April 2009 Archives

Tokyo - C'est La Vie

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I didn't bring Tesla with me this time...so "Thank You!!" to Dav for holding down the routine while I was away. To take advantage of being in Tokyo without Tesla (where I'd have zero time besides work if I were with Tesla), I took my parents out to one of their favorite restaurants in Tokyo for a tiny bit of 親孝行 (oyakoko) [sorta like "filial piety"].

It was lovely. My parents have been going to C'est La Vie in Denenchofu for 20 years: small and unpretentious with high-quality dishes. My parents took me there once. My dad reviewed it eons ago. The chef and his wife just do their thing in this tiny restaurant, and they bring out tapas size small dishes so you get to taste a lot. It was lovely...and for prix fixe $55 per person, even compared to SF, I think what we had that night was a huge deal.

The rest is my feeble attempt to capture the beautiful dishes. In several, the chef incorporated Japanese ingredients which was refreshing.

My cousin Kiyomichi and his wife have rare reptiles. They used to work in a reptile pet store in Yokohama, so they know their stuff...and when folks in this world keep "pets," they keep rare, strange species. Not the kind you can pet and hug, mind you, so really not my type, but I very much appreciated getting the tour of their collection when my mom and I stopped by for a visit at their home.
Of all, the jumping giant toad freaked me out. I don't like but am not scared of reptiles as long as they move slowly and I feel in control. This toad is all instincts, and spends 99% buried under dirt waiting for movement. Then they jump and eat. This guy eats a frozen mouse once a week. So he doesn't need socializing...and jumps with his giant mouth. I screamed at first, but he was the most impressive. After he scared me out of my skin, I went back to get a video. We had to coax him a bit, which I felt bad about, but he jumped.
They had an impressive lizard who kept hissing when I got close for a picture. And their smaller spotted-lizard-like species had a baby. They sell the babies from time to time.
I didn't mind trying to hold the albino-like-spotted-lizard-like beings...not a pet I'm interested in, but still cool. Then I took a picture of a professional picture of one of them. The photographer was a friend of theirs, and snapped quite a beautiful version of the little reptile.
These are mini crocodile skulls from the former owner who gave the skulls to them. Apparently, you have to have a license to own these such skulls to regulate a market for them.
Not my thing...but I can understand folks who dig reptiles, and how fascinating it must be to raise such strange beings.


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I've delightfully been slack about blogging as I had quite a bit of traveling, and was just enjoying life as is. But in the end, my posts are for me (and maybe Tesla) so let me backtrack a bit.

We were in Walla Walla to visit Deborah. Deborah and I met in Tokyo, when I was transferring from a Japanese elementary school to the American School in Japan. By then, although I was born and raised until 9 in the U.S., I was more Japanese at that point, so it was quite a culture-shock to go to A.S.I.J.. Deborah is a child of missionary parents who are not Japanese, but she grew up completely in Japan. Although American, she is Japanese in many ways. We became close because of that.

We've kept in touch, and now Deborah is a mama. On her own. A beautiful, gutsy move. I wanted to support her, so after her mom helped a month, and after she had a spring break (she is a professor and had no complete maternity leave other than reducing her load by 1 class), I came in to help. Actually, just for a week, and with Dav and Tesla. Realistically, with a toddler, how much did I help? I held down the house while she went to class, and we were hopefully an entertaining family, but toddler + baby is hard!

One afternoon she went to class, and I announced I'd take Akio and Tesla to the park. The park was a bit far so Tesla wanted the stroller. I had Akio in a baby carrier bjorn. But it was a bit too sunny so with one hand on the stroller (which really requires two hands to steer), and one trying to shield Akio with a cloth I had over his head, I barely got out of the driveway when Deborah drove up, done with her day. Of course, with Tesla all happy we were heading to the park, I had to hand off Akio to Deborah, and go play with Tesla. All to say, I wasn't exactly the best "help."

Hopefully, it was fun for all :) More importantly, I got Deborah time.

p.s. the picture is where T got her sakura flower in her hair.

p.p.s. some belated videos: Tesla cleaning up after playing at the Children's musem where they had a shopping area. And Tesla enjoying sidewalk chalk that daddy-o enhanced for her trains. More of that...so nice and different from S.F....


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At the Six Apart Tokyo office, doing my work and attending meetings. Love it, yet I also miss Dav and Tesla. I spoke with her on the phone (she told me she had ice cream at Karla's when it was very hot), and it was weird to hear her chat like a little girl! I'm not used to hearing her via a phone like that. So grown up.

I'll get back on the plane Sat. afternoon, arriving in SF Sat. morning : )

Whoopemup Cafe - Waitsburg, WA

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Thanks to Deborah, we went to a fabulous Cajun southern cooking restaurant called Whoopemup Cafe, located in the tiniest town ever. We would never have come across it unless Deborah recommended it. She was going to join us, but was too tired that evening. Having a newborn does that...
Below is the menu with fried frog legs, crawfish pie (we had that), chicken n' waffle, catfish (I had), and etouffee (Dav had).

The meal was delicious, and we had a lovely local wine. Tesla was welcomed, and with the help of Totoro playing in the iPhone, well-behaved, so we had a nice dinner.

Palouse Falls

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Deborah suggested we visit Palouse Falls on our way back from Colfax, and we're very glad we did. Not only was it a beautiful day and drive 10 miles out of way, but it was a pretty spectacular fall. You drive up with little indication there's a huge drop coming up; quite impressive. We had fun taking all sorts of pictures nearby, and stopped for a milk shake too!

Although here to help with the baby, I still need to and want to spend time with Tesla obviously. There is a wonderful playground within walking distance that Tesla loves, and tomorrow there is a toddler story time at the local library. I also found this great indoor play space called the Children's Museum that has different rooms set up for play such as a mini kitchen, a grocery shop, a tool area, a water/sand play box, and a big Thomas the Train set. Once Tesla saw that, she stayed put there.

Today I wanted to take her back, telling her she could play with the trains. Sadly it was closed, so will try tomorrow. It's heartbreaking when I tell Tesla something that she clearly looks forward to, and then I can't deliver...

Walla Walla, WA

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We are in Walla Walla, WA for a week to visit my friend Deborah who just had a baby. Her mom was here for a month helping, now we are. Well, having a toddler doesn't make me that helpful as Tesla takes a lot of my time, but we're sorta able to help when Deborah has to go out for classes (she's a professor), and be noisy, entertaining housemates : )

The weekend we arrived actually was to go to Colfax, a 2 hour drive away where Dav's mom is buried. Dav's sister Katherine joined from Ohio, and we paid a visit to Uncle Frank and the grave. I've been bugging Dav since we met and knew we wanted to marry. From my Japanese upbringing, it feels normal and needed to pay my respects to Dav's mom. Especially now that we have Tesla, I was very happy to bring Tesla to say "hi" to her grandmother. Uncle Frank, who was gracious to host us all, and Tesla bonded like best friends. It was the cutest ever.

Pictures are a walk with Deborah and Akio in the stroller, while Tesla proudly walking Tyler. There is a rather large Mexican immigrant population here, and the local market had a great variety of Mexican veges. Last pic is a cute Easter deco in the local dinner we had breakfast one morning. I'm planning on having Tesla do a fun easter egg hunt when we get back to SF.

another turn of the year

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Dressed up and happy with my surprise dinner. Scenes from Contigo.
The amazing lilys.

We're out of town, and I've been too busy to blog, but wanted to make sure I gave big kudos to Dav for making my birthday last week special. He delivered beautiful lilys to my desk at the office, making my whole area smell lovely. Then, that night he arranged for the Regenbogens to Tesla-sit while we went to dinner at Contigo, where I've been wanting to go forever. Contigo just opened, and the owner Brett, has been blogging about the experience on TypePad (yay!). Brett is Rachel's friend, and he came to our house just before Rachel moved.

I loved the food, and we had a nice bottle of red wine. We shared a halibut dish, but my favorite was the potatoes with an aioli sauce. I'm not a dessert fan, but Dav got a creme brulee that was so good I ate more than few bites.

It was a casual night, but I loved it. Here's to nice dinners with husbands, no matter what day!