October 2004 Archives
After going to Thai Brunch in Berkeley, we stopped by Ian's. I haven't mentioned one of the special qualities of Ian's neighborhood, have I? Let's just say they're all into decorating in a big way. We heard that people drive from far away to see the street for Christmas. The house Ian bought actually came with a load of Christmas lights!
Well, they're pretty into Halloween too. And since Ian and the family just moved in, what better way to use all those boxes? When Dav, Ele, and I drove up, Ian and his neighbors were constructing a giant robot! Ian had wanted to put something in the yard and his super kind neighbors joined in to figure out what to do with their resources and the boxes. The result is the coolest most original Halloween decoration. It's giant as in 2 stories high, but kinda cute. Light bulbs are the robot's eyes. I'm sure he will be warmly welcomed by all the kids. I love it!
Later we drove to Orinda specifically to get a Hi-Tech Burrito. We sat up on the ridge eating our burittos on this beautiful day.
Another fun party night but it was too dark to really use my cell phone so I'm including some of Dav's cool pictures. I really loved everyone's costumes - what a variety! (Click on the group pic to enlarge.) Monkey, Kerry Fairy, Checkered Secret Agent, Panda...we are such a crazy bunch. I must say, Ele's Kerry outfit got a lot of attention and I'm so glad she wore that. It's hard to tell, but I was a Super Hero Fish...I basically wanted to wear my boots that had the goldfish in the heel so I concocted an outfit peppered with plastic fish and a tiara with goldfish attached. I had fun in it :)
And ha! I bumped into Doug at one of the parties we went to. I, ah, had just interviewed him at work (he's the super tall swanky guy in black)! Dressed as I was, I kinda had to let go of being embarrassed!
Last night a few of us from work, along with Dav and Ele, went to Technorati's new office-warming party. (I'm posting this late because I forgot to eat dinner and had wine; not a good combination for me. I mean, I had fun, but ...). Ian and I got there early and were pleasantly surprised to find the place full of kids. It seemed more like a kindergarden than an office. I had no idea Technorati was run by kids! I was promptly asked by a friendly little one if I wanted to get a water tatoo of one of the Incredibles which I did and still have today. I also discovered that David Sifry lived in Japan for 3 years and speaks Japanese! So does his daughter Melody. I have a feeling that I won't miss speaking Japanese as long as I work in the blogging industry :)
Click to see video.
Click to see video.
Dav and I went over to visit Ian and family in their new house in Alameda. They just moved in today! It's a beautiful house...built in 1936 with lots of art deco details preserved (see Ian and Dav looking at the original blueprints?). It's in the cutest neighborhood with a yard full of kid stuff to climb on. I can tell Tyler and Julia will love this home.
The house is obviously still full of boxes. Upon Tyler's request, we all hunted down his super robot/car thingy. He sure was happy when we finally found the box it was in (the video shows him assembling it from car to robot and back to car).
Although Dav and I really didn't help around at all, it was special to share this very first day with them. I appreciate all the more that Ian and I live close together so we can share these moments.
I am most grateful that I got a chance to visit my grandmother during this trip. Actually, she's おばあちゃん to me, not "grandmother." She is losing her memory and can't walk well anymore. So she splits time between a special home and at my aunt's where my aunt and my mom take care of her. I was bracing myself for her not recognizing me, but she totally did. In fact, she couldn't stop showing off and repeating to all the staff that I was her まご (grandchild). We ate dinner together and shared a strawberry shortcake.
I love my おばあちゃん。When I was a kid, she used to make for me the most fantastic clothes. They were so well-made and she would always incorporate my fashion whims. I loved feeling like I had tailored made clothes. She also bought me a sweater once (which I can, eek, still fit in). What beautiful memories she gave me.
I definitely wanted to hit this shop that is located in Harajuku. Always crazy stuff, lots of fantasy and cosplay-type costumes. Yep...I got some nifty outfits that I can't wait to wear. One is for Halloween for which I plan to be a Goldfish Superhero!
Click to see video.
I was most fortunate to be able to meet up with the coolest friends at Seco Bar, which had yet again changed its decor to a cool vintage 1960s lounge with funky lights and jazzy ambience. (See the table of flyers? A big "BLOG" flyer!!) Along with Paul, Gen was there and he looked happy and relaxed ; ) ... I have a hunch I might see Gen more than before which makes me very happy.
Paul just started Tokyo Art Beat, a much-needed art and design listing of events in Tokyo. It's well done, in English and Japanese, and already gaining steam. I am sure it'll take off and spread to other cities. It was most wonderful to hang out with Paul and see his eyes light up as he talked about this. He's found a channel for his passion and I can't wait to see where this goes! It was a blast hanging out with him and seeing him so involved in Tokyo. Congratulations Paul!!
Kei-chan, from my group of Japanese friends who run Nu Balance Productions, and who introduced me to the best music scene in Tokyo, dropped by inspite his usual crazy-busy schedule. He started and is growing an interesting party event called Nino Shokutaku. Along with great DJ's and live music, people get a discount if they come with some sort of food ingredient. Then based on what they have, everyone gets together to cook, all while listening and dancing to music. They also have other fun stuff like Play Stations with games you play as a group.
Kei is definitely into music, but what is most important to him is creating spaces where people can enjoy, share, and meet new people. Cooking, and talking about how good or horrible the food came out is a great way to get strangers to open up.
Nu Balance Productions is similar in that they experiment in combining music, visuals and smell. I highly recommend any of their parties if you're in town.
**Sorry I didn't have much time to meet everyone else. I'll definitely let you know earlier when I'm in town next. ごめん！
Paul works for Honda as a designer. As we were walking, something caught his eye and he whipped out his cell phone for documenting it (...a cell phone with a navigation system like you find in cars that was guiding us to where we going...which made me very very jealous). It was a cool Honda bike! I would never have noticed. Now that's a Honda instinct!
Paul's girlfriend, Akiko, works at a bali barret boutique, and was involved in the opening of "Boutique 02, Red Box Military Tent." Champagne and sushi. And some pretty cool clothes. Too expensive for me, but I did buy a nifty wrist band. I will not disclose the price I paid for it though! The third pic shows Paul crouching so he wouldn't tower me, Akiko, and jet-setting traveler Izumi.
Here is a wonderful email I received just after arriving in Tokyo. I totally remember this person and all she writes about. I'm going to try and meet up with her and Jeff tonight.
It may be Freaky Randomness, but for me it's the normal overlapping of paths that weren't perceivable before until the internet and blogs. : )
After pretty intense 2 days of meetings during which a lot of progress was made, and during which I interpreted enough to make my brain go on strike, we all went out to dinner together. Ahhh, the feeling of sitting down to relax after work. See how happy I am with my Ume plum drink?
**the 2nd picture is Ben after the dinner when I took him and Michael to my favorite hideout, Enoki. But since I'm having to use my email client, it messed up the order of pics and I'm too tired to rearrange them so it's stuck there. Mama-san took a pic of us three together, but it was too blurry to use. Technology just isn't user-friendly yet...when such glitches are fixed, I guarantee everyone will be moblogging, but not until then.**
Anyway, the scenes you see are:
Click to see video.
So we knew a big typhoon was coming and we were bracing for it. But during the day, Barak monitored the typhoon's progress and declared it was losing steam. By dinner he proudly pointed out the window that the sky was clearing and that the typhoon was gone.
But by the end of dinner, we noticed a blanket of rain outside. We must have experienced the eye of the storm that provided only temporary relief, we thought. We crammed into a taxi for what would have been our 10 minute walk home, and I'm thankful we did so. It was like driving through a car wash. Ben and I peered out the window not wanting to leave the taxi. The driver asked us, "will you be OK?" as we jumped out into the torrential showers. When we finally got to our hotel lobby - soaked - Barak insisted on pointing out that there was no wind, and since it was only rain, it's not a typhoon. Um, needless to say, I wasn't convinced. It sure felt like typhoon rain to me!
However, I must confess that as we ran from the taxi to the hotel, we noted a small waterfall in a side street. Know what we did? We all stopped, got our cell phones out and took pictures. That is why we were soaked!
*Update: Michael gives another persepective, especially his Update #2!
While living in Tokyo, I hadn't paid too much attention to the Roppongi Hills mascot zoo...probably because they received so much hype that it seemed like a silly "brand" craze to me at the time. But today, walking around with 6A colleagues, I appreciated how wacky and hilarious they are. There are several characters that all look huggable yet bizarre, and each has a quote that just makes you laugh as you try and imagine someone actually composing it. By the way, Shacho means company president...
Ben and Michael arrived today and we all went to have curry udon. I've never liked it before since it can be heavy, but this place is really good. They've raised the level of Japanese curry in my mind. And - get this - they add tempura bananas. I swear it works! And my my; check out their mission statement...(sorry it got cut off).
Then we decided to roam around Roppongi Hills, and then got sucked into a nearby electronic shop where we drooled over the cell phones and cameras. By the time we got out, it was raining really hard. Yep, the typhoon is arriving!
Kuri-chan, one of Six Apart's Japanese engineers, came to visit SF a while ago and stayed with Dav and I. We promptly took him to the Odeon Bar during Dr. Hal's night, and Kuri-chan got his question answered. He blogged about it here, showing a picture of me going up to translate his question since he wrote in Japanese. It was a fun night, but I had no idea it inspired him so much. I burst out laughing when I walked in the office this morning to find a "Ask Dr. Kuri" wall space with a bunch of sticky note questions! Fabulous!!
And of course, there are various other things on the wall that, um, er, show how much we eat, breathe, and live for blogging! The office unfortunately has no windows, but Ueno-san pasted one onto the wall last time I visited. I was glad to see it still there providing a glorious view of the outside...even though it's rainy today :)
東京のシックス アパートでエンジニアを務めてるくりちゃんがこの間サンフランシスコへ遊びに来ました。その時デイブと私は彼をオデオン バーへ連れて行きました。ちょうどDr. Halという質問ゲームをやっていてくりちゃんの質問が選ばれました。彼はそれをブログしました。面白かったけど、どれほどくりちゃんに印象を与えたのか知らなくて、今日、オフィスに入って”Ask Dr. Kuri" の質問ポスターを見つけて大笑いしました。さすが、、、
Yep, back in Tokyo for another business trip. Lovely weather...although news is that a gigantic typhoon is heading this way and will be here by Wednesday! This is my third time coming here for business this year and it's awfully comforting to know I can live in SF yet get to visit Tokyo this frequently. I'm beginning to feel in my soul that Tokyo really isn't so far away. How lucky!
Here are random pictures from Roppongi on my way home to see my parents. I must say, my parents look great!
I will let you know where I am landing when I get there...I love where I am going but will miss my Dav and kitties!
Sorry for another shoe post, but boy did I find some cool boots! Even the cats were curious, though Wakame quickly turned to stretching for another nap when she found they weren't edible. I don't need to say much more than yep, those are little (plastic) goldfish in the heels with water and some decorative greens!!
Click to see video.
Here is a video of us taking off and post touch down shots.
Transcription by janesa13:
I recently bought a cool pair of platform shoes that make me lots taller without heels. I've been wearing flats since I walk up/down hills to work and am delighted to "rediscover" the joy of height. I walk faster and see things differently.
But at work, I end up taking my shoes off and run around in my sox (a comfort thing?)...and today, when I was shoeless, I ran into my CFO and he said, "What happened? You shrunk!"
I am still short
Between my office and the quaint train station (see below) is an interesting theater. It's open, but no movies are ever advertised. Nothing to entice you in...blank and kinda dark looking. Except for "Outstanding Features" sign. Uh-huh. I get it.
Speaking of great food (see yesterday's post), I've been reading The New Yorker from September 6th. Yes, I'm behind...but this one is the food issue so I've been reading it cover to cover.
Burkhard Bilger's "Annals of Agriculture: Salad Days" was one of my favorite articles. I learned that those salad-mix bags that we casually pick up at Trader Joe's or any other supermarket nowadays is a result of 20 years of research. The plastic of these bags is made up of 5 to 10 layers, each with a carefully developed function so that the bag allows gases consumed and released by the salad leaves to permeate in and out for maximum shelf life.
Every type of salad requires a different type of bag, tailored to its respiration rate by gas chromatography and computer analysis. Every bag is a miniature biosphere.
This was Bilger describing the industrialization of gourmet organic food.
In contrast, he introduced Bob Cannard, one of Chez Panisse's produce suppliers from Sonoma. Bear with me, but I just have to quote this paragraph about this man:
Cannard not only feeds his crops with compost; he brews hundred-gallon vats of nutrient 'teas' and sends them coursing through his irrigation system. He throws in handfuls of crushed oyster shells, sea salt, and volcanic rock, cartons of eggs and milk, and jugs of molasses. Some days, he'll make a lavender or rosemary tea, to revive his plants with 'energetic aromas.' Other days, he'll add some worm castings or swallow droppings, from birds that nest under the eaves of his house. The bacteria, he says, helps his crops absorb nutrients from the soil. After 28 years of farming, Cannard can tell at a glance what his crops require. 'A plant doesn't wear makeup or dark glasses or anything,' he says. 'It will just sit there in its nakedness and show you how it's feeling through its color, its posture, its textures, its anchorage.' His farm is a kind of spiritual retreat for stressed out crops. Even the wind and the wild birds, he says, sing to his vegetables.
Um, I think I'll go home and tend to my plants.
Transcription by Anonymous:
When Dav + I <3 went to Burning Man, my colleague Ezra kindly took care of my fussy fluffballs. In return, I wanted to take him out to a *yummy* dinner--so here we are at Greens tonight. Dav's locative friends joined and we're all talking, um, interesting geek stuff (I'm not... just listening :) Again, great good and great friends... Ahh, life is good!!
Those 2 fingers hovering over the pesto & pinenut pizza are Ezra's by the way. They're supposed to be bunny ears...
Well, it's quite evident that Tara-chan is Japanese. This is his best entry yet (he posts by himself, without my help, every 2 weeks；see the gibberish at the very bottom). It has Japanese in it which is much better than the jumbled English he used to post. You can still see the meaningless English, but at least there is some Japanese.
So, to give poor Tara-chan more vocabulary, I've decided to start posting bilingually. When I post from my phone, it will be in English, but once I get to my laptop, I'll translate.
Tara-chan is one reason. The other reason is that when I was in Tokyo posting to TokyoTidbits, I wrote in English. So non-Japanese could enjoy learning about Tokyo. Now that I'm in SF, it seems only fair that I write in Japanese so Japanese can better understand what I'm doing here. My Japanese uncle, for example, said he logs into Kokochi every once in a while. And although he enjoys seeing me in my wacky outfits and the views in SF, he has no idea what I'm saying.
This will be an experiment since it won't be the same as moblogging my phone and forgetting about it. But let's see.
This is a little ode to my fab colleague Ginevra. She came in when I was swamped and immediately took on a huge load. I still can't imagine how I survived before her; now she knows so much that I often rely on her to keep my marbles together.
She has the cutest puppy, Stella. But Stella, um, chomps on stuff, as noted in the regularly updated list on Ginevra's blog. And recently, she ate "the only Dell AC power cord in a 50 mile radius. While plugged in." OK. That can happen. But then this happened. I've been wanting to post about this cuz I found Dell so disappointing, but was a bit distracted. Ginevra took it all in stride, yet when Dell sent, in the end, a total of four wrong replacements, I just had to post this. All I can say is, stay away from Dell if that is their customer service!
On the flip side, Ginevra had something wonderful happen. A customer, with whom she had several email exchanges, sent her one of the most beautiful books I've seen in a long time. Such thoughtfulness makes our job *so* worth it!
Found danah, and someone with a lion backpack to match my moose one (who works at the SF zoo and told me they have giraffe backpacks too! must get...)
Click to see video.
Now we're visiting Sean (as in cheesebikini.com) and met his hard-working Roomba. I love Sean's interior decor taste...
hmmn: musings from the far east(erwood)
Big in Japan
Ed the Cat
Anil, the Nigritude Ultramarine
A Full Belly
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