Alexandra's Little Corner of the Internet

A little bit of my world.

Travelling the World!

This week’s challenge is all about countries and travelling! I’ve been waiting for this one, to be perfectly honest. Most of my friends know how interested I am with other cultures and places in the world. Like Japan! I also love the countries in Europe, like France and Switzerland. They’re so beautiful! I went to Paris once, and I never wanted to leave because I loved the city so much. This summer, my school is planning a trip for the students in French class (like moi) and we’re going on a trip there! I am so excited, I’m about to explode! Okay, okay, enough about that. Now, I want to talk about a (imaginary) trip to Japan, France, and Switzerland!

First, what passport would you need? For Japan, you just need a regular passport, and not a visa. The United States and Japan have an agreement for tourists to not have a visa unlike other Asian countries like China. Next, Switzerland and France. France needs a passport that has more than six months until it expires. Switzerland just has three months.

Second, what would you need to pack? This is a bit of a hard one, because these countries all have different climates. The European countries are usually pretty cold, but Japan’s temperatures along the Pacific Coast rarely drop below 32°F. In Switzerland, on the other hand, is really cold during the wintertime and warm during the summertime. France is the same way. So, if we were going in the summer, I’d pack some t-shirts, maybe some shorts, jeans, and a dress or two if I was going somewhere fancy there. During my stay in one of these countries, maybe I could get my clothes washed at the hotel where I’m staying, so I wouldn’t have to bring a mountain of clothes.

Third, how would I travel? In all three of these countries they have metro systems. I could also use taxis and things to get around. I would have to fly to Japan to France, but I could drive to Switzerland from France.

Fourth, where will I stay? In  Tokyo, I found Akasaka Yoko hotel, which is close to some metro stations and doesn’t cost too much. In Paris, I found the Hotel Ibis budget Paris Porte de Vincennes, which is not too expensive. Lastly, in Switzerland, I found Hotel Ibis Chur, which also isn’t too expensive.

Thanks for reading my country post!

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It’s Been Really Gross Lately, So Let’s Talk About Video Games!

Ugh, where I live, it’s been raining so much. Not even kidding, it’s raining right now. I’m not even in England! If I was, I probably wouldn’t be complaining. Anyway, I’ve just wasted my life on the internet waiting for it to be nice outside again. YouTube has been my saving grace, and without it, I don’t know what I would do. Probably play video games. Video games are great! Like Skyrim! And Pokemon! God, video games are awesome! I could totally waste the rest of my life playing video games to be honest. Have you ever heard of Evolve? It’s a super awesome game where one player is the monster and four others are the hunters. The monster has to evolve to get better and take on the hunters, while the hunters try their best to track down the monster while they’re still weak. I played it once while it was free for a weekend, and I had so much fun! It’s really expensive though. $70 for a video game?!? I don’t have that kind of cash! Whatever, it just makes me kinda mad. Well, class is about to be over. See ya!

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A Short Story

Hi everyone! I have to put this story somewhere to make a QR code for the school’s magazine, so I thought, why not put it here? It’s pretty awesome, if I say so myself. Here we go!

 

A Sharpened Blade

Mika Nakahara dived through the dark alleyways, light pistol strapped to her calf. The streets of Japan were packed with cars and people, as usual. A burst of static entered Mika’s cheap EarChat that she bought from a shop near the outside of town. She knew these couldn’t be tracked. They made sure of that. “Mika, you there?” came the voice of her only friend and partner, Aya.

“Target is in range. Heading to position.” Mika replied, seeing her person of interest a couple meters away. She stopped running and yelled, “Ranka, over here!”

“Hey Mika! I was wondering if you’d ever come.” Ranka cheered happily. “So, which restaurant do you want to go to? There’s the best sushi, and there’s the best udon place. I’m kinda feeling like some sushi though. But wait, do you want to eat here?” she pointed to Kaneyama, the place Mika had told Ranka to meet.

Mika laughed, “I told you, it’s your choice.”

“True, true.” she said.  “Where should we go? Where  do you want to go? I mean I really like sushi but I also really like udon. But I also kinda want Kaneyama. But I really want sushi. It’s so hard to decide! Oh oh! I have an idea!” She pulled out her phone and used a coin throwing app. It landed on heads and she exclaimed happily, “Let’s go get some sushi!”

Ranka and her annoying, endless questions and useless chatter…  Mika thought. Glad we’re getting rid of her. “Sure, I’m okay with sushi.” Mika replied. “I know an awesome shortcut through this alley, want to take it?” Before Ranka answered, she grabbed her arm and took her down the ‘shortcut’. The pair found a dead end, and Ranka was confused.

“Huh? Was this the wrong shortcut, Mika?” she asked.

Mika laughed again, but this time deep and maniacal. “Oh, this is the right one,” she said in almost a whisper. “For me, at least.” Mika pulled out her pistol. Ranka’s eyes grew wide and scared, and she almost had time to let out a scream before Mika shot her in the head. She fell over and her breathing stopped. Her gasp echoed for a second around the deserted alley. Mika reached over and drew a quick symbol on Ranka’s hand; a sword. The symbol of Blade. They needed this symbol so their employers knew that they finished the job. They couldn’t go to the employers directly, of course, for fear of being caught, or just being tested to see if they were Blade. Who knew what the police would be willing to do to catch them? Mika pressed a button on the EarChat. “Target neutralised.”

“Great. Did anyone see you go into the alley?” Aya replied.

“Only you, probably.” Aya had been watching from the building across the street from her with a sniper in hand if anything went wrong. “Jeez, that one was easy. She just believed me right from the start! That girl will trust anyone she happens to cross paths with. So, how much was she?”

“About five hundred yen.” The duo worked for many different people, a different employer each time. They took on requests from the different ones, and usually they paid well.

Mika felt a buzz in her pocket. “Crap. Someone else is calling on my other phone… be right back.” She clicked off the EarChat and picked up her phone. It was her dad.

“Hey dad, what’s up?” she answered.

“Just checking in with you, hun. The streets haven’t been safe since Blade started killing.”

Ha. It makes me laugh every time… Trying to find Blade. Never would anyone suspect a police officer’s daughter!

“Stop worrying, Dad. You’re on the police force, you’ll be there to protect me. I’m having tons of fun with Ay- I mean, Tamashii.”

“Tamashii’s a good kid.” he said with a small laugh, not noticing Mika’s slip-up. Mika hadn’t told him about Aya. Instead, she told him about her childhood friend, Tamashii. The truth was, Tamashii had moved to a different town years ago. Mika hadn’t seen her in forever. “Why doesn’t she ever come over anymore?”

“I told you, Dad. She moved to a different town and I can only meet her sometimes, and she can’t stay at our house, she’ll have to go in a matter of minutes.” Sometimes she loved living on the edge of town, it gives her so many good excuses. “Hey Dad, gotta go. Love you.” She hung up, and turned the EarChat back on. “Sorry, Aya. My dad doesn’t know about you, and he called.”

“It’s fine. Let’s get back to headquarters.” she said, not showing a trace of emotion in her voice.

“Got it. Meet you in five.” Mika hurried out of the alley, and started running to their shared apartment. Aya liked to call it their “headquarters.” Mika didn’t actually live there, though. She used her family’s money to help pay for it, while Aya lived there. Mika spent most of her time there while not at home or school. The apartment building was twenty stories high, and it was one of the small buildings in Tokyo. The tallest was more than three hundred stories! It’s pretty nice living in 2050… Mika thought. Back in 2020, the tallest building was only about two hundred stories. She arrived at the apartment and had to flash an ID card to the security robot out front. Since the police record all the ID’s going into the building, hers was a fake. Her father couldn’t know that she was in this apartment. That would raise suspicions of her greatly. She took the elevator to the fourth floor and went to apartment 402.

“Finally, you’re here!” exclaimed Aya as Mika opened the door. “I found a couple more jobs we could pull off while I was waiting.”

“Wait, Aya,” Mika said as she took off her hoodie. “How long have you been here?”

“About ten minutes.”

“How did you get here so fast?!” Mika looked at her. “You’re the one who is always late. To everything!”

Aya shrugged. “Took the subway.”

Mika facepalmed. “Of course you did. And risked being spotted by the police with a huge sniper strapped across your back.”

“No, I had a bag! No worries, Mika. The police didn’t see it.”

Mika sighed. “Whatever. Show me the new jobs.”

Aya spun around in her chair to the computer monitor. “Okay, I found five potential jobs. There’s this..” She pulled up a picture of a girl in her twenties, named Nataga Machiko.

Mika shook her head. “Next.” Aya pulled up the next picture, a thirty year old man. “Next.”

“Picky, picky.” Aya shook her head while showing her the next picture. Their employers always set her pictures of the targets, so they knew who they were dealing with. Aya had carefully encrypted the tracking device on the email to show a different place on the GPS. She was a really amazing hacker, and Mika relied on her to do all the technical parts of their missions. Then, a smiling seventeen year old boy’s picture flashed into Mika’s vision. Tamaki Suoh… and he was her age. Aya was a year older, eighteen. “That one.”

“You know him?” Aya asked looking at Mika with a questioning glance.

“No. Just looks like an easy target. Naïve. I can handle this one on my own.”

“Alright, Mika, but don’t fail. We want to keep up our reputation, don’t we? We haven’t failed a mission since we started this biz. When are you going to get him?”

“Duh, Aya. I don’t fail things. I never have. Let’s do that tomorrow, though. I’ve got to go home. It’s almost eleven.” Mika said, grabbing her hoodie. “See ya later.”

As Mika was closing the door, Aya said to herself, “I’m still coming. You can’t do anything without me.”

Ignoring her, Mika grabbed the underground hoverway and hurried home.

“Hey Miks!” her dad yelled from the kitchen as Mika arrived at her family’s apartment. Even though her dad was on the police force, he didn’t make enough money for a house in the city. They were crazy expensive. Almost one million yen for a house that didn’t reek of cigarette smoke or have a partially destroyed roof. That was one of the reasons Mika tried to get as much money from her jobs as possible. She wanted to live happily with her dad. If only he didn’t keep on getting in her way. The way her employers found out about that she killed her victims on time and correctly was the symbol. The police found the body, and soon named the “killer with the symbol” Blade. All Blade killings were broadcast on the news, so they soon knew.

“Hey dad! Any new developments in the Blade case?” she asked, faking interest.

He sighed and walked over to her. She could see the dark bags under his eyes as he said, “There’s been another murder. The symbol, the bullet to the head, everything’s the same as the last one. But no fingerprints, nothing. Why can’t they just make one mistake? Just one?”

Good. They still have no idea. It’s not that easy for me to make mistakes, Dad.

 

***

“I’m glad you agree. Tokyo needs a savior, or at least someone who can wreck havoc on the police for a while. It’s fun to see them all freaked out for once.” Tamaki laughed. Due to some of Aya’s hacks, Mika had met him through a “random” dating app. They’d been talking for a little more than an hour, and Mika had found that he was actually a nice person. The Meguro River was a little more than deserted, only a couple and a mother with her child were there.

“Yeah.” Mika said, putting her hands in her pockets. She realized that this guy agreed with her ways, if not exactly. She almost didn’t want to kill him. Almost. But she had to, for the money. This one was priced at almost 8,000 yen! Tamaki stopped, and Mika did as well.

“Look.” he said, pointing at the cherry blossoms just in bloom. The wind started to blow, and he grabbed one of the falling petals and put it in her hair. “There. Now you look like more beautiful than you already are. You’d be perfect to paint, you know.”

Mika blushed as her EarChat burst with sound. “Now.” Aya’s thin voice said harshly. “This is the perfect time. Look around you, at the river.” She turned her head towards the river and no one else was there. “C’mon Mika. What are you waiting for?”

“I-I can’t.” whispered Mika. “Give me a little more time.”

“Okay… But I think this is the most perfect time to do whatever you’re doing, Mika. You said that you wouldn’t fail this one. You know what’s on the line here.”

Mika gulped. Of course I had to run my mouth. ‘I don’t fail’. What was I thinking?

Tamaki looked at her worriedly. “You okay, Mika? You look like you just ate some rotten tuna.”

“Oh, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me!” she flashed a fake grin. “I just forgot that I have a World History test tomorrow.” That was a lie, of course, she didn’t even attend school anymore. She had skipped a grade and graduated a year before.

“Didn’t study? Don’t worry, I do that all the time.” he laughed again.

“Ha, yeah. Same.” she muttered, only half-listening.

He waved his hand in front of her face. “Mika, you there?”

She blinked. “Sorry! I just zoned out there for a second.”

Her EarChat buzzed once again. “Mika, you really need to do this. Right now, or never. Pull the gun out. Why are you having trouble with this now? You’ve done it a million times. Just go.

The pistol strapped to her calf suddenly felt heavy, like a ton of bricks.

“Aya. I can’t do this. Can’t we just let this one go?” She whispered.

Mika heard a loud gasp followed by screaming. Aya’s. “HELP! BLAD-”

“Aya? Aya?” Mika started yelling into the EarChat.

“What is it, Mika?” Tamaki asked, spinning around and putting his hands on her shoulders.

“Blade?” a voice said questioningly through the EarChat. Not Aya’s for sure, it sounded like a man… That she recognized somehow. “Wait! Guys! This must be Blade!” he yelled to people behind him.

Another person grabbed it, a woman this time. “Is this Blade? I am Chief Yui of the Tokyo Police. We’ve caught your partner, so you’d best turn yourself in.”

Mika threw the EarChat off her ear, landing on the pavement with a soft thump.

“Mika, what’s going on?” Tamaki asked, looking at the EarChat on the ground. “Well, actually, I think I do know what’s going on.”

Mika tensed, reaching for her light pistol.

“Oh no you don’t!” Tamaki yelled, grabbing his own pistol and pulling it out at the same time as Mika. It was a standoff.

“Tell me, Tamaki.” Mika sneered, trying to ignore what happened to Aya. She had something a lot more pressing at the moment. “If that’s even your real name. Who were you sent by?”

“The police, Blade.” Tamaki laughed once more, this time more maniacal than the other, lighthearted laughs.

Mika froze. “How did you know?”

“Ways. Anything else before I take you to the police and get my reward for you?”

She looked him up and down. “You’re obviously not with them…. How about we go our separate ways, and we not kill each other? I mean, I could get a hefty sum for you, anyway.”

He lowered his gun and so did Mika. “I need you alive to get that cash.. And you’re not going to go down without a fight, correct?”

Mika nodded. “But I need you dead.”

“Of course you do. But you know what, I like you. You’ve got a spark that the others don’t. I really don’t want to kill you.”

“I don’t either, but that’s not the way the world works.” Suddenly tears filled Mika’s eyes. After getting over the shock of Tamaki pulling a gun on her, she realized Aya was probably dead, because she helped the famous Blade. Her only friend, her partner, was gone forever. Her knees gave out and she fell to the ground, crying. Tamaki didn’t know what to do. A girl that he just needed to kill is falling to the ground, crying for no reason.

“Uh… Are you okay…?” he asked awkwardly. He walked toward her and realized he honestly didn’t want to kill her. She was just a teen trying to make money, like him.

“No.” she said through tears. “Aya is dead. Aya is dead, because of me! Aya is DEAD!” she screamed.

“Who is Aya?”

“My p-partner. A magnificent hacker, a great friend. She didn’t deserve this. I did.” Mika turned away.

“Hey, hey.” he said, kneeling down to pat her shoulder. “I won’t… maybe… uh… I think I can skip the ‘killing you…’ part… But.. um… how do you know that she is dead, for sure?” He finished, extremely awkward this time.

Mika straightened up. “I-I don’t.”

“Exactly.” he said, standing up. “You need to find the truth.”

Mika stood as well, wiping away her tears. “I do. But I need help. I can’t do this alone.”

She stuck out her hand. “Be my temporary partner?”

“Sure. Temporary, until you find your friend. I’ll refrain from killing you until then.”

“Thank you!” Mika yelled, hugging him. He didn’t return the hug, but he didn’t push away, either.

 

***

Back at (what used to be) Aya and her apartment, they found a broken door, shattered glass all over the floor, and a message. After searching for a while, Mika found it. Scrawled on the wall, presumably in blood, was the kanji for strength. It was small enough that the police probably wouldn’t notice it, but Mika and anyone else who looked could find it. Mika covered a gasp mixed with a cry. That was their code word, for help.  Mika knew what this meant. Aya had been captured. For good.

***To Be Continued***

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things~

I saw the chance for the title, and I took it. If you don’t get it, it’s from the Sound of Music, my favorite musical! See, good start already! Anyways, I think this post will be a good chance to show you guys what I’m like.

Let’s start with my favorite band, shall we? That’s gotta be Fall Out Boy. They make awesome music, like Centuries. Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that one. It’s all over the radio! They have six albums that are listed as follows: American Beauty/American Psycho, Save Rock and Roll, Infinity on High, Under the Cork Tree, Folie à Deux (which is not in French, as my little brother thought), and Take This To Your Grave. I have the first three on my phone, and I’m in the process of getting the others. Here’s what they look like: Fall-Out-Boy

From left to right: Andy Hurley (drums), Pete Wentz (bass guitar), Patrick Stump (guitar and vocals), and Joe Trohman (guitar).

Next, my favorite video game! That’s kind of a hard one, though. There’s so many amazing games! One that’s gotta be on at least my top three is Long Live The Queen. It’s a not well known game on Steam (a PC video gaming service) that’s made by Hanako Games. It’s a visual-novel type game where you play as Princess Elodie, who’s mother just died and needs to survive until her fifteenth birthday where she can become the next queen. You have to choose which skills and classes are the most important for your success. Also, you make choices along the way that influence your gameplay. I personally have gotten every single death and achievement…. You could say I’m a bit obsessed. New storylines are still coming out, so even when you beat it, like me, you just have to wait and new gameplay will come! Here’s the gameplay trailer, if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading my post on favorites!

 

 

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International Events!

Hi guys! I’m excited about this activity, mostly because my favorite show is about the countries of the world. Yes, before you ask, I am quite obsessed. Don’t judge. Anyway, if I could make an international event, it would be a…. world…. GAMING CONVENTION! Okay, I know, nerdy. But that would be sweet! Seeing video games from all around the world and seeing the different cultures represented in each game would be awesome. Video games actually do teach people about different cultures, depending on which country they come from. Most American games, at least in the first person shooter genre, don’t have that much cultural aspects. But if you look at the genres most adults can’t seem to find, you’ll find games that are about history or different aspects of American life. For most of us Americans, this seems boring, but imagine. You are a person who doesn’t know much about America or its life. A few (they would probably have to be well-written) video games later, this person suddenly knows a lot more about America! This happens a lot with Japanese games. If you read between the lines a bit, which the Final Fantasy series for example, you can find out a lot about Japan! Okay, done with the little rant. But, a international gaming convention could get more youth interested in cultures of other countries, which would be awesome!

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Centuries Parody

Hey guys! A little while ago in my creative writing class, my friend Sasha and I wrote a parody for the song ‘Centuries’ by Fall Out Boy. But, if you haven’t heard of it, you’re probably living under a rock. No offense, but go listen to it, it’s amazing. The theme of our parody is about procrastination, and it’s kinda ironic because we ended up procrastinating on the project ourselves. We made a video of us singing the parody, but it’s really bad so I’m just posting the lyrics. Here they are!

~~Procrastination~~

To the last moment

Work piled over my head

But I won’t give in today

Nintendo is calling my name!

Just five more minutes

Wait, what time is it?

Procrastinators Unite!

We won’t give up without a fight!

Hey, oh hey! Hey…

We won’t give up without a fight!

 

Black Ops and Assasin’s Creed

But I don’t want to study

Science takes too long

English isn’t fun

History just breaks my… HEART

 

Come on come on and help me out

Awake at 11:00 like its 1 pm

I’m running out of time

Darkness fading fast

I never meant to put it off this long!

 

(duh duh duh)

 

To the last moment

Work piled over my head

But I won’t give in today

Nintendo is calling my name!

Just five more minutes

Wait, what time is it?

Procrastinators Unite!

We won’t give up without a fight!

Hey, oh hey! Hey…

We won’t give up without a fight!

 

If you want to check out my friend who wrote this with me, check out her blog here!

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MY TOP 3 FAVORITE ANIMES

Hi everyone! If you don’t know me, you don’t know that I’m a huge anime fan. What’s anime, you may ask? Anime is Japanese animations, which might sound a bit weird because, you know, Japan’s a bit weird. I agree, everything on this list is weird, so if you don’t like Japanese weirdness, turn away now! Still here? Okay, here we go!

(Listed from least to most)

3.  FREE! IWATOBI SWIM CLUB

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This anime is about five boys named Haru, Makoto, Rin, Nagisa, and Rei. One thing put them all together – swimming. They all have a shared love of the sport, and even though Rin swims for their rival, Samezuka, they’re all friends. For the most part, at least. At the moment, the anime’s first season does not have a dub, only English subs. The second season’s dub is TBA.

2. OURAN HIGHSCHOOL HOST CLUB

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Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at the prestigious Ouran Academy. Looking for a quiet place to study, she stumbles upon Music Room #3. That happens to be the place where six high school students gather to entertain the female students of the school. While talking to them, Haruhi accidentally breaks a ¥8,000,000 vase and is forced to work with them to pay off her debt. Hilarity ensues!

1. HETALIA

hetalia-characters

What if all the countries were actually people? Now you can find out through this hilarious show, Hetalia! You follow Italy (mostly) as he navigates through wars and tries to make friends with Germany. There’s lots of other countries too, like America, Japan, France, England, and that’s only a few!

Thanks for reading!

Alex

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After I Leave

I honestly can’t wait until I get to leave school. Not because I hate it or anything, my school is great. It’s just that I love the idea of being free. To do what I want to do, to live my own life. But life kinda stinks sometimes, doesn’t it? So when I’m out of school, what I want to do is create a virtual reality. I know, it sounds crazy, but reality kinda sucks sometimes. You have to agree. Reality sometimes isn’t what you want it to be. But in a virtual reality, you could change that. In a virtual world, you could have wings and fly to the sky. In a virtual world, all your problems shrink to nothing. In a virtual world, your favorite things could become real. Now tell me you wouldn’t want that. That’s why I want virtual reality to become MY reality. A place to escape from the world and all it’s horrors, a place to be safe and happy. That’s what I want to do after I leave.

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A Brief History of Halloween

It’s that time of year again, ghosts, demons and scary things everywhere… Yep, it’s Halloween! Or, according to store owners, it’s almost Christmas! I literally saw a Christmas tree in a store a couple days ago. Already. Well, let’s get back to the topic at hand. The history of Halloween! It all started way, way back 2,000 years ago with the Celts. They celebrated a holiday called Samhain (sow-in). It marked the day that summer officially turned into winter,(which was associated with death) They believed on this day the spirit world and human world became intertwined and the spirits could come back to earth and wreck havoc. They also thought that it would be easier for the Druids(celtic priests) could make prophecies easier. Prophecies and spirits? Halloween all the way. They lit a huge bonfire and wore costumes usually made out of animal heads and skins. Ewwww. Gross.

When the Romans took over, they mixed Samhain with two of their festivals, Feralia(passing of the dead) and Pomona(the honoring of the goddess of fruit and tress). The colonies adapted this holiday way later. The northern colonies didn’t celebrate Halloween as much because of their Protestant beliefs, but the southern colonies like Maryland celebrated the harvest. They had “play parties” which were public celebrations that had ghost stories, telling fortunes, dancing and singing. Later in the nineteenth century, when a lot of immigrants came, people started dressing up in costumes and going door to door asking for food or money. This is where the modern “Trick or Treat” tradition came from. In the later 1800s, they changed the holiday to center more around witchcraft, ghosts, and pranks. They wore costumes like this, and to me they just look creepy.

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Thanks for reading my brief history on Halloween and go to this link to learn more!

 

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A Haiku

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The leaves swiftly fall

The big purple sky glowing

All lone in the forest

 

 

Picture from Denis Collette on Flickr

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