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Behind the Scenes 2015: 100 Unpublished Travel Photos

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I’ve decided to write a post with a lengthy amount of unpublished photos from last year.

This afternoon, I drank some hot chocolate from a place called L.A. Burdick’s in Boston. They have some of the best hot cocoa I’ve ever tasted in my life, but I made the mistake of ordering a large size and since then I’ve felt a little hopped up. I can tolerate caffeine as well as my dog can tolerate a bottle of beer. I think I went through more photos tonight in a record time which is why I’ve thrown this blog post together in a breeze. I selected these all pretty fast scrolling through my Lightroom.

That said, I rarely post all the photos I wish I could on this blog because I’m a perfectionist and before every post I have to clean up all my images and remove all the blownout sensor and dust spots (yes, I still need to send my camera in but I can’t part with it.) It takes forever.

I culled through a couple of recent scans although I have tons more to share. So, these are raw and unedited unless they were already edited. But I’d rather share them now than not at all so please ignore the rawness of any any dust spots or uncut film. Half of these images were shot on film, the other half are digital.

Bergen, Norway

All things considered, 2015 wasn’t a bad year. I don’t post details of my personal life on this site, I feel it’s rather unprofessional in my opinion because my blog is my professional writing and photography platform. But, let’s just say 2014 was the worst year of my life in an unimaginable way. But this year, nothing terrible happened and we still have our health, so far, so we’re counting our blessings. I suppose when you get older, these are the things that most define our years and matter the most.

We left Japan, our home of four years and started our new lives in Boston. Before leaving Japan, we traveled as much as we possibly could and desperately tried to see the million and one things left to see in this most remarkable country. I’ve been torn between traveling and writing though and in a big way, it’s a relief to be back in America where I don’t feel a constant tension between getting things done and using precious time to see all the endlessly fascinating sites around Japan.Yakushima Forest_2015_04_0017

After four years of living in Japan, and mind you, actively traveling and exploring, we never once got bored, nor even came close to seeing everything we wanted to see. It was stressful at the end feeling like I needed to see it all. There’s so much beauty in this country it’s incomprehensible. It’s endless. It’s the only place I’ve ever been to where I felt I could live there for my entire life, for many lifetimes, and be perfectly content and never ever come close to getting bored.  

Karuizawa, John Lennon's favorite place to vacation in the summer
Karuizawa, John Lennon’s favorite place to vacation in the summer

I managed to stay at a few special ryokans, travel to the small town John Lennon summered at, visit my favorite Wisteria Garden, and make it to the one destination that I always assumed was slightly out of reach – Yakushima Island. Yakushima Island is at the southern tip of Japan and it requires multiple flights and or prop planes and ferries to reach. But, exploring this mystical ancient UNESCO forest filled with floors of moss, on this most remote piece of Earth, served as a brilliant goodbye to a special four years well spent and well traveled.


Before leaving Japan, I also got my Leica M9. I can’t even begin to describe how much joy this camera brings to me every day.

We started our new lives in Boston and adjusted well enough, but not without hiccups and inevitable culture shock that I fear may never go away. Our initial transition from Japan was frustrating to say the least, but it’s taken time to realize how to alleviate those frustrations. We were excited about our move to Boston and never expected to even encounter so many frustrations, but it’s inevitable when you’re used to living in a cultural utopia where society flows harmoniously, which comes from people obeying the laws and simply being respectful. It’s like a dream and we’re finally back in the real world again. Boston is the complete opposite of Tokyo but we’ve learned that once you get settled down, your home is what you make of it. Yakushima_2015_04_0002

Moving back to the States, we finally traded in our ten year old starter furniture for some better pieces which has gone a long way towards transforming our cozy little home into the hobbit hole we’ve always envisioned.

Daniel is loving his new life as a grad student (not without its work) and I’ve been busy at work taking tons of photography classes while continuing to pursue the life of a freelance writer. Hopefully this time next year though, I’ll be in a post-bachelor program for photography. In the next few years, I may or may not go for my MFA in photography since fine art photography is where my passion and interests lie. I’m hoping a post-bachelor program will at least allow me to figure out if this is something I need and want to pursue the next two years. So this is the first big step.

Sunset from The Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port

We managed to travel a little too while here and even managed to get away to both Germany and Norway as well as NYC and Maine. I instantly fell in love with Maine and Cape Cod and hope to travel there more in 2016.

One thing I still haven’t managed to completely do is go through every one of my photographs. I’m also in the middle of a massive scanning project and I’m discovering new images every day.

In 2016, my main resolution is to workout every day, cut out the sugar, and shape up. Getting old doesn’t have to suck, but it definitely takes effort to keep your figure and your health. So many people let themselves go when all it takes is effort with a capital E.

We hope to get back to Japan the in middle of the year and I’m heading up to the middle of the snowy Yukon next week to go watch the Northern Lights with a friend; a trip planned nearly a year in advance. In 2016 I’d love to explore more of Canada, Banff, Quebec City, and Utah. I’m also exceptionally excited about getting back to Palm Springs with a best friend and getting back to my old college stomping ground in the southern California desert.

I guess with the state of the world right now, I’m not too keen on traveling to Europe. It’s hard to believe that one year ago exactly we were in Istanbul and Belgium, yet right now, Brussels and Munich are on lockdown from imminent terrorism threats.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year. I’d love to hear your new years resolutions!

My hangout, Chinatown, Yokohama
My hangout, Chinatown, Yokohama
Sakura season in Tokyo
Sakura season in Tokyo
My good friend in Karuizawa
My good friend in Karuizawa
My husband
My husband
Yakushima Island beach
Yakushima Island beach
Shiratani Forest, Yakushima, Japan
Shiratani Forest, Yakushima, Japan
Shiratani Forest
Shiratani Forest


Yakusugiland, Yakushima Japan
Yakusugiland, Yakushima Japan
Saying bye to Pierre Hermes macarons in Tokyo
Our spot above Shibuya
First Week in Boston (32 of 264)
Things you find on the street in Boston
First Week in Boston (78 of 264)
A moment eating while servicing our car
Hotel Okura Excursions_052015 (219 of 800)
Spending the night at the beautiful historic Hotel Okura in Tokyo
Hotel Okura Excursions_052015 (222 of 800)
Mid-century Modern time capsule at the Hotel Okura Tokyo
Hotel Okura Excursions_052015 (240 of 800)
Looking down at the Tokyo skyline from the Andaz Hotel in Tokyo
Hotel Okura Excursions_052015 (294 of 800)
Largest plate of spaghetti ever?
Hotel Okura Excursions_052015 (553 of 800)
On top of the Mori Tower
Street photography in Munich, Germany
Oslo Opera House
Eating in Norway
Flam, Norway
Bergen, Norway
I still need to write a story about this picture. Flam, Norway
Aurland, Norway
My beautiful friend visiting me in Boston. She’s half Japanese.
Portland Head Light, Maine
We watched them take down the Late Show with David Letterman sign. The end of an era.
Posing with The Late Show’s sign
I met my comedic idol Larry David in NYC.
Shibuya Last Day79-270
Waiting outside a cat cafe in Shibuya
Shibuya Last Day79-219
Out spot overlooking Shibuya
Shibuya Last Day79-333
Things that happen on the Tokyo trains late at night.
Wichita 4th of July_Huynh_201507_94
My brother and my precious niece.
Wichita 4th of July_Huynh_201507_98
Precious #2
Wichita 4th of July_Huynh_201507_207
Precious family moment.
Brandon Flowers_Huynh_201508_34
I met Brandon Flowers this year.
Last dim sum at our favorite dim sum place in the world in Yokohama. Our spot for the last 4 years.
Shibuya pet shops
First Week in Boston (173 of 264)
Battling the inefficiency of rental car agencies back home

_MG_2162 _MG_2549 _MG_2579 Boston New Home87-30 Bye Japan Hello Boston81-48 Bye Japan Hello Boston81-105 Bye Japan Hello Boston81-147 DSCF6377 DSCF6441 DSCF6443 DSCF6540 DSCF6899 DSCF6950 DSCF6973 DSCF7049 First Week in Boston (43 of 264) First Week in Boston (172 of 264) First Week in Boston (183 of 264) First Week in Boston (239 of 264) First Week in Boston (241 of 264) Hotel Okura Excursions_052015 (728 of 800) Interval_Flannel (8 of 24) Kamakura Chika Last Day_2015 (29 of 66) L1020335 L1021871 L1022671 L1022827 L1023240 L1024016 L1024540 L1024549 NYC89-160 NYC89-167 NYC89-270 NYC89-425 NYC89-731 NYCThanksgiving_2015 (207 of 567) Shibuya Last Day79-239

Read More About My Yearly Reflections

Best of Travel 2014

Talk About Blogging and the New Year

Reflections: 30 Days Left in Japan

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