Alphabet Questions: M-S (especially R)

Alphabet Questions: M-S (especially R)

M – Most favorite book?:  Tokyo Bandwagon

N – Nicknames?:  Mimi Gomez

O – One wish?:  All animals get saved

P – Person who texted me last?:  Vivienne

Q – Question you’re always asked?:  Where did I put that?

R – Reason to smile?:  Chocolate, my overweight chihuahua, many, many, many good books, Billie Holiday records, my mom’s cooking, quote like ““Maybe we should all just listen to records and quit our jobs.” by Jack White, smell of freshly opened bag of Sun-dried Ethiopia Yirgacheff coffee beans, oranges, dog paws, depressing music grabs my heart, English accent, movie like Liberal Arts, independent bookstores like Shakespeare & Co., tasty pastries at Crumble and Flake,  Joseph Leonard, New York City especially East/West Village, Rent, Stomp, handwritten letters, text message saying “i love u,” holding hands, Paris, Paris, Paris, Staub pots, vintage housewares, Bangkok, warm and cozy bed, sound of rain drops, sound of cello makes, Picasso painting, Maria Kochetkova, point shoes, stylish looking glasses, snow,  flower bouquet made by Ayako, Emily Dann, the Corson Building, Autumn, claw-foot tubs, old wood chairs/tables, well-polished shoes, home cooking, chopping vegetables with my Aritsugu knife, beach, ocean, sunset, I can go on for about 2 days to list what makes me happy so I will stop right here.  And, Archie.

S – Song I sang last?:  Cups (“When I’m Gone”)

Do You Have Your Marching Band in Manhattan?

Do You Have Your Marching Band in Manhattan?

Every time I hear this song, my throat tightens up as if I’m starting to cry but I always managed to stop right before that.  This is a song I want to listen to inside of my car when it is raining outside, while hearing raindrops continuously hit the roof of the car.  I sometimes actually stop my car to listen to the entire song then wait to see if my sorrow drips into my heart through a pinhole.


I have countless number of songs that are dear to my heart, but this is a special song and a favorite for the last 10 years.  It is bitter sweet.  This is a song that you want to listen to when you are remembering someone who is out of your life but you still wish that person, whether  your grandma, your long lost friend, your English literature professor, a crush, whoever that may be, is still part of your life.  And you day-dream about the time when you and that person happen to see each other at your favorite coffee shop, but it feels really strange so you guys only exchange an awkward smile.  Then, you know that person is no longer a part of your life and you know that he/she knows that too.

You carry on your life but for one small moment, you think about that person.  Maybe while selecting an Etta James vinyl record at this vintage record shop.  Maybe when you are looking at this huge painting that you have no idea what this is all about.  Or maybe at red light.  Maybe when you are spreading almost expired cream cheese on a bagel.  Maybe when you are at the zoo with your 5-year old niece looking at penguins on one Sunday during winter.  Maybe when you can’t sleep and it is 2am and you are watching “Roman Holiday” by yourself but not hating the fact that you are alone.  Or during the time you found comfort in the sound of a faucet leaking slowly, and finally you can let your tears run down your face.

Mine is “Marching band in Manhattan” by Death Cab for Cutie.  How about yours?

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Best Restaurant ever (?): Lovely little place in NYC

Best Restaurant ever (?): Lovely little place in NYC

I have one co-worker, and let’s call her Kathy.  Kathy is a very cheerful and fun person to work with.  She also is a foodie and has many recommendations where to dine and what to eat.  I love hearing what she has to offer.  When she gets excited about food and/or restaurants she likes, she uses this phrase “the best EVER” and “the greatest EVER.”  I was born and raised in Japan and immigrated to the States 14 years ago, and as English being as my second language, I find her expression is very interesting.  I did not think I had my “best EVER” place to eat until December 27th, 2014.

New York City is my favorite place to be, especially lower Manhattan.  There are so many places I traveled and I love, but NYC is always No.1 on my list.  Yes, it is busy, crowded, expensive, dirty, and crazy however, there is something very romantic about that place just to override those negative impressions.  Old brick buildings, basketball courts, small parks throughout the city, coffee shops, 100-year old delis, tourists walking, tiny alleys, unique characteristics on each borough.  Gorgeous bridges, small restaurants, bicycles, gigantic buildings, dressed up people, dressed down people, bookstores, theaters, music, cocktails, and food.  My list will go on about 5 pages if you let me.  Anyways, today I want to talk about this restaurant called Joseph Leonard in West Village.

I saw this photo on Tumblr about 6 months ago.  It is a photo taken outside of this place and the glass window is steamed up.  It must have taken one cold winter day.  I could read “Joseph Leonard” on the window and see a few people inside.  I did not know what the place was and I have not heard of the name before either but I had a hunch (or I wanted this place to be a restaurant in NYC so badly) so I Googled.  Of course, it was a restaurant in the City (smile).  6 months later, we were there at Joseph Leonard at 9am sharp on 12/27/2014.


The place was even better than I imagined.  When I reached out to the door, this friendly guy opened the door and said, “hey, come in!” We entered then my heart got filled with pure joy and expectations.  The place only has 8 tables and one small bar in the middle.  Old wooden floor and unmatched tables/chairs/benches.  We got seated where people were sitting in that photo.  Fast forward, my kale salad was arrived.  Oh my God, it was the best kale salad EVER!  Did I just use those words?  Best EVER?  And it was.  Right amount of kale, dressing, sourness, sweetness, pickled red onion, perfectly cooked boiled eggs, cheese…And care and love.  Plus, Stumptown Coffee roasts beans only for Joseph Leonard and it’s called “Happy Cooking Roast.” The coffee and our dish were perfectly complimenting each other.


After I talked to our wait staff, Michael B with much enthusiasm about this place and food, he serviced us a big slice of carrot cake (restaurant owner’s wedding cake) and another pot of Happy Cooking Roast, which we did not even ordered.  I told him, “You guys rock.  I don’t use this word too easily but your place and food are the best ever.”  Seeing his smile after my comment was priceless.  Combination of me being NYC, great food, perfect location, lovely atmosphere, and wonderful staff made this magic.  Oh, I cannot forget to mention.  When I came in “London Calling” was playing and Clash was being played whole time we were there.

This place is best restaurant EVER until I find another best EVER.