Today’s Happy Thoughts: My Favorite Things

Today’s Happy Thoughts:  My Favorite Things

I saw someone was writing what 5 thing that make her happy on her blog.  I was inspired by her and here are 5 things make me happy at this moment, 10:56am on April 7th Tue (it changes slightly & often J)

The fact that my longtime friend Rika will be joining me in Kyoto this next week for 1.5 days.  I haven’t seen her since December 2008.  She is such a caring, kind, classy and beautiful (inside and out) person.  When I was younger, I always wonder why I didn’t grow up like her.  She has my highest regards.

Going to visit Kyoto in 1.5 days.  I am not completely excited yet but it makes me happy when I think about all these food I can eat (I will pig out when I am there!) and temples I visit just spend some time with myself.

Oh my god, I can’t believe I am writing about this.  This Japanese TV show called “Dr. Koto Shinryojo” is actually making me happy?  Yes it is.  Don’t judge.  It is a great human drama.  This one young genius surgeon arrived this small little farthest West island of Japan where takes 6-hour ferry ride just to get to the main land from the huge and prestigious hospital in Tokyo.  The island has a population of only 1,500 people and they have never had an established clinic with quality medical staff and services.  He struggles hard at first because people living on that island don’t trust him.  They are very resistant and not welcoming.  Because of his never-give-up personality, chill-ness and his talent, gradually he starts to earn everyone’s trust.  I did a Dr. Koto marathon this past weekend and watched 13 episodes in 2 days.  I feel like such a loser but what can I say?  Season 2 is waiting for me when I go home tonight (crap, I will have to pack for the trip!).  Again, please do not judge.

My Ginger.  Especially when she leans over in my bed and starts to snore.  She is almost 10 years old, stubborn and independent.  She loves corn kernels and white rice.  She also farts a lot.

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Archie.  My best friend, my person and partner in crime.

I lead a very happy life.

Maria Kotchetkova: Celebrate with Soy & Honey Grazed Chicken

Maria Kotchetkova: Celebrate with Soy & Honey Grazed Chicken

This is only my opinion but Maria Kotchetkova is one of the most beautiful human beings alive in today’s world.  She’s a principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet Company.  As I am writing right now, I can barely contain myself because of my over excitement of joy

I set my alarm to wake up today (Sunday!) at 5:30am.  What for?  Well, because American Ballet Theater’s Swan Lake was going to be on sale at 9am EST today.  9am EST means 6am PST!  There are millions of gorgeous ballerinas in the world but this petit Russian, somewhat quirky dancer, is my favorite.  Last time I was in San Francisco to watch Giselle, I was hoping to see her dance but the principal that night was not Maria.  It was a beautiful stage production regardless of course (it’s SFB after all), but I still want to see Maria dance.

I follow Maria Kotchetkova’s FB page and Instagram.  One post said “Swan Lake June 26th, American Ballet Theater”  I freaked out because that means she will be a guest principal dancer of American Ballet Theater production of Swan Lake.  What an unreal combination!  I really can’t even handle this.  When I saw the post, I called Archie right away and asked him if he wanted to go to New York City with me (again).  I wonder how many men are willing to travel to NYC from Seattle just to watch one production of ballet, completely based on my taste.  He didn’t even hesitate to say yes.  He even asked me, “do you want to go back to Joseph Leonard for dinner?”  He knows me so well and he is the best man alive.

To show my gratitude to Archie, I decided to marinade chicken (one of his favorite food) with my soy & honey sauce with ginger and sake for a few hours and grill them.  I hope he will enjoy this with his Fremont Interurban IPA.

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The most gorgeous ballerina, the best friend I could ever ask for and soy & honey grazed chicken.  What a satisfying Sunday.

Alphabet Questions: T-Z (Y: crying is good for you)

Alphabet Questions: T-Z (Y: crying is good for you)

T – Time you woke up?:  2:30

U – Umbrella color?:  blue

V – Very best friend?:  Archie who is currently suffering from allergy

W – Which celebrity I’d marry?:  Jimmy Fallon

X – X rays I’ve had?:  chest

Y – Your last time you cried?:  Today.  I was reading this Japanese book and this one character who is 70 year old cancer patient and has a daughter who is about to be married.  He didn’t want to tell her about his illness before her wedding so he was trying to hide it from her.  But she knew and he also knew that she knew.  That scene.

Z – Zodiac sign?:  Libra

My Favorite Travel Memory: Bali Airport

My Favorite Travel Memory: Bali Airport

France, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Italy, Indonesia, Germany, Japan, United States…travel is one of my passions.  If someone paid me to travel and eat, I would do it in a heartbeat.  There are so many happy moments, sad and difficult times and challenging moments throughout my trips.  I love every county I’ve ever been to and I have great memories on those trips.  Thinking about that just makes me happy.

If someone asked me what was my happiest moment, I would answer “Ngurah Rai International Airport.”  It is an airport in Bali, Indonesia.  “Just an airport?” you might ask.  Yes, that was my happiest moment in my travel history.  Entire travel time was 22 hours or so including 2-lay overs at Taipei and San Francisco.  I was tired but excited for my first visit to Bali.

When I landed, I had to buy a tourist visa at the immigration counter.  I was in line about 30 min.  Then I had to be in another 20 min line to go through immigration for an entry stamp.  As any other airport, there were so many exhausted people and crying kids.  Quite loud.

Finally after I came out from the immigration gate to exit the airport, all sounds got muted and all I heard was my name.  This person waving both arms so big but he didn’t even have to do that because all I could see was him.  I kid you not, that was what I experienced.  For a second, I didn’t hear anything and see anything but him.  Then suddenly my world turned to color.  What I mean is that I was not seeing or hearing as I should have been before that happened.  I was not paying attention to what my eyes see and my ears hear.  I had been in a deep and dark hole for the longest time so I probably had forgotten how the world actually looks like until that moment.

From that moment on, I finally have been able to “live” my life.  I feel everything, not only the pain.  I feel happiness, satisfaction, fun, pleasure, enjoyment, well-being, joy, contentment and love.  I am not saying they are the only things that I feel but those feelings are not what I was able to experience completely before that moment at Bali Airport. That was June 2011.  Sun near equator was shining and burning my skin.  Humid and breezy.  I am forever thankful for that moment at the airport.

Powder (Power) of Love: Packed Lunch

Powder (Power) of Love: Packed Lunch

12-hours a day.  Once in a while I had to work that long but I havn’t really since moving to the States (in Japan yes, it’s a norm).  Recently I have been working 12 hours a day almost every day.  I am a very healthy person but I feel drained and bone-tired.

Last night, I went out for dinner with my friend and we had Chinese.  It was lovely to see her but all I could think about was going home and lying down on my bed.  When I came home, I was so relieved and couldn’t wait to go to bed.

Please look at this photo.  A very boring and bland glass container with squared tin foil on it is pictured here.  This tin foil contains pure magic.  Archie knew what I have been going though and how exhausted I have been.  So, he packed my lunch for me (spaghetti with simple tomato sauce that he made) and told me the tin foil square was grated parmesan cheese.  Not only did he grate the cheese, thinking I would enjoy my lunch better with cheese, but he couldn’t find a small enough container to put cheese in so he made this “magical” square tin container.  When he told me, I nearly cried.  Does it sound weird to you or you don’t get why I am so happy about it?  It’s totally OK.  It is me getting so silly-happy to realize that I have that kind of person in my life and appreciate the human-being.  I’ve never seen a better container that holds cheese than this square.

This is a true power of love.

Not-so-lovely Saturday: Self Acceptance

Not-so-lovely Saturday: Self Acceptance

Today’s (or my lifetime) goal is “not to compare myself to others.” Sounds strenuous.  I think that is the root of all of my issues and baggage that I carry, which is constantly comparing myself to others and not accepting myself.  Other people have better personality, family, more money, popularity, leadership skills, more talented, are kinder, more beautiful, thinner calves, prettier smile, better cook, better dancer…etc.  No wonder my life has been so harsh.  That is no one’s fault, but mine because I have been letting myself accept that.

This last Saturday, Archie and I wasted almost all Saturday because of lack of self-assurance and affirmation.  I was not liking parts of my bodies.  I thought too much about it and that drove me to the point where I get upset with someone else.  I was angry at myself too much already and I was not sure what to do.  My emotion burst out against Archie.  We could have spent a lovely Saturday together (it was gorgeous spring weather day!) if I was not that way.  Me being bitter affected us so much and we ended up having a long-ass argument that was not necessary.

It is all about my ego that is playing me.  I read below a while ago but I can’t recall where but I kept it in my notebook.  This is such a nice reminder to take a step forward to accept who I am.

Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself.  Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be-the best version of you-on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it” 

本日の(というか、きっと人生の)目標は、「人と比べない」。私自身、たくさんの問題を抱えているけど、根源となっているのは、自分はこれでいいんだっていう、そういう思いが欠けているから。自信というより、自己肯定。生まれてきてから、今のいままで、何かが欠けている、自分は人より劣っている、他の人はできるのに、なんで私はできないのか。そんなことばかり思って生きてきたので、今になってその代償を払っている。アーチーに教えてもらうまで、人より劣ってると思うことが普通だったから、ようやく、どうしてこんなに辛かったのか良くわかった。

以下、「私より他人の方が。症候群」の症例。他人の方が、正しい、良い仕事持ってる、友達がたくさんいる、頭が良い、優しい家族がいる、お金持ち、笑顔がきれい、足が細い、料理が上手、怠惰じゃない、ダンスがうまい、収入が多い、性格が良い、みんなに優しくできる、人気がある、リーダーシップがある、才能がある...等々。これにプラスして、「自分もそんな風になりたい。を通り越して、他人より秀でたい。症候群」っていうのになりかかっている感じもする。周囲の評判や、他人が自分のことをどう思っているのか、気にしすぎてしまう。もう少し言えば、気に病んでしまう。そうすると、自分にも他人(自分にとってとても大切な人々)にもぎすぎすした態度を取って、優しくできなくなってしまう。魔のパラドックスにどっぷりはまって、抜け出すのに物凄い量の、労力と時間がかかる。先だっての土曜日だってそうだ。自分の体型が気に入らないとか、そんな理由でアーチーに、つっかかったし、それが理由でその日は、ほぼ一日無駄にした。しかも別れる、別れないとかそんなことまで、話す羽目になって。暖かくて、春みたいに良い天気で、もっと楽しい一日が二人で過ごせたはずなのだ。

慎み深さを持ってまた、自己肯定のできる様、ゆっくり、ゆっくり、牛歩にて。

Superhero:  The Awesome Man

Superhero:  The Awesome Man

Have you seen him before?  He is quite cute and powerful.  He is a super hero who can make me cheerful instantly.  Just like snapping fingers.

I hadn’t eaten my lunch for a while at work only because I didn’t have enough time.  Everyone, I mean EVERYONE is moving 100 miles per hour because of the major re-org.  It feels quite unsettling.

Around noon yesterday, I got a call from reception saying that I have a guest.  I was not expecting any visitors yesterday so I wondered who it could be but I headed to reception area anyways.  Then there was Awesome Man!  With cape, masks and everything…no, not really.  Instead, he had a tiny bouquet of flowers in this cute glass vase, salad and canele from London Plane in Pioneer Square, Seattle (one of Emily Dann’s restaurant. http://www.thelondonplaneseattle.com/london-plane  As soon as I received those from him, he quickly kissed me (yes, he kisses) a good-bye and left.

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I barely had time to thank you, Awesome Man.  Your gift brightened my day and lunch satisfied my stomach and soul.

If you see him somewhere, please thank him for me.

Musician, Author or Rocky?: No, she is Emily Crawford Dann

Musician, Author or Rocky?:  No, she is Emily Crawford Dann

Have you ever been disappointed in a second album of a particular musician who released a phenomenal 1st record?  I have many times.  How about writers?  His/her 1st book was so damn good and you can’t stand the second book?  Or the movie “Rocky,” which I don’t think I need to explain.

Emily Crawford Dann is not a musician or author who produces a disappointing 2nd creation or Rocky.  She is a law school graduate, bright, very sincere, calm, fun, knowledgeable, thoughtful and beautiful.  This is a story about her and her restaurant, The Corson Building.  http://www.thecorsonbuilding.com/

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One night in February 2012, somewhere around 9:30pm, he and I were driving through Georgetown on Corson Avenue in Seattle after checking out a couple of venues that we considered having a party with a small group of close friends and family.  We were looking for something quaint, classy, vintagie and yet fun.  We were not quite excited about both places and were tired, and so headed home.  We stopped at red light.  I looked out to the window and I saw this quaint, classy and vintagie place tucked away on Corson Ave, and I let him know.  As soon as he saw that place, he flipped a U-turn and got out of the car.   We hesitantly opened the gate and looked inside the building.  We could see someone in the back of the building so we approached the back door and poked our heads in.  It was a gorgeous, organized and stunning kitchen.  Pots and pans hanged from the ceiling. Utensils and kitchen tools were on one side and plates on the other.  And unmatched silverwares!  I fell in love with that kitchen with just a glance.  Then this soft-spoken, elegant looking women, with a gorgeous smile and apron said, “Do you want to take a look inside?  Come on in”. As soon as I heard her voice and encountered her graceful manner, I decided this place was it.  It must have been the same for him because I remember him saying, “We don’t need to look further.”

the back of The Corson Building

Last night, we went to a “Seafood Chowder” dinner at this place.  I repeat, she is not a musician, author who produces disappointing 2nd creation or Rocky.  We’ve been to her restaurant countless times and she and her creations never disappoint.

When we had a dinner party in October 2012, the only request I had for Emily was no carrots (because I do not like carrot so much).  I had so much trust in her and I didn’t request anything else because I wanted to have HER food, not our modified version.  Of course, she delivered beautifully.

Emily is Seattle’s treasure.  She loves ingredients and has a strong emotional connection to food and those who enjoy food.  In fact, every time I taste what she makes, my heart starts aching.  She uses a mix of many kinds of spices but it never loses its original flavor of ingredients.  Her food makes you want to use all of your feelings, emotions and senses.

If you ever have a chance to visit Seattle, this is the place that should be first on your list.

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Food for My Soul

Food for My Soul

“If you strip everything away that person has,  including clothes, shoes, hat, job he/she has, what kind of car, titles so forth.  Family, friends, obligations, tasks, home, money, experience, past, future, I mean everything.  Now take a look at person again.  If you are still in love with that person, that’s the one” – unknown

I am leading a fortunate life because I do have that person.