South Florida

Adventures in Florida: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

MorikamiA couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to cross another item off of my 25 at 25 Bucket List: visiting the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida. When you’ve lived somewhere for most of your life, you start to take it for granted, and sometimes miss out on some of the amazing hidden gems right in your own backyard. It is my goal this year to pursue new experiences in Florida and visit some of the places I’ve always wanted to see. The Morikami Museum was definitely one of those places, and it did not disappoint.

The Morikami Museum sits on 200 acres of Japanese gardens, all representing different eras of garden design. I went with my parents on a breezy, overcast day — perfect walking weather in Florida — and it felt like we were in another time and another world.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

We learned about the history of the Yamato Colony, a pioneering group of Japanese farmers who settled in South Florida in the early 1900s. The colony never grew past 35 farmers, especially because it consisted mainly of young single men (most women weren’t interested in relocating from Japan to the Yamato Colony). However, the land was donated by one of the last colony members and preserved as a place to celebrate Japanese culture and educate others on the lesser-known history of Japanese heritage in Florida.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

We also walked through the museum, modeled after a Japanese villa, and visited the art installations as well. The art installations focused on life during World War II in the Japanese internment camps, a dark time in America’s history. I didn’t know much about the internment camps prior to my visit (just that they existed), but the exhibitions were so moving that they inspired me to learn more after I left. I am now reading Julie Otsuka’s novel When The Emperor Was Divine, which focuses on a family sent to an internment camp in Utah, and still can’t believe that this really happened here less than 100 years ago. One room of the museum features The Tag Project, a set of seven hanging installations that consist of replicas of each identification tag for all of those displaced to internment camps. It creates a startling visual of just how many people were displaced at that time.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Visiting the Morikami Museum was an amazing educational experience that I cannot recommend enough.  For those who live in South Florida or are planning a trip, take some time to walk through these gardens and learn about the Japanese culture, past and present.

What’s on your bucket list this year? Share your latest adventures in the comments section below!

FSPA District 7 Conference

Home sweet home!🙂

This weekend, I took a trip back to my hometown to attend the Florida Scholastic Press Association’s District Conference, which took place at my old high school. I gave two presentations this afternoon: Enhancing Your Professional Image Through Social Media and Finding Your Audience: How To Market Your Blog To Readers, each of which I geared toward high school students.

A few personal realizations today: First of all, even though I’m only 22 years old, I feel ancient. I attended this conference as a high school student and yearbook editor in 2008 and 2009 (and won first place in the on-the-spot news writing competitions, thank you very much!), and when I mentioned that to students, they seemed surprised. As someone who is usually mistaken for much younger, I suppose that a nice shirt and slacks will make you look a whole lot older!

Also, during my social media workshop, I asked students if any of them had ever created a MySpace. The answer? None of them. In fact, as I spoke with students later in the day, I found out that some had never really heard of MySpace to begin with! It made me wonder how obsolete our current forms of social networking will become in the next ten years, and what I will tell my children about them.

I also realized that as much as public speaking intimidates me at times, I love to teach. This reaffirms my belief that pursuing a Master’s degree would be a beneficial path for me, because then I will have the opportunity to teach the subjects I love at a higher level.

Presenting my workshops today (as well as a resumé building workshop last weekend at a leadership conference) was a huge honor and privilege, and I look forward to the next opportunity I have to present a workshop.

What’s Hot/What’s Not: November 2010

As we reach the middle of November, let’s take a look at some of the latest trends and stories that have affected our lives and touched our hearts.

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What’s HOT
Love is in the air! Kurt’s got a cute new beau, Blair and Chuck have been more or less back together, and Pam and Jim are still going strong. TV romance has never been so wonderful.

What’s NOT
People who choose ignorant slurs over the love. Grow up!

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What’s HOT

Thanksgiving is fast approaching!

What’s NOT
It’s smack dab in the middle of the worst season ever.

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What’s HOT
Feeling vintage and listening to oldies — REO Speedwagon, anyone?

What’s NOT
Watching vintage music videos. (I’m not sure which incarnation of the Hoff is the worst!)

 

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What’s HOT
Getting all dressed up for the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1!

What’s NOT
The fact that there’s only one installment left after this!

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What’s HOT
Seeing a place that’s familiar to you in the news for something harmless and mildly innovative.

What’s NOT
Seeing a place that’s familiar to you in the news for something embarrassing and awful.

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What’s HOT
Having fun with Star Wars and stormtroopers.

What’s NOT
Those who don’t embrace the wonderful dorkiness that is Star Wars.

 

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What’s HOT
The upcoming release of Tangled, the new Rapunzel movie, for all of the Disney lovers out there!

What’s NOT
Being the oldest non-parents in the theater!

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What’s HOT
Cher’s commentaries on celebrity and non-celebrity life.

What’s NOT
The fact that any of the people she’s talking about are actually famous.

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What’s HOT
Ryan Reynolds, according to People Magazine. And, okay, according to me.

What’s NOT
His high school quotes. What does forever really mean, anyway?😛

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