November 2005 Archives

Non-turkey getaway

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Instead of the traditional turkey-based holiday festivities, Dav and I drove off to Clearlake for some peace and quiet. We had been curious about this area, so it was partly to check out the scene, but for me, it was to get Dav all to myself for a chunk of time.

It was stormy the first night, but cleared later. We were at a cute quiet bed & breakfast that was perched on top of a hill with amazing views. We were the only guests and got to chat with the owner Merv during our meal times. I enjoyed it, and we even stayed an extra night. We hadn't been away like that for a while, so it was special.

My mom, the calligraphy artist

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My mom has been studying Japanese calligraphy for quite some time. For the past few years, she's been experimenting with a more modern free form, expressing the characters' meaning through the brush outside of the traditional formalized manner. She has developed her very own style, which I think is beautiful and elegant. It's simple and creative.

She sent me a few samples. I'd been hoping to find a nice place to show them, and found the perfect spot at Dav's and my favorite Japanese restaurant: Minako's (17th and Mission) that serves organic, delicate home-cooked food. I asked Judy and her mother (the owners), and they were gracious enough to put them up! I'm so proud of my mother. If you live in SF, you must go to Minako's. But then, check on the right wall as you walk towards the restroom. That's my mom's work!

Deborah!

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My phone wasn't quite working recently, so this is actually from 2 weeks ago, but I must share that Deborah came to visit! In addition to simply catching up (and eating Japanese food), we went to visit Kimi, since we all went to school together in Tokyo. (By the way, check out Kimi's newly remodelled kitchen!!)

I met Deborah in Tokyo way back when, just as I was transferring from the Japanese school to the American School. She was my first "American" friend after having been so Japanese in my mind/identity. I lucked out though; although with blond hair and hazel eyes, she grew up in Japan and spoke Japanese. Without her, I would have shriveled up in fear going to the American School. But with her, I had an ally.

We were great together. Total tomboys, carefree, giggling, making up our own games. I know in some of the awkward beginning high school years, we drifted apart as we searched different social groups. But later on, we rekindled our bond when we volunteered to be the set-up crew for the famous "Miyake-jima week" junior high students went through. It was good 'ol Deborah and Mie again.

We've walked various different paths since, but every once in a while we touch base, and even get to see each other (last time was in Tokyo). She is a professor at Whitman College now. I think she totally enjoyed San Francisco, and I'm secretly hoping she'll consider doing her sabbatical here! Boy, the things we would do!! Thanks Deborah for being such a cool friend!

I am so blessed

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The other evening, my dear friend Mieko emailed me at work saying she needed to see me because she was being stalked. I was more than just a little concerned so I told her I'd finish work up and meet her. There was some strange aspects though; she wanted to meet at a cafe because her artist friend had an art showing. And she couldn't meet later because she had a party to go to. Not behavior I'd expect if she was being stalked.

Anyway, she picked me up with a taxi, and we headed to the cafe. Noriko was going to join us too.

We get there, and Mieko immediately begins looking at the art. Then she finds her friend and starts talking. I was getting impatient because in my mind, I wanted to hear about the story, and see if I could find this guy and punch him. How dare anyone upset Mieko!

But then the artist friend walks to me and says, "Hi, I'm Georgianne Fastaia...oh, you don't know why you are here?"

huh??

She pointed to one of her paintings. It barely registered since I was so confused, and still very much focused on my fury against this stalker. She then said, "I painted this for you. Do you recognize it?"

huh??

The lighting was a bit low, so it took me a while, but after a better look at a one of the paintings, I realized, oh-my...it's of a couple kissing...and there are those recognizable gigantic flowers...

Yep! Mieko had organized with Noriko and a group of friends back in Tokyo to chip in to commission a painting of Dav and me from our wedding. Holy cow! A painting of us!!

I had no idea, and still can't get over this gift that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.

I immediately called Dav, and although he was stressed from work (he came because he thought it was about a stalker too), and just as surprised, it slowly dawned on him too what a beautiful gift this is. The painting and the gesture.

The painting is titled "Sunflower Wedding on the Playa; inspired by the love witnessed."

Thank you, Mieko, Noriko, Kojo (also known as DJ Spacewalker), Kei, Tatsuo, Kenji, and Izumi.

You are all such wonderful friends, and I am so blessed to know you!

Chocolate benefits

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Yesterday, I welcomed a Japanese business visitor here at Six Apart. He brought Anil a high-tech Japanese razor (very practical!), and lovely French chocolates. A very nice perk of my job, indeed.

Laughing Squid is 10 years old

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Celebrated at the Varnish Gallery. Great mix of a crowd. Very SF, the kind I love. Bumped into Lilia from work too!

Combot

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At Fort Mason. Various mobile robots fighting it out. $10,000 to the winner. If you like robots, you gotta check this out. Continues tomorrow too.

A book "reading"

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At Modern Times Bookstore in Mission for "Drugs Are Nice" by Lisa Suckdog. The most bizarre and interesting book reading ever. No reading but instead, raunchy songs by Jessica Delfino, unrehearsed skits, ketchup, and um even live peeing. Not for the delicate hearted.

Cirque du Soleil

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Very lucky. Last night, after a normal day of work, Toni called out of the blue and asked, "what are you doing tonight? wanna go see Cirque du Soleil?" She knows one of the crew members, and as last night was the last dress-rehearsal night, we got free tickets to the complete show of Corteo!!

It was fantastic. I've seen one show before, and this one was totally different yet just as beautiful and inspiring. Giant chandeliers in which dancers danced, beds as trampolines where kid characters in PJs bounced from bed to bed, marching carnivalesque bands, a tiny woman floating around with gigantic helium-filled balloons who walked over the audience until someone pushed her back up in the air, and of course all the tight-rope walking, bar acrobatics, and juggling one would expect. Just breath-taking.

Please go if you haven't seen Cirque du Soleil. They really make you feel happy to be human.

[note: i wasn't supposed to take pictures so I had to take them very discreetly, meaning I couldn't see what I was taking since I hid the phone screen with a scarf. Shots in the dark that are better than nothing!]

Nice new meeting

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A few days ago I received a nice email from a woman named Marcela. She had followed TokyoTidbits when she visited Japan in 2003. She then recently caught up on Kokochi, and since she was visiting San Francisco, she contacted me. We had lunch today. Without the internet, it would seem a random lunch date, but with blogs, we had every reason to meet each other.

And you know what? She knows Sean from when he was considering going to Georgia Institute of Technology! Now that's a small world.


For the commotion Dav and I cause before and after Burning Man (dusty stuff everywhere, costumes strung around, boxes piled up), and for the numerous times my housemates have kindly agreed to take care of my kitties while I'm away, I decided to cook dinner for everyone tonight.

Menu: korokke (potatoes, salmon, veges covered in bread crumbs and fried), simmered kabocha, string beans with sesame sauce, shiroae (seasoned crushed tofu) with mitsuba, miso soup, and rice flavored with mountain vegetables. Emerick contributed a fabulous chocolate cake...which we had with elderflower nectar herb tea I just bought today. As usual, the conversations and sharing was the best.

Dav, Sara, Emerick, and Elida are playing scrabble as I finally catch up on Kokochi.

Pigman Gallery

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After the delicious organic feast, we went to Pigman Gallery with Mieko (she knows the owner). The gallery was showcasing Laura Kimpton's art, and I rather liked it. She had quite a variety of works, from eerie sadistic-looking sculptures, playful photographs, various installations using antique dolls/toys, and modern-looking prints.

But what I enjoyed most was the space. The gallery was small and cozy, with beautiful old wooden floors. And the back opened to a sort of industrial open space under the highway marked with graffiti work. They had a dj, a bar, and heat lamps. The artist's print works were pinned to the wired fencing. It made the gallery feel down-to-earth.

Mieko knows lots of artists and music people. She talked up the owner about organizing an event there with local artists and a music evening...maybe in April. I can't wait!!

My favorite piece is 4th down on the right.


Saturday night, Dav and I were invited to what we thought was an organic dinner party. What we didn't realize was that the dinner was actually part of a regular group gathering of people interested in a method of cooking that follows Nourishing Traditions. Dav ordered the book so we'll study up on this, and I don't know much yet, but basically the book describes how old traditional cooking methods are actually great in helping us avoid modern day diet-related illnesses (in contrast to what modern media tells us about nutrition).

Since Dav started his Fantastic Voyage anti-aging diet, we've been eating organic, and following a specific diet (Dav strictly, me just at dinners with him). Overall though, we've both become very aware that we are what we eat, and at our age, we really need to pay attention to the chemical-laden, processed foods around us.

I'll share more information as I learn, but the dinner was amazing. 30 people or so brought dishes made from the Nourishing Traditions. Information was shared about where to get food, how things affected the body, etc. This is a monthly group of people who enjoy eating yummy food, but also that is cooked to benefit that body.

Day of the Dead

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I'm backtracking again to last weekend, but I wanted to share scenes from the Day of the Dead procession Dav and I participated in. It went through Mission, with drums, incense, and lots of people dressed up as the dead. Wasn't scary, but a bit solemn. Dav looked unrecognizably spooky though. I had never participated before and was surprised at the turnout. We met up with Elida too.

Dav's contribution to the public alter was of his mother. For me, I had my grandfather and my dog Jenny.