2005.04.03

Kitto katsu

Found at Candyland in Richmond:

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Emily, of course, was first to let me know they existed, but I never expected to see them in the flesh. Should have known that Canada would be just the place to go — another example of how snack-deprived we are in the States!

My flickr friend hexion said this, in comments:

Children in Japan do not like green tea taste. However, the adult like green tea taste. I think that it is a thing like the bitter chocolate.
 
By the way, There is a custom of presenting “Kit kat” to the examinee in Japan. Because the pronunciation of “Kit kat” is near Japanese “Kitto katsu” that means “Win without fail”.

Kitto katsu!

They’re good; maybe a little too sweet, but not overwhelmingly so — about what you’d expect from a good green tea ice cream, but swirled with crispy KitKatty goodness. Since they’re imported from Japan, a little pricey, and then there’s that commute…

I know it seems tea’s been on my mind a lot lately, and you’d be right! Shaula over at tsuredzuregusa 徒然草 has a lovely entry on tea, for whose inspiration I can take some little, indirect credit (via Watermark & my Adagio Teas entry), which spurred a small tea shopping expedition: genmaicha is an old friend (this from Republic of Tea), wonderful and mellow, while lapsang souchong is a new acquaintance, smoky and nostalgic. I know a few of you vehemently dislike it — I wonder if it comes from not having often experienced warm winter fires on frozen nights, crackling & aromatic of charcoal, memories of which come flooding back to me as I sip. How could you not love?

And from janjan, word of her own Adagio reward, which sounds amazing — but I need to watch myself. Finish the tea you’ve got first, yukino.

More KitKats


2005.04.08

Malaise, again

I don’t understand! I was feeling so good yesterday, but now it’s Friday afternoon and I’m just exhausted & feeling like a failure. Earlier, I was frustrated by the fact I’ve missed morning pages two days in a row, evil taxes and other things too numerous to mention. Oh, and then there were free drinks, and…

Ah, I think I see where things went wrong.

[Windswept]

As an exercise, let’s move on to happier things:

Our Cobalt Flux dance platforms arrived in the mail the other day! So I’ve been getting a lot of exercise lately, which is all kinds of good & lots of fun too, even if the pads do tend to destroy any illusions of how good you really might be. No more blaming things on the equipment! Am working my way back up to speed, though there’s still a long way to go.

But! It’s a lot cheaper than the gym (correction: okay, no not really — more like about the same as a full year of gym), and closer to home, too.


Continuing tea experiments: pu-erh was described to me as very “earthy,” and it’s a pretty apt description: taking a sniff of the tiny, individually-wrapped brick reveals a pungent aroma, not unlike mown grass after a day of sitting around in compost — not something you’d be inclined to think of putting in your mouth. Still, once brewed it’s much more pleasant than expected (though still grassy), and I had no trouble finishing a few cups, after which I felt… surprisingly nice.

Oh, and on flickr, I made a set for photos of tea leaves — since the visual experience of tea is as much a part of these experiments as fragrance and flavor, they might make a nice appendix. I’ll try to add new teas as I try them!


Finally, from girlhacker: Ginger Soother, from The Ginger People. Words cannot express how much I want to try this! I just hope there are stores around here that stock it.


2005.04.12

Tacoma

The city of Tacoma gets a bad rap around Seattle, whether for its particular fragrance (affectionately dubbed “the Tacoma aroma”) or for its bad fortune at being placed just too far for convenience, and barely too close for respectability. And possibly because it bears an uncanny resemblance to Mordor:

[Port of Tacoma]

Spent a grey and damp morning decompressing and taking photos around town, and while most of Tacoma does seem to be either nondescript or nightmarish, there is a compact and attractive cultural core (Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Union Station and the Museum of Glass), as well as a beautiful and rustic stretch of waterfront between city center and Point Defiance Park (and from which the above photo was taken). Maybe it was just the heavy morning weather, but that drive felt old, familiar, weatherworn — something out of Boston countryside rather than Pacific northwest. I got out and walked along the water, feet sinking into soft soil, wet as the Sound itself, while the city emptied the spoils of industry into the distant skies. It felt good to be away.

Point Defiance Park was nice, a miniature version of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. I didn’t see another soul during my entire time there, as I flitted between trellises, the pagoda, and the water. This is probably because I avoided “destination” spots (the zoo, loggers’ camp & Ft. Nisqually) — wasn’t why I was there, anyway. Instead, I stuck to the magic and wetness of newborn spring: budding flowers, pregnant with dew and defiant of rain, or conclaves of mushrooms:

[Family meeting, or the scolding]

Afterwards, some time gazing at Chihuly’s installations in Union Station and a quick stroll across his Bridge of Glass and around the glass museum (sadly, closed, as it often seems to be during non-summer months). And then, probably too soon, back to Seattle.

Have determined to return in the near future, at the least to see the glass exhibits! In the meantime, you can follow today’s adventures at flickr as I add them.


Lest I forget to mention tea again, word of another free tea for links promotion…


2005.04.14

This is James

Jolene posted the following photo to flickr, which just about made my day:

20050414.01.jpg

His sign says:

NiNJA’S KiLLED MY FAMiLY — NEED MONEY FOR KUNG-FU LESSONS!

Surely I cannot possibly be ill again?? But I am, I am, making it about one week per month so far this year in which I’ve managed to be sick. Spending a quarter of your life in unhealth is not just bad luck, it’s worthy of an opera heroine — there must be a way out, somehow, before I also become a Mimi, or a Violetta Valéry…

For now, I’ll load up on fruit and take comfort in NyQuil, and hopefully that way I’ll at least dream of health — in addition to the wedding dresses and lion-morphs and frozen bodies and whatever else the green will bring me this time…


2005.04.15

In situ

A couple technical odds and ends:

First, I’m trying out a new spam-blocking plugin for comments and trackbacks (SpamLookup, by Brad Choate), and I’m a little paranoid about whether anyone’s having trouble commenting (because I love each and every one of you). So if you do have problems, make sure you email me [yukino at…] so I’ll know about it.

Second, I’ve replaced the list of links on the right with one automatically generated by Bloglines. Mostly, this because I’m super-lazy and never really updated it before. I really hope I haven’t forgotten anyone! Apologies in advance.

Added: Also, I’ve been using feedburner for the past few weeks to splice my flickr and blog feeds together. Is that annoying? Would anyone prefer I go back to providing a blog-only feed?

Thanks!


Am feeling better, lots of tea & sleep later, even if I’ve got these* staring at me, hopeful for a home. Thanks so much for the well wishes.

Oh, and Sin City! So many kinds of good, and Clive Owen too…

*oh, cute! they’ve added “cough” and “ear ache” since I got mine!

2005.04.16

Desiccation

Okay, those Gatorade ads? The ones where athletes crumble into pieces from dehydration? Those are so wrong. I have that dream all the time — I really don’t need to see it happening while I’m awake.

Added: Hum. Who would have thought I’d been spelling desiccation incorrectly all these years?


2005.04.17

La luna

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There were times, late at night, when she knew in the depths of her soul that she was a broken person. Sometimes she would emerge from the shower, throw herself onto the mattress, and as the air cooled the water on her skin and in her hair, the chill would seem to numb her sense of self. In these moments of disconnectedness, her thoughts took on a cold, computer-like pattern, and she would feel trapped, as if she were just a prisoner of her body and of her life. Surely she was meant to have been someone else; anyone, anything except herself, or maybe even nobody at all. These feelings of wrongness and illogic were so strong that it was impossible to believe otherwise, but then, slowly, the warmth would return to her body and she would be back, anchored firmly in the reality of her own existence once more. That was possibly the worst feeling of all.
 
She had lived with this all her life. As a young girl, she’d prayed often to the full moon to take her somewhere else: someplace where she belonged, where she could feel correct. She’d studied meditation and other techniques designed to free her from her shell, and into a more perfect form; all without success, leaving only growing disaffection with her existence…


2005.04.20

Belfast, midday

Walking weather: too warm for a coat by day, but evenings are still chill, and with constant threat of rain, it’s hard to decide what to wear. Trust me to pick the wrong outfit, every time.

Hear New York has hit the 80s — ugh! So sorry, Miranda.

Watched Sideways and am finding I really, really want a glass of Pinot Noir (apparently, am not alone in this reaction). All I have is Riesling, which’ll do for now.


She lies asleep in a cheap hotel room, legs wrapped around the lone tendril of blanket remaining on the bed. It is midday in Belfast, a hot summer’s day; unobstructed, bright rays of sunlight stream through the windows and illuminate the peaceful expression on her face.
 
The room is a small one, barely enough for the twin bed and the nightstand next to it. The only other piece of furniture in the room is a wooden chair, its presence inexplicable without an accompanying desk, or table. At the moment it serves as a closet; over its back is draped a black, leather overcoat, stylish but outlandishly inappropriate for the weather. Leaning against the legs of the chair is a medium-sized travel bag, locked shut. Next to that sits a small, metal case, the sort that could probably survive a nuclear explosion. In small piles leading from the chair to the side of the bed are various pieces of clothing, haphazardly discarded in the haste to retire.
 
Outside, a bustling city street, unusually active for a Sunday afternoon. A man with a prosthetic hand is walking three dogs on leashes. A florist leaves his stand momentarily to chase after a customer who forgot her change. The doorman of the posh hotel across the street takes off his cap so that he can wipe sweat off his brow. A minor car accident has blocked traffic, almost directly under the window. Two men exit a limousine which has become caught in the snarl. A faint movement—there, in the alley, but there’s nothing. Perhaps a shift in the light, or a random shadow?
 
She lies on the ratty mattress, sensing none of this, and it is the most comfortable place she has ever been.

2005.04.21

Separate and indelible

Note: Am getting paranoid that my spam filter is blocking comments, so if you could, please leave me a note on this entry — and make sure you reload and check to make sure your comment actually got posted, since as far as I can tell, SpamLookup doesn’t actually tell you when you’ve been blocked…


A balmy night, soaked in dreams and Merlot, and words from a friend:

you are a writer, a marvelous one at that. you don’t have to feel like one. it’s just what is.

…and they were kind and beautiful and terrifying, heavy with expectation and apprehension.

I awoke to a handwritten note from my subconscious, scrawled on a slip of notepaper on the nightstand:

“…when last night, you dissolved into me in a perfect moment of super-saturation — until the morning chill woke us, and we were separate, indelible, once more…”

Oh, for the return!


2005.04.24

The illusion of clarity

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Losing one’s rationality is a terrifying feeling. There have been moments, recently — walking through the sunny city streets, or gazing at dew-spotted flowers fighting the breeze — where I can feel reality beginning to slip. The world changes, and it becomes easy to believe that with one lapse of concentration, just the tiniest of nudges, that the waking dream would take over, with no past, no future, no consequences…

And sometimes, there are moments of clarity, where things burst into brilliant focus and I know exactly who I am and I am who I want to be, and the sun is brilliant against the glass and metal of Seattle without blinding, and the wind blows coolly through my hair, bringing flying petals which paint the world in color: streets, cars, trees, people, buildings, life — everything! — beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful.

But these are just two faces of the same coin, and for just an instant before the beauty fades, the old fears return: is this the biggest lie of all? And it’s gone, gone, a thousand years gone, leaving just a memory of one barely remembered, perfect moment of… sanity? madness?

But see? I’m back again.


2005.04.26

Sputnik Sweetheart

I’ve managed to get this far in my life without reading any Murakami, despite seemingly everyone I know being in love with him. So Alice’s recommendation a couple days ago was merely the proverbial last straw, and I’ve picked up Sputnik Sweetheart… You know how sometimes, before you even open a book, and you’re holding it in your hand and its heft and color and texture and smell and energy just tells you it’ll be wonderful?

Okay, I admit it, I do sometimes judge a book by its cover. But this is a beautiful one (and set in Futura, no less!). So please don’t be too harsh.

Oh, I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this!


Installed Brad Choate’s OnThisDay plugin (thanks, cygnoir!), although for now the “also on this day” sidebar only shows up on individual entries. Also, since I’ve not exactly been a regular-as-clockwork poster, not every day has them. Anyways, I’ve had fun revisiting the old me, so even if no-one else looks, it’s been worth it.


Finally, I think… I think my last entry was more about terror (also see Breakfast in Oyama) than optimism, but you, lovely readers, have managed to make me feel better about everything. Thank you so much.


2005.04.27

Gehry waves

[Gehry waves]
 
Seattle Center, a flickr photoset

Have just started on this set; so far there are only six nine photos, but I’ll be adding more over the next few days. I suspect after that, it’ll be come and go.


The unfortunate thing about Frank Gehry’s Experience Music Project building is that the side facing 5th Avenue North, with its low-gloss, bathroom-tile red paint job, is the only one most people see before deciding the whole thing is a giant blight on Seattle’s landscape. Whether your view is from across the street at Element, or from way atop Denny Hill, that’s what you see — a raw boil breaking through a glowing mass of metal.

On the other hand, from almost any other angle, the building is really quite pretty. Iridescent plates line the other three “sides” of the building’s exterior: in golden, wave-like ripples to the south; an expansive vertical cliff-face of shimmering purple to the west, and silver, cloudy, organic curves to the north. The walls were covered with the patina of hundreds of hand- and fingerprints, and no surprise; the sheet metal nearly cried out to be handled, to be pressed to one’s cheeks and shoulders with a whispered promise of a cool touch on even the hottest summer day. And, well, if you know me and my compulsively polished iPod, you’ll think I’d be horrified at that thought, but I daresay that they made the building even more beautiful.

Even so, I didn’t wind up hugging the EMP. There were just too many people watching.


2005.04.29

Texas

In Dallas for a wedding, which marks my first visit to Texas, ever! I think that qualifies for at least a few points off on a purity test somwhere.

So far, I can’t tell if the scale of everything here (big, big, big — trust me, I’ve seen some enormous flags!) is inspiring or depressing. What’s certain, though, is something about this place is throwing off my (usually steady) sense of direction. So far, I’ve gotten lost at least five times, and that was just looking for the hotel & some place to eat! Not sure whose fault that is — me, these Dallas roads, or Microsoft Streets & Trips’ directions (I guess there’s an easy scapegoat there) — but something’s wonky for sure.

Net connection is trés flaky. More later!

Added: Well, it may still be partly me, but there’s definitely something wrong with the roads here. Or at least the signs. Tired. Back to Seattle in the morning.



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