Friday, April 27, 2012

No meio da mata...

I guess you could call this an internship.
But I wouldn't.

Building a house in the (replanted) jungle...

This is your açai berry. (Say it right! Ahh-Sah-Yee.)

This is Pedro, one of the founders of Cooperafloresta. He is a badass Bahiano. 

 Check out this oven we built to dry the wood from the pupunha trees we cut down that day in order to build the structure of the new house!


In other news, I am a cementing queen. 
Daniel Habib. Muiiiito gente boa. Also, a remover of such frogs from under my bed. 

Seu Jose receives flying bananas from way up on that hill
Everything was connected by ziplines. 

Mick, one of my roommates from back in Floripa, being a brilliant biologist.  

Here, we make da strux with old rubber tires and slats of pupunha. I am the only girl among 10 strapping fellas working on this house.

Things were proven. 
The walls go up!

                                             Dani and Marcelo. A pair made in heaven.

Welp, love you. See you soon. Quinha

Monday, April 23, 2012

12 into 55

A few weeks ago, Doze was accepted into a Florianopolis-based clothing/art collective called Cinco Cinco. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

 Logistics and Life made this reality a bit more complicated, so that project was put on hold. These days, Doze is mainly focusing on free public art. Maybe they will appear on this blog soon.

Love Quinha

Friday, March 23, 2012



E aí galera! Belezinha belezinha?

My sincere apologies for the lack of posts, more specifically the lack of words. Brasil and I have a very personal relationship and reporting about it here, as I did with the Spain and the Azores and the voyages in between, doesn't feel so right.  Sei lá. It's sort of daunting-- like if you were to write a public essay about your best friend or your older brother. Besides, a lot of the words that I want to use to describe my life in Brasil have frustratingly flat English translations (beleza, tristeza, saudades...) The last of my excuses (é o seguinte): I'm trying to not think in English very much. (Pô! I've finally begun dreaming em português, which makes my snoozes very lyrical and legato.)

Então. Here are some fotos. some brief descriptions. Some secrets, some audible whispers, some smirksauce.
To begin, here is my front yard.
 I live in Lagoa de Conceição, in the city of Florianopolis, on the island of Santa Catarina in Southeastern Brazil. Here is my adorable house where a lot of love and art and HUNGO and tortas de aboboras and crowded music nights (sonzeiras!) and stolen bicycles and orange cats and haircuts and other great things happen. Here is a rare photo of my house with no people in it.


There is a beautiful lake in front of my house. I live in a bungalow in the backyard, next to the garden, nestled into the edge of the woods, which you climb through to reach the sand dunes, which will lead you to Joaquina Beach. It is very nice.

Here is one part of the galera. I live with Dioguera (left), a badass who does amazing work with the Guaraní. Gaúcho is a beautiful biologist who just moved to the state of Bahia to work with golden monkeys.  Guz y Nina are our amazing friends from Barcelona who are spreading their infectious love all around South America. Not pictured are my other housefriends, Mick and Bruninha, as well as the other mass of folks who are constantly stopping in.  It's a good place to be and feels like home (also like 2905 Ferry).

We happen to live behind what is arguably the best bar in Florianopolis, a Sam Bonds equivalent (but with more samba, e também mais alegria), called Casa de Noca (~Our House).  It is owned and managed by four of our crew (Brigadeiro, Cheech, Chong, e Japa). I sling drinks here a few nights a week.  The pay is pretty foda but the incredible music and company is worth it.

I am very very lucky.

Churrasco com a galera! depois da ceremonia e do temazcal Guaraní nas dunas!
(BBQ with the gang! after a traditional Guaraní ceremony and sweat lodge in the dunes!)

On another note, Carnaval was crazy and colorful and too much. Two of the five nights, I literally locked myself in my bungalow (god damn! I love that word) and hid.

Maracatú na pracinha

Festa à Fantasia. I was a gypsy, which is okay to say, because there is no sense of political correctness here in Brazil.

I never knew rotting bananas could be so beautiful.
These pictures are now all out of order but these things happened too:

This is São Paulo. It's not worth rotating.

I left Eugene nearly 7 months ago to travel to the Azores with Arlo. (Interestingly enough, this island of Santa Catarina has a huge Azorean influence and it has been super cool to see that firsthand). But what a whirlwind since then, eihn? Vermont with Dru, DC with Uncle George, Vitória c/ Karen e Heráclito, Salvador and Natal with Ian, Minas Geráis with Arlo and the 40 cousins, the Nordeste again with Ian and William (ps. check out the website I made, thanks to Arlo and Joe Pleasure... this is where December and January went), then São Paulo area with the father and finally here in Florianopolis!

In all that time, I have done many things. There are also many things not yet done. Such is life.

[One of my favorite quotes, by Charles Wright from that diggety song "Express Yourself!" by way of Shy's Super Soul CD: "It's not what you look like, when you're doing what you´re doing... It's what you´re doing, when you´re doing what you look like you´re doing!!]" So stay tuned for some exciting news about what I'm doing these days...

You are all so special to me and I trust that you all have been taking good care and loving without bounds. Send me some news about yo fine selves! I hear Spring has arrived? (Bah.. also heard of some late snow fall in Oregon!) Summer is wrapping up down here...

Can I keep on avoiding the winters?
Love Q

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oi pessoal!

Afinal... o meu endereço:

Erica Quinha Mukai Faria
Servidão Manoel Luis Duarte, 290
Lagoa da Conceição
88000-000 Florianopolis, SC
So soon, a post with pictures. Till then, I love you.

Monday, January 16, 2012


The Nordeste, in all (or meauxst) of its epicness. 













com muito saudades de voces,

// new post, with more letters and sentences and maybe even paragraphs, coming soon/ish

Monday, November 21, 2011

Manguinhos e Domingos Martins, ÉS

Olá gente!

PhotobucketDesculpa pela demora!

Sand in my camera, so here are some of Karen's fotos from the past two weeks in this lovely state of Éspirito Santo. Karen and Heráclito, longtime family friends, were so kind to take me in and immediately help me to feel welcome in Brasil. My days in Manguinhos, an adorable fishing village outside of Vitória, have been decadently slow. Lots of  learning how to make delicious comida with Suzy, eating said comida with new faces everyday, portuguese sessions with Euzi, flipping over sea turtles on the beach, giggling at big-eyed lateral-scurrying crabs, biking cautiously by stray dogs, booking it for my life past said dogs, making every imaginable combination of fresh fruit juice, enjoying bolbo de chile + vodka with Karen, reading snippets from the immense collection of novels, napping in hammocks, sleeping under mosquito nets, and dozing to the sound of scurrying lizards in the ceiling.

Dreamy house of Neusso
Terrified, politely: pé de frango... chickens feet.

Heráclito, Karen, and Neusso the artist.

From left, clockwise: Sonia, Euzi, and Guta (completely hilarious trio), Suzy (the loveliest woman, maybe ever), and Seu Heráclito (amazing fellow with a fascinating story)

Domingos Martins is a town in the mountains where Seu Heráclito has a sweet home, a small coffee farm, and a big reputation in the coffee world. We were only there for a short time but it was long enough for me to learn heaps and fall in love with the coffee plant/process. Steep slopes of shiny shiny leaves in misty morning and toucans outside my window. I wanted to cry a little bit.

Camera wasnt functioning so no photos of D.M. but its probably a good thing. You just can't pixelize the sound of raindrops on big banana leaves in the warm afternoon fog. I regret even trying.

Café: pre roasting

Lil town outside of Domingos Martins: Check out all that coffee!

Tomorrow morning, I'm off to Salvador da Bahia.
One day, I'll let you all know how it goes.

But for now, I'm sorry to say this blog will be on a temporary hiatus. Please do some nice things for yourselves, enjoy your thanksgivings, and know that I am so goshdarn grateful to have ya in my life.

You are my cornucopia!

Abraços e beijos.
até logo gente,

ps send me email updates whenever! i dont have an address... yet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Go For Broke


 Last week I accompanied my Great Uncle George, who is truly great, to Washington DC, where he was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for serving in the 442nd regimental combat team during WWII. The 442nd, along with the 100th infantry battalion and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), were being honored for fighting two wars: one against fascism abroad and the other, indirectly, against prejudice in their own United States.  All three groups were Nissei, second-generation Japanese-Americans, who were born and raised in the US but classified "4C- enemy alien" following Pearl Harbor.  They faced immediate suspicion, on top of longstanding discrimination, and their families were locked behind the barbed wire of those racist American internment camps (vaguely mentioned in US history classes).   Nonetheless, these men fought courageously and with unceasing loyalty, as the true Americans they were, to become the most highly decorated outfit in US Army history.

If this seems peculiar to you, that´s because it is.


What could have possibly inspired loyalty among these guys? Why would many of these men volunteer to defend a country whose government had stripped them of their rights, their land, and their belongings?

Shedding their blood to "defend American freedom" was beyond irony to me; in many ways, it made me angry. I sat in the fancy conference hall, scrutinizing the motto stitched into their 442nd veteran's caps: "Go For Broke."  A gambling term that means risking everything to reap substantial reward, implies that these Nissei believed there would be quite a payoff... 


There were a number of scheduled events, one of which was to visit the WWII memorial.  When we got there, George kept looking past the memorial and out to the nearby park.  Hobbling around in my heels, I wheeled him to the pond, where we watched the ducks and the deep colors of autumn trees (after the war, George was an artist in Greenwich Village for sixty years). I could see the media doing interviews across the pond, back at the memorial, and I found this to be an appropriate time to ask him my burning questions...

"Why?" He repeated slowly. "Because we're Americans. This is the only land we've ever called home."  Unfortunately, patriotism has always been a foreign thing to me (pun intended).  I didn't get it.

A friend of George's, who was in the MIS,  tried to explain later, "We had something to prove."
But I still didn't get it.  I was busy looking around at the spouses of these vets, weathered and beautiful women who lived through the internment camps and never got to "prove" their American-ness.
(I tried to discuss this with a fellow Yonsei, a bro from LA, who assured me, "yo, that feminist shit is hot.")
"...did so despite the fact that our nation at times fell short.."

But after several days of deserved pomp and circumstance, I started to figure it out for myself.

The substantial reward, for which the 442nd, the 100th, and the MIS were willing to risk it all, was most evident at the CGM ceremony.  Voted upon and awarded by members of Congress, these Nissei soldiers received the mostly highly recognized form of national heroism...
It´s like a sharp backhanded slap in the face of our notorious history, which is riddled with suspician, prejudice, and discrimination.  The Nissei soldiers valiantly defended our country, honored their families, embarrassed our government, and preserved their dignity. All without asking for any recognition... How very Japanese!

It´s also sort of a declaration of love: "Hey, even though your government took away our rights, doubted our loyalty, and threw our family in camps-- you´re worth fighting for, America."


At the gala dinner, I heard one 90 yr old woman say to another, "they just don't understand what it has taken to get here." Maybe they were discussing the DC traffic, but I was super critical and assumed it was about our generation. After all, I had heard this murmured before... and I agree.  We feel pretty free to stomp our feet without acknowledging that we're standing on many people's backs. There is a great quote in my mom's house that says, "Honor those who stepped forward when others were thinking backwards."

It's so easy to take our own American freedoms for granted... I do it all the time. On the other hand, it would be irresponsible, arguably disrespectful, to not use those rights that we do have, which others have earned for us. We are "the grandchildren" for whom they fought, and as such, we all have an American history (I'm not only talking about Japanese-Americans here). This whole experience helped me understand what George meant, about being American. Maybe, being American should mean being accountable (as people, not as a Nation). 


Anyway, George turned out to be quite the candid capturer. He is such a hoot. Truly one of the greatest men I've ever met.

A fond memory of George was back at the WWII memorial.  I had just finished thanking him for his service, knowing that he, like the others, were there mostly for their buddies who never came back.
"Well I tell ya-- War is a lousy business," George sighed, sitting back in his wheelchair. "But in the end... I'm pretty hungry. Say, where can we get a sandwich around here?"


All in all, the trip to DC was really important for me. I got the chance to reflect on what it means to be American and what it means to be Japanese-American.

Twas the perfect send off to figure out what it means to be Brazilian.

Love from the southern hemisphere, where my full moon is your full moon too,