Happy June!

I don't know about you, but I can hardly believe we're six months into 2015. I wonder if, the next time I turn around, summer will be over?

Time to make some getaway plans!

Still, at least June is a time when I find it easy to "get away" in my head by reminiscing about Junes of years past, spent in Japan and the UK.

One June when I was living in Tokyo, some friends and I decided to venture out to the Temple of the Hydrangea (Ajisai-dera), in Kita-Kamakura. Not being early risers, we got there rather late on what had been an overcast, drizzly day—it was the height of tsuyu, or rainy season. But as we headed through the temple grounds, lo and behold, the rain stopped and the sun, which hadn't shown itself for days, emerged. We were by ourselves in the most extraordinary garden. (Until that moment, I hadn't had any tourist site in Japan to myself.) In the late afternoon light these many-hued flowers—blue, pink, purple, white—looked phantasmagoric, otherworldly.

When isn't it the rainy season in the UK, you may ask. But I recall the month of June as being particularly rainy. Is it any wonder so many Wimbledon matches are postponed? Still, the rain is good for ripening the English strawberries (scrumptious with cream!) and gooseberries. As I wrote on the blog I kept before starting up the Displaced Nation, the goosegog has a special place in my heart, and I'm a fool for gooseberry fool…
 
—ML Awanohara

Photo credits (clockwise from top left): "Rain garden," by Mr. Hyata via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0); "Hydrangea blue," by Takashi .M via Flickr (CC BY 2.0); "Rain rain rain rain rain…," by GreyHobbit via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0); "Gooseberry," by Laurence Livermore via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
What else to celebrate this week:

Hear the engines roar! The 2015 Grand Prix du Canada race will take place later today. This popular Formula One race is held every year in early June in Montreal, on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

Hear the students sigh with relief! More than 9 million Chinese students are sitting for the 2015 national college entrance, or gaokao, today and tomorrow. We imagine quite a few of them will be celebrating once they finish what has been dubbed the SAT on steroids. It's a grueling nine-hour test that determines who gets to go to the top schools. To experience what it's like, try out 10 sample questions here. (How did you do? Not to despair—no one has ever got full marks.)

Hear the Latin American art lovers swoon! Buenos Aires, Argentina, is hosting the annual arteBA through today, an art market reputed for having the best in contemporary Latin American-produced works. The displaced critic and curator Inti Guerrero (he was born in Bogotá but is based in Amsterdam) is in charge of this year's Open Forum talks, on psychoanalysis in contemporary art.

While we were all playing on social media:

Our crowd gets sourced: Several authors well known to the Displaced Nation made the crowd-sourced list of "favorite books about life, work and love abroad" compiled by Annie Hill for WSJ Expat. They include Lindsay de Feliz (read our interview with Lindsay), Jennifer Eremeeva (on our "best of" list for 2014), Nina Sichel (interviewed by Lisa Liang for TCK Talent), and Sally Rose (soon to be featured). Kudos to one and all!

A place for us: Another of our featured authors, the Adult Third Culture Kid Cinda MacKinnon, is offering her novel, A Place in the World, for 99 cents as a thank you to her followers (good thru June 10). If you haven't read it yet, be sure to download a copy. (See also our interview with Cinda.)

Bankrupt, yes, but also colorful and eccentric: British expat blogger Rebecca ("Bex") Hall has self-published a novel, Girl Gone Greek (Kindle to be released Jun 12th). It's about an Englishwoman who heads to rural Greece early in the millennium and "ultimately finds her true love—Greece." Bex first conceived of writing a novel back in 2010. "Five years and a lot of blood, sweat, tears and laughter later," she is thrilled about bringing it into the world, she says.
Updates from The Displaced Nation:

CULTURE SHOCK TOOLBOX: Expats, don’t throw away your old coping tools—they may come in handy for your new life abroad
Hello, Displaced Nationers! I’m excited to introduce you to road-less-traveled (#TRLT) buff and foodie Jessica Lipowski. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Jessica moved to Amsterdam in February 2011 to be with her Dutch boyfriend, Matthijs. She has worked in a variety of jobs related to travel and is currently writing a non-fiction book...

LOCATION, LOCUTION: Expat author and new columnist Lorraine Mace offers her own thoughts on writing about place
Hello, Displaced Nationers! I am thrilled to be taking over this column from JJ Marsh, and I already have lots of interesting guests lined up to take part over the coming months. For this first post, however, I am going to follow in Jill’s footsteps and use my first column to answer the “location locution” questions as a means of introducing myself...

Other recent posts:

DIARY OF AN EXPAT WRITER: After the hard slog of producing second book in series, the rush that comes with boost to sales

BOOKLUST, WANDERLUST: In Shireen Jilla’s second novel, a group of old friends go on safari and unpack their lives

For this wanderlusting Californian for whom photography and travel are a perfect fit, a picture says…

GLOBAL FOOD GOSSIP: I lost my heart (but not my teeth) to the French artichoke

CULTURE SHOCK TOOLBOX: How to pry open your mind to new cultures—and keep them all sorted
Alice in Wonderland obsession:

Alice goes goth: The Displaced Nation has always had a yen for gothic expat tales, as well as for Alice in Wonderland. No wonder we were so excited to learn that Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, is hosting four weeks of "Dark Wonderland" in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's classic. The event series is billed as a modern take on the idea of wonderland: "a world where saints and sinners rest together in otherworldly beauty." There are twilight refreshments, a twisting walk by candlelight, and performances by visionary artists—everything from a cosmic coming-of-age story by a poet/performance art therapist, to a guest appearance by the King and Queen of Coney Island's Mermaid Parade.
Matters of debate:

Bilinguals have broader world views than monolinguals. According to linguist Panos Athanasopoulos, German speakers are more likely to focus on possible outcomes of people’s actions than English speakers, who pay more attention to the action itself. But while Germans who speak English still focus on outcomes, bilingual Germans can switch back and forth, depending on which language they are using.

Britain's favorite beverage is a boring, beige relic of its colonial past. Since Britain gave up its empire, tea has since been embraced both as the twee height of Englishness and the most basic solution to any problem, a "coddle in a mug"—when in fact it is nothing special.

Parenting is a steep learning curve no matter where you are located. An Australian couple who became parents in New York and repatriated to Sydney found that despite being on home ground, they were out of their depth: clueless about the medical process, child care, and just about everything else.

Surprising discoveries:

Germans may be known for precision and efficiency, but they, too, have quirks. As Adam Fletcher notes, they keep the windows open regardless of how cold the weather is, have the most potato recipes of any country, and can be blunt to the point of rudeness. Fletcher, an Englishman who lives in Berlin, has written a series of humorous books for expats in Germany (one of which was featured on the Displaced Nation).

Chile offers some of the world's best star gazing. As reported by one of our Dispatch readers who lives in Santiago (thank you, Sally!), work will soon begin on constructing the world's largest optical telescope, the Giant Magellan, on a mountain in northern Chile, which will permit us to gaze more deeply into the universe than ever before.

There is no fixed indicator for an international border. Some borders seem almost non-existent, marked by no more than a line or a road sign, while others are delineated by natural markers like rivers and still others have man-made markers like guard posts and demilitarized zones.
We hope you have a glorious week of international creativity. Please send any news, comments, dark Alice thoughts, or German potato recipes to ml@thedisplacednation.com. You can follow us on Facebook here and/or Twitter here for more frequent updates.

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