Once your tush gets cleaned with a hot water spray, that hits just the right spot, you get hooked. I just don’t feel like toilet paper alone will do the complete job anymore.

My friend Steve gave us a tush cleaner accessory years ago, but we never used it. Now we are anxious to try it. Other friends, actually refurbished their bathrooms with Toto cleaning toilets. They all claim they have the cleanest rear ends in town. They are probably right. 

I can’t wait for my next trip to the bathroom.

Camera Roll Search

Many of you know this, but some of you probably forgot. I did. I want to remind you again. because if you know this trick, you will be able to search for a photo on your camera roll with greater ease.

If you go to “All Photos” on your camera roll and insert a word in the search bar, you can get all the photos instantly in that particular category. That’s good news for people like me who store over 10,000 photos on my camera roll.

It usually takes me a half hour to locate a photo. Now I’ll remember to use a search word like “Dog,” “Los Angeles,” “Manhattan.” 

Check out the results below.

Happy searching. 


Hoda Jumps Into Action On Today Show 

Hoda Kotb showed us what reality TV is really all about this past Friday on the Today Show. Not many TV hosts would have been as quick thinking as Hoda when she caught a pregnant model who fainted on air. Hoda knew something wasn’t quite right when the model was walking out in a flowy dress in a segment for stylist Lilliana Vazquez. 
Bravo to Hoda on her first Mother’s Day. She adopted a baby girl a few months ago. Read about the baby here. She certainly demonstrated her compassion for others. Motherly instinct at its best. Watch it here


Posted On Facebook by Barbara Belmont. We both gave birth to our daughters within days of each other. Nine months earlier we were together celebrating Halloween at a costume party Barbara hosted in her West Hartford, CT home. Something was in the air. That’s me on the floor diapering Whitney months after both babies were born. Whitney cried to have her diaper changed every hour. Baby Veronica went for hours without complaining. Barbara jokes now that she withheld liquids from Veronica. That’s why she was so dry.  Phooey, not true. 


From Whitney and Fredrick.