Oh what a good book Scott Westerfeld has written. Peeps came two days ago as a birthday present, today it's finished and I am a happy reader. The book isn't released, I believe until next month, but since Scott is one of my Peeps (or am *I* one of his Peeps--read the book) I got it as a birthday present. Lucky me. If you think you've read (and been eventually bored) by every sort of Vampire fiction out there, get ready to be totally into vampires again, because this book makes them new.
Also, Margo Langan's collection Black Juice arrive, another birthday present from the wonderful David Schwartz. I've already read the first story, and though I did not cry at the end like so many readers have described, I was deeply moved. "Singing My Sister Down" is amazing. Can't wait to read the rest.
Last weekend I went to Asakusa with some friends to a festival. It was way cool. In the temple at Asakusa, I threw some coins to the gods and waved smoke from the burning incense over my head to get rid of bad spirits and thank the Japanese spirits for the past year. In the temple, there is a cannister filled with a lot of wooden sticks that have various kanji burned into the side of them. If you swirl the cannister in your arms, a stick will fall out of the bottom. Then you take the stick to a wall full of what looks like the old card catalog system in libraries, only cooler, because each little card holder has a different kanji combination on the front of it to match those on the sticks. Once you match your stick to the right drawer, you open and pull out a slip of paper with your fortune on it. When my stick fell out and I found my drawer, the young Japanese couple behind me sort of gasped and the man said, "Best! Best fortune!" and indeed when I turned the slip of paper over to find the English translation, it was the Best Fortune you could receive out of all of those sticks (and there are a ton of them). "Lucky!" I said, and the girl said, "Lucky, lucky!"
My friend beth has some pics from the day on her website, if you scroll down past her trip to the zoo you will see the Asakusa pics. I, as usual, forgot my camera. Sometimes I forget that I won't be here forever. I just get caught up in living and forget to snap as many pictures as possible.
I teach tomorrow and then one day next week and then it is my birthday and I am on summer vacation for six weeks starting on my birthday and I am deliriously happy about that. Natsuyasumi, how I long for you.